1. Start Your Lawn Care Business Legally

Like any business, you need to check a specific list of legal boxes to get your lawn care business up and running.

Register Your Company Name

Once you have a structure for how you’ll run your lawn care operations, you can register your business (and its name) accordingly.

There are three main types of business structures to choose from:

  • Limited liability company (LLC): This structure protects medium or high-risk businesses from personal liability.
  • Sole proprietorship: For those who choose to run their business alone and want full control.
  • Partnership: Running a business with 2+ people still legally registered as self-employed. This structure requires an employer identification number (EIN) for tax reporting purposes.

Once you’ve chosen which structure to run your business under, you can submit your business name to your regional government. This varies from country to country, but you can trademark and register your business name in the US if no other business is using it in your state.

Get a Business License

You can’t start your lawn care business without a license. Business licenses can usually cost between $75 and $400 USD annually. Contact your local Small Business Administration (SBA) or Chamber of Commerce to learn which business license you require.

In the US, lawn case business owners need a license to use any product that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regards as a pesticide. In some states, you may need to take a pest control safety education program to be qualified to use such products.

Get Lawn Care Business Insurance

In order to cover damages, incidents, and injuries, you need to make sure that your lawn care business is properly insured. Typical insurances that apply to this kind of business include:

  • Health Insurance

  • Vehicle Insurance

  • Employment Liability

  • Business Owner Insurance
  • Liability Insurance
  • Workers Compensation

Get Business Banking and Accounting

It’s crucial to keep your professional and personal finances separate in any business, including lawn care. A business bank account allows you to:

  • Simplify bookkeeping
  • Create a business credit profile
  • Oversee cash flow in your business
  • Maintain healthy tax practices

You should also build a flexible budget for your business that takes supplies, insurance, payroll, marketing, and other expenditures into consideration. You should also register your business with your country’s relevant revenue service for tax-filing purposes (IRS in the US, for example).

2. Choose Lawn Care Services to Offer

Not all lawn care businesses provide the exact same services to their clients. Deciding which services to provide will determine your budget and which equipment you’ll require.

It’s worth starting with fundamental lawn care services to lock down your first clients. These include:

  • Mowing and Trimming
  • Edging and Weeding
  • Fertilization and Weed Control
  • Seasonal Services (like snow removal)

As time goes on and you start to generate stable revenue and a healthy customer base, you can start to provide more advanced services, such as:

  • Grading
  • Lawn Returfing
  • Tree Trimming
  • Shrub Maintenance
  • Lawn Aeration
  • Leaf Blowing
  • Pest Control
  • Sod Installation

Understanding what competitors provide and what your customers require can help determine which additional services to provide.

Riding Lawn Mower

Push Mower

Self-propelled Mower

3. Use the Right Lawn Care Equipment and Tools

At the bare minimum, you require a lawn mower to get your business up and running. Typical lawn mowers include:

  • Riding lawn mower: Users drive the machine like a vehicle. Lawn tractors are operated in the same way but can cut more width. Ideal for large-scale lawn care.
  • Push mower: An ideal choice for starters. Cheap and easy to use (estimated price between $170-350), but better for smaller jobs.
  • Self-propelled mower: Can move independently and cover more ground more efficiently but are more expensive than push mowers.

man starting a lawn care business
Mowers can’t reach every single blade of grass, so we recommend having a string trimmer (est. $20-80) and an electric edger (est. $100-175) at your disposal. This allows you to sculpt lawn edges and trim grass in tight corners.

Additional services require other equipment such as:

  • Shovels
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Lawn bags
  • Mowing goggles
  • Pruning shears
  • Power rakes
  • Gardening gloves
  • Leaf blowers
  • Safety earmuffs
  • Spreaders

It’s also worth driving a truck or trailer to transport your equipment from one client’s home to the next.

4. Price Your Lawn Care Services

You need to find a balance between lawn care service prices that seem reasonable for customers to pay but that are competitive and profitable within the local and wider market. To determine your prices, you should:

  • Calculate labor costs
  • Decide on profit margins
  • Learn more about local lawn care rates
  • Make sensible estimates for every job and project
  • Work out equipment, material costs, and general overhead.

Different lawn care services need to be based on different pricing models. These include:

  • Hourly rates: If you’re unsure how long a job could take, it’s best to pay your workers hourly. This rate includes overhead and labor costs per hour.
  • Flat rates: If you know exactly how long a job will take, you can afford to set a fixed price.
  • Square footage rates: Determined not by the time of a job but by how many square feet are being covered.

The final step of lawn care pricing is to develop a chart that clearly shows how much you charge for flat rates or per square foot or hour. This level of pricing detail creates transparency and trust between you and the client.

5. Market Your Lawn Care Business

In order to get customers quickly, you need to implement some marketing techniques. It can be something as simple as going from door to door and dropping flyers about your business.

Whatever format you use, it’s important that the following marketing measures are put in place:

  • Create a brand for your business: This is the ultimate way to give your lawn care business its own unique personality and language. Having an attractive logo, name, motto, and color scheme on your uniform can go a long way in separating you from the rest of the pack.
  • Market your business online: It’s imperative to promote your business online. An official website, social media accounts, and search results on Google are all effective ways to gain brand exposure.
  • Devising a marketing plan: It’s crucial to work out who your target audience is, what your message is as a business, the value you will bring to your customers, the problems you can help solve for them, and the marketing tools you’ll use to convey it all.

6. Hire Lawn Care Employees

Building a team of employees is a vital component of any lawn care business. You need different roles for different jobs.

The more hires you have who can effectively take on the hands-on aspect of lawn care, the more time you can dedicate to off-lawn activities such as marketing, scheduling, employee management, and more.

A few things worth considering when hiring lawn care professionals:

  • Devise a job description that clearly states the responsibilities required for the role.
  • Decide which jobs should be made for subcontractors, part-time, and full-time employees.
  • Share job openings through online and offline media (job search websites, newspapers, magazines, social media, etc.).
  • Carefully read every submitted resume and ask for references and background checks.
  • Have relevant interview questions ready.
  • Prepare a methodical training program for hired employees.