How to Start a Lawn Care Business – A Complete Guide

For homeowners, nothing beats a green lawn in front of their homes. But it takes a lot of time and effort to maintain a lawn. Therefore, there is a plethora of opportunities for lawn care enthusiasts in the landscaping industry.

The lawn care business provides grass-cutting, tree or grass trimming, and debris removal services, including fertilization, weed control, pest control, and other outdoor services. Most lawn care companies offer weekly or monthly services for residential and commercial customers.

The landscape maintenance industry market size is projected to grow by 2.3% in 2022. It’s rightly said that homeowners are more concerned about the health of their lawns. But starting a lawn care business requires careful planning, legal arrangements, and thoughtful marketing.

Here, we will cover the steps on how to start a lawn care business.

What is a Lawn Care Business? 

When you start a lawn care business you must understand that Lawn care is not just about cutting grass, tree trimming, and keeping the edges trimmed. Lawn care is a seasonal business providing mowing services and maintaining lawns. It’s about protecting the turf and keeping your yard looking its best from the inside out. And pests, debris, and weed control so your grass can thrive.

Landscaping services also extend to fertilizing your lawn to boost it as it grows and maintaining a healthy balance of nutrients in the soil so that nothing gets out of hand and wrecks your whole business operations.

In short, Lawn care isn’t just about making sure your grass looks good. It’s about ensuring the entire ecosystem of your yard is balanced and healthy. Good lawn care businesses come by regularly to give a fresh cut and ensure customers have everything they need to keep their lawns looking great all year long.

Essential things required for running a lawn care business 

Following are some of the essential things required for running a lawn care business:

  1. Lawn care business tools such as:
  • A riding lawn mower
  • Push lawn mower
  • Trimmer 
  • Edger
  • Leaf blower 
  • Lawn bags
  • Lawn spreader 
  • Lawn sprayer
  1. Business Registration
  2. Business insurance for lawn care business
  3. State permit and license from the regional government

6 Steps to Start a Lawn Care Business 

Let’s look at the 6 steps to start your lawn care business. 

1. Research the market

Lawn care business owners looking for a way to stand out in the market should stop focusing on their competition and start thinking about their target audience. The first thing you have to do is decide which market segment you want to target. 

Research your market before starting a lawn care business

Your target audience is split into two components: residential and commercial. You need to know what kind of people you’re trying to reach to figure out how best to connect with them and offer your lawn care services.

  • If you’re targeting residential lawns, house owners are potential targets. 
  • If you’re targeting commercial lawns, property managers are the target customers.

2. Decide on your services

If you’re looking for a way to make more money, consider zeroing in on the services you want to offer as a successful lawn care business owner. You can offer mowing and edging services, but you can also add additional services to your business plan.

For example, you may be able to sell fertilizer and insecticide directly to clients. You can also weed, mulch, and perform other gardening work. Along with mowing, you might offer to install new lawns, plant native species beside grass lawns, or create a more natural look.

You could also provide seasonal services such as pruning trees, shrubs, and perennials during their dormant periods. Services such as snow removal might also be possible given that you have the necessary equipment for  the job.

With these additional services, you’ll be able to charge more for your expertise while finding additional revenue streams simultaneously.

3. Get appropriate lawn care business insurance

As a lawn care service provider, you want to protect your business with insurance coverage legally. Starting a lawn care service is easy, but it doesn’t end there. The next step is ensuring that your business is adequately insured and covered if something goes wrong. This is why it is also important to have the required business license. Check with your local small business administration to understand the kind of insurance and licenses you would need.

Get insurance to start a lawn care business

Here are some business insurance tips for starting a lawn care business:

  • Get general liability insurance as general liability insurance protects you in the event of bodily injury or property damage claims by clients or third parties.
  • Consider business equipment protection insurance for your lawn care equipment and commercial auto coverage for your work vehicle. Lawn care equipment maintenance can get expensive quickly, and accidents happen. You want to avoid paying out of pocket if something happens while you’re out on the job site with a client or if something breaks down.

Business insurance is crucial if someone gets hurt on your property and sues you, even if it was an accident. The business losses will also be covered under insurance. Though it is important to keep your business licence updated to maintain lawn care insurance coverage.

Moreover, you need to set up a business bank account & credit card for your lawn care business. Having a business credit card will help to separate personal and business expenses. This ensures keeping business and personal finances separate. The business credit profile will also help you with business loans going further if required.

4. Purchase necessary equipment

Owning your own lawn mowing business can be a great way to make a living. You’ll be out in the fresh air, working with your hands and getting exercise while providing other people with the job they need. But starting a lawn care business demands some budget considering startup costs. This includes the cost of purchasing the necessary equipment and lawn care products.

At a minimum, most lawn care businesses need the following equipment to get started:

  • Mower (types of lawn mower)
  • Edger
  • Electric string trimmer (aka weed eater)
  • Leaf blower (for leaf removal)
  • Mowing goggles (to protect against debris)
  • Safety ear muffs (to protect against noise)
  • Gardening gloves (to protect against thorns and other hazards)
  • Gas cans (for refueling)
  • Lawn bags (for collecting leaves, dirt clippings, etc.)

Transporting your equipment to and from your client’s homes and businesses requires a reliable truck or trailer. So, work vehicles are also essential for active lawn care businesses if you lack one.

5. Set up a pricing structure

Most lawn care companies charge a flat rate pricing for service, but you can also charge by the hour. It is the way to go if you work with large commercial clients. Your hourly rate will reflect labor and overhead expenses. Plus, any additional equipment, service costs, or material costs associated with the given job. 

For smaller residential jobs, though, it’s best to use a square footage rate instead of an hourly rate. That way, you can give customers a lawn care rates estimate based on the size of their lawns and how much work needs to be done. It is important to distinguish the pricing for your lawn care services when dealing with different clients

You need to decide on the lawn care service list that you will be offering; based on that, a monthly budget can be prepared. When it comes down to it, there’s no right way to set detailed lawn care service prices. It all depends on what works best for your business model!

6. Market your services

The most effective way to get commercial lawn business clients is by directly knocking on doors and talking with property managers. However, this approach is often complicated because many other landscapers do the same thing, making it difficult for potential customers to choose one lawn care company over another.

Market your lawn care business

To stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to do more than a regular service, also offer a fair price and good service. You’ll need robust marketing ideas that build brand awareness and keep bringing quality leads. Getting some social media presence is a good way to start growing your customer base.

Having an interactive lawn care business website, creating marketing materials, leveraging marketing tools that eliminate manual work, and digital marketing plan is a great start. Keeping business cards is also handy as you can give them out to any potential customers. You can also scout business listings on the web for new opportunities and clients.

Find Optimized Routes for Lawn Care Service Instantly

Switch to Upper Route Planner and cut 90% of your route planning time. Get the benefit of the most efficient routes for your lawn care appointments.

Lawn Care Businesses: Pros and Cons

Let’s now understand lawn care pros and cons of owning a lawn mowing business: 

Pros:

  1. It’s a growing industry: According to Forbes, the lawn care industry is expected to grow by $41 billion over the next decade. That’s because people are increasingly interested in maintaining their yards and green spaces.
  2. You can be your boss: You can make all the decisions and reap all the rewards. If you’re looking for more freedom in your life, this might be an excellent place to start.
  3. Easy to learn: All you need is knowledge of basic lawn maintenance services and essential business skills like accounting and marketing online. You can learn all that quickly if you want to provide essential lawn care services.
  4. You’ll get paid well: The average lawn care worker makes over $20 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, it’s also important to realize some downsides to being self-employed. Here are some of the cons of starting a grass-cutting business.

Cons:

  1. You have no guaranteed income. This means you don’t get paid unless you work—which can be challenging if you want to take some time off. Creating a business structure that can run in your absence is necessary.
  2. You need to buy or rent equipment and supplies, which would cost some money, so you need to have a solid financial plan before you dive in.
  3. You’ll probably have to hire help at some point, which means paying other people and dealing with their schedules and personalities. Training your new hires to understand the processes and requirements will help you significantly.
  4. Retaining customers can be difficult. Your existing customers may not want to hire you again if you don’t provide specialized service. So you want to ensure you provide amazing customer service every single time to get repeat business.

What is the Cost of Launching a Lawn Care Business? 

If you’re considering starting a new lawn care business, you might be surprised to learn that the startup costs are relatively low. You can start a business and offer specialized services for as little as $775-2,500. This includes liability insurance, registration costs, and a push mower.

Category Cost
Insurance $500-$600
Registration cost $75-$400
Equipment cost $100-$1000
Marketing cost $100-$500

You can, of course, invest in more equipment or advertising when your business grows and becomes more advanced.

Fulfill All Your Daily Appointments with Upper

As a lawn care business owner, you’ll need to hire employees with hands-on experience and have a team to handle quite early in your business. And you want to make sure your lawn care employees fulfill all the daily appointments and always reach potential customers on time. This boils down to how efficient your route planning and scheduling are, and manual work doesn’t cut. 

That is where Upper route planning and scheduling software comes in. Here’s what it can do for your landscaping business. 

1. Automated route planning and scheduling

Let’s face it, as a lawn care business owner, planning routes and schedules aren’t your priority, and it is not what you should spend your time doing. You can spend the same time working on growth strategies and boosting your profits. With Upper, you can do exactly that. Upper route planning and optimization software automatically plans and optimizes routes and schedules and cuts 90% of your planning time.

2. ETA notifications to lawn care customers 

With Upper, you can send automatic notifications of your ETA. Hence, customers are present at your arrival, and your appointments are not wasted in the back-and-forth commute. Remember that not sending ETA notifications means your workers have to try to fulfill the same appointment multiple times. This can lead to fewer task fulfillment on that day and wasted fuel costs too. 

3. Efficient and cost-effective route planning

With Upper, you’ll get the most efficient routes for your lawn care appointments. You can take advantage of the shortest routes while accommodating driving preferences, time windows, and more. Inefficient routes are inconvenient and cost you money in terms of wasted gas and wear-and-tear on your vehicle, and you don’t want to do that with your lawn mowing business.

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FAQs

Operating lawn mowing or lawn care business profit margins can range from 15% to 45%. But successful lawn care and landscaping companies are profitable business with operating profit margins of at least 30% contributing to annual revenue.

As a lawn care business owner, you don’t need a lot of experience or money to start. You just need the right lawn care equipment and a way to reach your clients, like a cargo van or pickup truck for transportation. So, you won’t have a hard time starting up. You can begin by offering one service, like mowing lawns, and then expand your business over time to provide more advanced services as your company grows.

To fast-track your customer acquisition, invest in a high-level marketing strategy. Advertising through paid media, investing in organic search, collaborating with players in the industry, and subcontracting to distributors—all add up to bringing in more customers. Many lawn care entrepreneurs grow their client base with marketing.

Lawn care professionals in Tennessee wanting to do business in the state need a specialty license. Tennessee has several specialty licenses for different professions, and lawn care professionals are no exception.

Conclusion

Starting a new lawn care company involves robust planning and an experienced team. Right from forming a legal business entity (sole proprietorship or limited liability company) to having a business account, obtaining the business license, deciding on a lawn care business name, and defining business assets. 

The real struggle does not end here. Your best business framework is likely to face loss if your workers do not fulfill daily appointments. This is where route planning and optimization software like Upper comes into the picture. Automated route planning helps to find the best-optimized routes to complete more appointments. Thus accelerating your business growth.

You can book a demo today to find out how Upper can streamline your business. 

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel is the founder and CEO of Upper Route Planner. A subject matter expert in building simple solutions for day-to-day problems, Rakesh has been involved in technology for 30+ years. Looking to help delivery businesses eliminate on-field delivery challenges, Rakesh started Upper Route Planner with the ultimate goal of simplistic operations in mind.

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