The lawn care business can be extremely easy to start, even if you have no money. There is not a lot of cost associated with beginning this type of company other than lawn equipment which you can pick up used easy enough. You do not need a lot of capital when you are beginning a landscape business. You can find used mowing equipment for cheap on Craigslist. In addition, an entrepreneur does not even need to rent commercial property when they are beginning. You can easily run your business all from your own home. You can advertise and answer calls from potential clients from your cell phone. One reason people should consider starting a lawn care company over another type of business is that it easy to expand. Even if you can’t afford the basics like a push mower, you can start out as a “gardener” pulling weeds and pruning shrubs.
- Instead of cutting grass (which requires equipment) start out with gardening services. You can pull weeds, plant flowers and trim the bushes.
- Even though you are supposed to have a license to do lawn work, if you are really broke you can get the license after you have made some money.
- The same goes with liability insurance. However, not having landscaping company insurance is risky; a lot of guys start out without it.
- Though you have almost no money, you can still put up a website from scratch very cheaply. This could be a better use for your initial startup funds.
- You can market your yard work business on Craigslist with no money and start getting clients.
Growing Your Lawn or Landscaping Business
As the business gets more profitable, you can buy better equipment or hire more people to help and begin to focus on different sectors for work. Not only is it profitable to help homeowners with their lawns but there is even more money making potential working for commercial buildings.
When people first start their lawn service they will be focused on attracting new clients. In the old days, sending out lawn flyers to homes and businesses that are in the areas where they would like to work was the way to go. Now, in 2017 and beyond, the fastest and easiest ways to get clients is by having an internet presence. As time goes on and word of their business has gotten out, you will spend more time managing employees and overseeing work, and being involved with scheduling and payroll for your business. Billing will also be required of entrepreneurs at this stage. Having lawn care software (more on this below) makes sure that payments are processed in a timely manner and any budgeting issues are resolved quickly. These individuals need to be able to handle conflict that may come up and solve it in a responsible way. They may want to look for opportunities to expand their business to new areas as well.
The landscape industry is a recession proof business because home and business owners will still want their property to be managed regularly. Many individuals who own homes are too busy to take care of their own lawns. They do not have the time to make their property look its best. Also, business owners will want to have their lawns looking as professional as possible. A poorly managed landscape can turn customers away. It is too difficult for these owners to make the lawns for their business look professionally cut without a professional lawn care company.
How Much to Charge for Your Mowing Services?
If you are in the landscaping business and just starting out, naturally, you are going to want to recoup a lot of the expenses you have taken on pretty quickly. Lawn care pricing varies from city to city, but wherever you live, you need a firm grip on costs. You have to pay for chain saws, edgers, lawnmowers, trailers, tools, insurance for your vehicles, insurance on damages to property, your employees and yourself. Now, figure in fuel costs, being bonded, hiring an accountant, computer software and allow for marketing expenditures like landscaping business cards that are unseen. While all of this is being done, you will need money for an advertising program.
Once you have all of this taken care of, you need to figure out what you are going to charge for the services you will be doing in order to come up with lawn care prices that are fair to the customer, but also, to you. If you don’t know much about how to charge for your services, you will need do a search on what other lawn care companies are charging their customers or call around to various landscaping companies and get pricing. If you charge much over what they charge, you may not get the customers you want. The key is in knowing if your expertise is greater or the way you treat your client is going to be better. You are going to offer coupons for new customers or a senior citizen discount, discounts when a referral is given, coupons for one free grass cut after they have paid you for 10.
There is any number of ways to implement your lawn care marketing and obtain new customers while still earning a nice profit. Armed with this knowledge you are ready to do your advertising and begin your work. Remember to delegate work to others so you are not working yourself into a frazzle. When phone calls begin to come in from the advertising you have done, make sure the person you have delegated this work to answers the calls in a friendly voice. This friendly voice that takes time with your customer the very first day he calls you is going to increase your client base dramatically, whether you realize it or not. Word of mouth advertising is going to be a jewel to your success. When you treat your customer as though they were gold, it will turn into well-deserved cash.
Why Purchase Lawn Maintenance Software?
If you have been cutting grass for a while and you’ve been keeping your business records the old time consuming way by putting everything down on paper, it is time for you to install new business tracking software that will keep you on a straight path to profits. After all, if you don’t know where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing, how will you know you if you get there? By having a system in place that enables you to record amounts you have spent on supplies, how much you have paid employees, scheduling of customer services, and a list that goes on and on, is only going to help you succeed.
Some of the lawn software can cost upwards of $2,000 that is going to ensure you keep accurate records for tax reporting. However, if you look around you can find adequate programs for around $200. Keeping accurate customer account records that you can get to in an instant will also be invaluable to your business. Being a business owner, you can already see how this type of record keeping is going to alert you to possible problems, while also showing you that what you are doing is good for your business. As you can imagine, after enjoying this type of software for sometime, you will wonder how you ever managed your business without it. It can be used to store your data and manage customer relationships by keeping in constant touch with them by email. Accounting records will ensure you know where your money is going and how much profit you should be earning after all expenses are paid.
It is going to assist with scheduling, job and employee management and assist in realizing smaller goals which will eventually lead to the major goals you have set for your company. You are going to recoup the money you spend on the software, first of all, through peace of mind. You know you cannot put a price tag on peace of mind. You are going to have a system that keeps you organized and efficient and one that works behind the scenes allowing you to keep your mind on growing your business. Profits will increase and you will soon see this is one of the best things you could have purchased for the growth of your business.
You Need a Good Lawn Care Business Plan
Making a decision to being your own boss is the first step towards financial independence. However, without a proper business plan, you may encounter countless problems at the beginning. There is a saying that goes “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Therefore, before you start doing anything, you have to spend time planning ahead. Many people love working outdoors and taking care of their garden, those people are perfect for a lawn care business. However, when you own a business, you will need more than just passion to succeed. First, you have to determine whether you want to start small or big. A good way to do this is to write it down in a mission statement. You will need proper cash flow management, excellent gardening skills, and a good marketing scheme.
The first thing you have to consider is how much you will be investing. Depending on your budget, you need to plan your equipment purchase funds, advertising budget accordingly. You will need to start shopping for equipment in bulk, so it helps if you could find a reliable wholesaler who is able to provide you a discount. You may also need to find a location to base your business on if you want to look professional.
Next is the step where you pick the rate charges and your work hours. Depending on your health, you may choose to work around the clock, during normal business hours, over the weekends or in the morning. It is really up to you. However, when choosing a price charge, make sure you know your competitors and choose a competitive price.
As for work hours, you should choose the time that is most convenient for you, whether it is 9 to 5, early mornings, or over the weekend. You will need to study your competition carefully in order to compete with other similar business models in the same industry. As for the marketing part, you should not neglect this part, since no matter how good your business is, your potential customers will not know if you exist unless you have an effective marketing plan to market to them. You should set up a cool name together with some eye-catching ads to attract new customers. With dedication and knowledge, you could bring your new business to the next level in no time.
Starting Your Company
If you are thinking about starting a lawn service or full scale landscaping business, you should plan everything carefully before investing too much in the new business. Running a landscape business is perfect for someone who loves nature and wants to work outdoors. However, even though you have found your true gardening hobby and want to turn it into a professional business, running a real company is much more complicated than just going after your hobby. You will need careful planning, sound cash flow management and an effective marketing scheme. First, you have to determine whether you want to do this as a means to earn extra cash, or you seriously want to build a lucrative home business.
If you want to start big, you will have to take care of a lot of things, including a professional plan about steps that you need to take to kick-start your business. The first step is to determine how much to invest. You will need to purchase equipment such as trailers, tractors, movers and trimmers in large quantity. It is good to start looking for wholesalers at the very beginning to get the most competitive prices as possible. The second thing you have to attend to is to determine how much you want to work and how much your charge will be. You should remain competitive when giving out a price charge while still being able to maintain excellent service quality.
The Internet Versus the Yellow Pages
If you are a small landscaping company, you may have heard of the Yellow Pages before. Actually, just a few years ago, businesses competed to get their name listed in this trusted business directory. Have things changed over the years? Yes, it seems so. Today, according to a survey by Yelp, most business owners no longer regard Yellow Pages as a relevant and effective marketing vehicle. Most people complain that they receive little to no leads through their Yellow Pages listings even though they have to pay a hefty fee for the service. Only about 10% of all business owners say that they use the Yellow Pages book to look up information. Most people now rely on the Internet to find things they need, and the traditional Yellow Pages method is simply obsolete.
Online Is Where Your Landscaping Customers Are
Online marketing is developing in leaps and bounces, and today, most people use search engines to find local businesses. It is much faster and easier to search for a business online than to look for it in a yellow pages book. If you are a wise and informed business owner, you should shift your focus to online marketing and invest more in PPC marketing, SEO and local directory listings. If you want to compete in today’s business world and you have no presence online, you are losing out a big share of the market. When you list your business on many online directories, you will not only get link juice that will be helpful in a SEO sense, but also get a lot of targeted traffic.
Yellow Pages Costs
Instead of paying the big bucks for your Yellow Pages listing, you should think twice and invest your money in a wise way. Many people have to pay at least $4,000 a year for their Yellow Pages contract, and in return, they get very few leads and are unable to track their conversion rate at all. Online marketing is, on the other hand, much cheaper and you could keep track of everything in real time. No wonder why most businesses now shift towards online marketing instead of sticking with traditional Yellow Pages marketing.
Some Last Marketing Tips
If you are passionate about working outdoors and taking care of your garden, maybe you will succeed as a lawn care contractor. Becoming a corporate owner may be the first step towards financial independence. However, just like any other form of small business, you will need skills and knowledge to successfully set up your organization. Here are some tips to help you get on the right track. First of all, you need to know that all businesses need careful planning. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Before you invest a huge chunk of money, you need to develop a detailed plan first.
Part Time or Go Big?
First, you have to determine whether you want to start small or big. If you are serious about competing with the best in the industry, you have to be really good at managing your workers, cash flow and doing accounting stuffs. The bigger your dream is, the harder the challenge and the more preparation you will need. Unless you already have enough equipment like zero turn mowers, edgers, back pack blowers, weed eaters, etc., you will need to purchase equipment in bulk before you open the service. To get a good price, you should look for a reliable wholesaler who is able to provide you a good discount on your purchase or buy out another service.
Marketing is Everything
Another part of the start up plan is your marketing scheme. Business is all about good marketing. If you want to reach out to potential customers, you need to market to them. Depending on your budget, you should choose a form of advertising that works for you. If possible, consider setting up a website since most people use the Internet to search for things and chances are you will get a lot of orders online. To build your brand, you need a good, catchy slogan that is easy to remember. You could spend time to devise a good marketing plan, or hire a professional to do it for you. Most people hire someone to handle their marketing tasks and focus only on their main business. Last but not least, you need a sound cash flow management plan if you want your lawn care business to survive.