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How to start a lawn care business from scratch

Updated on March 4, 2014

An easy way to start your lawn care business

Starting a business doesn't have to be scary or hard. There are lots of business ideas which you can start while keeping your full-time job. A lawn care business is one of those. You can start your own lawn care business by using your personal lawn mower and mowing your neighbors' lawns on the weekends.

Thus the investment of starting a lawn care business is close to zero dollar. Once you've worked in the business for some time, you can scale up. This Squidoo lense will lead you through the steps you need to take to start and grow your lawn mowing business.

1. Getting started with your new business

Having some kind of business or financial plan is one of the must-have documents when starting a new business venture. However, since a lawn care business can be started pretty fast and with little initial investment you should probably keep the financial and business planning to a minimum.

Obviously these plans should exist, but you should not spend more than a few days on them. Some basic calculations on your expenses and the hourly wage you want to achieve should be enough for the start. You should also have a quick "market research" by checking how much other lawn care businesses charge for their services. Try to calculate if it makes sense to start the business, how much money you potentially could make and how many hours you potentially have to dedicated to the business.

2. Getting the right equipment

Lawn mowers, gardening rakes, garden gloves,...

The next step is crucial for your lawn care business. You will need to get all the right equipment to do your first lawn mowing job. If you are lucky and have a decent lawn mower you might only have to invest a very small amount into things like garden gloves, recycling bags or gardening rakes. You might even have all of these tools at home and your investment is literally $0.

However, if your lawn mower at home isn't up for the job or you might not even have a larger enough lawn mower, then you will need to browser the internet to find a new lawn mower. Your first decision needs to be: used or new.

There are advantages as well as disadvantages for both. A new lawn mower definitely will cost you a lot more money than a used one. However, it should also save you money on fuel as new lawn mowers are more energy-efficient. A new lawn mower will also last longer and you are more flexible in terms of what exact mower you want to buy.

A used lawn mower is cheaper but you will need to buy whatever is on offer on websites like Ebay. A used lawn mower might also need some care and repair work done before you can professionally use it.

3. Get your first customer

Word-to-mouth marketing

The easiest way to get your first few customers is word-to-mouth marketing. Ask close-by living friends and family as well as neighbours if they need any gardening work done. Offer them a special "family discount" or "early bird discount" since they are your first customers.

Try to mention the fact that you are offering professional lawn mowing services on plenty of occasions like birthdays, street festivals or dinner parties. (NB: Don't over-due it though.)

4. Get the marketing rolling

Flyers, business cards, door knocking,...

Once you've had your first few customers through word-of-mouth and family/friends you should start a marketing push. You now can provide testimonials to potential new customers and have a proven track-record.

First, design a logo for your new lawn care business or get a freelancer to do so. You can use one of the 25 freelance marketplaces mentioned in this blog post.

Then get business cards and flyers printed from your local printers or from one of the plenty online printing companies.

Once you've got all your marketing materials you should go from door to door and distribute your flyers. Talk to any person you see on the front lawns or gardens and offer your services.

5. Grow your business

Good structure and administration

In order to keep your business growing and customers happy you need to provider excellent customer service and well-cut lawns. You can't forget about appointments or miss to send an invoice. Getting your times right, invoices send out fast and customers happy is crucial to survive in such a personal and local business like the lawn care business.

In order to keep your appointments you should use a calendar such as the Google calendar. You can enter lawn mowing jobs with the house address in order to not mix up houses or appointments. Google Maps even exactly shows you the way to the appointment if the address is entered correctly.

You can use an online invoicing software such as Invoiceberry.com to send our your lawn mowing invoices. The service will help you to keep a record of your customers and the jobs you have done.

You should also use Gmail or a similar webmail service to offer email support and an email booking service to your customers. A lot of customers don't want to call your cell phone to change or cancel a lawn mowing job. They would prefer to send you a quick email at the time which is convenient to them.

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