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Starting a lawn care business gives you the opportunity to have freedom in your work in a potentially lucrative field. But tackling the startup process can get intimidating when you think about marketing, finding clients, and keeping track of your behind-the-scenes needs.
These parts of the job don’t look so hard if you take the right steps and have tools to help you on your way.
Why Starting a Lawn Care Business Is Worth It
Starting your own lawn care business comes with freedom and flexibility. When you work for yourself, you can create your own hours, work full-time or part-time, and hire people who work well with your vision for your company.
Plus, there’s always a demand for lawn care. People want manicured green spaces, and many know that hiring a landscaping professional is the way to go.
However, you have to stand out in your industry. If you can do that, you can make a sizable profit.
By starting a lawn care company, you can broaden your skills and company as you see fit. Over time, you might market and sell products people can use along with offering your services. That way, you help people both by caring for their lawns directly and helping them manage their own outdoor spaces.
While formal landscaping training can help when starting your business, you don’t need a degree to get into lawn care. Many can learn skills as they go, as there are few formal education requirements for the industry.
You can customize your lawn care business as you like. Different companies have different specialties.
Some offer more basic services like mowing lawns and weeding. Others expand into tree care, gardening, topiary, landscape design, and more. As a lawn care business owner, you can choose the path for your business.
The Investment Needed to Start a Lawn Care Business
For many people, starting a lawn care business is attractive because of the low initial investment. You do need some cash, but compared to other industries, it’s much more affordable.
Often, starting a lawn care business costs less than $10,000 initially, depending on your needs. It may not get you a fancy lawn care setup, but you can get started. You may not even have to worry about hiring employees right away.
Don’t start with fancy equipment—you don’t need it. Decide your specialty early on and get the tools you need to make it happen.
There’s also a minimal time investment to starting a lawn care business. If you’re considering starting a lawn care business, you probably already know how to do the work.
You’ll need tools that fit the type of work you plan to do. That may include lawnmowers and trimming tools, but it also means getting a vehicle and trailer to transport those tools. And don’t forget to take care of the legal parts of becoming a business owner.
However, you’ll need to put effort into marketing your lawn care business to get clients. That can take more time than anything else. That means you’ll need a website, marketing strategy, and other ways to get your name out there.
Kickserv can help you as you start your business. It makes scheduling clients easy so you can keep track of everything from the beginning.
Kickserv creates more efficiency in your business, so you get more repeat clients while tracking your lawn care business’s progress.
7 Steps to Starting a Lawn Care Business
Starting a business of any kind comes with challenges. Following these steps will make it easier for you to build your lawn care business right from the start.
#1: Create a Business Plan
Before you start buying landscaping tools and supplies, you need a plan. The good news is that this is one of the most complex and time-consuming parts of creating your lawn care business. It saves you time, money, and headaches later.
Your business plan should outline your:
- Equipment costs
- Labor costs
- Time investment
- Ongoing financial investment
- Business goals
- Target market
- Marketing investment
This is where you come up with your business name, too.
If creating your business plan seems like it accounts for a lot of small details, it does. But you need them all to be able to function as a business. If you want to grow your business and run it professionally, a business plan is a must.
Each of the above factors is important to getting your ideal clients and serving them well. It also outlines what you need to know before starting, like how much money you’ll need for each part of your plan.
You should talk about your specialties in the landscaping business here, so you can work to promote those once you’re ready.
At this point, check out your competition. Know who offers similar services to yours in your area and include how you plan to set your business apart from them.
This part of the process should show your goals from the start to several years from now. At this point, you might also want to consider using business software like Kickserv. Planning early means fewer surprises later.
#2: Establish a Legal Entity
It might not be the most exciting part of starting your business, but you need to create a legal entity before you can fully establish your business.
The type of legal entity depends partly on whether you hire employees or it’s just you. You can register your business as a:
- Sole proprietorship
- Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
Look at the requirements first to see which designation fits your business best.
At this point, you should have also named your business so you can register it in that name. This is a good time to start thinking about how people will perceive your business based on its name, logo, and other front-facing features.
Apply for an employer identification number (EIN), too. Your EIN is important for tax purposes.
If you don’t have one, you can’t pay taxes, which is just part of owning a business. Getting an EIN is free, so don’t worry about budgeting for it.
#3: Choose the Right Tools
When you start a business, you need high-quality tools. That should have been something you factored into your business plan at the beginning.
Most of the time, you want to buy new tools. You can get some secondhand, but the danger here is that you might end up having to replace them quickly. Replacing tools means spending more money (as well as taking time out of your schedule) to replace them.
Make sure you get gear for every part of the job you plan to do. It sounds like common sense, but don’t cut corners when it comes to your tools.
Choose tools from reputable brands that can handle the jobs you advertise. You don’t want unhappy customers because you chose tools that weren’t fit for the job.
Some of the basic tools you’ll need may include:
- Riding mower
- Push mower
- Leaf blower
- Lawn spreader
- Lawn sprayer
- Lawn bags
You may need more than these, depending on the services you offer.
Make sure you also have a reliable vehicle to pull a trailer so you can transport equipment to each job.
#4: Spend Time in the Office
Lawn care isn’t all about the outdoors.
As a business owner, you’ll need to spend time crunching numbers, taking inventory, scheduling, invoicing, confirming appointments, marketing, and doing other tasks at your desk. Make sure you set aside time for this every week.
Kickserv can help you here. It doesn’t do everything—you’ll need to set up your business bank account on your own, for example—but it can help with many other landscaping company tasks.
Kickserv helps you manage your jobs, schedule clients, manage customer info, invoice, and more. Its detailed reporting feature enables you to make business decisions to improve your landscaping company. It can even create custom reports so you get the data you need to drive your decisions.
You can check in on employees from the office with Kickserv. It has GPS tracking to tell you where employees are when they’re on the job. It also shows how long those jobs take.
Kickserv lets you stay connected to every part of your business, whether you’re in the field or the office, with its mobile app. Plus, it has an excellent support team that you can reach by phone, chat, or email when you need them.
On both desktop and mobile, you can track time and access 20 different business reports. You can keep everything organized with Kickserv’s CRM and customer center.
Kickserv has four packages to help you run your lawn care business:
- Solo: Free for up to two users
- Starter: $79 per month for up to five users
- Business: $259 per month for unlimited users
- Premium: $239 per month for unlimited users
The free Solo version of Kickserv works well for a company that’s just you or you and a few employees. It has relatively basic features but offers unlimited support, storage, jobs, estimates, and invoices.
The Starter version upgrades you to include accounting integrations like Quickbooks and Xero. You can also get onboarding training for a fee.
The Business package works well for growing teams. It offers job expense tracking, dispatch mapping, and GPS check-ins along with all Starter features.
The most expensive package, Premium, includes all Business features. It also comes with custom fields and reports, live GPS tracking, and advanced tech performance reporting.
#5: Create a Website
Once you’ve got your business legally set up, create your website. You can do this by yourself or spend money to hire a pro.
Just like you’re the expert at lawn care, web designers are the experts at making your business look great online.
A website shows customers that you’re legitimate. Social media pages work well for interacting with customers, but they’re not the same as a static website.
You’ll also want to create a logo for your business. Again, this may be something you want to leave to a graphic designer. You can do these things yourself, but that’s up to your skill level and how you want your online presence to look.
You can use many website building options, including:
No matter which platform you choose, you should create a professional space for static content. That can include your company About page, prices, services, and any other information customers may want about your business. Check out our in-depth review guide to the top website builders for more information about which is best for your business.
#6: Hire Employees
Not all lawn care businesses require a team of employees, but you’ll need to hire people if you want to offer more services. More employees can make the work more efficient and help you grow your business.
The number of employees you’ll need depends on the size of your business. You should make sure you hire employees before you open your business and start accepting work.
Even having a small team makes a difference. You can delegate jobs, and having employees you trust means you can take care of other important parts of your business when you need to.
Kickserv can help you keep track of employees once you hire them. It shows where they are on the job and how long the work takes to complete. In other words, it helps you create a cohesive team necessary for a successful lawn care business.
#7: Market Your Business and Get Clients
Marketing is how you get clients. Without it, you’ll be waiting a long time to get business through word of mouth.
Your website is part of your marketing, but it’s not the only part. Marketing helps you connect with other professionals and attract more clients. It also enables you to improve your business over time.
Marketing lets you advertise different services at different times. It can put a spotlight on services clients need.
For example, if you offer seasonal services, draw attention to them with ads as the season approaches. It will get clients thinking about their needs and show them you’ve got them covered by marketing to them.
Kickserv can help you market your business. It has an intelligent marketing feature to help you reach your target audience.
Kickserv connects your business to social media to find your audience wherever they are. It generates leads and draws more people to your service through ads, social media presence, and more.
Kickserv makes it easy for you and your clients to stay in touch and spreads the word about your services. It’s not the only option, but it is great that the tool includes marketing solutions in addition to other business management features.
Starting a business goes beyond the beginning. You’ll need to keep up marketing efforts, renew licenses as necessary, maintain tools, service quality, and keep employees happy.
You can expand your business based on customer needs once you receive more feedback. Whether that means selling tools for DIY-ers, offering more services, or expanding your service locations, you can make these decisions as your business grows.
Regardless, you’ll need to build your brand and motivate customers to choose you for their lawn care service. Starting your lawn care business will have its learning curve. But as you grow and gain customers, you’ll also create success.
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