TIPS FOR STARTING A LAWN CARE BUSINESS
March 26, 2018
What You’ll Need, Including Skills, Tools, and Open Landscape Trailer Options
Now is a great time to start a lawn care business. With aging homeowners who no longer have the ability or desire to take care of their yards themselves and younger people who don’t have the time, there are lots of opportunities to become a lawn maintenance entrepreneur.
Whether you want to start a small side business mowing lawns and raking leaves or branch out into a more extensive landscaping business that offers a wide range of services, you want to think about all the needs and considerations. From lawn care tips to open landscape trailers, we have you covered.
Lawn care expertise. At minimum, you need better than average knowledge of how to mow a lawn, trim shrubbery, and wield an edger. It isn’t as easy as it looks, and different properties present different challenges. You’ll need to know how to use the tools in a skillful way that pleases your customers and also how to work efficiently so you can manage your time well while still doing a great job.
Are you looking to offer more advanced and all-encompassing landscape services such as recommending, selecting, and installing plants and hardscaping? Know that many people doing this type of work have a degree in landscape architecture or at least several years’ on-the-job experience with plants and construction.
Before you start passing out business cards, you’ll want to decide:
- What services you’ll offer – basic mowing and clean-up, horticultural and pruning, hardscaping and building, seeding and sodding, etc.
- If you’ll offer winter services like plowing and shoveling.
- What types of properties you want to serve (private homes, apartment and condo complexes, businesses, office parks, etc.)
- Your physical capabilities—what’s your capacity for lifting, kneeling, pushing a mower or filled wheelbarrow, etc. Will you need to hire help for heavy jobs?
Business skills. To get your landscape business off the ground and keep it going, you’ll need business skills. From finding clients to keeping a schedule to billing customers and getting paid, it’s important to run your business professionally. That includes having the discipline to work when you don’t feel like it, the sources and ability to maintain cash flow, and the sense to use credit wisely. If you don’t already have business experience, consider taking a basic entrepreneurial course through your local adult education center or the Small Business Association.
Some business decisions to consider:
- What to charge (research going rates in your area and what you’ll need to stay afloat)
- Your target market (upscale residential with large properties, suburban clients, office lots, etc.)
- Competition (how many other services are working in your area, what type of work do they do, and what do they charge)
- Marketing (everything from locally placed fliers to a website, advertising, and signage)
- Insurance, equipment maintenance, capital expenditures, and taxes
Tools. You can start a small neighborhood lawn care business with a reliable mower, a variety of sturdy rakes, and an edger, more or less. But depending on the services you plan to offer, you might also want to invest in:
- A riding mower
- A wheelbarrow
- Iron rake
- Electric or gas-powered tools for blowing leaves, trimming hedges, edging beds, etc.
- A chainsaw
- Post hole digger
- Building equipment and supplies
- Dolly (for moving small but heavy plants and trees, pavers, etc.)
- Small forklift (for moving large amounts of bricks, pavers, large plants or trees, etc.)
- Wood chipper/mulcher
Transportation. How will you get to your customers and—more importantly—how will you haul your tools and materials?
When you want to carry heavy equipment, yard waste, bags of mulch, plant material, and so on, many landscapers opt to own an open utility trailer. Some of the advantages of such a landscape trailer from Everlite include:
- Easy loading and unloading. A trailer is lower to the ground than a pickup truck and comes with a fold-down ramp, so you can roll mowers on and off smoothly and quickly. Plus, you can load and carry smaller items without having to lift as high or step up and down into the vehicle.
- Saves wear and tear on your towing vehicle. You don’t have to worry about how much payload it can handle, or that tools and yard debris will scratch or dent the vehicle. Aluminum utility trailers, such as Everlite trailers, have a sturdy, solid frame and treated decking to safely carry your cargo.
- Quick and easy maintenance. When the trailer gets dirty, you just sweep it out and hose it down.
- Versatility. Lawn trailers come in a variety of lengths, widths, and payload capacities, so you can suit the size to your landscaping business needs. An open trailer also gives you extra cargo space when used with a pickup truck, but you can unhook it, leaving it at home or at the jobsite if you need to run an errand or use the truck for personal purposes.
Before you think about starting a landscape business, visit your Everlite Trailer dealer to see how a utility trailer can help make your lawn care start-up a success.