How to start a lawn care business

Basic grass care includes mowing, trimming, weed eating and blowing. Understanding the costs of starting a lawn-care business includes equipment, insurance, licensing, and, depending on where you live, a mowing licence. A well-functioning lawn care business can make you around $60,000 per year.

Each lawn care company must file as a legal entity. This will protect the owner’s personal assets in the event of a lawsuit against the company. Infile is an internet legal service that guides you through the process of registering your lawn company as a legal entity. Register your company today for $49 plus applicable state fees

Visit IncFile

In five easy steps, you can start your lawn care business.

1. 1.

The lawn care business plan will help you identify the market, the equipment costs, and the amount of money you expect to make and spend in the first three years. There is always a demand for lawn care services, so it’s important to plan how you will reach them and distinguish your company from others. After you account for equipment startup costs, your financial projections will determine the time it will take to make your business profitable.

Modern vs Traditional Business Plan

Before you start creating your lawn-care business plan, it is important to decide if you want a traditional or modern plan. traditional business planning is required to receive a bank loan. It’s similar to a business report. Many business owners prefer a modern plan such as a business model canvas (BMC),. This is because they don’t need a bank loan but want to create a simpler, more visual business plan.

The basic sections of a BMC business plan can be filled out in less than 30 minutes

Market Research for Your Lawn Care Business

In the market research section of your business plan section, you will describe who your ideal customer and how many you need in order to sustain your business. You have many potential customers as a lawn care business owner. Your main question in market research should be “What are the underserved neighborhoods?”

Personal research is the best way to answer that question. You can drive around to see what areas have neglected lawns. It is also possible to research which lawn care companies are available in which areas. Look up the Google reviews of these companies to find out which ones have the lowest average number of reviews. It is a smart idea to market your lawn company in areas where your least reviewed competitors service, as some customers may be unhappy with your service.

Research Lawn Care Equipment Prices

It is important to do your research on the costs of lawn care equipment before you purchase it. The financial projections will include the costs of lawn care equipment. We’ll talk more about this later. The costs of the equipment will be included in the capital required to start your business.

You must decide whether to purchase equipment new or used. It’s a smart decision to purchase used equipment in your first business. You can also upgrade your mower equipment if your business is profitable.

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Competitive Analysis for Your Lawn Care Business

Your business plan’s competitive analysis section is where you identify and document the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. This information will help you generate marketing ideas as you can concentrate on a service or feature your competitor doesn’t offer. It could be a service such as sod installation, or a business feature such as a money back guarantee.

For a competitive analysis, you will need to research the top five lawn-care competitors. List the strengths and weaknesses of each company. What are the strengths and weaknesses of these businesses? Your number one source for information about competitor research is a company’s marketing. Review their online and print marketing, and Google My Business listings.

Russ Jundt headshot “When you launch a business, you must create a plan and know the steps to follow to build a successful company. Understanding your profit and loss statements is key to maximizing your profits.

–Russ Jundt Founder, Conserva

Financial projections for your Lawn Care Business

Financial projection is the most challenging part of a business planning document. This section is where you record startup costs and how much money it will take to start your business. These costs will be used to project how much you will earn each month for the first two years of your business. A subsection will be required to show a high-level overview of income and expenses for the first three year.

If you take out a loan to buy lawn equipment, this is a startup expense. The monthly loan repayment should be considered a cash flow until the loan is fully paid off. You may need to spend several months or even years to pay down startup costs. You can also save taxes by deducting equipment costs from your business tax returns.

If you are seeking financing from a bank, investor or other financial institution, it is necessary to finalize your financial projections. It is often the first section of a business proposal that investors look at, as they want to know when and how they will get their money back. You will also use your projections once your business is started to assess if your financial goals are being met.

Software to create a business plan for your lawn care business

It can be overwhelming to create a business plan. Software is available that will guide you through the entire process. LivePlan allows you to view each section and provide additional information so you can complete them. Live Plan can also take the financial projections numbers and create visually appealing charts. These charts will help you understand the potential growth for your lawn care business.

Live Plan offers a lawn-care business plan template that you can use. This is a classic business plan that could be used to secure funding from investors or banks. The startup cost for the fictional lawn care business is $16,000. It doesn’t become financially viable until the ninth month.

LivePlan’s lawn care business plan example has the business making a profit of $16,000 in year three

2. 2.Obtain funds for your lawn care business

Once you have completed your lawn care business plan, it is time to start looking for funding. You will likely begin your search for funding at a bank if you require a large loan, more than $75,000. You can seek out an investor or launch a crowdfunding campaign if you are well connected in your local community. A personal loan is a smaller loan that you can get, less than $50,000. You can also use credit cards for financing costs, such as lawn care equipment.

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Bank Loans Available

A bank will typically lend $75,000 to a small company. If you are purchasing high-end equipment such as trucks, trailers and commercial mowers, you may require a loan amount equal to this amount. If you are hiring multiple employees, it is important to have sufficient funds to pay their first month’s salaries.

If you are a startup company, the bank may require that you have the funds in an additional account such as a certificate deposit (CD) or certificate of deposit (CD). The bank will require you to have the funds in a separate account, such as a certificate of deposit (CD), in order to repay its loan if your company fails.

Get a personal business loan

A personal loan is a good option if you need funding for less than $75,000 and don’t have collateral to a business loan. Personal loans are usually based on your credit rating, but can also be used for business purposes. You can also use a credit card as a personal loan. For costs less than $10,000, business owners often use credit cards. Personal loans or credit cards have a higher interest rate that loans secured to assets like CD accounts.

Find an investor for your lawn care business

Investors are people or groups of people who lend money to you for a share of equity (ownership interests) in your lawn-care business. Investors are people who don’t need to take on debt. You don’t have to owe the investor money if the business fails, but you would for a loan from a bank.

Finding an investor in your local community can be difficult. It is best to have a business plan that includes clear financial projections. You can also network with other members of the business community, such as joining your local chamber.

Crowdfunding Your Lawn Care Business

Crowdfunding allows you to raise funds for your lawn care business by offering rewards for services that are paid in advance. If you have potential customers who are willing to buy your services in advance, a crowdfunding campaign can be a success for local businesses. As a reward, homeowners could be offered a discount to purchase a year or several months of lawn care in advance. The money could be used to purchase the equipment.

A crowdfunding campaign typically charges a 5% commission on all proceeds. The platform will offer a landing page on their website, a messaging system to update campaign information, and promotion within their platform in exchange for a fee.

3. 3.

You’ve already used your business plan to get the capital you need to start your lawn-care business. To avoid tax and legal problems, you must submit documentation before taking on customers. If your company is ever sued, you can protect your personal assets by filing as a legal entity. If an employee is hurt on the job, or property is damaged by a customer, liability insurance protects the company.

Filing your Lawn Business as an Legal Entity

By filing as a legal entity, you can create a business organization that protects and separates your personal assets. Your personal assets will be protected if the business is sued. Apart from lawsuits, any business debts that you incur are not covered by your personal assets if you file as a legal entity.

limited liability corporate (LLC) is the legal entity that protects members from lawsuits and debts. It accounts for approximately 80% of small business owners. You may choose to file as an S Corporation or corporation depending on your tax structure and business. Incfile is an online service that helps you to set up your lawn-care business’ legal entity. Register your business today with Infile for just $49 plus the state fee.

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Get your Employment Identification Number

The IRS provides businesses with an employment identification number (EIN). This number is used to track employee payroll taxes and federal income tax. An EIN can be applied for free from the IRS. The EIN is required in order to open a checking account for a business.

Get a Lawn Care Business License

A license is not usually required to run a lawn care business that mowed and maintains a lawn. California, Alabama, and other states require you to have a lawn maintenance license. Your state may require you to obtain a license if you apply chemicals to lawns like pesticides. No matter what services you offer, it is a good idea to visit the official websites of your county and state for information about lawn maintenance license requirements.

Get liability insurance for your lawn care business

To protect your business from employee injury and property damage, you can purchase liability insurance. Your business could be held responsible if you cause significant damage to the irrigation system of a commercial property. California and Louisiana require liability insurance in order to run a landscaping company. A typical annual cost for liability insurance for a lawn-care company is $400

Register for a Business Checking account

Before your lawn business incurs any expenses, you should open a business account. In the event of a tax audit, it is a good idea to keep your personal and business finances separate. Chase Business Checking offers safe and reliable checking to small business owners who have a minimum balance in excess of $1,500.

4. 4. Establish a Lawn Care Business System

After you have completed all legal documentation and opened your business checking account, it is possible to set up business systems such as hiring and purchasing software. Payroll software is essential for employees. Accounting software is essential for all businesses. It allows you to track income and expenses. Software for customer relationship management (CRM), which allows you to keep track of your leads and communicate with customers.

Zach Hendrix headshot

 “How will you manage your daily scheduling?” What is your daily bookkeeping? How will you keep track of equipment maintenance? These are just a few of the many systems you’ll need to incorporate into your day to manage and grow your lawn-care business. There are great online solutions to each one.

–Zach Hendrix, Co-founder, GreenPal

For your Lawn Care Business, Hire Employees

Most lawn care businesses start with one employee. Some lawn care businesses have several employees who are responsible for different lawn maintenance tasks. You can advertise your job openings on job sites like Craigslist and Indeed if you are looking for employees. Before hiring someone, you should run a backgroundcheck.

Your website and social media are two of the best ways you can find employees. Your job description and a “Jobs” page should be added to your website. You can share that page with your social media friends. You can also share a job opportunity with your Facebook friends.

Employers in Lawn Care

You must pay your employees once they work for your lawn-care business. In the event of a tax audit, it is important to keep your payroll records. Gusto, a low-cost software for payroll, costs $39 per monthly plus $6 per employee. Gusto allows you to add human resources (HR), such as workers’ compensation or healthcare benefits.

Online Accounting and Billing Software

Tracking income and expenses is an important part of business ownership. QuickBooks helps you keep track your business’ finances. To send invoices to customers, you can also use QuickBooks software. You can offer your customers the option of signing up for automatic monthly billing by sending invoices online. This allows you to save time collecting invoices from customers every month.

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CRM Lawn Care

CRM software can help you manage customers and leads for your lawn care business. It is important to keep track all customers that you contact about your lawn care services. To encourage customers to sign up for lawn care services, you might schedule follow-ups or mail discounts. To ensure that your customers are receiving the best service, it is important to stay in touch with them.

A CRM can help you stand out from your lawn care competitors by allowing for better customer communication. Send your customers a card to wish them a happy birthday. Include a coupon. This process can be automated with a CRM to save time. Without a CRM, it’s hard to create birthday reminders and send cards to hundreds of customers.

HubSpot CRM is a free and basic CRM software. HubSpot offers free CRM software, in the hope that you will sign up for paid services such as its marketing tools.

Butch Dellis headshot “Take some time from working ‘inside’ the business and work ‘on-the’ the business (commit to X hours per semaine). Find out what is holding you back and take steps to remove those obstacles. While it’s easy to find reasons for returning to the field, as a business owner, you should realize that your time is better spent running your company.

–Butch Dellis (Co-founder), Nutri Green Professional Lawn Services

5. 5.Market Your Lawn Care Company

Face-to-face communication is the best way to promote your lawn care business. Prospective customers love to meet the person who maintains their lawn. Referrals can be a great way to market your lawn care business. Your business will be remembered by potential and current customers through traditional marketing such as flyers, business cards, and thank-you notes. Potential customers also go online to research your business. Before committing, they want to view your work and review online reviews.

Traditional marketing for your lawn care business

Traditional marketing is the use of physical materials to promote your lawn-care business. A company such as Vistaprint can print flyers, business cards, posters and small signage.

Handwritten thank you notes are a great strategy to secure long-term customers. This gesture is kind and will be remembered by your customer. The thank you note can also be a great marketing tool that your customer might share with a neighbor.

Lush business card

Lush, a lawn care company, has a unique business card that is memorable to potential customers.

Networking to Help Lawn Care Customers

Networking is essential if you want to get commercial landscaping clients. Potential customers can be identified by attending and joining local Chamber of Commerce and Business Networking International (BNI), meetings. You may also want to connect with other residential-based service providers, such as pesticide and pressure washer companies, in order to get referrals. You can also network with property managers, who may refer your business to their residents.

Alexander Lewis headshot “I was booked solid within two weeks of starting my lawn mowing business. My dad was the one who helped me start my lawn mowing company. He called the agent who had helped my parents find their home. The agent asked my dad about his plans to start mowing the lawns in the area. Because she knew so many new homeowners in this area, she quickly sent me tons of work. Consider investing your time in local real estate networking events if you are just starting out in lawn care. You can become the preferred lawn care expert for multiple agents. Leads are your best friend.

–Alexander Lewis, Owner, Lewis Commercial Writing

Contracts for Lawn Care

Through government procurement contracts, government-owned properties such as schools and military bases can hire lawn maintenance companies. Register with the appropriate federal, state, and city entities to apply for these contracts. You can learn more about government contracting by visiting your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center. This federal program, which is taxpayer-funded, offers small-business owners free consulting on doing business with government agencies.

Online Marketing for Your Lawn Care Business

A quality online presence for your lawn-care company will help you reach your ideal customers. It will also give you credibility online when potential customers search for you. When someone searches for your business name on Google, their Google My Business (GMB), listing will display with customer reviews, photos, contact information, and business photos.

These are some online marketing strategies to help your lawn care business.

  • Website: Your website is your digital billboard. You can save time and create your website by using an lawn-care website template. Once you have entered your information, it will be ready for you to use.
  • Email Marketing: Email Marketing is the most cost-effective and free way to market your business to current customers. You might send an email to your clients announcing that you will pay a referral fee to customers who refer new lawn care customers. MailChimp offers a free service to the first 2000 subscribers.
  • Social media marketing You will need to create a Facebook Page and publish a few quality posts about your company. When someone searches for your lawn maintenance company’s name, their Facebook page will be displayed in Google. Your business will gain credibility by having a Facebook page.
  • GMB Each business with local customers receives a free GMB listing. Your business must include basic information such as phone number, hours, and address. Your home address is not required if you run your lawn care business from home. You can conceal your address and create a radius that shows where you mow lawns. 

    Customers can message your questions about your business directly through GMB

You can work on your online marketing strategies depending on how much time and effort you have. Your website should contain accurate information. Your GMB listing should be reviewed every month in order to spot any negative reviews or flag incorrect photos uploaded by users.

FAQs about How to Start a Lawn Care Business

This section answers the most common questions regarding starting a lawn-care business.

What is the cost of starting a lawn-care business?

A lawn care business can be started with just $2,000 or more than $100,000. The equipment you need will determine how much money you spend. A small budget mowing business can be started with equipment you already have. You will need a business registration of $150 and liability insurance. This costs about $400 per month. The cost of lawn maintenance increases as you add equipment such as trucks, trailers and employees.

Is it necessary to obtain a license in order to start a lawn-care business?

Yes, you might need a license. Alabama, California, and other states require licenses to maintain lawns. Others states, such as Georgia and Illinois, don’t require licenses to run a lawn-care company. Before opening a lawn care business, it is advisable to verify the licensing requirements of your state and your city. These can be found on the official website of your state (or your city).

What is the cost to mow your lawn?

An average lawn care cost is $30-$200 per visit. How much you charge per yard will depend on the size and quality of your lawn. An average rule of thumb is to charge $60 an hour for each worker. It is possible to include travel time in your lawn mowing estimate. Because you have already cut a lawn in the area, your estimate may be lower because you will need to travel less.

Blair Matthews headshot “Make sure you charge enough for your services. It can be tempting to lower your prices when you first start out. Instead of lowering your prices you should make sure your services are worth it.

–Blair Matthews is Head of Sales and Marketing at American Turf & Tree Care

Is lawn mowing a profitable business?

Lawn mowing can be an excellent business if you are organized and do good work. Your business will grow quickly if you offer a high-quality service. This is a great feature of a lawn-mowing business. Many lawn companies are frustrated by the long travel time it takes to get between jobs. Focusing on one area or neighborhood is the best way to build clientele. Your marketing efforts and networking should be focused on a specific area such as the meetings of homeowners’ associations (HOA).

What is the cost of a lawn-care business license?

They usually cost less than $100 if your state or municipality requires one. Your lawn company must file for a business entity license in your state. This is usually around $150.

What is the cost of insurance for a lawn-care business?

A lawn care business needs liability coverage, commercial automobile insurance and workers’ compensation insurance if there are employees. A lawn company’s liability insurance protects against property damage. It costs around $400 per year. For minimal coverage, commercial auto insurance costs about $750 per year. Workers comp insurance costs approximately $450 per year for each employee.

Bottom line

You can start a lawn care business as a side hustle or with hundreds of employees. You will need a business plan that includes financial projections to start either. Software such as a CRM system or a GMB listing can help you attract and track new customers. Your lawn care business can become a profitable, well-run enterprise once you have established a client base and paid for the equipment.