Updated September 17, 2021
A lawn mowing or lawn care business is one of the most popular small businesses to start in the US, mostly because it's super simple to operate and can be started as a side-hustle. The income is good too – depending on the area, a 1-day-a-week business can bring it's owner an extra couple thousand dollars a month, with very little cost to get started.
I interviewed three people who got started in the lawn care business years ago, and asked them what you should know about how to get started in the business, and how to run and grow your lawn mowing business.
First, I wanted to know what background they came from – do people usually work in the industry first, before starting a business? Or is it common to just get started and learn as you go?
So I asked my three founders – how did you get started in the lawn care business?
did you work with someone doing lawn care before? or did you just get started on your own?
Because most people are familiar with lawn mowing, it's a natural starting point when they think about businesses they can start and run easily without having to learn a whole new world of information.
I wondered if there is a specific set of skills you need to operate the business, or, is it as simple as it sounds?
What training, what skill, and what experience is needed? Could you hire experienced people to help you?
I asked the three successful lawn care business owners:
can you start a lawn care business with no experience? can you learn everything as you go?
So my three founders confirmed what I suspected – you can mostly learn everything as you go, without the need for a lifetime experience before you get started.
You just need some equipment, and some customers.
It's a good idea to buy commercial grade equipment – not home-grade equipment. It lasts longer, but the direct benefit is – it makes your work faster, and in many cases a good mower will have a nicer cut than a cheap mower, especially in thicker patches of lawn.
I asked my three experts how much money you need to get started in this business, and what you need to buy.
is it an expensive business to start? what equipment do you need as a minimum, to start earning money?
Once you get the basic equipment – a mower, trimmer, and blower – and then you get some clients, you'll be earning an income almost right away.
Each lawn care business owner I spoke with said they have far more work than they can handle. The lawn care business has such huge demand for services that you'll quickly have as many clients as you want.
I asked the three successful lawn care operators how much you could expect to earn as you get started in this business, and as you get more established.
is it a profitable business to run? can you expect to earn a good income quite quickly?
Lawn care can bring in a very good income, and once you get your base of customers it's quite a stable business.
Generally, the answer seems to be – you can expect to earn anywhere from $5,000 to well over $10,000 with a lawn care business – depending on how much you want to work, and what you're charging for your services.
It all starts with the first client, and then, 40 or 50 more.
I asked my three successful lawn care operators:
do you advertise? do you buy leads? is there something that works really well?
As you're getting established in the industry, you'll have phone calls and customer enquiries coming in. People will be enquiring about your services, and will be asking you to help them.
Turning those enquiries into paying clients is the next task.
Usually, that's pretty simple – just be helpful and answer their questions, and they'll use your services. If you do a good job, they'll probably use your services over and over again, as well as recommend you when their friends and family ask if they know someone.
I asked my three industry experts – how do customers choose which lawn care business they'll hire?
what do clients really care about? what are they looking for in a lawn care or mowing service?
As soon as you start advertising your services, you'll probably get calls and emails from companies selling you advertising and other types of marketing.
Some of those services are great, and some of them are a complete waste of money.
I asked my three successful founders what their experiences were with methods of generating new business. I wanted to know what had worked well for them, and what had been a waste of money.
regular advertising? door hangers? online advertising? what works, and what doesnt?
The general idea seems to be – try everything at least once, but don't assign much budget to it. In an industry with as much demand as lawn care, it doesn't take much to get your client base established.
It can be tempting to start buying things – new computers, or services, or things to use in your business – once the cashflow starts coming in.
I asked my three founders whether there was
is there something that sounds like a good idea, but is actually a bad purchase?
All three of the lawn care business owners I spoke to have built nice businesses for themselves, and, they said it's not difficult. They all report having more work than they can handle.
I wondered what a typical workday looks like for someone running a lawn care business.
I asked my three founders – what is a typical day for you now?
is it busy all day every day? is it an enjoyable business? how's the work/life balance?
The balance between work and rest seems attractive in the lawn care business. If you want to work more hours and make a better income, that's what you can do – but even working three-day-weeks will have you earning a very good income for yourself.
I wanted to know if the industry had a reputation for bad operators, or if other lawn care businesses were taking nasty shortcuts.
I asked the experts:
are there shady operators doing things the wrong way? or is the industry mostly full of professionals?
The basic principles of do a good job, charge a fair price, and treat the customer fairly seem to stack up in the lawn care business as well. Just don't try to be the cheapest – it won't lead to a growth in business, it will just lead to financial problems for you. Customers are already paying more, so why not stick with what they're willing to pay.
In lawn care, as in most other industries, it's always easier to get more from your existing customers than it is to find new customers.
I asked my three experts what other services they can offer, in addition to just lawn care and mowing, to increase revenue?
are there extras and add-ons? what do customers often request?
the three successful founders share their keys to success in this industry, based on their own experiences
The lawn care business ticks all the boxes. It's super easy to get started, the equipment can be as cheap as $500 or $1000, and in most places around the country the demand for services is much higher than the existing businesses can handle.
I have spent over 100 hours learning everything there is to know about the lawn care business, by talking to industry experts and lawn care operators. I have compiled it into the worlds most useful guide, How to Start a Lawn Care Business. You can check it out here.
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