How to Start a Lawn Mowing Business

Five Parts:Purchasing EquipmentLicensing and AccountingSetting RatesSkillfully Mowing LawnsMarketing Your Business

Practically any able-bodied person can earn money by moving lawns. But lawn care is actually an extremely competitive business. But with a desire to provide great service, a small investment and solid marketing plan, you can not only start a lawn-mowing business, but also make it successful.

Part 1
Purchasing Equipment

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    Determine your needs. If you don't already own lawn-care equipment, you need to decide what you'll need for your business. What services do you plan to offer? Will you only need a lawnmower, or do you also plan to cut weeds, trim hedges and remove leaves?
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    Set a budget. How much money do you have to start your business? The equipment you purchase will need to fall within that budget.
    • If you find you don't have enough capital to purchase it, you can also lease equipment with fewer start-up funds, although that will cost more in the long run. Leasing equipment does have it's perks, however, since you generally get the most modern equipment that requires minimal maintenance, and the costs can be tax deductible. You might decide to lease in the short term while you raise capital to purchase at a later date.
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    Purchase your equipment. With about $500, you can purchase a basic push mower, a trimmer and a leaf blower. If you plan to provide additional lawn services but lack the extra capital, you can always start off with basic tools and expand once you gain capital.
    • If you don't have enough money to start with new equipment, you can even purchase a used lawn mower to use as you start earning money to reinvest into your business. Check online and local classified ads and yard sales.

Part 2
Licensing and Accounting

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    Obtain necessary business licenses. Visit your local city government or chamber of commerce offices to learn about applicable laws and needed licenses. Every city and state has different requirements.
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    Purchase insurance, if necessary. Does your state or city require you insure your business? You can purchase insurance for just about any type of business risk, as well as liability coverage. The cost will be based on the breadth and amount of coverage. Keep your budget in mind when choosing insurance, and speak with a trusted, local insurance agent.
    • If possible, insure yourself, your equipment and your customers. Collision, liability, and damage insurance will protect your vehicles and equipment. Business liability insurance will cover damages that may occur to your customers' properties during your gardening services.
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    Consult an expert. It's a good idea to speak with a business adviser, attorney or accountant to set up your tax structure and accounting processes. Don't forget to register your business with the IRS.
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    Learn basic accounting. Use office software and a printer to handle orders, correspondence and other business tasks. You can also set up accounting processes with basic office software programs, which will help you when it comes time to file taxes.

Part 3
Setting Rates

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    Know your market. When setting prices for your services, research what other businesses charge for similar services in similar communities. Remember that a working-class neighborhood will not be able to pay the same as customers in a more affluent neighborhood.
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    Know your costs. You're not in business to work for free, so it's important to know the cost of doing business when determining your rates. Take into account money needed to pay for insurance, equipment and advertising, then determine how many yards you can mow each month. How much will you need to charge each potential customer to pay your costs and still make a profit?
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    Start low. If you don't have an established clientele, you might offer lower, more competitive prices as you obtain your first few customers. Once you build a referral network and portfolio of references, you can price you services at more profitable rates.

Part 4
Skillfully Mowing Lawns

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    Ensure the lawn's edges have been trimmed using equipment such as a weed eater. Not only will trimming edges make the lawn look more professionally mowed, it also will establish a perimeter so when you start mowing you can better see where you need to go.
    • Be sure to cut the grass around flower beds, trees, and any areas the mower is unable to reach at approximately the same height as you set the mower. Be careful not to damage the bark at the base of the trees, don't cut the grass too low, and definitely don't chop anyone's prized petunias.
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    Mow in rows or columns. Be sure and mow from one edge all the way to the other before turning around. Creating zig-zags or missing spots of grass will look unprofessional.
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    Set your mower height. Different types of grass require different heights of cut for a professional appearance. Identify the type of grass before you set your mower height.
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    Make two passes across the lawn to catch any missed areas. Remember to alternate the mowing direction each time. If you don't alternate the direction you can cause excessive wear or even damage the lawn.

Part 5
Marketing Your Business

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    Build an advertising plan. What media outlets will you use to market your business? Set an advertising budget and try to stretch those dollars in the most efficient means possible. Oftentimes, your market will determine your method of advertising.
    • Common methods of advertising a local lawn-mowing business include Facebook pages, classified ads, mailers, phone calls, door-to-door sales, referrals from existing customers and appearances at local or community events.
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    Make your business visible. Print your company’s name on your vehicle, equipment and work clothes. Order pens, paper and calendars with your company name and make them readily visible and available to the public. Purchase business cards and pass them out wherever you go.
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    Create and post fliers. Make sure to include your business name and contact information, the services your provide and your rates. Post the fliers on public bulletin boards and any other public place allowed in your city.

Article Info

Categories: Service Businesses | Lawn Care