Yes you can make a very good living by taking care of people’s lawns. Here’s a Step by Step Guide to starting your own lawn care business for under $1000.
If you have a strong work ethic and enjoy helping people make their lawns look great, you can not only start a lawn mowing business, you’ll be very successful and make some pretty good money. The following steps are the ones I took for my business. I’m sure there’s other ways to start and market a mowing business, but I know this way works, so this is what I recommend. These are the simple steps anyone, even a teenager, can take to start a mowing business for almost no money. I started my business for $782. This is not some business school guide written by professors sitting in an office. I’m a real guy who started my own lawn mowing business in Virginia in 2018. I’ve done all of these things myself and they’ve made my business successful in a very short period of time. That’s what makes my guide different. I wrote it to help others do the same because I enjoy helping other people to escape the world of bosses, meetings, commutes, and other general BS associated with “good” jobs.
- The good news: Mowing lawns is a great way to earn extra money or fully support yourself and family. Many people have considered starting this type of business. It’s not expensive and anyone can do it. You can do it at any age if you’re reasonably fit.
- The bad news: it’s not expensive and anyone can do it. This means there’s lots of competition.
- More good news: There always seems to be room for one more lawn care service. After you get established the pay rate is good and you have lots of opportunities to branch out and offer additional lawn care services that have an even better pay rate (leaf raking, mulching, garden bed design and maintenance, aeration, etc.)
Here’s the steps:
1. Choose a name.
Try to come up with name that’s a mix of fun and professional. I know it’s hard, but you’ll come up with something. Don’t spend forever trying to come up with the perfect name. Just go with something that’s good enough and move on. Cost: Free
2. Create a logo.
You can design one yourself using online software. My favorite is logomakr.com. You’ll have the option to buy a high resolution file for $19, which is not necessary if you’ll just be using your logo on your website, business cards, and flyers.
Another option is to spend a little, around $35, and have an actual designer create a logo for you. I used Fiver to find a logo designer and he did an amazing job. It was well worth the small expense to have a great looking logo that you can use on any marketing materials you can think of in the future. Don’t skip this step – it will help to separate you from some of the competition. Cost: $35
3. Do the legal stuff everyone hates to think about.
- Get an EIN from the IRS. Cost: Free
- Create an LLC and register your business with the state. Yes you can do this yourself, but I recommend just hiring a pro to do it for you to make sure it’s done right. Cost: $100
- Insurance: When you’re just starting out I wouldn’t buy any. This is just my opinion and others will definitely disagree (mostly insurance agents). But I would wait until you start making some real money before buying a lawn care insurance policy (typical cost is about $40 per month). And even then you don’t have to buy insurance. Another option is to self insure – just put money away into a dedicated fund each month. The fund is strictly to be used for property damage you accidentally cause. Cost: Free for now
4. Open a business checking account.
You’ll need your LLC paperwork. Keep business and personal funds completely separate. This will make it much easier at tax time, and it will allow you to easily analyze how much money you’re making. All income should go into this account and all expenses should be paid from this account. Your local bank may offer free checking, but probably not. But you can get a free account online here. Cost: Free
5. Create social media accounts.
6. Create a website with Weebly.
The Weebly online website builder is easy to learn and use and they have great templates to get you started. Be sure to include your logo, email, phone number, and link to social media accounts. Websites may not be the way that customers find you, but having one is important to establish your professionalism when they’re choosing a company. When they see your site listed on a flyer or ad, the first thing they will do is visit your site and judge you based on how nice the site looks. (Maybe unfair but totally true.) Weebly sites include a domain name.
Be sure to setup a domain email address (i.e. [email protected]). This looks much more professional than using a yahoo or hotmail account (or even gmail). Again, this is one more thing to help separate you from some of the competition. Anyone can spend a few hours and make a great looking small business site on Weebly. Cost: $12 / month.
Or you can hire a web designer on fiver to make a site for you. Tip – include a link on your homepage for customers to leave a review of your business on google.
7. Determine which equipment to buy.
You’ll certainly need a push mower, string trimmer, and blower – and probably a riding mower as well. Don’t overdo purchasing equipment in the very beginning. You need to make sure that you get customers, that you are able to do the job well, and that you actually enjoy doing the job. But don’t go super cheap either. Using really beat up or bad equipment is one way to ensure that you don’t enjoy the work. A good used commercial mower or new consumer mower is best. You can find some used deals on craigslist or cheap enough new mowers on Amazon (here’s my favorite) or Walmart. Buy a small notepad to record maintenance tasks on equipment because you’ll forget otherwise. Write down every time you change the oil, sharpen the blades, or other otherwise maintain your equipment and how much you spend. Make a note to maintain it on a regular basis. Since this is your business, you need to really take care of your equipment. Cost: $550 for push mower, trimmer, blower (new)
8. Price your lawn care services.
Be on the cheaper side to get some initial income flowing in (and reviews). Then slowly raise prices as you get more of each. Remember, you can make a good living by just doing the basics: mowing, trimming, and blowing. But you can also look at these services as a gateway to get you onto a customers property. The real money is made by doing landscaping care services such as garden design and maintenance, aeration, mulching, leaf raking, etc. You can charge a lot of money for this because NOBODY wants to do them. And customers would rather hire someone they already know, trust, and like (you), then risk hiring a bad service they don’t know.
9. Market and advertise your business.
- Get business cards and flyers printed at Vistaprint. They’re pretty cheap and good looking and help to spread the word about your service. Be sure to include your logo, email, website, and phone number. Keep some of both of them in your truck. You never know when you’ll need them. Cost: $40
- Get a door decal created for your truck. It looks much more professional than a magnet and doesn’t cost much more. Cost: $40
- Advertise on craigslist. Take your time and create an ad that includes actual sentences (well written and grammatically correct), not just blurbs. Also include some pictures of you on the job (when you get some) as well as your logo. Cost: $5 per month.
- Drive around your target area and post flyers at stores and place them in mailboxes.
- Post to your Facebook account regularly.
- Tell your neighbors that you’re available to help with lawn care on the nextdoor site.
- Create a service provider account on the HomeAdvisor and Thumbtack apps. Yes they take a cut but it’s worth it when you’re starting out to make some money and to get reviews.
- Create a listing for your business on Google My Business. This is huge. You need to get listed on Google maps and start getting google reviews and this is how you do it.
10. Create a Jobber account.
This software lets you manage every aspect of your business easily. Believe me when you get a handful of customers it gets hard to keep track of quotes, your service schedule, invoices, and everything else. Jobber lets you do it all from your phone. Cost: $29/mo
11. Get to work.
Be as careful and do as good a job as you can. At first it will feel like the amount of pay you get for this much work is terrible. This feeling will not last. You will get much faster and you’ll get much better at estimating the workload involved at a yard and giving better quotes. Right now it’s most important to keep the ball rolling. Keep money flowing in and get as many reviews as possible, especially on google. These good reviews is what will lead to much more business later on.
Keeping good reviews in mind – throw in a simple extra service for free after you finish a job. Example – clear away spider webs from the front porch using one of these things. It’s fast and easy and customers really love that you took the extra time to make their house look better. Again, this will separate you from all of that competition. And one more thing – get to know your customers. Spend a few minutes talking to them and let them get to know you also. Tell them your story. And be sure to ask them to leave a review of you on google.
Total cost: $782
Need More Help Starting Your Lawn Mowing Business?
It’s simple, all you have to do is read this book on Amazon. It really helped me and I know it will help you too. The part I liked the best was how to win commercial mowing accounts.
I know these steps work because it’s worked for me personally as well as both of my brothers! Feel free to contact me if you need more help starting your lawn care business. I can even make your website for you if you want (I’ve made 3 now!)
Have you already started a lawn care business? If so, please let me know what you did differently and if it worked. Post your comments below.