How to Start a Lawn Care Business in 8 Steps
Learn how to start a lawn care business in 8 simple steps. This guide covers everything from equipment to pricing and marketing.
Love the idea of being a business owner but hate being trapped in an office all day? Lawn care services may be the perfect alternative for you. You may feel ready to roll up your sleeves and do the work, but starting a lawn care business is more than trimming the neighbor’s grass or planting perfect flower borders. Business ownership requires planning, organization, and multiple disciplines — from marketing to bookkeeping. Here are some things to consider if you want to know how to start a lawn care business.
Research the Pros and Cons
Consider everything a lawn care business entails before you take the leap. Owning your own business and following your passions can be wildly rewarding, but there are realities to balance and anticipate.
Offering lawn care services for a living allows you to:
- Start a business with a relatively low overhead.
- Work solo (Even if you have employees, the work is solitary by nature.)
- Work flexible morning and daytime hours.
- Have room to expand to other types of landscaping services as your business grows.
- Get exercise and fresh air while at work.
However, there are some possible cons, such as:
- The toll physical labor can place on your body.
- Longer or less predictable hours.
- Seasonal fluctuations in demand and available services.
Assess Your Target Customer Before Investing in Equipment
Before you go full Supermarket Sweep on your local supplies store, you may want to start by shopping savvy.
If your key demographic is neighborhoods with small or midsize yards, you may already have the equipment in your shed. On the other hand, if your ideal customer owns acres of land, a decent riding lawn mower is a better investment.
Other items to look into when building your lawn care business start-up kit:
- A trailer to haul equipment.
- A string trimmer, hedge clippers, and leaf blower.
- Bags to haul away clippings.
Your equipment inventory will grow in time, but it’s wise to be conservative until you understand what you need for your regular clients.
Set Up Taxes for Your Business
- Limited Liability Company
- Sole Proprietorship
- S Corporation
Our article What is Sole Proprietorship vs. LLC? goes into more detail about the differences. Selecting the best business structure for you can protect personal assets and reduce your tax liability, so research thoroughly.
You may also want to invest in accounting software. Software like Intuit Quickbooks can assist you with paperwork like:
- Get an EIN number from the IRS so you can pay quarterly taxes.
- Create and keep track of invoices.
- Separate personal expenses vs. business expenses.
- Create paychecks if you decide to hire employees.
- File and pay your taxes.
Set Up Payment Options and a Business Account
It’s good to open a separate bank account strictly for your business to keep everything simple. You should also consider setting up payment methods like Zelle, Venmo, or PayPal to give your clients multiple payment options. You can also purchase a Square card reader and set up an account to process payments on your phone.
Research Business Licenses Requirements
Some service-based businesses, like lawn care, don't require a license in certain states. However, you may need a license or permit to handle chemicals like fertilizer or weed killer.
Your best bet is to check with your local Secretary of State or County Clerk's Office to see what is required. The U.S. Small Business Administration can also be an essential tool.
Protect Yourself and Your Clients
Investing in insurance is one of the best ways to safeguard the future. Here are some common options for small businesses:
- General liability insurance. A must-have for any business, but this is especially true for lawn care. What if your mower throws a rock, smashes a window, or hurts someone? Liability insurance protects you from paying out of pocket for house damage or injuries if the worst happens.
- Workers’ Compensation insurance. This is often required if you have employees to protect them and you in the case of injury or medical treatment.
- Health insurance. It may not be required, but if you offer employees health insurance, they will likely stay with your company. You also may be eligible for group discounts.
Create a Pricing Structure
You want to make money. You don’t want to price yourself out of the competitive market, but you do want to earn what you’re worth. The first step is to total all your expenses and ensure you charge enough to cover them. After that, you should:
- Check out the competition. See what other lawn care specialists are charging in your area and what services they’re offering.
- Decide how you’ll charge. A flat rate is tempting — but what about giant yards? Or clients who live farther away? You may want to charge according to size or by the hour instead. You may want to add a fee if a client is a certain distance away from your home base or requires additional services.
Create a Dynamic Marketing Campaign
Advertising is essential if you want your business to grow. These marketing ideas can get you started:
Invest in text marketing. Text messaging for your lawn care business can help you draw in customers fast. Customers are more likely to check a text than an email, especially if you advertise sales and service discounts.
- Create social media pages. Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram are great places to advertise your business. Regularly share photos and stories to keep your customers engaged. Offering discounts and giveaways for likes and shares help as well.
- Make a website. This sounds complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Website builder services make it much easier to design a cool website to engage people. Keep it updated with new information, sales, discount codes, and ways to book your services.
- Print flyers or business cards. Ask local businesses if you can place flyers at their counters to attract business — offer to advertise for them on your website in return. Keep business cards on hand for networking and referral opportunities that arise.
- Incorporate yard signs. A beautiful lawn is its own advertising. Asking homeowners if you can place a yard sign on their lawn gets your name out there. You could even offer a discount for entire neighborhoods or homeowners in an HOA.
Knowing how to start a lawn care business is half the battle. Check out more of our blog for helpful tips on the best ways to succeed at small business ownership. Once you’re prepared with the right information, it’s time to put that knowledge into action and bring your lawn care business to life. We wish you much luck as your business takes root and grows.