Lawn caring or lawn mowing business is one of the largest businesses in the landscaping industry, with around 1.5 million people employed for ground maintenance work.
So, if you are broke or have no idea what to do with your career or have a passion for gardening, then change your passion into a substantial money grossing business.
A lawn mowing business can be successful as long you treat it as a business and not as a hobby. Today, we will share with you the essential things you need to consider to start a lawn care business. Some of the elements that we would cover include equipment, licenses and permits, business plan and other necessities.
1. Make a Business Plan – Nothing Can Start Without a Plan
Your day begins with a plan. We are writing this post with a plan to educate you. You even plan your movie trips and cocktail parties. So, a business, which will forever earn bread and butter for you must run on a solid plan. Some of the questions that you must answer in your lawn mowing business plan include:
- What your financial position should be within one year of running your business?
- What kind of equipment would you need to mow the lawns?
- What vehicle and trailer, truck or van will you need?
- What would be the cost of the equipment and machinery?
- How will you implement your business budget and what would it be?
- Will this be a part-time job or full-time business?
- What will be your working hours?
- What would be your target area or location?
- What is the business mission and vision?
- From where will you get the funds?
These are the most common questions a lawn mowing business plan should consist of. However, you can add more as and when the requirement arises. But one thing you should take care of is not to start this business, any business for that matter, without a plan – a process outline, a list of clientele, budget, cost, marketing, and growth plan.
2. Start Identifying Your Goals
You have to ask yourself what exactly you want to accomplish from your new lawn maintenance business. Why do you want this – are you planning to make a living out of it or do you just want to make this an additional income generator. You have to determine your monetary goals for the next 1 – 5 years as well. Only then, you will be able to start forming your business plan.
You have to find the most intriguing and unique differentiator also that would set you apart from your competitors. Create an internal mission statement to help you determine your long-term, short-term, and even shorter-term business objectives. Your mission will give a purpose to your business; it will show you a pavement to walk in the right direction.
Every time you take a decision in your business, you should be able to move one step closer to your mission. You can modify your mission any given time, as long as it fulfills the basic business objectives – growth and profit.
3. Identify Your Market – The Location Plays the Hero
You cannot mow lawn where there is no lawn. Imagine setting up a lawn mowing business in the Thar Desert. Okay, jokes apart, your target market determine your business type. Your target market can be anything, such as corporate office lawn, residential complex’ lawns, malls or city complexes or you could also start planning in and around your neighborhood.
The location plays an important role. Logically speaking, you will need to be in close proximity of your target market to cut down operational costs and manage time efficiently. It is a matter of productivity too. Close access to interstate should be your ideal location of lawn care. Location and target market are also important when it comes to marketing the business.
Although, how far this works for a lawn business we aren’t sure, creating a buyer persona can help you define your target market. A buyer persona is a model that looks, thinks, talks, moves, expects, and perceives like your ideal buyer. A buyer persona will not only help you identify your niche market, but it will also help you personalize your marketing strategies.
4. Gain Some First-Hand Experience in the Business
Before you open a restaurant, you try your cooking skills in your kitchen and come up with great recipes, don’t you? Similarly, instead of buying a fully developed business and struggle to keep it up due to inadequate knowledge about tools and techniques, we suggest you start this career by working under someone else and make yourself lawn-mowing fit. Working in an already thriving company and gaining first-hand service experience will definitely help you to support your business comprehensively.
5. Your Equipment Should Be Best in Class
Once you have gained the first-hand experience, decided your goals, written down your mission statement, and identified your market, it is time that you buy your arms and gadgets – your tools and equipment that is. Before that, you have to decide the kind of service you want to offer in your business. You have to buy only those equipment that will get your work done faster and proficiently. It is always advisable to purchase brand new gears and not lease them.
Your equipment should be technically sound so that it involves minimum maintenance. When you buy them on rent, the risk of breakdowns, repairs, and malfunction can go up. You may never know in what condition it was before being refurbished. When buying your tools, think of the total cost of ownership instead of the initial investment.
Cheaper mowers don’t always give you the best solution. Talk with dealers, network with other land mowing companies and Google research as much as possible to know what is best and what not is for your business. When you go with a brand, make sure that the parts and accessories are easily accessible and serviceable.
Few definite types of equipment you would need for the business include:
- Catcher mower
- Mulcher Mower
- Line trimmer straight arm
- Petrol Blower Vac
- Pruner Clips
- Garden Fages (Atleast 6)
- Petrol Cans (2*20 liters)
- Vehicle and Trailer – Van, UTE, Lite Truck,and Trailer
6. The Licenses and Permits You Need to Take Care of
Although you will not require getting a permit from the municipality (at least most of them don’t ask for it), you will, however, need to obtain a business license, just like any other business. As your business grows, you may also need an additional license, in case you decide to offer herbicide applications for weeds in your customer’s lawns and landscaping beds.
7. Marketing Your Business is Inevitable
Doing the work is the easiest part, as you already love doing it. Whether you decide to cut grass or landscape a complex, it is easy. What is tough is finding clients day after day, weeks after weeks and months after months. Getting and obtaining customers (and, of course retaining them) is the toughest of all. Since you are just a start-up, we suggest you start with traditional marketing techniques, such as flyers, brochures, and cold calling, and embrace cost-effective marketing tools like social media marketing and promotion, emailing and SEO.
Flyers and business cards are cheap and effective ways to get your business out and attract new customers. Pass them on in a tight geographical area. Make sure you focus only on one particular area. This way you will not have to wander all over the city with your trailers, tools, and equipment.
Treat your initial customers like kings and queens, because in years to come, they will play a huge rule in setting your client base. With their referrals (and the referral chain), you will be capable of building an entire empire.
Invest in basic online marketing strategies as you grow in your business. These include SEO, PPC, and Blogging, etc.
8. How Many Hours Should You Work
You will have to invest a lot of time when you get your business started initially. You will be working for long hours, probably 70 hours to get into the flow. You have to serve existing clients and hustle to find new clients, and that is a lot, we must add. Besides, setting a routine is very hard in the beginning. Everything will seem like hocus-pocus. However, rest assured, once your business falls into a known rhythm and pattern, and once you have grown your client portfolio, you should be able to cut down to 40 – 50 hours a week.
When your business is small, profits margin will be huge, for anything you do the amount will go directly in your pockets. Typically, your profit margin will be between 10% – 20% and may scale low or high based on your service quality, business size, and pricing structure.
Always track your activities and measure your daily objectives to your ultimate goals. Provide a service that is beyond client expectations.
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