As spring inches ever nearer, lawn care and landscaping business owners are tuning up their equipment and preparing for the rush season. If you’re among the many people who have dreamed of starting a lawn care or landscaping business, now’s the time to make sure you have all your ducks in a row to take advantage of the spring rush.
Here are business tips to help you start a lawn mowing, fertilizing, or landscaping operation in your area.
Step One: Understand the Landscaping and Lawn Care Industry
Before launching your career as a landscaping professional, it’s essential to understand the market and industry where you live. Take some time to research the following…
- Demand for lawn care services where you live. Lawn mowing and related industries are in high demand right now in part thanks to Baby Boomers. This group, which is some 65 million strong, tends to have the disposable income to pay for lawn care, but may not have the time or inclination to perform this work themselves. In addition, anyone buying or selling a home, developing new property, or working too many hours may need landscaping services.
- Services you’ll be expected to provide. Once you know who’s paying for lawn care where you live, it’s smart to find out what kind of services are in demand. Lawn mowing, fertilizing, edging, and administering chemical treatments tend to be the most popular services, but you may also find clients who want pruning or gardening services. Informally surveying your expected client base may be a good place to start.
If you’re not immediately ready to start your own landscaping business, a great way to conduct this research is to work for someone else’s business for a while. You’ll get an in-depth idea of how such a business works without all the capital risk required to start a business of your own.
Step Two: Crunch the Landscaping and Lawn Care Numbers
Once you’ve figured out who you’ll serve and what work you’ll be doing, it’s time to get serious about the finance and business aspects of your venture. You’ll need to consider a number of factors, including…
- Startup costs: This includes the cost of purchasing equipment, advertising your services, hiring employees, and registering your business.
- Pricing: What will you charge for your services? Many landscapers set prices by the square foot of land they service or by the hour. To get an idea of the going rate where you live, call a few services and ask for an estimate for your property.
- Maintenance costs: You’ll need to keep your equipment in top shape in order to keep working, so be sure to factor repair and maintenance costs into your calculation of expenses.
- Budgeting for the off season: In most parts of the country, landscaping and lawn care is not a year-round industry. Landscapers typically handle the off season either by offering a secondary service (such as snow plowing) or by taking time off – with careful budgetary preparations.
- Handling taxes, insurance, and other expenses: Long-term planning is key to setting your business up for success. Taking time to consider the once-a-year expenses (such as taxes, insurance premiums, and so on) will give you a more realistic idea of what your financial situation is.
Stay tuned for Part 2, in which we’ll discuss getting your landscaping or lawn care business off the ground (with advertising, marketing, and more) and keeping it strong for the long haul (by finding the right insurance, and hiring the right employees).