How to Start a Lawn Business

Three Parts:Preparing for BusinessTaking Care of the Legal PartHelping Your Business Flourish

A lawn service can be a great source of extra income or even your primary income. Many homeowners don't have the time or energy to do lawn maintenance, which makes your service valuable. However, starting your business does take some time and planning.

Part 1
Preparing for Business

  1. Image titled Get a Job at a Pharmacy Step 16
    Learn the skills. Even if you just want to mow and trim lawns, taking some horticulture classes in cutting, pruning, and trimming can help you stand out from the competition. If you actually want to get into landscaping, a degree is even more helpful, specifically one in landscape architecture.[1]
    • Business classes are also helpful because they can teach you how to deal with the business side of things.
  2. Image titled Be Motivated to Exercise Step 1
    Prepare for the physical rigors. Lawn care is not easy work, and you'll need to be prepared for the job ahead of time.[2] At a minimum, you should be doing 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week, such as running, cycling, or swimming, and strength training twice a week.[3] However, to truly be prepared, you should be going beyond the basics of physical fitness.
  3. Image titled Win a Court Case Step 2
    Write a business plan. A business plan is a detailed outline of how your company will be structured and run. It should include things such as an executive summary of your business, a company description, and a market analysis. You'll also include the organization and management, a description of your services, and a plan for marketing.[4]
  4. Image titled Optimize Productivity in a Home Office Step 6
    Set up your home space. You'll need an office area for doing business. You'll also need a place to keep your tools and equipment. If you don't have the storage space at home, you may need to rent a storage unit to hold your equipment.[5]
  5. Image titled Make Money by Mowing Lawns Step 3
    Buy the appropriate equipment. Once you figure out just what your business is going to be, you can figure out what equipment you'll need. If you can't finance it yourself, you can get a small business loan, available through local banks. If that isn't an option for you, consider a business credit card to fund what you need.[6]
  6. Image titled Handle Conflict from a Human Resources Standpoint Step 4
    Name your business. You can pick something catchy, but make sure it's also professional. You don't want to turn customers away with something that's too cutesy or even borderline offensive. Bounce ideas off your friends and family to help you decide.[7]
    • If you're having trouble deciding, you can go ahead and fill out the legal paperwork with a holding place name. You can change the name later or fill out a "doing business under" form to designate a different name for your business.[8]
  7. Image titled Greet Customers Arriving in a Store Step 10
    Find your target audience. Your main customers are going to be those who don't have the time to do their lawn or physically can't do it. You may also be able to do landscaping for businesses, if your work is professional enough. You may also find some customers who want to use your skills temporarily before they sell their house.[9]

Part 2
Taking Care of the Legal Part

  1. Image titled Open a Franchise Step 8
    Hire a lawyer. Though you can do all the legal work yourself, hiring a lawyer makes sure you are compliant with the law in every aspect. Ask around for a competent business lawyer to help with your business.
  2. Image titled Consolidate Loans Step 8
    Pick a business structure. Your business structure is how you legally file your business. You have several options, including a sole proprietorship, partnership, and a LLC. You file these documents with your state, generally accompanied by a filing fee.[10]
    • A sole proprietorship means you own the company by yourself, and you are held responsible for any debts the company incurs from your personal property. The benefit is it can be less paperwork.[11] Partnerships generally work the same way but with more people, though sometimes they work more like a limited liability company.[12]
    • A limited liability company (LLC) means that you are separated from your company and its debts. In other words, the assets that you own personally cannot be seized to pay the company's debts, usually, as long as you are abiding by the law.[13]
  3. Image titled Change Your Address with the IRS Step 7
    Get your employer identification number (EIN). You need this number for tax purposes with the federal government, though it's not an absolute necessity with a sole proprietorship. Nonetheless, it's good to have because it gives you a number besides your Social Security Number to use for tax purposes.[14]
    • To apply for this number, visit the IRS website. The application is fairly simple, and you'll receive a number fast.[15]
  4. Image titled Start a Home Bakery Step 1
    Get the proper licenses or permits. Your city or state may require certain licenses or permits for you to run your business. Check state and local laws to figure out what you need to do. You can also go to the city clerk office to find out more.[16]
  5. Image titled Deal with Being Fired Step 10
    Make sure you can run your business out of your home. Most of the time, you will be able to run a lawn business out of your home, since you will not have customers visiting there. Nonetheless, check with your city to see if it has any special ordinances.[17]
    • You'll also need to decide where to target your business. If you're staying mostly in your neighborhood, you won't have as much of a commute. However, you may consider neighborhoods that have a high number of retirees, since they will be more likely to want your services.
  6. Image titled Fill out a Cashier's Check Step 3
    Put together your finances. First, you need to create a bank account solely for your business. That way, you can separate out expenditures and profits. In addition, you need to set up a document where you can track your expenses and your profits. You can do it simply in a spreadsheet to get started.[18]
  7. Image titled Open a Franchise Step 18
    Pay into your federal taxes. If you expect to be paying in more than $1,000 in taxes (including both sides of Social Security and Medicare), you are required to pay your taxes quarterly throughout the year. Just like an employer withholds taxes, you now must do so for yourself.[19]
    • Use the government's Electronic Federal Tax Payment System to make payments.[20]
    • If taxes make your head hurt, don't be afraid to hire an accountant to help you out.[21]
  8. Image titled Buy Gold Step 17
    Don't forget state taxes. In some cases, you'll need to register with your state, as well. You'll need to pay company income tax and sales tax. Depending on your state, you may need to pay more than once a year, and you may also need a state identification number.[22]

Part 3
Helping Your Business Flourish

  1. Image titled Build a Brand Step 5
    Brand your business. You need a logo to help your company stand out. It should be simple, but also interesting enough to catch a customer's eye. You can hire someone to do this work so that it is more professional. Use your logo on your business cards. You can also use it on any vehicles for your company by purchasing magnetized signs.[23]
  2. Image titled Build Your Personal Brand Step 11
    Market your product. You have several options for putting your name out there. You can use social media. You can also use more traditional media through newspaper, radio, and local television ads. Whichever way you choose, your message needs to be clear and direct.[24]
    • The bonus of using social media is that it doesn't cost you anything to use. The downside is you need to be very present to your customers, meaning you need to make yourself as available as possible and post consistently. Social media is about building relationships and engaging with other people in your circle.[25]
    • One way to use social media is to post related content to your business. That is, maybe you could post tips about keeping your lawn green, which benefits your customers without putting you out of business.[26]
    • Don't forget to pay attention to keywords and hashtags. These words help drive people to your posts and sites. Think about what people would be searching for to find your business.[27]
  3. Image titled Get a Loan Even With Bad Credit Step 7
    Consider flyers. For a lawn business, flyers make sense. Consider putting flyers in people's doors in the neighborhoods you want to work in. However, be sure to check your local laws to make sure that's allowed. You can also go door to door to drum up business, focusing on houses with unmowed lawns.[28]
  4. Image titled Change Your Name in Pennsylvania Step 2
    Create a website. A website represents you to the customers. Plus, it provides information they need, such as pricing, contact information, and availability of your service. Many websites offer ways to make sites fairly easily, or you can hire a professional to do it. Just be sure to keep your content up-to-date.[29]
  5. Image titled Shovel Snow Step 13
    Consider off season work. In most places, the lawn business is seasonal work. In the winter, you still need to make ends meet. Some people in this business pick up other work during the winter, such as putting up holiday decorations or shoveling snow and salting walkways.[30]


  • Make sure to carry business cards to hand out to people you meet.
  • Get liability insurance.

Sources and Citations

Show more... (27)

Article Info

Categories: Service Businesses