If you dream of owning your own lawn maintenance business, starting a company may be easier than you think. In just a few simple steps, you can develop a plan and work toward a spring or summer launch for your new lawn care business. Invest in professional lawn tools and consider the legal side of your business development to set yourself up for success. Implement the following tips to realize your dream of owning a lawn care company.
Every successful business starts with an idea and a plan. Your first step in creating a lawn maintenance business is to brainstorm your business approach and use those ideas to develop an actionable business plan. During your initial brainstorming sessions, consider questions like the following to get an idea of what services you plan to offer. While brainstorming, the answers you find can help you determine the type of lawn care business you’ll operate.
- Do you plan on staying small or growing into a corporation?
- Will you collaborate with another person or be the sole proprietor?
- What services do you offer? Will you provide total lawn care or specialize in one aspect, such as mowing and edging?
- What locations are you planning to serve?
- What is your budget for equipment and marketing?
Naming your lawn care company is essential to its eventual success. Choose a name that is easy to pronounce so your clients can spread the word about your lawn care company. Also, choose a name that translates to print. You will place your company name on everything from business cards, to flyers, to vans or trucks. You want a name that is readable and not too long.
Before settling on a name, you need to ensure it’s original and available. To check that no one else has already claimed the name you’re considering for your business, each state has a website with a free search tool. For example, in Connecticut, you can visit the Secretary of State’s website and Search by Name. Once you determine if the name you want for your lawn care business is available, you need to patent or trademark it for yourself. You can start this process by visiting the United States Patent and Trademark Office website.
A vital step in starting your business is registering it as a business entity. This step makes your company official and sets up how your business will be taxed throughout the year. When registering your business, there are several categories to choose from:
- Sole proprietorship
An LLC is ideal for small businesses, like lawn maintenance businesses, that plan to grow and may have one or more owners. An LLC is also taxed through income tax, but you don’t have to pay taxes on business income. An excellent feature of the LLC business model is that it separates you from the business, unlike a sole proprietorship. This separation ensures your personal assets are protected if someone sues you. Ultimately, a one-member LLC is treated like a sole proprietorship by the IRS. As the sole owner of a one-member LLC, you would simply report any gains or losses incurred by your LLC when you file your personal 1040 tax return at the beginning of the year.
To provide the level of service your customers expect, you must invest in high-quality lawn maintenance equipment. However, though it’s tempting to blow your budget on top-of-the-line gear, you need to make smart choices about what you purchase at this stage of your business development. Avoid financing top-of-the-line equipment that puts your company in debt from the outset; instead, assess your budget and purchase reasonably priced, quality tools and machinery from reputable brands. You can always upgrade your toolkit later once you begin turning a healthy profit. When you’re just starting, you simply need reliable equipment that allows you to do the job well.
If there are certain aspects of your services that are more niche, such as pest control, consider whether you need to invest in the gear to perform these tasks upfront. Renting it out on a case-by-case basis may save you money over the long term.
To protect yourself, your equipment, and any employees you may hire, you need insurance for your lawn maintenance business. This coverage is especially important since you’re servicing private properties, requiring you to take on some level of liability if you become injured on the job. Business owners should obtain commercial insurance, which offers a wide range of protections for liability and general business risks. Commercial insurance is a type of coverage that allows you to choose from policies for various issues. As a business, consider getting an insurance policy with some or all of the following protections:
- General liability
- Business interruption insurance
- Commercial auto insurance
- Employment practices liability insurance
- Cyber liability insurance
- Management liability insurance
- Errors and omissions insurance
- Crime coverage
Keep in mind that as soon as you hire your first employee, most states also require you to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. This policy allows you to cover employees’ lost wages and medical bills following a workplace accident without paying out of pocket.
After taking care of the business and insurance side of starting your company, you’ll need to create a logo and marketing material. A logo is more than just a symbol for your business. The right logo can help convey your company values and connect with current and future clients. Design your logo using a free program like Canva or hire a graphic designer to create one. With your logo in hand, you can create marketing material to get the word out about your business. Your lawn care company can benefit from many types of marketing materials, such as the following:
- A user-friendly website
- Business cards
- Coupon cards
- Promotional postcards/mailers
For a lawn maintenance business, word-of-mouth referrals are vital. While marketing materials and a website are ideal, your client’s testimonies bring new customers to your business. To succeed in the lawn care game, you’ll need to focus on providing every client with excellent lawn care services. To ensure you provide the best service possible, start small and focus on services you and your team can perform at a high level. Invest in training for yourself and your staff members to upskill lawn maintenance techniques or use additional equipment like high-powered generators. Always act professionally and courteously with your clients and ask for feedback to improve your services.
Starting your own lawn maintenance business is achievable in simple steps. Start with a plan, register your company, obtain business insurance, and market your company with print materials and excellent service. Following this roadmap can help you grow your lawn care business organically, leading to success in your local area and beyond.