How to Start a Lawn Care Business in 7 Simple Steps

There’s nothing like a healthy, well-maintained lawn. However, many home and business owners don’t have the time or energy to care for their yards beyond the simple lawn mowing that many can do on their own. This creates a massive opportunity to start a lawn care business that provides needed services beyond the lawn mower. From the lower start-up costs to a diverse range of services allowing businesses to operate year-round, the lawn care industry is an excellent option for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit ready to own their own business.

Lawn Care vs Landscaping: What’s the Difference?

If you’re looking to start a lawn care business, you may wonder: what’s the difference between lawn care and landscaping?

A lawn care business and a landscaping business are both related to the outdoor maintenance and improvement of residential and commercial properties, but they have distinct differences.

  • Lawn Care Business:The goal is to ensure the lawn is healthy and well-maintained and requires basic equipment for services such as edging, fertilizing, weed control, etc.

  • Landscaping Business:Landscaping has a broader focus, primarily on appearance, and it involves designing, creating, or enhancing an outdoor space by planting, constructing, or rearranging.

Now that you understand what a lawn care business is and how it differs from landscaping, here are seven tips on how to start a lawn care business.


Step #1: Lawn Care Business Research and Planning

Starting any kind of business requires careful planning and deciding on specific services, recruitment, and even marketing.


Assess the Market

Start by researching your local market to understand your area's current demand for lawn care services. Identify your target audience and their needs so you can build your service offerings around them. A detailed market analysis is typically part of your business plan and has many benefits, including helping to project revenue and better inform your business decisions.


Competitor Analysis

A key component of business research should be a thorough analysis of your competitors. Examine existing lawn care businesses in your area to understand their services, pricing, and customer base. Take note of their market saturation as well as their strengths and weaknesses.


Create a Business Plan for Lawn Care Service

Create a business plan outlining your goals, services offered, pricing strategy, marketing plan, and financial projections. Your business plan will be the roadmap for taking your business from a concept to reality. Remember that business plans must be reviewed and revised regularly as the business moves forward. 


Step #2: Identify Your Lawn Care Services

Use your research, as well as your areas of interest or expertise, to develop your services. Some standard lawn care services beyond mowing include:

  • Fertilization
  • Weed control
  • Aeration and overseeding
  • Pest control
  • Fungicide

You can start with the basics and consider specializing in a niche later, such as organic lawn care, if there’s demand in your area as your business grows.


Step #3: Register Your Lawn Care Business

Before a new landscaping franchise can start serving customers, they must ensure they have secured all the necessary permits, licenses, and registrations.


Lawn Care Business Licensing Requirements

You may not need a license to offer basic services. However, if you apply pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, there’s a chance you may require a permit. You can find these guidelines at your state’s Department of Agriculture or Environmental Protection Agency.


Registering Your Business

You must create a legal business entity for your lawn care business, like a Limited Liability Company (LLC), S corp, or partnership. The reason for separating your business assets from personal assets is adding a potential layer of insulation from liability if something goes wrong. The process for registering a business varies from state to state, but you can find more information on your state’s official website.


Step #4: Purchase Lawn Care Equipment

When you’re ready to start your lawn care business, you must ensure you have the right equipment for your services. While you won’t have to purchase office space like some other businesses, most lawn care businesses require a minimum amount of equipment to get started. However, this can vary depending on your services and budget.

It’s often worth starting with fundamental lawn care equipment, such as:

  • Trimmers and Edgers: Used to trim grass in hard-to-reach spaces and create defined edges along driveways, sidewalks, and garden beds.
  • Blowers:Essential for clearing leaves, grass clippings, and debris from lawns or hard surfaces.
  • Sprayers:Used for applying fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides to lawns and gardens.
  • Aerator:Helps to improve soil aeration.
  • Dethatcher:Removes dead grass and thatch buildup.
  • Hand Tools:Basics like shovels, rakes, pruners, and shears for detailed work.
  •  Safety gear:Includes personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, safety glasses, and hearing protection. 

You’ll also need a truck or trailer to transport your equipment to and from your clients’ properties. You may need capital to obtain all the materials you need to offer a suite of lawn care services. The good news is that there are many ways to fund this if you’re looking for financing options to start your lawn care business.


Step #5: Price Your Lawn Care Services

Pricing your services is an important step in starting a lawn care business. On the one hand, if you underprice your services, you may need help to cover your costs. Still, on the other hand, if you overprice, you could deter potential customers and result in lost business opportunities. Business owners must find a balance between setting competitive and profitable prices. 

To help set the right lawn care service prices, you should:

  • Check lawn care rates in your area
  • Calculate your labor costs
  • Add your overhead and equipment
  • Decide on your profit margins

Remember that depending on the variety of services you offer, you may need to use different pricing models for certain lawn care services.

Here are the most common pricing models you can use: 

  • Square footage rates:Common for pricing some low-involvement services but doesn’t account for special circumstances like rugged terrain.

  • Hourly rate:Most profitable for large projects or packages, like spring cleanups. It's beneficial when unsure how long a job will take or for new lawn care professionals.

  • Flat rate pricing:Provides one predictable lawn care cost for the entire job. It's beneficial when you know exactly how much time it’ll take to complete the job, such as for recurring jobs.


Step #6: Market Your Lawn Care Business

Promoting your lawn care services is crucial to your business's success and attracting, retaining, and engaging customers.

Here are five marketing strategies you can incorporate for your lawn care business:

  • Build an Online Presence:Create a professional business website, including information about your services, pricing, and contact details.

  • Customer Reviews and Testimonials:Encourage your customers to leave reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and your website and then showcase positive testimonials to help build trust.

  • Networking:Attend local business networking events and join industry-specific organizations where you can collaborate and build relationships with potential clients and partners.

  • Vehicle Advertising:Use vehicle wraps or signs on your work vehicles to advertise your services while on the job.

  • Email Marketing:Send newsletters to current and potential customers with seasonal tops, special offers, or updates about your services.


Step #7: Go With a Lawn Care Franchise

Getting your lawn care business off the ground and building a solid reputation and customer base takes time. If you want to operate your own lawn care business but don’t want to start from scratch, franchising a lawn care business can have several advantages depending on your goals and resources.

Franchising also provides you with comprehensive training and ongoing support, including training in lawn care techniques, business operations, marketing, and technology systems. This guidance and expertise can shorten the learning curve and help you run your business more effectively.

Lawn Pride™ is a full-service weed and fertilization company that trains franchise owners in lawn care techniques, business operations, marketing, and technology systems. When you invest in a Lawn Pride franchise, you become part of Neighborly, the world's largest and fastest-growing family of home service brands.

Are you interested in learning more about the benefits of investing in a lawn care franchise? Talk to a franchise consultant to learn more about Lawn Pride.



Related Blogs

Which Franchise Is Right For You?

Whether you want to achieve your professional goals by starting your first business or have the flexibility to be your own boss, Neighborly® is ready to help you build a legacy in the home services industry.