If you’re the type of person who finds mowing the lawn and doing other types of yard work enjoyable, it may not be a bad idea to start a lawn care business. Why not do something you enjoy and get paid for it? Just because 85% of workers dislike their jobs, it doesn’t mean you have to be one of them.
The best part is, most people hate doing yard work. After working all week at their own jobs, the last thing they want to do is to go out in the heat and mow or pull weeds. Therefore, your services will always be in high demand.
The question is, how do you go about starting a landscaping business? If you’re like most people, you’ve never owned a business before.
Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as you might think and we’re here to help. Keep reading for our complete guide on how to start a lawn care service.
Establish Your Niche
First, you need to figure out what area your company will specialize in. Do you want to provide typical lawn services like mowing, pulling weeds, raking, and trimming? Alternatively, you may be especially skilled at landscaping with rocks, gravel, and other materials.
You also need to decide if your company is going to be seasonal or year-round.
For example, during the spring and summer, you can mow lawns and pull weeds. During the fall, you can specialize in raking leaves and even extend your services to gutter cleaning. If you live in a snowy climate, you could offer shoveling and plowing services during the winter.
Research the Local Lawn Care Market
Once you establish your niche, you need to do a little homework into the local lawn care market. How many other lawn services are there in your community? Who are your biggest competitors?
You also need to learn more about:
- Minimum startup costs
- Fair pricing models
- Growth opportunity
- Financial projections
- Target markets
- Business requirements
- And more
Don’t dive headfirst into a lawn care business without first doing your research. You need to know how viable your business idea is and understand everything about the industry and market.
Draw Up a Professional Business Plan
Now that you’ve done your homework, you can create your lawn care business plan. Your business plan will serve two primary purposes. It will be both the blueprint for your business and your means of getting financed.
Banks, lenders, and investors will use your business plan to determine the credibility of your future lawn care business. If it’s well-researched and well-written, they’ll be more willing to trust you with a loan.
Your business plan needs to contain:
- An executive summary
- A business description
- An analysis of your market
- An analysis of your competitors
- Your sales outline and marketing plan
- Your business breakdown (management and employees)
- An operations outline
- Financial projections
Remember, your business plan can make or break your company if you need funding. Take your time and get help if you need it.
Now you can start looking at lenders to finance your business. Even if have a great business plan, however, your credit may hold you back from getting approved through a bank for a traditional business loan. If this is the case, don’t worry just yet, you have other options.
You can also find funding through private investors such as friends and family members. There are also angel investor groups and crowdfunding agencies. In each scenario, you’ll need to work with the investors to determine how they will be compensated for their investment.
Finally, you may decide to bootstrap your lawn care business – meaning, pay for it yourself. If you start small enough, there’s no reason you can’t cover the upfront costs on your own. Then, you can slowly grow your business as you build clientele.
Get a Business License and Insurance
Next, you need to take care of the logistics, like applying for a business license with the city. Typically, landscaping businesses don’t require other licensing. However, you will need the appropriate certifications if you’re working with heavy machinery.
You’ll also need to get business liability insurance. This will cover the costs of damages, should you accidentally damage a customer’s property. If you have lawn care employees, you’ll also want worker’s comprehension insurance to cover medical costs if anyone gets hurt on the job.
Purchase the Necessary Tools and Equipment
Now comes the fun part, you get to start checking off items on your lawn care equipment checklist. Depending on your budget, you may only have the funds for the essentials. However, shopping for new lawn service equipment is always enjoyable.
If you can only afford to buy the essentials now, you can always rent bigger or more expensive items if a particular job calls for it. For example, a power rake rental can make your life much easier, but may not be something you need to purchase.
Finally, now that you have everything you necessary to run your business, you need to get the word out in the community. We recommend starting by building a simple website. Make sure you incorporate local SEO that you can build on overtime.
There is a myriad of effective local marketing techniques and you may have to experiment with your options to find the best method for your business. As noted, building a website is a must, as is incorporating a local SEO strategy. However, you should also take advantage of social media marketing.
Additionally, put up fliers around your neighborhood or neighborhoods that fall within your target market. We suggest targeting affluent neighborhoods where people are more likely to afford your services. You could also put ads in the local newspapers, magazines, etc.
Marketing is a bit of a steep learning curve. It may be a good idea to hire a marketing specialist to get your feet wet and start off strong.
Looking to Start a Lawn Care Business?
If you want to start a lawn care business, we think you’re making a great decision. It’s a stable industry that people will always need. However, just make sure you follow the steps listed above to ensure your success.
And if you need any more business advice, be sure to check out some of our other articles before you go. Our blog is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs in all industries succeed in the competitive business world.