Do you enjoy mowing the lawns at your home? Interested in being an entrepreneur and working for yourself? If you answered yes, then a lawn mowing business could be for you!
There are plenty of opportunities to start your own company in this area. By starting your own business, you can choose what you want to do according to what you like to do. You can be your own boss.
Starting a lawn care business is more than just mowing lawns. Services provided often include edge trimming, grass maintenance, weed control, and rubbish removal. Many grass cutting businesses offer their services to clients regularly. This may be monthly, every second week or weekly, depending on the client’s needs. Remember to think bigger than residential services – you could also offer services to other businesses. If you’re interested in learning about how to start a lawn care business, then you’re in luck. Read on for a guide on how to do it in this article created by our team at Trafft.
Is a Lawn Care Business Right for You?
When considering whether you’re interested in starting a lawn care business, you need to have a good reason. Those who don’t have the motivation will find it hard to succeed at starting their own company. Those who’ve found success in the lawn care business are ones who’ve always dreamed of working outside. You need a clear concept and a dream to make this business work for you.
People who enjoy lawn care are those who like to be outside, no matter the weather. Remember that you’ll be working all year round, so you need to be prepared for anything. This includes both freezing temperatures and the hot summer months. Of course, the weather will depend on your location, too.
If you do decide to start your own lawn care business, there are many benefits to this. You get to work for yourself and choose how much time you spend on your business. You get to make all the decisions – for example, you could cut down travel time by only accepting jobs near you. You can choose to work at any time that suits you as long as the sun is still out, and you can choose to work weekends or not, it’s all up to you!
As with anything, there are downsides as well. One would be that in winter you could have trouble finding work. Another is that if there are already a lot of lawn mowing businesses in your area, it could be tough to break into the market.
You need to be determined and a real people person to make your business thrive. Those who are good at talking to people are likely to attract and retain more customers. Another important trait to have is to be detail-oriented – do every job thoroughly and to the best of your ability. This will increase repeat customers.
Does It Cost a Lot?
One of the questions that people ask when finding out how to start a lawn care business is whether it’s expensive or not. Out of all the startups you could create, a lawn care business is relatively low cost. Your main costs will come from a truck and trailer for transporting your equipment. Then you’ll need a commercial lawn mower and other smaller equipment. Keep in mind that these costs depend largely on whether you can access second-hand equipment and what’s available at the time.
Here’s a table summarizing the cost estimates of the equipment:
|Commercial Lawn Mower||$8,000 +|
|Other Equipment||$1,000 +|
|Estimated Total||$15,000 +|
Some other costs you’ll want to factor into your lawn care business plan come from advertisements. This includes signs, flyers and business cards. Then you have website and internet costs, as well as insurance. These costs are highly variable, but you should expect to spend anywhere from$350 upwards. This doesn’t include insurance, which could be between $50 – $200 each month.
Pro tip: Purchase brand new equipment. It may be tempting to buy second-hand to save money. However, this could end up costing you more in the long run as second-hand equipment is likely to break down faster. If you expect to get some second-hand items and replace them within three months, this is a reasonable expectation. It will save you in upfront costs if you’re trying to start the company with very little funds.
What Permits and Licenses Will You Need?
If you want to start a lawn care business, you have to know how to do it legally. In most areas, you won’t need a permit. However, you will probably need a business license, just like any other business.
You’ll need to select a business structure and then register your business. Generally, if you’re a small business, it’s a simple process. You just register your company name with the state and local government.
As part of your business, you may decide to offer weedkilling sprays for flower beds and pathways. Be aware that in most areas this requires another license.
Once you’ve registered, you should get insurance for your company. This is important for if something goes wrong, so you don’t have to shell out all the money yourself.
How Should You Advertise Your Services?
For those who are new to owning a business, advertising can be an overwhelming proposition. To know where to start, you will need to create a marketing plan. This will give you concrete steps that you can tackle one at a time. You can find many template plans online.
Putting signs for your company on your truck is a great way to start advertising. When you’re not driving it, try to park your truck on the road in high-traffic areas. Make sure you have your phone number or website on the truck as well so people can contact you. You could also try distributing flyers in the area to get your name out there.
Another must is creating a website for your business. These days, the first place people look for a company is online. So, your website should detail the services you provide and any other information that you think is important. You can also start a social media presence to let people know about your company. Another useful action would be to claim your business listing on Google and request customer reviews on there or on Facebook.
Word-of-mouth is crucial to any lawn care company. People will trust companies that their friends or colleagues trust. Encourage your customers to refer your services by offering a discount if a friend books your services. Another great business tip is up-selling. For example, you may have been booked to mow someone’s lawn and notice a lot of weeds on their path. You could suggest that you do some weed spraying in addition to the work you were already hired to do.
When you’re starting to learn how to set up a lawn mowing business, offer some loss leaders. Don’t know what that is? It’s a service you make a loss on with the hopes of attaining repeat customers. This way you will make money off them in the future. For example, you could offer a deal where the client’s first lawn mowing is free or half price. This means you won’t earn a lot at first, but hopefully, you’ll get some loyal clients in the process. This is more important to your long-term success.
What’s the Best Way to Manage Appointments?
We know that handling appointments can be a challenge for small business owners. You spend so much time providing services and doing paperwork that the importance of appointment scheduling can pass you buy. It’s a factor of business that many people struggle with.
Plus, accidentally double-booking (a common mistake) makes you appear unprofessional and unorganized. It can cause you to lose money and customers. A great way to avoid all the admin of appointment management is by using great appointment software. Amelia is a WordPress appointment booking plugin that will save you a lot of time.
Amelia makes spreadsheets and hours spent on the admin a thing of the past.
It can manage an array of appointment types, whether it’s a multi-day job, recurring mowing or a one-off appointment. Amelia gives you the power to easily manage any kind of appointment that comes your way.
Another great software option is Trafft. It’s a SaaS tool from the same makers as Amelia. It’s an exceptional booking tool that gives you total control over your schedule. With Trafft, when customers book their appointments online, you receive a notification. If they make changes to a set appointment, you’ll get notified of that too. Appointment scheduling has never been easier!
Will I Need Staff?
Most people starting a lawn care business start out with just themselves doing the work. As you get more customers, you may consider adding an assistant. If you have larger jobs or a lot more work to do, that’s when you might think about hiring more people. Remember, you’ll need more equipment, too, if you do this. Expanding your lawn care business means needing more equipment, workers and better scheduling techniques. However, it also means being able to take on more clients.
If you do need more employees, you don’t necessarily need to look for people with formal qualifications. This industry is more ‘learn as you go’ than most. It’s great because you won’t need to send them on training courses. You will find that these kinds of workers usually have a high turnover rate though.
To mitigate this, pay your employees well, treat them well, and manage them with empathy. You need to treat your workers like you would want to be treated to get them to stick around.
What Kind of Clients Are the Best?
The biggest demographic for lawn mowing services are baby boomers, and there are 77 million of them. They enjoy having a property that is kept looking nice. They may not have the time or ability to take care of their lawns themselves but love to have a beautiful looking yard.
You’ll also find that local businesses could be a big source of income for you. Generally, they will pay more and book recurring appointments for your services than residential clients. Large companies with many lawns are the ideal customer. This could include office buildings, schools, and hospitals. Many of these businesses have their own lawn mowing teams, however. This makes getting their contract tough as it’s a highly competitive market.
That’s where customer service comes in. Let’s be honest, practically anyone can mow their own lawn. What people are really looking for in a lawn care service is a smooth booking process and a friendly staff. If a client stops to chat with you, always take the time to make conversation with them.
How Much Should You Charge?
When looking at how to start a lawn care business, you need to think about how much other companies charge. Unfortunately, in this industry, there are many undocumented companies and workers. These people will charge cut-rate prices and undercut legitimate business owners. They can do this by underpaying staff and not paying their taxes.
Legal companies usually charge 1.5x minimum wage at least for the time the work takes. For example, if the minimum wage is $12 per hour, you might charge $18 per hour for your services. You may consider a fixed monthly charge for mowing residential lawns as they usually take less than two hours to cut. Commercial businesses should pay more as they likely have more lawns to mow, and this will take longer.
Entrepreneur.com has released its findings on how much lawn care business owners could earn. The numbers came out as $5,000 – $50,000 in the first year of business. It could increase to $160,000 – $250,000 after a few years of business.
Ending thoughts on how to start a lawn care business
As mentioned, lawn mowing can be seasonal. It will be hard to get work in winter, depending on the climate where you live. The main months for your business will be from April to the start of October. Your main marketing should occur in spring in anticipation of the summer months.
If you don’t want to learn how to start a lawn care business from scratch, you could become a franchisee. This will give you an existing model to work with. There are plenty of companies that already have their name out there, which would cut down on your marketing needs. Alternatively, you could look into buying an existing business. This would mean you already have both equipment and customers.
If you enjoyed reading this article about how to start a lawn care business, you should read these as well: