Starting a lawn care business is a good choice for many reasons. It requires minimal startup costs, and the sector is easy to enter. If you want to be independent and are a self-starter, this business will suit you. It will also keep you fit and active while making money simultaneously.
But of course, it is not all good news. The business is very labor-intensive and will require a lot of energy and willpower to get it off the ground. It will also probably be seasonal work, so your income will fluctuate. You might have to cancel a day’s work because of adverse weather, so you can’t guarantee a steady income stream.
But if you are ready to take on all these challenges, here is how you can make your idea turn into reality.
Identify your market
If you live in a built-up area with condominium buildings, there probably won’t be too many potential customers in your area. On the other hand, if you live on an estate with two hundred houses, your business has a specific market and can succeed. Your lawn business is best suited to operating locally. You could travel longer distances to get a job, but then the customer would have to compensate you for the lost time.
Check out your neighborhood
Have a look at the types of people that live around you. Young and fit people will probably not employ you to take care of their yard work. You will have a better chance with slightly older people who might not have the energy or desire to do it. In middle-class and relatively affluent areas, you have a better chance of getting business as these people will have disposable income and can afford to employ you. After obtaining the demographics of your area, decide whether your idea is viable.
Find out who your competitors are
There is no point in entering a market that is already saturated. Too many businesses in the same market will deflate prices, and you will have to fight hard to get work. If there is little competition, there is a gap you can fill. Remember that it will be hard to get a job from someone who already has someone taking care of their lawn. If the house owner already has someone taking care of their yard, it is unlikely that they will want someone else. Concentrate on new business. Find people who don’t have anyone maintaining their garden and convince them to hire you. You can give them an incentive by offering a discount the first time you do a job. There is a good chance you will get a regular job by doing this.
Create a realistic business plan
Another advantage of your lawn business is that your business plan will not be too hard to create. You will need to estimate the cost of the equipment and have a realistic monthly turnover based on the number of jobs you think you will get. If you need to borrow money to start, there may be better ways to get it than applying for a loan from a bank. Investigate other options, like borrowing money from family or friends. Your repayment schedule might be easier to handle with less or no interest payable. Specify how you will raise your startup costs in your business plan.
Fixed and variable costs
Calculate the fixed costs of the company. These are the costs a company will have to pay regardless of how much work they have. A good example of a fixed cost is a lease on equipment or a transport vehicle.
The other expenses in your business plan are all variable and won’t be incurred unless you are working. An example of variable costs is the gas you put into your lawnmower. If you are not working, your gas bill will be zero. The cost will be directly related to how much you use the lawnmower. Find out how much gas your company vehicle uses per mile. Work out the cost of running a lawnmower for an hour. Another cost you should include in your business plan is your estimated salary. Your profit predictions will look unrealistic without it.
Keep your costs down to a minimum by working out of your garage. Doing this costs you nothing and saves you a lot of unnecessary rent. You won’t need large premises at the startup stage. If you have a car already, buy or lease a trailer. This will cost less than a van and save you a lot of money in the short term. These small cost savings will help you in the startup phase of your business.
Marketing your business
The best way to market a lawn service business is by printing flyers with all your information and delivering them in your neighborhood. This old-fashioned way of advertising will work best for your business at the start, as it is much more personal than digital marketing and costs less.
Use social media
Open up a Facebook page for your business and post promotions and sales drives on it. You can also post before and after photos of the jobs you have done. Open an Instagram account and post attractive images of your work. Creating a website is also something you should do. Your business has a simple concept and doesn’t need a high-cost production website, which will be expensive. When setting up your website, BlueHost is the perfect solution. It offers a straightforward one-click WordPress installation tool along with 60 percent off hosting and a free domain name.
Set realistic goals
The lawn care business is very labor intensive, so set realistic goals. Before you do this, you will have to know how long it will take to do a particular job. Some lawns will be in worse condition than others. Your customer will probably want a fixed price for the whole job. You have to make sure that you can estimate the number of hours the job will take you to complete before giving him a price, otherwise, you may end up working for very little.
Always calculate your price on the high side to give yourself some margin for error. Set your goal for the number of jobs you want to fill in the first month and see what happens in reality. You might find that you were too optimistic about your projections, and you couldn’t complete the jobs you had planned. Conversely, you might have underestimated how many jobs you can complete in a month. Therefore, you will have to reassess your goals for the coming month.
Take seasonality into account
Where you live will determine how seasonal your business will be. You won’t be able to cut grass for long periods of the year in some parts of the country. If it snows in January, be ready with your snow blower and offer to clear it from your customer’s driveways. Alternatively, when the leaves fall in October, provide the same service with your leaf blower. It would be optimal if you started your business when the grass began to grow again. You will have a whole season of lawn care before the weather changes. By this time, you will have built up a relationship with your customers, and they will more than likely ask you to clear their leaves when autumn comes.
Become an entrepreneur
It will be up to you to make your new business work. There will be no one to hide behind. So use all your skills to get the company off the ground. Start small by offering basic but essential services. You will make things easier for yourself by doing this, as you won’t have to buy specialized equipment. If you prove that you can do your primary job well, your customers will trust you when you introduce them to your new services in the future.
During this time, use your business brain to identify other jobs that you could do around your customer’s house. Gutter cleaning, for example, is something every household owner should take care of at least once a year. Make your customer aware of this, and he will surely ask you to clean them for him. Find out if there is a quick and cheap way of doing it and pay a premium price. By doing so, you have just added more value to your business. Always be thinking about the next service you can add to your list.
When your business starts to grow and you have regular jobs, consider employing someone to take care of them. This is the first stage of building your business. If you get $50 for a job, give your employee $30. Doing this, your company will grow. As your customer list grows, start bidding for better jobs and investing in more equipment. When you have exhausted all the jobs in your first area, it will be time to move to the second. Before you know it, you will find yourself running a very successful business.
You won’t require any licenses to operate your lawn service business. This will come as a relief as some industries require you to fill in many application forms to get the proper approval or license. However, you will need to set up a company for your lawn care business. A simple sole proprietorship would be the best option for you, as it is the cheapest option.
Get your business name right
Make sure your trading name is directly associated with lawn care. When people search for companies, they will always put the most specific search words into Google. So please keep it simple and easy to remember. When trying to find a name that will be internet friendly and increase your SEO (Search engine Optimization), look at Business Name Generator. They will lead you in the right direction.
Accounting and bookkeeping
If you don’t know how to keep your books, ask an accountant to get you started. You won’t have too much data entry in your lawn business, so you should quickly learn the basics. Knowing how to do the books will benefit you in the future when your business starts to grow. There are several accounting apps on the market to help you get started. Quickbooks is probably the best.
Pick the right employees
Although lawn care is not a hugely skilled job, it takes a specific person to do it right. What kind of employee is right for your business? A person with a good work ethic who is loyal and turns up to work on time every day would be a good start. If you find someone who ticks all those boxes, then you have found the perfect employee for you.
As an employer, treat your employees well and collaborate with them to make your business a pleasant working environment. Reward and encourage them to build team spirit and give them a feeling that they are adding to the growth of the business. If you treat them right from the start, you will find loyal allies during good and bad times.
When you choose to start a lawn care business, make sure your potential customers are close to where you live. Research the market and see if there is room for a new business. Start small by adding on extra services when you identify a need for them. Investing in leaf and snow blowers will also keep you busy during autumn and winter. It will also keep your income steady all year round. When your business gets to a level where you can’t take care of it on your own, employ a hardworking and loyal person to help you make it grow into a successful one.
Just remember that when setting up a business, ask for expert help to achieve top results. Plan everything carefully and enjoy what you do. First impressions count, so make sure they are good.
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