Types Of Equipment Needed To Start A Lawn Care Business
Its understandable that as a newcomer to lawn care, you likely want to take some shortcuts until you get more customers under your belt. Yet, as you grow, youre going to need to invest in some heavy-duty equipment to get all of your clients lawns cleaned up promptly. According to Lawn and Landscape, a typical landscape company will have 8-14% of sales going towards their equipment costs each year. When starting out, its wise to budget between $30-$50k for start-up costs.
Heres the list of those six pieces of equipment you must have when youre starting your lawn business:
- Assorted additional tools : $10-$50 each
Develop A Marketing Plan And Decide On Prices
When it comes to marketing your landscaping business, you already know where to start: Facebook and other social media, as well as SEO tactics, will increase your search visibility on Google and other search engines.
Of course, word-of-mouth marketing is always the best, especially in hyper-local markets, but that comes with doing good work overtime. So while you wait for the glowing reviews to be passed around town, consider setting up your social accounts first as you start your landscaping business.
Clayton says that mastering all of the typical marketing channels, and putting a starting budget of $500 to $2,000 in place to acquire your first 10 to 100 customers, is the best way to start. A digital marketing expert may be necessary to bring your game to the next level once you expand your landscaping business.
When you’re first starting your landscaping business, you should also decide on the prices of your services so you can include those in your marketing efforts. Any potential customers will want to know what they’ll be charged for the various landscaping services your business will offer.
When you’re deciding on your rates, it’s a good idea to check out the competition and see what prices similar businesses are offering, then go from there. But remember, you can always adjust rates as you go.
How To Start A Lawn Care Business
A lawn care business offers the services of cutting grass lawns, trimming around the edges, removal of debris, and maintenance of turf, which includes fertilization, weed control, and pest control.;Most lawn care businesses offer regular service on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly schedule depending on the maintenance needs of the customers. Services may be offered to residential customers, commercial customers, or both.
Learn how to start your own Lawn Care Business and whether it is the right fit for you.
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Why We Wrote This Post
Short posts , videos, case studies, you name itthere is so much content out there about starting a lawn care business that you can go on forever.;
We thought it would be useful to have one in-depth, step-by-step resource to guide new lawn care companies, helping them focus on the fundamentals and in laying down a solid foundation.;
We couldnt find one, so we wrote it ourselves.;
If You Are Going To Start Your First Business A Lawn Care Company Is A Good Place To Start
You will be building a business with consistent reoccurring income through regular bookings of lawns and this is something that most businesses do not have. You dont have to spend heaps of money marketing for one-off sales. Your one sale can be a reoccurring job for years to come. I know of lawn care operators who have had the same customer for over a decade or more.
You will also find the business is recession-proof or at least more recession-proof than 90% of the business out there. The grass is going to keep growing no matter what the economic climate does. Instead of acting like a small boat on a choppy sea your business will be more like an ocean liner. You are not going to notice small changes at all. Now that is a good place for a business to be.
Have you ever hear that saying about computers that go rubbish in = rubbish out. It is the same with your lawn care business. If you run it badly you will get bad results. You will get back exactly what you put in. Keeping this in mind you need to start as you mean to continue. Do things right, dont cut corners and you will be building the foundations of a great business.
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Heres All That Theres To Know About Starting A Thriving Lawn Care Business
If you grew up like many American kids, you probably spent your childhood doing a few odd jobs like running your own lemonade stand, selling Girl Scout cookies, or mowing lawnsone of Americas most iconic summertime activities.
Mowing the neighbors lawns, in particular, is something that many Americans do during their dog days of high school or college break to make a quick buck.
And if you were one of them, lawn mowing probably gave you your first taste of a paycheck or perhaps sowed the first ever seed of entrepreneurship in you.
While the job of manicuring grass has a low barrier to entry, the economics around Americas lawn care industry is no joke.
Look at the research data, for instance. By the end of 2020, experts project that the lawn care industry in the US will generate a total of $97.8 billionwith an average spend of $503 per household on lawn care and gardening activities.
Now thats some serious green to pour so much money on.
On average, you can gross about $80,000 a year in revenue by running a successful lawn care business.
Take a look at this industry statistics from 2018 to understand the market potential of a lawn care business in the US:
But spending your summer weekends trimming grass is one thingturning it into a profitable business is another thing altogether.
And since the hurdles to enter the lawn care business is pretty low, its also one of the most competitive small businesses out there.
Are You Going To Use A Trailer
It is possible to operate a successful lawn care business without using a tailor. I have been doing that for years. However, there will be limits to the size of the jobs you can take on.;
If you are buying a pickup or a van and are on the fence as to whether to buy a trailer or not then read this article Can I Run a Lawn Care Business Without Using a Trailer? and it will help you with the desition.;
If you have made the decision to buy a trailer and have not bought one yet then here is a post that will help you with your search. The Best Trailer to Buy for a Lawn Care Business.
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How You Can Use It
The step-by-step plan we share in this post focuses on the fundamentals to help you get all your bases covered for your lawn care business. Think of it as a launchpad for a; zero to six figures lawn care company.
If youre hungry for more, we added links to different resources throughout the post to satisfy your learning appetite. Each section can be read independently, so you can jump to any topic that is relevant to you. However, we recommend you to go section-by-section to get the most out of it.
So if youre ready to turn your dream of owning a lawn care business into a reality, read on In this post, we are going to lay the foundation to make it super easy for you .
Get Familiar With Your Equipment
Once youve figured out the type of lawn care services you plan to offer, youll probably have a better idea of the types of equipment you will need to invest in for your landscaping business. If youre completely new to landscaping and have no idea what youll need, Eden U offers a two-week masterclass where youll be taught to use equipment safely and efficiently, to identify plants, trim hedges, plant gardens and work efficiently. Plus, theres a guaranteed job placement when you complete the masterclass.
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Starting A Landscaping Business: The Economics
Most lawn care operators make between $30 and $50 per hour. If youre interested in going further if you feel like you have the work ethic, dedication, people skills and willingness to learn little is stopping you from starting your own landscaping business.
Clayton went on to sell his business in 2013, in the largest acquisition in the lawn care industry in a decade, before starting GreenPal. And remember: He got started on his own, with just a push mower to his name. Success isnt guaranteed to everybody who gets into landscaping, but its a field that shows no sign of disappearing anytime soon. And theres no time like the present to capitalize on peoples love of a well-manicured lawn.
This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.
About the author:Eric is a former insurance writer at NerdWallet.Read more
Get An Employer Identification Number
If your business is of the sole proprietorship variety, you wont need an employer identification number.
However, if youre planning on having employees work in your lawn business, youll need to get one to open a business account, apply for a business license, or to get a loan.
You can see what an application looks like here.;
To get yours, apply at the IRS website.
Its totally free.
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Choose The Right Lawn And Garden Tools
Most people spend a huge amount of time here and this is almost the easiest part.;Choose two mowers, as this seems like a correct balance to start with.;
Tip: Only buy new gear. Buying someone elses gear secondhand has very little merit or value. If you get the gear for under 20% of replacement value and have the expectation to be buying newer gear in your first 3 months, then secondhand gear may be alright in this instance. If it lasts 6 months, thats a huge bonus. But be sure to have the money to replace immediately if you have to. You don’t want to disappoint clients by not turning up to jobs because your equipment broke down – it’s not a great look.
The right number for a walk-behind round is probably two in the beginning. If you have too many mowers, your repair bills go up significantly. ;Too little and you over-work your gear which will dramatically reduce their lifespan.
Buy a commercial quality kit and look to the the people who have been in the industry for years.;
Addressing Client Invoicing And Scheduling
In todays connected world, its easy enough to carry a tablet or other device along to the job site. But managing client communication, invoicing, and employee scheduling can be time-consuming and frustrating. Lawn and landscape software solutions address the unique needs of lawn care businesses while streamlining the processes that make your business profitable and successful.;
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Choose A Name And Logo For Your Lawn Care Business
Your business name should be creative and catchy, but that doesnt mean you have to spend weeks trying to think of something that will work.
It should be practical and professional since it will be used on your quotes, emails, invoices, truck, marketing and advertising materials, and clothing .
A logo is helpful for brand awareness. Placing it on your company materials, clothing, and vehicle decals can help a lot.
Brian Boase says, the very first money spent on marketing should be graphics for your truck or trailer. Its like driving around a billboard all day long in the areas you want to work in.
Try using a free design website like Canva to create one.
When it comes to uniforms, you dont need to wear anything fancy as a lawn care service provider.
A solid-colored t-shirt that matches your brand and a pair of shorts or khakis will do. And dont forget a hat!
Wear something that is comfortable to work in, looks professional, and can be worn consistently throughout your workweek.
Be Different: Find Your Usp
Unless youre fortunate enough to be the only player in your area , youll have to differentiate your business from your competition.
A Unique Selling Proposition is what separates your lawn care business from the competition and highlights the reason why potential customers should choose you. Your USP is the promise/value you deliver to your customers with every service.;
Here is a bad and a good example of USP:;
- Bad/Me-too example:;The best lawn care company in Miami, FL.
- Good example:;Beautifying your lawn with every mow.
Here the brand promise is beautifying your lawn with every mow.
You can determine your USP and make it unique by answering the following questions:;
- What do you do differently from your competitors?
- Example: You offer free inspection while no other company is doing this. The customer is free to decide to opt for the service depending on the audit report.
- Do you offer a unique service that your competition doesnt?
- Example: You offer organic/natural lawn care service, and no other company is offering it.;
- How do you solve your clients lawn care problems better than your competition?;
- Example: A 30-day free, no-question asked visit in case a customer is not happy with your service.
Note:;To determine or make your USP unique, you dont need to have answers to all of the above questions.
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Define Your Target Market
What kinds of clients do you want to work with? What kinds of people or business owners would be most interested in your services? What areas are you going to serve? It’s important to know the answers to these questions.
While it may seem like theres the most earning potential in casting a wide net, theres also far more competition if youre up against a larger pool of lawn care companies. Thats why its in your best interest to hone in on your target market and brand your new company accordingly.
Either Stay Small Or Scale Up The Right Way
Russell keeps his service area small by design.
Most million-dollar companies only have a 10 to 14% margin because they have a lot of overhead. However, he says that companies who do less than $2,000,000 worth of business annually have a 50% to 60% profit margin.
If youre a small company and your profit margins are less than 50 to 60%, youre doing something wrong.
Thats why he doesnt want to get too big.
Although there are advantages to staying small, you can scale up if you do it right. No matter how big you get, stay lean. Heres a video weve done on that topic:;
As you grow your business, you might have the desire to branch out into more directions. Thats what Russell is doing right now.
He has big ambitions, and he has plans to give his company a makeover:
You might start out with a broom and a single push mower. But, if you do fantastic work and continue to rake in the cash, theres no telling how high you can fly.
The skys the limit!
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Work On Building Your Customer Base
Once you start your lawn care business, its important to find new avenues for building up your clientele base. Whether you create a referral program for existing customers or you invest in paid social ads to reach more people in your community, finding new ways to get more customers should always be an important part of your marketing activities.
Want to get a head start? Check out our guide on word of mouth marketing here.
Apply For A Business License
Landscaper licensing requirements vary by state, so be sure to check with your local business licensing office for details on how you can get your business license.;
The cost for a landscaping business license can be anywhere from $15 to $200 per year. You’ll also need an employer identification number to be able to set up your business bank account and get business tax deductions.
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Decide What Lawn Care Services To Offer
While most households need their lawns cut, a little know-how and the right equipment can help when starting a lawn care and landscaping business thats truly full-service. In addition to mowing, consider offering the following services:
- Sale of fertilizer, insecticide, and other lawn care products directly to clients
- Weeding, mulching, and other gardening work
- Lawn installation
- Planting native lawns
- Planting native species and pollinators in and alongside grass lawns
If theres a demand for green and eco-friendly practices in your area, building your knowledge and offering specialized services can help you compete with other lawn care providers and attract more customers. You may also be able to charge more for your expertise. Likewise, a little basic landscaping knowledge goes a long way towards finding new streams of revenue.
The services you offer will strongly affect your startup costs. If youre only offering mowing, you may just need a lawnmower and a vehicle for transport. However, other services will require specialized tools including wheelbarrows, hoes, etc.