How to Start a Lawn Care Business

Written by Dave Lavinsky

lawn maintenance business
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Starting a lawn care company is a great way to launch your own business and reap the rewards (profits and equity) of business ownership. Below you will find out the key steps to launch a successful lawn care business.

Importantly, a critical step in starting a lawn care business is to complete your business plan. To help you out, you should download Growthink’s Ultimate Lawn Care Business Plan Template here.

Steps to Starting Your Own Lawn Care Business

1. Develop a lawn care business plan.

This is probably the most important step, as it will help you to map out your goals and strategies for your own business. Your business plan should include information on things like your target market, how you plan to attract more customers, your pricing strategy, and your marketing plans. This document will be a valuable tool as you move forward with your business.

2. Get the necessary licenses and business insurance.

Because your lawn business is a legal business entity, before you can start operating your lawn care business, you will need to obtain the necessary business license and general liability insurance. Make sure you contact your local licensing office to find out what local licenses are required and contact an insurance agent to get coverage for your business. Doing this is important to make sure that you are doing your lawn care business legally and protecting yourself in case of any mishaps.

3. Learn lawn care skills.

If you are already an expert in lawn care, this will be a no-brainer, but if not, you need to develop the necessary lawn care skills before getting started. You can enroll in short courses at local community colleges or online lawn care training websites.

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4. Buy or rent equipment and supplies.

In order to offer your services, you will need some basic equipment. This may include lawnmowers, weed eaters, edgers, blowers, and other tools. You may be able to buy or rent this equipment from local suppliers, or you may want to consider purchasing it outright if you plan to start a lawn care business full-time. The supplies that you will need include lawnmower gas, lawn care spray chemicals, and lawn care bags.

5. Hire employees (if needed).

If you plan to offer services on a larger scale, you will likely need to hire some employees. Think about how many lawn care workers you’re likely to need, and how much it will cost to hire them. This can be a great way to get help with tasks like lawn mowing, trimming, and weed control. Be sure to screen potential employees carefully and make sure they are qualified to do the job.

6. Start advertising your services.

Once your business is up and running, it’s time to start advertising your services. There are a number of ways to do this, including online advertising, print advertising, and word-of-mouth marketing. Start by choosing the methods that work best for your business and budget, and then put together a plan to market your lawn business regularly.

7. Keep accurate business records.

Besides being necessary for tax purposes, maintaining clear lawn care records will help you run your lawn care company more effectively. Keep track of all the lawns you treat each month, how much time it takes to manage them, and your revenue. This information is crucial in helping you make decisions about pricing lawn services, expanding your business, and more.
By following these steps, you can create a successful lawn business that meets the needs of your customers. So if you’re ready to take the plunge into small business ownership, starting a lawn care business may be the right choice for you.

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How Big is the Lawn Care Industry?

The lawn care industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that is continuing to grow. The market is estimated to be worth $114.6 billion this year. The industry employs more than 1 million people and represents 604,163 landscaping service businesses, an increase of 4.9 percent over the last 5 years.

What are the Key Segments of the Lawn Care Industry?

The lawn care industry can be broken down into three different segments; lawn mowing, lawn fertilization, and lawn pest control.

Lawn Mowing

Lawn Maintenance is the process of performing lawn care on an area of lawn. It includes cutting, edging, raking, and finally weed eating. Mowing lawns is usually done by riding a lawn tractor which allows you to cover more ground quicker than would be possible on foot. The following are some of the most common ways to mow clients’ lawns:

    Vertical Mowers: These are designed to cut the grass down with a blade standing straight up on the front of the mower.

    Rotary Mowers: These have blades that spin circularly around a motor and are the most common type of lawn mower.

    Reel Mowers: These use a set of blades that rotate against a fixed wheel, providing a clean cut and giving the lawn a striped look.

Lawn Fertilization

Lawn Fertilization is the process of adding nutrients to the lawn in order to improve its health and appearance. The main nutrients that lawns need are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). There are two types of fertilizers: organic and inorganic.

    Organic fertilizers are made from natural materials such as manure, straw, or compost.

    Inorganic fertilizers are made from synthetic materials such as urea, ammonium sulfate, or potassium chloride.

Lawn Pest Control

Lawn Pest Control is the process of managing and preventing lawn pests. These pests can include insects such as lawn grubs, ants, or chinch bugs, as well as rodents such as lawn moles or gophers. There are three main types of lawn pest control: cultural, chemical, and biological.

    Cultural control is the method of managing pests through good lawn care practices. This includes keeping the lawn healthy and free of debris, watering properly, and mowing at the correct height.

    Chemical control is the use of pesticides to kill or control pests. Pesticides can be in the form of a liquid, granular, or dust and can be applied to the lawn either by hand or with a machine.

    Biological control is the use of natural predators to control lawn pests. These predators include birds, frogs, and toads, beneficial nematodes, and microorganisms.


What External Factors Affect the Lawn Care Industry?

The lawn care industry is affected by a number of external factors. These factors can have a positive or negative impact depending on the situation.

Environmental Conditions

For example, in dry regions lawns tend to be greener in wet seasons due to more rainfall and lower temperatures. This can lead to an increase in lawn business during these times, especially from lawn care companies that offer low rates for their services.

In contrast, lawn care companies can also see a decrease in demand when lawns are green year-round due to global warming. Fewer people need lawn care maintenance when lawns are always green since they no longer need additional water drainage or fertilizing.

Economic conditions

During a recession, people may have less money to spend on lawn care providers. Conversely, during a boom period, the industry may see an increase in demand as people have more money to spend.

Demographic Trends

As the population ages, lawn care companies may see an increase in demand as elderly homeowners require lawn care assistance. In contrast, lawn care companies may see a decrease in demand as millennials move into downtown areas and have less space for lawns.

Legal Regulations

Local governments can have a direct impact on the lawn care industry by establishing regulations around lawn care and lawn-related products. For example, lawn care companies that do not follow regulations may face additional costs or legal issues. In some regions, lawn care companies are required to be licensed to show the competency levels of their workers before being allowed to offer lawn care services. This adds another factor for lawn care providers to consider when planning their budgets since they may need to pay for additional training or hiring new employees with this type of skill set.

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Who are the Key Competitors in the Lawn Care Market?

The lawn care industry is a highly competitive market, and it can be difficult to succeed in this business without a good business plan and the right tools and resources. Some of the key competitors in this industry include lawn maintenance companies, landscaping businesses, and garden centers.

Lawn Maintenance Companies

Lawn maintenance companies offer a wide range of services, from lawn mowing to fertilizing and weed control. They typically have a team of employees who are trained in lawn care, and they may also offer landscaping services. Many lawn maintenance companies are large businesses with multiple locations, and they often have a loyal customer base.

Landscaping Businesses

Landscaping businesses offer a variety of services, including lawn care, garden design, and tree trimming. They typically have a team of employees who are skilled in landscape design and construction. Landscaping businesses may be small or large businesses, and they may specialize in residential or commercial landscaping.

Garden Centers

Garden centers sell plants, flowers, seeds, lawn care supplies, and other gardening products. In addition to lawn care items, garden centers sell outdoor furniture and patio accessories. They may also offer services such as lawn mowing. Some garden centers have a team of landscape designers who can help customers design their lawns and gardens, while others only provide lawn care maintenance services.

These three types of companies are all industries that you could potentially compete with when launching a lawn business. For example, if you’re going into landscaping or starting a service business then your ‘key competitors’ will include the big players in those industries. If you’re selling lawn care products then your key competitors are the likes of Homebase, Wilko’s, and other garden stores.

Therefore, it’s important to research your competition and understand what services they offer, how much they charge for those services, and what differentiates your business from theirs. You need to think about what it is that you can offer that these businesses can’t. What unique skills do you have? What services can you provide that aren’t being offered by your competition? How can you set yourself apart from the competition and make your lawn business a success?

The lawn care industry is a highly competitive market, but there are also many opportunities for businesses to succeed. By doing your research and understanding who your key competitors are, you’ll be in a better position to create a winning business plan and achieve success in this industry.

What are the Key Customer Segments in the Lawn Care Market?

The lawn care market can be divided into four key segments: residential, commercial, municipal, golf course, and sports field. Each of these markets has different needs and presents different opportunities for lawn care companies. Let’s take a closer look at each market segment.

Residential Lawn Care

The residential lawn care market is the largest and most competitive market segment in the lawn care industry. The majority of lawn care companies in the residential market are small businesses that offer basic services to homeowners. This market is divided into two categories: homeowner services and professional services.

    Homeowner services are provided by individuals or small businesses that offer basic lawn care assistance such as mowing, edging, and weed control. These services are typically marketed to an individual homeowner’s lawn.

    Professional services are provided by larger businesses that offer a wider range of services, such as fertilization, lawn aeration, and pest control. These are provided by professional lawn care service providers offering a full range of services to meet all their customers’ lawn care needs. These lawn care businesses often specialize in one or two services and work with commercial, municipal, and/or residential clients.

Commercial Lawn Care

The commercial lawn care market is much larger than the residential market, but it is also much more competitive. The majority of lawn care companies in this market are large companies that offer a wide range of services to their customers. This market can be divided into two categories: lawn maintenance and landscape maintenance.

    Lawn maintenance is the most common type of commercial lawn care. It includes basic services such as mowing, edging, and weed control.

    Landscape maintenance is a more comprehensive service that includes all the services offered in lawn maintenance plus additional services such as planting trees and shrubs, installing irrigation systems, and paving walkways and driveways.

Commercial lawn care is more complex than residential lawn care and requires more knowledge and equipment. There is also more competition in the commercial lawn care market, so lawn care companies need to be able to provide higher-quality services at a competitive price.

Lawncare businesses that focus on commercial lawn care can choose from three different business models:

    Single Service Model – provides only one service such as weed control or fertilization

    Multiple Service Model – provides multiple lawn services

    Combination Model – provides both single and multiple lawn care services simultaneously for the same client

Golf Course Lawn Care

The golf course lawn care market is a specialized industry with very specific needs. Mainly, golf courses require lawn care that minimizes water usage and reduces the need for fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides.

Golf course lawn care companies usually employ specialized equipment such as mowers with wide cutting decks and lawn tractors with attachments. Most lawn care businesses in this industry may also offer other groundskeeping services such as weed control and pest control.

Sports Field Lawn Care

The sports field lawn care market is a relatively new market segment in the lawn care industry. This market is made up of athletic fields such as football fields, soccer fields, baseball fields, and softball fields; track & field areas are also included under the sports field category. Like golf course lawn care, sports field lawn care requires specialized equipment because surfaces must be able to withstand a great deal of wear and tear.

Sports field lawn care companies usually offer services such as lawn aeration, weed control, pesticide application, and fertilization. In order to be successful in this market, lawn care companies need to have a good understanding of the specific needs of athletic fields.

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What are the Typical Startup Costs for a New Lawn Care Company?

The typical startup costs for a lawn care company depend on the size of your lawn and how much lawn care you’ll be providing. If lawn care for your lawn is only a part-time job, then your costs are low. However, if lawn care is your full-time job, then your costs are higher.

The lawn care business startup costs for lawn care business owners can also vary depending on the lawn care business model and other factors. For instance, businesses that offer lawn care maintenance and lawn fertilization may want to invest in a lawn care truck or trailer while lawn care providers that focus on lawn mowing may not need a truck until later. The following are some of the common setup and start-up costs:

  • Starting an LLC (around $200)
  • Buying a lawn care service truck (around $30,000)
  • Purchasing lawn care and safety equipment (around $2,000 – $50,000)
  • Buying fuel and other supplies (approximately $1,500 per month)
  • Lawn care marketing and advertising (around $1,500)

Other lawn care business expenses may include business insurance ($2,000 annually), workers’ compensation insurance coverage ($600 – $1,200 per year), equipment maintenance ($1,000 annually), and lawn care uniforms or clothing (approximately $100 per set). In total, the lawn care business startup costs can range from around $3,000 to $51,500 for new business owners.
In order to be successful, it’s important to remember that lawn care is a seasonal business. That means you’ll likely have slower months during the winter. Make sure you have enough saved up to cover your costs during these months.

Is Owning a Lawn Care Business Profitable?

Starting a lawn care business is not only possible, but profitable as well. Providing a variety of services, from mowing and edging to general landscaping, a lawn care service offers a tangible service that cannot be replicated by online competitors.

Having a firm grasp on the market, as well as an understanding of what customers are looking for will go a long way toward establishing yourself in this lucrative industry. Lawn care services currently make up one-third of all lawn and garden services in the US, which is expected to rise even more over the next several years.

What are the Keys to Launching a New Lawn Care Business?

As lawn care is such a vast market, it’s important that business owners do their research on the key steps for launching. By keeping these following points in mind, lawn care owners and entrepreneurs will be well-equipped to meet the lawn care industry head-on:

1. Have a Detailed Business Plan

Your lawn care business plan should include detailed information about your business, including what services you offer, your marketing strategy, your target audience, and your financial projections. This will help you to stay organized and make informed decisions as your business grows. This will also be helpful when seeking funding or investment.

2. Start Out Small

When starting a new business, it’s important to start out small and gradually grow your business. Keep your lawn care costs low, don’t over-hire employees, and only take on clients whose lawns you can service. You can always expand later. This will allow you to test the waters and make sure that your business is viable before investing too much money into it.

3. Invest in Quality Equipment

In order to provide quality lawn services, you need to invest in quality equipment. This includes lawn mowers, weed eaters, edgers, and other tools necessary for the job. You should also invest in lawn care equipment insurance to protect your investment.

4. Determine Your Pricing

Lawn care services are priced by the square foot, so before you start your lawn care business it’s important to determine exactly how much lawns should cost. This will help you to stay competitive and ensure that you’re making a profit on each lawn. Research the rates of competing lawn care companies in order to set a competitive price for your services.

5. Market Yourself Effectively

To ensure that people will actually use your services, you need to market yourself effectively through public relations and social media marketing campaigns. Create a website where potential clients can find out about your services, check which days you are open, request appointments online, and read client testimonials.

You can also create a Facebook Page. Facebook can be an effective marketing tool for your lawn care business. It allows you to promote deals to local lawn care customers, share lawn care tips, and build relationships with potential customers. Then, you can post lawn care photos or videos that help potential customers visualize what it would be like to work with you.

6. Offer Promotions & Deals

Offering lawn care deals & discounts is one of the best ways to attract new potential clients while ensuring repeat business from existing ones, so consider running promotions throughout the year when appropriate (e.g. before the holidays or when lawns are especially dry). You can also offer special services at a lower rate in order to attract new clients.

7. Develop Your Skills

In addition to providing quality services, you need to develop your skills as a lawn care business owner and learn everything possible about lawn care in general. This will help you determine how much lawns should cost and market yourself more effectively because it will give you detailed knowledge of the lawn care business that your competitors lack.

8. Follow State Regulations & Insure Yourself

Though all states require lawn care companies to obtain some form of business license and/or certification, specific regulations vary by state, so make sure you know exactly what is required in your state and follow all lawn care business rules. It’s also important to get liability lawn care insurance to protect yourself from lawsuits and other lawn-care-related accidents.

9. Stay Organized & Manage Your Time Efficiently

A successful lawn care business is one that stays organized and manages its time efficiently, so keep track of lawn care dealings by making a daily work schedule and managing your tasks carefully. Keeping an up-to-date lawn care calendar will help you stay on top of deadlines while ensuring that you meet your service goals for the day.

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How to Start a Lawn Care Business FAQs

This is something you'll want to decide before starting your lawn care business. Services can vary from company to company, but most lawn care providers offer some combination of the following:

Mowing lawns

This is the most basic lawn care service. You will need to have a lawn mower and be able to operate it safely.

Weed Control

This service usually includes removing weeds from the lawn and applying weed killer. You will need to be comfortable using weed killers and other pesticides.


This service includes trimming the lawn around sidewalks, driveways, and other objects. You will need a blade sharp enough to make a clean cut on the grass.


This service generally includes fertilizing the lawn with commercial fertilizer. You will need to be comfortable with using a spreader.

Turf Installation

This service includes installing sod or artificial turf. You will need to have knowledge of how to install turf and be able to operate heavy equipment.

Some lawn care companies charge by the hour, while others charge a flat fee for landscaping business services. You may also want to consider offering package deals, which could include lawn mowing, edging, and trimming.

To be successful, you'll want to have a variety of prices so that you can target different budgets or need levels at different times—higher rates during peak season, for example, or lower rates after the lawn maintenance season ends.

There are many effective ways to advertise your business. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to market your business because it is free advertising. Referrals from satisfied existing customers are the best way to get new customers.

You can also put flyers in people’s mailboxes. You can go around and pass out paper fliers at events or in highly populated areas. You can also try going door-to-door and speaking to the homeowners directly about your services as you distribute your flyers. 

You can also market your lawn care business online. One way to do this is by setting up a website for your business or advertising on online classified websites, such as Craigslist. Social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are also great places to market your lawn business. You can post pictures of your work, post lawn care tips, and offer discounts to loyal customers who “like” or follow your business on social media.


Additional Online Resources

Lawn Crack
Turf Magazine
Lawn Love

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