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How to Start a Lawn Care Business


Published on January 1, 2024

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If you're thinking about starting a new business in lawn care, you're in the right place! 

Transforming a simple lawn mowing venture into a thriving million-dollar business is within reach. However, before you fire up that lawnmower, it's important to understand how to start a lawn care business legally and manage it effectively to start raking in profits.

When we envision the ideal home, a well-maintained lawn often takes center stage, akin to a charming white picket fence. For homeowners, the smell of freshly cut grass and the satisfaction of a lush, evenly trimmed lawn are unparalleled. If you're contemplating starting your own lawn care business, you recognize that maintaining a lawn demands time and effort—resources many homeowners lack.

While it might seem tempting to jump in with just a lawnmower and some spare time to offer your services, taking the time for proper preparation can set the stage for significant business growth. Through thoughtful planning, you can expand your services beyond mere mowing and tap into other sought-after offerings. In this guide, we'll walk you through the essential steps to launch and build a successful lawn care business. So, get ready to cultivate not just lawns but also a flourishing business venture.

Getting started with licenses for your lawn care business

Starting your lawn care operation is exciting, and the good news is that in many places, you won't need a special permit to kick things off. However, securing a business license is typically a requirement, and the process is usually straightforward, with costs ranging from $12,450-$86,750. 

As your lawn care business expands, you might consider offering herbicide applications like Roundup to tackle weeds in your clients' landscaping beds. Keep in mind that, in many states, obtaining an additional license for this specific service is necessary.

And one important tip: always make that call before you dig! Learning this lesson the hard way is something you want to avoid.

Choosing your lawn care services: beyond the basics

Before diving into your lawn care venture, take a moment to decide which services will set your business apart. While lawn mowing is a staple, going beyond the basics with the right expertise and equipment can make your lawn care and landscaping business truly comprehensive. Here are some services to consider:

  • Retail of Lawn Care Products: Sell fertilizer, insecticide, and other lawn care essentials directly to clients.

  • Gardening Expertise: Offer services like weeding, mulching, and other gardening tasks.

  • Lawn Enhancement: Provide lawn installation services, including the planting of native lawns.

  • Eco-Friendly Options: Cater to the demand for green practices by planting native species and pollinators in and around grass lawns.

  • Seasonal Offerings: Expand your services with seasonal tasks such as snow removal in winter and leaf raking in the fall.

By tapping into eco-friendly practices and expanding your knowledge, you can stand out in the competitive lawn care market. Specialized services not only attract more customers but also allow you to charge more for your expertise. Remember that your choice of services will influence your startup costs; while basic mowing may require minimal equipment, other tasks like gardening may need specialized tools.

Budgeting for success: starting your lawn care business

Starting a gardening, lawn care, or landscaping business comes with the perk of relatively low startup costs for essential equipment. To kick things off smoothly, it's ideal to have funds set aside for a commercial-grade lawn mower (approx. $8,000), a truck (around $5,000 or more), a trailer ($1,000), additional equipment ($1,000), and necessary licensing and insurance (roughly $100). While the total equipment cost might hover around $15,000, don't let that figure overwhelm you—many successful lawn care businesses have been built on smaller budgets. I've witnessed entrepreneurs start with a simple $200 weed wacker and grow their companies from there. The key is not to be intimidated; securing funds for your lawn care venture is a manageable process with options available for almost any budget.

Essential equipment for your lawn care business

Setting up a lawn mowing business requires the right tools to ensure efficiency and quality service. Start with a reliable lawn mower and a suitable vehicle like a van or truck. If you're just beginning, a push mower is a budget-friendly choice, perfect for smaller yards. As you gain expertise, you might consider upgrading to a walk-behind or self-propelled mower for thicker grass and quicker coverage. For larger-scale jobs, a riding lawn mower or lawn tractor with extra power could be ideal. To tackle tight spots and refine lawn edges, investing in a string trimmer and an edger can enhance the precision of your mowing services.

How much would the lawn care business equipment cost 

Gas-powered push mower (new): $170–350

Corded electric string trimmer: $20–80

Electric edger: $100–175

Handheld leaf blower: $20–130

Lawn aerator: $200–300

Power rake: $100–300

Plastic wheelbarrow: $80–130

3-pack of pruning shears: $25–50

In total, the cost for new lawn care and landscaping tools typically ranges between $715 and $1,515.

Setting prices for your lawn care services

Determining the right pricing for your lawn care services is crucial for attracting customers and ensuring profitability. To establish fair and profitable rates, follow these steps:

  • Research local rates: Check the prevailing lawn care rates in your area to remain competitive.

  • Calculate Costs: Factor in labor costs, overhead, equipment expenses, and materials to determine your base costs.

  • Add Profit Margins: Decide on reasonable profit margins to ensure profitability for each job.

  • To achieve adequate profits, consider different pricing models for various lawn care services. Common models include:

  • Square Footage Rates: Ideal for mowing jobs, with prices ranging from $0.01 to $0.05 per square foot.

  • Hourly Rates: Suitable for larger contracts or when job duration is uncertain, typically around $55 per worker per hour.

  • Flat Rate Pricing: Offers a fixed cost for the entire job, beneficial when the time required is known (e.g., $150 for dethatching).

After determining your service prices, create a lawn care pricing chart displaying costs per square foot, per hour, or flat-rate services. This chart will facilitate accurate and consistent estimates for your clients.

Time Investment in the Early Stages

Starting in the lawn care business demands dedication, and initially, you'll find yourself putting in substantial hours—aim for a minimum of 70 hours per week. This hustle is essential as you work to acquire new clients while serving existing ones. As your client base expands, you can gradually scale back to a more manageable 50 hours per week.

Navigating Employee Costs in Lawn Care Business Growth

The decision to hire employees in your lawn care or landscaping business is a significant factor in its growth. Initially, with a smaller clientele (around 50 customers a week), keeping costs low is feasible. However, as you scale up and bring in additional hands to manage the workload, costs inevitably rise. Employee-related expenses include hourly wages, payroll taxes, healthcare taxes, workman's comp insurance, legal consultation, and administrative/bookkeeping overhead. While scaling and hiring employees are pivotal for growth, managing the associated costs is a critical consideration for sustainable business success.

Promoting Your Lawn Care Business: From Local to Digital

Getting your lawn care services noticed is key to acquiring your initial customers swiftly. Begin with grassroots efforts like knocking on neighbors' doors and distributing mowing business flyers. Experiment with traditional methods like tearaway flyers and door-hanger advertising before venturing into online marketing.

Steps for Digital Marketing Success:

Build your website: Utilize user-friendly website-building tools to create a professional and engaging online presence for your lawn care business. A simple, one-page website can effectively showcase your services, provide contact information, and feature testimonials from delighted clients, enhancing your credibility in the digital landscape.

Build your brand: Craft a distinct identity for your business with a logo and company colors. Consistent branding across business cards, websites, uniforms, and marketing materials creates a lasting impression.

Establish an online presence: Ensure your business is easily discoverable online. Presence on social media, Google, and directories enhances visibility and increases the likelihood of customers booking your services.

Develop a digital marketing plan: Create a focused plan outlining your target customers, budget, and chosen platforms. A well-thought-out marketing strategy helps streamline efforts and select advertising methods tailored to attract your desired clientele.

Power of reviews: Customer reviews are a potent marketing tool for lawn care companies. Don't shy away from asking satisfied clients to share their positive experiences on platforms like Google and Yelp, amplifying your business's reputation through word of mouth.

Starting a lawn care business is never easy and never too hard so if you are planning to start a lawn care business just for it, but with the required plan, budget, tools, employees, and everything else, you are not alone while managing your customers because Cloodot is there to give you a hand in everything dingle steps from multi-channel chat and review management to gathering analysis and feedback reports, everything under one roof.

So sign up with Cloodot today to learn how we can help your business turn leads into customers.

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© Copyright 2023, All Rights Reserved by Cloodot

An all-in-one reputation marketing software to automatically generate, monitor and market reviews for your businesses.

© Copyright 2023, All Rights Reserved by Cloodot

An all-in-one reputation marketing software to automatically generate, monitor and market reviews for your businesses.

© Copyright 2023, All Rights Reserved by Cloodot