How to Start a Lawn Care Business
Nothing looks better than a well-maintained yard, right? Well, most people think so and are willing to pay large sums of money to keep it looking its best. This offers those willing to do the work a great opportunity to make money. Starting a lawn care business will require some equipment, knowledge, and most of all, hard work.
What you’ll need to start a lawn care business
Like we mentioned, you’ll need some equipment to start a lawn care business. We’ll outline some of the most critical equipment and some optional equipment below.
The first thing you’ll need to start a lawn care business is a way to transport your equipment. For many, this includes a truck or SUV of some sort and a trailer to put equipment on. This can be one of your largest start-up costs when you start a lawn care business. Plan to spend anywhere from $2,500 to $30,000+ on transportation costs.
Depending on your budget, a pickup truck or landscape truck are probably your best options. They both offer flexibility and convenience with a large bed.
Types of Trailers
There are a few different kinds of trailers to consider. First, we’ll discuss sizing.
Depending on the amount of equipment you plan to have, you might want a larger trailer. The most common size trailer is 8 to 10 feet long. This can fit a few lawnmowers, plus your other equipment. If you plan on having more than a couple of mowers, you should consider a 16-foot trailer. This can accommodate more mowers and will leave you with extra room for any brush or landscaping leftovers.
If you plan on hauling rock or mulch, you might want to consider a tandem axle trailer. This will allow for heavier loads and might be required by some equipment rental companies in order to rent equipment for large jobs.
When you think of lawn equipment, this is probably the first thing you thought of, a lawnmower. Depending on the size of yards you plan to mow and how much you plan to expand, you could decide to get a walk-behind mower or ride-on mower.
Walk-behind mowers offer great versatility and come in a wide range of sizes. Prices vary widely depending on size, features, and condition. You can oftentimes find a used mower for significantly less than a new one saving you hundreds on start-up costs.
Ride-on mowers like zero turn mowers are typically more expensive than walk-behind and push mowers however they offer more efficiency than the others making your mowing timeless.
The last type of mower that you could purchase is a push mower. These are the least expensive but are also the least efficient and require the most amount of manual labor to operate. Some properties may require a push mower to maintain if there is a small entryway into the yard. It’s wise to always have a push mower on hand just in case.
Trimmer / Weed Eater
The next most important piece of equipment you’ll need is a trimmer or weed eater. This piece of equipment is used to trim around obstacles in the yard or anywhere your mower cannot reach. Plan to spend anywhere from $100-$500 for a trimmer, depending on the brand and power of the engine.
A more powerful engine will help to save you time as they are more efficient than a less powerful trimmer. The trade-off is more fuel costs, a larger price tag upfront, and you’ll go through string faster.
Once you’ve finished mowing and trimming the lawn, you’ll need to take care of the clippings so that they aren’t left for all to see. It’s best to blow them back into the yard to not only for aesthetics but the dead grass will also act as a fertilizer for growing grass.
If you want to create a clean looking edge around pavement so that no grass overflows, you’ll need to use either an edger or your trimmer to complete this. An edger has a spinning blade that rubs against the pavement, making an extremely close cut. You can also flip your trimmer around and use it to edge, but typically the cut is not as close.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $400 on an edger. We like the looks of an edger more, making it a worthwhile investment. In addition, you’ll save on trimmer string.
After starting your lawn care business, you’re sure to run into equipment problems down the road, so having the right tools is necessary so that you can fix your equipment both affordably and quickly. Some of the basics you’ll need are:
- Socket Set
- Ratchet Straps to tie down equipment on trailer
- Screw Driver
There are a few odds and ends items you’ll need to stay comfortable while doing lawn care. Items like gas cans, gloves, a durable pair of pants, rakes, and a breathable shirt are all items you’ll need to start.
You’ll also need a way to communicate with customers. Some people chose to purchase a business cell phone while others will use their personal cell phones to start and then move on to a business phone once they have developed their business. Either way, ensure that you’re able to be reached.
Tips for Starting a Lawn Care Business
Owning a lawn care business can bring many challenges. The competition is fierce, customers can be very picky, and laborers can be difficult to find.
Always Buy Commercial Grade Equipment
Commercial grade equipment is much more durable than residential grade equipment. The price tag will be higher for a commercial-grade but is money well spent. The last thing you want to happen is to have broken down equipment on a job. Your equipment is an investment.
Treat Each Customer as if They’re Your Only One
Treating your customers right is vital to your businesses' ongoing success. You will have some customers that are picky and might annoy you, however, if you treat these customers right, they could provide lifelong income. This will help to separate you from other lawn care services.
Know how to Market your Business
Like with any business, you can’t expect to grow your business without doing anything. You’ll need to prioritize your marketing to grow your customer base and your business. This can come in many different forms. Whether it’s something as simple as a postcard, or a full-on website and digital marketing strategy, marking your business is critical for its growth.
Offer a Wide Variety of Services…. And Advertise Them!
In order to become successful in the lawn care business, you’ll need to expand your services beyond the typical lawn maintenance. Offering services like mulching, landscaping, leaf removal, snow removal, gutter cleaning, and more can provide year-round income and a larger customer base.
Make sure that your customers know all of the services you offer! If you have a company website, list them all on there. Or list them on any marketing materials like company brochures or postcards. You’ll be surprised how many people will think you only offer one service if not.
Offer Year-Round Packages
Some customers might want to spread the cost of their lawn care over the full year. Offer the ability for them to spread out the cost over 12 months.
Accept Credit Card Payments… And Advertise it!
Accepting credit cards in 2019 is an obvious decision. However, many small businesses might choose not to as it can cut into their profits. By accepting credit cards, you’ll make it that much easier for customers to pay on time and continue their services.
Allow Customers to Pay Online
Make sure that your customers can pay their bill online. Not only will this help you in getting paid on time, but it will also make their experience better. In 2019, cash or check isn’t going to cut it anymore so offer your customers multiple ways to pay, letting them chose what is most convenient for them.
Offer Discounts for Paying Early
Want to get your money faster? Offer a discount to customers who decide to pay a few weeks early. This can help you to manage your cash flow and keep customers from lapsing on their bill.
Follow Up with Potential Customers
Whenever a customer reaches out to you, it’s important to promptly follow up with them to retain their business. With so much competition, we often find that the first to pick up their phone will win the job.
Communicate Effectively and Often
Some customers will want to know exactly when you cut their grass and if something comes up and you are not able to get to it that day. Ensure that you communicate with your customers in order to keep them up to date on your services and anything they need to know.
How Much Should I Charge for Lawn Care?
Pricing for lawn car varies based on many factors. Your geographical location, quality of work, and the type of work you are completing.
A typical mowing package that includes mowing, trimming, edging, and blowing oftentimes costs between $30 and $60 per mow for yards smaller than one-half acre.
For labor, many companies will charge $1 per minute of work, depending on the work and tools needed.
Starting a lawn care business is a great opportunity to profit on a relatively low-cost business to start. A lawnmower, a trimmer, a blower, and a way to transport your equipment are the essential items you’ll need to get started. Plan to budget at least $6,000 to start your business, with additional money for any marketing and advertising expenses. Keep your customers happy and offer them superb service to set yourself apart from the competition and retain your customer base.
Starting a lawn care business is not an easy task, but it can be done with the right amount of hard work. What are your thoughts? Comment below your experience with lawn care!