By Patrick Galvan, Storage.com
Plenty of businesses run into the same problems of running out of space to operate. Storage.com is here to help provide solutions for growing businesses, whether through unique tips or additional space.
Remember the days of your childhood when neighbors asked you to mow their lawn or rake up their leaves and gave you a couple of dollars in return? It was simple work that got you outside and earned you a little spending money at the same time. If you don’t object to regular physical labor and a good sun tan, you could relive those days and earn a steady income by starting your own lawn care business.
Starting a business of any kind requires some effort and planning before you can start earning good money and attracting regular customers. Storage.com has put together a list of essential tips to keep in mind when you are in the planning stages of starting a lawn care business.
1. Define Your Services
Before you start offering your services, you need to assess your skills so that you know what you can and cannot do and make sure you only offer the services you are capable of providing. Don’t offer a service if you don’t have the equipment or experience necessary to perform it. (You don’t want to get sued for accidentally damaging a client’s property while performing a service you’re not prepared for.) However, the beauty of the lawn care business is that you can build upon your list of services. You can always expand your services with the more equipment and funding you have as well as skills you can develop in the future.
2. Hone and Expand Your Skills
Anyone with a lawn mower can cut grass, so if you want to charge a professional rate for your lawn care services, you’ve got to prove you can do better than the neighborhood kid looking to add to his allowance. You will also have to prove you can do the job better than the homeowners themselves. You’ll need to build up your skills on mowing, trimming, and edging. This includes learning how to mow in patterns and how to best handle cutting grass on steep hills. If you want to get serious about your business, take a lawn care class at your local community college or ask around at greenhouses for classes and tips.
It also wouldn’t hurt to learn a few things about general plant care. Clients might ask about tending to their gardens, shrubbery, or even plants they have for display indoors.
3. Know Your Climate and Know Your Plants
You don’t need to become a climatologist to professionally maintain lawns, but reading up on the seasonal climate conditions of your service area will definitely help you keep clients’ lawns in top-notch condition. Various kinds of grass will respond differently during the changing of seasons, and thus might require different techniques to keep them healthy all year long. With this knowledge, you can produce healthier, greener lawns, and you’ll have more repeat customers as a result.
If you want to expand your services to bush trimming, you need to know how and where to properly trim the bushes so that they don’t lose their appeal. How about gardening? Knowing how to tend to the soil and the plants will help. The more you know, the better.
4. Get Proper Licensing
If you are going to start a business, you’ll need to get all the necessary permits, licenses, and tax registrations. These types of requirements will vary from city to city. To make sure you are starting your business off on the right foot, ask the local county clerk, tax revenue office, and state department what type(s) of licenses you will need before you get started.
5. Get Proper Equipment
When starting your own lawn care business, you have to prove you can do better. This also includes the equipment you use. A regular lawn mower and clippers might suffice when you’re starting off, because you’ll probably have a limited budget. But once you have established your service, you’ll want to consider investing in commercial-grade equipment for you and your staff in order to perform higher quality work. Those regular at-home lawn mowers that many families use are designed for occasional usage; they’re not meant to be used day after day or weeks upon weeks! By investing in commercial-grade equipment once you have established your business, you will you produce higher quality results for your clients and you’ll save yourself money in the long run.
6. Advertise Yourself
Of course, if nobody knows about your services, nobody will come to you to maintain their lawn. You can take out ads or you can create your own and just pass them out to people in your neighborhood. Don’t forget about car decals and window decals–even small investments such as these can help potential clients remember your name and services. If you can afford it, making a pre-recorded radio ad and paying to have your local radio station play it can also help boost traffic for your business. The most important thing to remember is to budget accordingly.
7. Insure Yourself
Before you expand your company, you should strongly consider taking out a small business insurance policy. Policies will vary depending on the provider, but you will want to take out a policy you can fall back on in the event of an accident involving equipment and personnel. Commercial lawn equipment isn’t cheap like home lawn equipment, so you’ll want to find some means to lessen the cost of repairing or replacing it. Not to mention you are required to have a business insurance policy in case your employees are injured while on the job.
8. Plan for Winter
In most parts of the country, business for lawn care companies will decline during in the winter months, unless they also offer a snow removal service. If you do not offer a snow removal service, you can take off these months until spring as long as you are financially prepared.
9. Stay Updated on the Industry
Maybe it’s not rocket science, but the lawn care industry is growing and developing. New kinds of technology, fertilizer, and techniques are being developed all the time, and if you want to continue offering unique, above-average services, you’ll want to stay updated on the industry. To stay educated, you can subscribe to lawn care magazines such as Lawn & Landscape and Green Industry Pros.
Once you have defined your services, obtained the necessary permits, equipment, etc., and draw in clientele, you can start operating your lawn care business. Just remember: you’re going to be out in the sun all day, so don’t forget to put on some sun screen and prepare for a good farmer’s tan!
All images have either been provided by a listed organization or are licensed under the Creative Commons.