How to Start a Lawn Care Business Legally

Lawn Care Businesses can be very lucrative - learn what it takes to run a successful Lawn Care Business today!
Denise Elizabeth P
Senior Financial Editor & Contributor
Last Updated: May 26, 2021
Date Published: May 5, 2021

Starting a lawn care business is easier than you may think!

If you love being outdoors and have experience with lawn care, then starting your own lawn care business can be a very rewarding and profitable venture.

Today we are going to discuss the steps needed to form your lawn care business legally so you can take on your first client and get to work!

Here is How to Start a Lawn Care Business Legally:

Make a Business Plan

Before you actually invest too much time and money into your business, you will want to make a business plan to see if this is even a feasible business idea.

Many entrepreneurs and business owners skip this step when they are first starting out.

A business plan maps out the specifics of your business and can shed light on unknown factors that could negatively impact your business down the road.

A business plan is actually a key component to success and so we strongly recommend every small business owner create one from the beginning.

Take some time to sit down and write out your business plan.

The business plan should identify your target market and target audience, potential costs and funding needs, what you plan on charging your customers, marketing strategies, and goals for growth, among other things.

Choose a Name

Your business name is more important that you think!

It is what people will remember you by and so you want it to be easy to remember and brand-able.

If you already have a name in mind, you can reserve your business name so that it doesn’t get taken by someone else while you make a final decision.

You can reserve a business name by completing a Name Reservation Request online in the state where you live.

There is a usually a filing fee ranging anywhere from $10-$25 and you can get name exclusivity for up to 90 days.

This gives you time to choose a name without losing the one that you love but are undecided on for now.

If you already have a name in mind you will want to do an internet search to make sure you name is not already taken.

You may also want to consider trademarking your business name once you decide on one.

This will prevent anyone from trying to create a business with the same name as your.

Form Your Business

To legally do business, you have to register your business with your local Secretary of State.

The first step is to decide on a business structure, also know as a business entity.

Your business is not legally recognized until you complete the appropriate formation paperwork with the government and state.

There are several business structures to choose from including sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), Corporation, etc.

You will want to consult an attorney if you are not sure which business structure to choose.

You can also use a formation service that will handle the entire process for you.

Many small business owners choose an LLC (limited liability company) because it provides limited liability protection to you as the owner and it benefits from pass-through taxation.

Learn all about LLCs here.

Here is a quick Business Formation Checklist

  1. Select a business entity type: Sole proprietor, LLC, Corporation, etc.
  2. Obtain an EIN (Employer Identification Number) from the IRS – once your online application is complete, you will receive an EIN instantly.
  3. Register your business locally in the State in which you will be conducting business. This is done with the Secretary of State in the State in which you will be doing business.
  4. Obtain any business licenses or permits required in your State to operate a lawn care business. These can also be found at your local Secretary of State website or by simply doing a Google search. For licenses related to fertilization, landscape design and pesticide control, you will want to visit your local Department of Agriculture to find out your state’s specific license requirements.

Get Insured

Because you will be going onto peoples properties to perform yard care services, you will want to make sure you are properly insured should you or someone else get injured or should there be any property damage.

You just never know what could go wrong and it is always a good idea to be covered.

Commercial insurance is usually the type of insurance recommended for lawn care service businesses.

This insurance covers you should you accidentally damage or break something on a clients property.

You should also consider getting general liability insurance which will cover most other incidents that could occur.

If you aren’t sure what type of insurance coverage(s) you need, you should contact and insurance agent specialist.

Not having insurance for your lawn care business can easily put you out of business if something does go wrong and you are liable.

Purchase Lawn Care Equipment

You will need a lawn mower, blower, rake, and other lawn care equipment to perform the work required.

You will also need a method of transportation that is capable of carrying all of your equipment to and from job sites.

When starting out, try to find equipment that is used but in great condition.

You can always upgrade to newer, better equipment once you build a revenue stream – this keeps you from going into too much debt right off the bat.

Also, regularly maintaining your lawn care equipment will help it last longer and perform better.

Marketing

In order to build a client base, you are going to have to market yourself.

Spend some time building a website, business cards and perhaps flyers that you can hand out.

In addition, you will want an e-mail address and easy way for clients to contact you for scheduling.

Sometimes even just going door to door in neighborhoods is a great way to pickup new clients.

Your marketing materials should provide pricing and a service list so customers know what you offer and how much it costs.

Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are an excellent way to build credibility and grow faster.

Encourage your customers to leave you a Google or Yelp review or leave a review on your website.

You can incentivize them by offering a discount on their next project or next months maintenance fee.

Build a Great Reputation

The best way to do this is by providing an excellent service at an affordable price.

Showing up on time and following through on your promises is also part of building a great reputation.

Happy customers will be returning customers and t hey will also be the ones that send you referrals by word of mouth.

 

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  1. IRS.gov "Business Structures" Page 1 . May 5, 2021

  2. SBA.gov "Register with State Agencies" Page 1 . May 5, 2021

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