Small Business Lawn Care Startup Tips
Starting any new business can be a challenge. Some business ideas require seed money while other ideas may require you to receive regulatory approval or at least licensing from your local government, your state and obtain a federal tax identification number. If you plan to start a lawn care business, you’ll need to invest in equipment including lawn mowers, a truck or other vehicle to transport your equipment, and possess at least a basic knowledge of lawn care. Physical fitness is required too as you’ll be on your feet all day, working with heavy equipment and encountering a variety of weather conditions from searing heat to brutal cold.
Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to start what can become a thriving small business lawn care company.
1. Develop a business plan. What kind of services will you be offering? Will you be serving residential or business customers, or both? How will you advertise your business? What prices will you charge and how will you issue invoices and track receivables? You will need this information to start your business and have a business plan on hand if you seek financing from a bank.
2. Get licensed and pay for permits. Your state may require you to get a business license. You’ll also want to get a federal tax identification number from the IRS. Your state may require you to get a permit to handle dangerous chemicals. Your local community may insist that you hold a business permit. Contact your secretary of state’s office to find out how to register your business and the method for submitting annual reports.
3. Buy a vehicle. Will your current vehicle meet your lawn business needs? If not, you’ll need to buy or finance a new or used vehicle. Find the vehicle that meets your current and future needs. If you have a team of workers, then a crew cab pickup truck may be required. If you’re the lone worker, then a compact pickup truck or a small van may be sufficient. Pay in cash or shop for a loan from your bank, a credit union or through the dealer.
4. Purchase your equipment. You can buy lawn equipment new or used. Purchase equipment based on your needs such as lawn mowers, blowers, edgers, rakes, shovels, tarps, storage containers and more. If your budget is limited, purchase these items through garage sales, newspaper classifieds or through a consignment shop. New equipment prices can be negotiated and items purchased may be financed.
5. Market your business. You may already be serving a handful of clients, but you’ll need more to make your business sustainable. Ask your current clients for referrals. Take out an advertisement in your local newspaper. Buy magnetic signs for your vehicle. Order business cards, invoices and other documentation with your company logo on it. Set up a small website and optimize it for local traffic. Join a business referral group to find new customers.
Now that your business is ready to go, you’re all set to make it a go. If you need assistance with developing your business plan or want marketing ideas, your local SCORE chapter can help you out, by providing knowledgeable and experienced volunteers to stand by you.