How to start your own lawn care business
Are you the type of person that loves being outdoors and being in charge of your own destiny? If you answered yes to this question then you may be the right person for opening your own lawn mowing service and landscaping business. With just a few pieces of equipment mowing lawns and doing some landscaping for people can you a sense of pride and accomplishment while you will be earning some serious cash.
The Pros of owning your own lawn care business.
Owning and running your lawn care business has many benefits and advantages for you and your family. If you are looking to be the master of your own destiny then this could be the business for you. Some of the advantages would be, you could work at your own pace, set up your route so you do not have to commute very far from home, you are in charge of your own timetable, and you can enjoy the fresh air and serenity of being outside most of the day.
The start-up cost all depends on you. The price of freedom can be relatively low, many people that I know that have started this type of business started with either purchasing the equipment on a personal credit card or took out a small personal loan. Usually once you have invested in the tools to start this business you will be generally set for years to come. Most everyone that I know run their business from their home from a desk in the corner of their family room or from a spare bedroom, there is no need to open up any sort of commercial office for this business.
Some Cons for this business venture.
Now everything we have just talked about sounds great and appealing, but of course if this was the perfect business then everyone would be doing it. Let’s explore some of the cons. First you must be the type of person that is a self-starter, you must take care of your customers if you want to stay in business. You cannot get up in the morning and decide to go fishing or golfing and neglect your customer’s needs. You must also be physically fit and be able to stand being outside all day. You will also need to be a good business manager, marketing person, and being able to handle customers with tack. If you are planning on running this business where there are winter months you will need to be able to plan for a different source of income through the winters, like plowing snow.
Where do you get your customers?
In this industry of landscaping, irrigation, lawn services and suppliers according to some the industry generates from $67 billion to $69 billion annually. Many independent lawn service provide lawn maintenance services to customers on contract basis and get paid in cash that is not declared, so this number could be quite a bit higher. Looking at the aging baby boomers who own homes many of these people are work aholics and don’t have the time in order to take care of their lawn. They see the value in keeping a well maintained lawn but they also see the value in the time it takes to maintain their lawn they could spending this time with their family instead of being behind a mower.
Here in Florida we have three groups of people that hire someone to maintain their lawn.
- Retirees who would rather be on the golf course hitting a little white ball than mowing the lawn in the heat and humidity.
- Retirees that cannot do lawn maintenance because of health issues.
- Homeowners that travel frequently.
- In Florida we have snowbirds that head back north for the summer.
- Property managers of rental property.
- Commercial property owners
Before you can give out estimates you first need to figure out what your hourly baseline needs to be. There are many ways to figure out this rate. First you will need to do some shopping around to find out what the competition is charging for the services that you want to offer. Ask friends to contact the competition in your market that offer the same or similar service that you plan to offer. Inspect the properties before giving prices, never give out estimates or prices over the phone always deliver estimates in person, this builds credibility. You will need to figure out the cost of doing business, take in consideration rain days, maintenance to equipment, insurance cost, how many hours you want to work per week, cost for tools, administrative cost, etc. Many of the lawn maintenance companies in my location charge around $30 to $50 per cut. Other companies charge on a monthly basis which range from $100 to $200 per month. I do not recommend being the cheapest in town and of course in the beginning you don’t want to be the most expensive either. Pricing in the middle of what the competition charges or a little more is a good rule of thumb, this is where you put on the hat of being a good sales professional. Be honest, have good integrity, look and smell clean, and have good professional equipment makes a world of difference when you are trying to establish your pricing. Image does matter.
For whatever reason that you may have for entering into the lawn service industry, the independence, freedom, working outside, etc. The first couple of years are going to be your roughest. As being a new business owner you will have to wear many hats, from being an accountant, customer service specialist, purchasing manager, routing specialist, and mechanic. But in the end you will be living your dream and that is all that matters.