Lawn care is a popular way for entrepreneurs to get their start in the business world and earn some money doing honest work. But mowing lawns can become so much more than a quick way to make pocket money. There's huge potential in lawn care services if you're looking to start a small business.
Here's everything you need to know to start a successful lawn care business and book homeowners in your area as new customers.
How Much Profit Can You Make With a Lawn Care Business?
Having your own lawn care business is a great option as a startup because of how quickly you can scale to the demand if your customer base expands. If you live in an area where it doesn't snow and where the temperature doesn't dip below freezing, you can have consistent, recurring work year-round since lawns need ongoing care. This makes it easier to build your customer base and increase your revenue.
How much you make depends on a few factors:
- What the seasons look like where you want to operate your business (how long you can provide lawn care services)
- What the market looks like in your area (how much your competitors are charging, how much customers are willing to pay, etc.)
- How much of the work you will do yourself
- The range and quality of the services you offer
If you're planning to operate your lawn care company on your own, you'll also be bottlenecked by your own capacity. On the other hand, if you hire a team, you'll have higher expenses but will be able to take on more customers.
What Goes Into Planning a Lawn Care Company?
Before you plan anything for your lawn care or landscaping business, you'll need to research your target market. The specifics of your target market will depend on your city and neighborhood; in general, you can expect to target people with lawns who have some disposable income. Another target market could be older homeowners who can no longer take care of mowing their lawn or managing landscaping tasks on their own.
You should also take some time to scope out the competition and find out:
- What services they offer (and at what price)
- What their customer service looks like
- What their reviews say about them
Use this information to start building your business plan. In this plan, you'll need to break down your services and prices. The average pricing for full-service lawn care ranges from $75 to $145 depending on your area and the size of your customer's lawn. Additional services and prices can include:
- Lawn mowing ($32 to $250)
- Landscaping and design ($30 for smaller projects to $4,500 for more complex landscaping projects)
- Weeding ($40 to $600)
If you have the funds to hire employees right away, consider offering a wider range of services; however, if you don't, stick to what you can personally take on. The services you choose to offer will determine the startup costs of the equipment you need to get started, which may include but isn't limited to:
- A vehicle to carry your equipment (a pickup truck or similar vehicle)
- A lawn mower
- A leaf blower
- A grass trimmer
- Pruner clips
Finally, consider getting business insurance and liability insurance to protect yourself from liability. If you have employees, you'll also need to pay workers compensation insurance.
Steps to Getting Your Lawn Care Business Started
Now that you have a plan, you can get the wheel moving and start your lawn care company.
Legal Details to Keep in Mind for Your Lawn Care Business
One of the first things you'll need to check is whether you'll need a license to start your lawn care business. This will depend on where you live and the department in charge of business licenses. While some states don't require you to have a license to start a lawn care business, others may, so it's important to check with your local Department of Agriculture. You should also look into insurance to protect your business in case there's an accident on your customer's property.
Another important consideration is your business structure, which you may have to register with the government. There are several business structures you can choose from, including a limited liability company (LLC), sole proprietorship, or partnership. If you decide to go with a sole proprietorship, you don't have to register it with your state but you could be found personally liable for business debts. You'll need to register an LLC, but this is considered a separate entity and can help protect you from personal liability.
Before you mow your first lawn, you'll need to register your business name. This is necessary unless you have a sole proprietorship. Even in this case, registering your name will ensure no one else can use it. Your name should be unique but also communicate what you do. For example, "The Lawn Pros" or "Smith Lawn Doctors" lets potential customers know you do lawn care, whereas "Smith and Sons, Inc." says nothing about the company.
Next, it's time to open your business bank account. A business bank account can make it easier to manage your business from an accounting standpoint. It'll also help keep your personal accounts separate. To open your business bank account, you'll need:
- Your photo ID
- Proof of your personal address
- Proof of your business address
- EIN or Social Security number
- All documents regarding the formation of your business
If it makes it easier for you, open more than one account to put aside federal and state taxes every time you generate revenue. What you'll need to pay in taxes depends on your state; if you hire employees, remember that you might need to need to retain federal and state income taxes, Social Security taxes, and Medicare taxes from their paychecks.
How to Market Your Lawn Care Company and Get Your First Customers
Are you ready to get your first customers? It's time to market your new business. Because lawn care services fall under local small businesses, make sure you set up Google My Business. This will help you show up on Google Maps when customers search for lawn care or landscaping near you. Take some time to create profiles on review sites like Yelp, as well. This will allow you to respond to reviews when they appear, whether positive or negative.
In addition to online reviews, people who search for lawn care services online will be looking for a business website to find out more information. That's why you should create a website for your business. You can make your website using site builders like Squarespace, Wix, or WordPress. However, if you have no idea how to get started, you can find talented website developers and designers on Upwork or Fiverr.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when creating your website:
- Make it easy for visitors to contact you by adding several call-to-action (CTA) buttons and posting your phone number in easy-to-see spots.
- Focus on the benefits of your services, not just the services themselves.
- Use professional, attractive images.
- Include a method for visitors to get a quote from you (you can use this quote template to send them a quote without starting from scratch).
With your new website now up and running, you can create social media profiles for your startup. Start with Facebook and Instagram but consider expanding to other platforms depending on your audience, such as LinkedIn if you do commercial lawn care and landscaping.
Your social media posts should focus on providing value to potential customers, not just advertising your services. For instance, you can post about lawn care tips, dos and don'ts, and common misconceptions.
Here are some other social media tips for your lawn care business:
- Be consistent. If you post once a week, always post once a week. If you post once a day, always post once a day.
- Engage with potential customers by following them, commenting on their posts, and responding to their comments on your own posts.
- Collaborate with other small business owners in your area for giveaways so that you can each benefit from each other's audience.
- Schedule your posts in advance using tools like Buffer or Later.
- Research which hashtags to use by looking at your competitors and using them on your own posts.
Finally, don't discount the importance of word of mouth and referrals. Make sure you hand out your business cards to happy customers and consider offering a referral discount to anyone who sends you new business.
How to Operate Your Lawn Care Business
Apart from performing lawn care services for new customers, you'll also need to keep your business running on the back end.
When potential customers call your phone line or submit contact information on your website, they'll most likely want an estimate or quote for their required lawn maintenance or landscaping services. To create an estimate, you'll need to include:
- Your business information
- The customer's information
- A unique date for the estimate
- The description of the service or services
- Pricing for each service
- The total estimated cost
- The terms and conditions for your estimate
If you prefer to automate the process instead of creating estimates from scratch, Skynova's estimate template makes the process easy.
Next, you'll need a way to invoice your customers so that they can pay you. You can create an invoice in five simple steps:
- Add your business and client contact information
- Create an invoice number
- Add work and payment due dates
- Add the cost of the services
- Add any other details or discounts
To save time, simply fill in the required information using Skynova's invoice template. Just make sure you clarify which methods of payment you accept so that there's no confusion for your customers.
Start a Profitable Lawn Care Business
Now, you have everything you need to start and run a profitable lawn care business and become a small business owner.
Running a service business like a lawn care business doesn't have to be complicated when you have the right products to empower you. With Skynova's accounting software and business templates, you can focus on providing high-quality lawn maintenance services to your customers and save time when it comes to back-end tasks like invoicing, estimates, and accounting. See how our other software products can help.