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How To Start A Lawn And Garden Care Business

Mar 25, 2008
There is a huge market for lawn and garden care businesses. Of the millions of acres of soil in America that are dedicated to household lawns, 70% are kept healthy and well maintained by lawn care professionals... just like you.

Consider also the thousands of commercial properties requiring the services of a lawn care professional.

So, don't worry about there not being room for another lawn and garden care business... the market is still wide open.

But, starting a lawn care business involves the same game plan as any other business.

First, focus on these business start-up steps: Develop a business plan (action plan); Develop a budget; Obtain capital; Secure necessary permits; Set up necessary state and federal tax accounts; Check into insurance; Set up a business bank account; Set up an accounting system
Advertise; Develop a customer base; Pay bills on time

Check out your local Better Business Bureau for suggestions and resources to help you take care of all this. It may seem daunting, but it's really pretty straight forward.

Just use common sense during this phase of the start-up, and don't be afraid to ask questions.

But don't ignore these steps... 90% of new businesses fail because they ignored one or more of them.

Another thing... unless you plan to hire employees to handle the physical labor, make sure to get a medical check-up to verify that you can physically handle it yourself. This will help any misgivings the financial and insurance folks might have... as well as some customers.

Next, focus on the equipment and tools you will need... While you're getting the start-up phase on track, begin gathering up tools and equipment. Remember, they don't have to be brand new ... unless you have a very generous source of capital (grin).

Here are just a few of the more obvious items:

Pickup Truck... It can be old as the hills - in fact it could even be a classic, or an antique - it just needs to be mechanically sound and capable of hauling.

In fact, have a mechanic you trust look it over. Tell him/her that you want to know if your truck is capable of hauling a trailer and all of your tools and equipment. It should also be powerful enough to haul a trailer loaded with debris.

Your mechanic can help you determine what the approximate weight would be. Incidentally, this could also be an opportunity to work out a maintenance agreement with your mechanic. All kinds of opportunities here...

Equipment Trailer... The size depends on the mower and other tools you plan to haul, as well as on your truck's hauling capacity. Most lawn care businesses prefer flatbed trailers with built in ramps. If your trailer also accommodates side racks with panels, hauling debris will be much easier.

Make sure your mechanic takes a look at the trailer along with your truck. This will give him/her a good idea of the hauling weight and other questions you will have.

Power Equipment... The lawn mower choice will depend on your budget, the size of your trailer or truck bed, and the type of lawns you plan to service. If the plan is to start small, then have at least one reliable walk-behind lawn mower. Two is always better... you don't want mechanical problems shutting down your business!

Adding a ride-on lawn mower is the ultimate goal of any lawn care service. They're fast... and the faster you can mow, the more lawns you can mow. The walk-behind mower is still necessary to get into those tight areas where the ride-on won't fit.

A good leaf blower is pretty essential, too. Get the quietest leaf blower you can afford... your customers' neighbors will love you. In fact, it may encourage them to contract your services.

Again, just use common sense. Go through target neighborhoods and notice which ones have meticulously cared for lawns, and find out who the lawn care service providers are.

Then, watch those providers. Find out what equipment and tools they use, how long it takes them, and the clincher... have they made the lawn look better than it actually is!

It always pays to copy the experts, to learn from them... that's the sign of a successful business!

One last thing... Remember to check your area's environmental regulations for noise and emissions.

One more last thing... Keep in mind that your new lawn care business will also be judged on the spotlessness of your equipment, and of you and your employees... not just on the immaculate lawns you leave behind.

Follow these steps, and your lawn care business will stand out from all the rest...
About the Author
Susan Nelson Hopkins is an online gardening expert from Carlsbad, NM and writes for the unique Susan's Garden Group of websites. She specializes in creating lawns and gardens that will attract birds. For other original lawn and gardening articles, visit Susan's Gardens.
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