You want to start a lawn care business but do not have the required equipment or money to go ahead. You have consulted experts in the industry about the startup budget required to start a lawn care business, and the numbers blew your mind. You do not have tens of thousands of dollars to get started with your business, or you do not want to invest a huge capital without knowing much about it.
Whatever might be the case, we suggest you not invest huge money in any business in the early stages. It is always recommended to start with the bare minimum and test the water before jumping into it.
The lawn care business is not an investment-heavy business. In this article, we’ll show you how to start your lawn care business with no money and earn profits. We’ll also discuss the underrated business tips no one tells you that can help in scaling your lawn care business to the next level.
Make sure to read the complete article to start a successful lawn care business.
Is starting a lawn care business profitable?
Understanding the industry is the first and crucial step for starting any business. Most businesses fail to research the following - the costs involved, opportunities, market size, competition, etc.
This happens in small businesses too. People tend to jump right in after watching a YouTube video about a teenager earning $500K a year in the lawn care business. While there is nothing wrong with wanting to do lawn care for the money, it is crucial to assess the pros and cons of any business.
You can start by understanding the industry size and see if there is room for you. The lawn care industry is growing by 5.1% every year from 2016 - 2021, which is nearly equal to the country’s growth.
With the increasing demand for growth, the number of lawn care companies is also increasing, making the industry competitive.
Considering the demand and supply from the above numbers now is the right time to start a lawn care business focusing on providing unique value to your customers.
The key to a profitable lawn care business is pricing your services rightly. More on pricing in the later part of the article.
We strongly recommend you put in the legwork to do enough research to understand the opportunities and competition in your respective neighborhood or state.
How to start a lawn care business with no money?
There are so many articles out there asking you to do a lot of unnecessary things to start a lawn care business, like registering, buying insurance, etc. Even though these steps are important to run a sustainable lawn care business, they should not be your focus in the beginning.
We put ourselves in your shoes as aspiring lawn care business owners looking to start their business with no money and came up with an actionable 8-step process.
If we were you, we would religiously follow these 8 steps to start a lawn care business with no money.
Step 1: Decide your ideal customers and properties
We understand that lawn care is for people who have lawns. But there are different types of lawn owners out there.
Lawn owners who mow their lawns
Lawn owners who have equipment but do not have the time to mow their lawns
Lawn owners who neither mow nor have lawn equipment
There may be more types, but these are the ones we could think of. If you are someone who does not have any lawn equipment or money to get started, we recommend targeting lawn owners who have equipment but do not have time to mow.
Similarly, you can figure out the properties based on size, distance, etc.
The primary criterion is to find the most profitable matrix of ideal customers and properties.
Step 2: Figure out the lawn care services you want to provide
Lawn care is a package of different services like mowing, shrub trims, tree trimming, fertilizing, weeding, mulching, planting, heavy rock installs, cleanups, etc. We can go on and on about the types of lawn care services.
Start with only one or two services. Get skilled at them. Offer the best service at competitive pricing. You can gradually add more services based on the demand.
How to choose the right lawn care services is your next question.
Choosing a service that requires the minimum equipment, is easy to learn, and has good demand.
For example, mowing, shrub trimming, mulching, and weeding are easier to start with. You can also schedule weekly or bi-weekly visits for mowing and shrub trimming.
Step 3: Arrange for lawn care equipment
If you do have some money to invest, buy the equipment relevant to the services you chose. You can buy a push mover, string trimmer, and blower to get started.
Otherwise, borrow it from a friend or relative to service your clients. Once you earn some money, invest in the required equipment.
If none of the above are possible, there is one unique solution. If you remember, we segregated the types of lawn owners in the first step of the process. The lawn owners who own equipment but do not do it themselves are your ideal customers.
Reach out to your ideal customers and start working. They would be more than happy to give you the gig if you charge half the price of the regular services. This way, you’ll start earning with zero investment, and the customer is happy that their equipment is not wasted in the garage.
Step 4: Get confident with pricing your lawn care services
We also told you that pricing is the key to building a profitable lawn care business. The time has come to figure out your pricing strategy.
When you start initially, it is quite okay to charge less than your competitors. Impress your customers with 5-star service and put them on repeat services. This will get you recurring customers.
Sometimes you might feel you charged less for your work. Here are a couple of pricing strategies that might help price your services right.
Set a base rate for different services. For example, $35 for mowing.
Whenever a customer calls for an inquiry, collect the address details and use Zillow to know the property area.
You can calculate the ideal rate by,
Ideal rate = Property in acres * 100
If the ideal rate is less than the base rate you have set, then quote the base rate. You can also add additional rates to the ideal rate for any extra effort you put in.
This will help you in saving time to give a quote to the customer and win clients faster.
Even though the above strategy looks easier, it lacks clarity.
You can very well use the first strategy in the beginning
and move to this strategy once you have a few customers.
Below is a quick snapshot of how you can do pricing better.
- Identify regular property size ranges
- Determine the difficulty levels of the property. Level 1 being easiest and level 3 being hardest (we considered 3 levels based on parameters like weed eating, corner or inline lots, edging, driveways, sidewalks, etc)
- The above pictures determine weekly prices. If the customers want to change it to bi-weekly, you can just increase the rates by some x% (Here, we used 20%).
The above prices are only for examples and do not serve as any standard for your pricing.
Along with using a pricing strategy, if the service quality is good, you’ll have more confidence to charge higher.
Step 5: Win your first 100 customers
Now that you have figured out important aspects of the lawn care business, it is time to start customer hunting.
You can start this by just printing out flyers and distributing them in the neighborhood. Make sure to include your business name, unique proposition, and contact details.
Build a website on your own using no-code platforms like Wix, WordPress, or Squarespace. And start writing about lawn care. Get yourself listed on platforms like Google my business, Yelp, and Thumbtack to create online awareness.
Start a social media account (Facebook/ Instagram) and post content about lawn care. Join and post in Facebook groups relevant to lawn care in your area to get leads.
You can start doing different types of marketing for a while and see what is working for you. Focus on a couple of marketing channels that are bringing in more leads.
Get referrals from existing customers by going above and beyond with service.
Step 6: Make it legitimate by registering your business
Once you build momentum in your lawn care business, it is time to get registered as a business. Registration is not easy and can cost you some money. It would not be a good idea to register your business before testing the water.
By now, you should have chosen a name for your business. Make sure no other competitor has the same name. You can check on whois.
With an increasing customer base, you’ll have to hire employees. Get an employee identification number using IRS. You can apply for it here.
Open a business bank account to maintain all the business finances separately. This will help you get any financial assistance from the bank in the future for your business.
There are different types of business registrations like sole proprietors, LLCs, and S-corporations. You can learn more about these and choose the right one for you here.
Step 7: Protect your lawn care business with insurance
Life is unpredictable, and so is business. Insurance is the best protection you can give to your dream business. It will help in minimal losses in the advent of unforeseen situations.
There are a lot of insurance types for lawn care businesses. The most important ones are;
General liability insurance protects you from injuries to clients or client property.
Workers’ compensation insurance covers injuries and illnesses of employees. It also includes general health insurance for employees of your company.
Contractor's tools and equipment insurance covers your tools wherever you take them, including on the road and job site.
There are policies like the Business Owner’s policy (BoP) which comes as a package of different insurances required for business owners.
You can learn more about insurance and choose the right now for your lawn care business.
Step 8: Use lawn care software to automate your business
As your business grows, your customers and employees also grow. Using lawn care software right from the start of your business can make your growth phase hassle-free.
You will find difficulty in managing customer information, invoicing, collecting payments, managing employees, equipment management, etc.
Choosing a software that can automate processes and manage information for your business in the early days will make you different from your competitors. While other companies are struggling to move data from excel sheets to lawn care software, you will have an edge by using software from the beginning.
There are many lawn care software like Yardbook, Jobber, and ServicePilot, but none of them will give you customized solutions for your unique processes.
For someone like you who built their successful lawn care business in a unique way (zero money) compared to others who put in huge capital in the business, you deserve better software that is flexible and customizable.
Utilize is a no-code platform for deskless teams like yours where you can build your own customized app for your lawn care business. If you were able to build a website on Wix or WordPress, you can easily build your app on Utilize. Anyways, our product experts are always there to help you with building custom features.
You need not waste time learning the features of a new tool. Instead, build an app to your liking and requirement. The best thing about Utilize is, it is free. You can sign up for free and start creating your custom app today.
Lawn care is a growing industry and has huge potential for growth. Starting a business with no money is the best motivation you can have. We did our best to provide the right strategy for you to start a lawn care business today with no money. Wishing you all the luck on your new business from Utilize.