How to Start a Lawn Care Business

toy lawnmower

Are you an entrepreneur who’s eager to launch his own lawn care business? Are you looking to mow down the competition in the $76 billion landscaping industry in the U.S.? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

If you’re a savvy entrepreneur, you can rake in more than $100,000 in annual revenue from a lawn care business. But running a lawn care business goes way beyond just riding a mower around a few lawns every day. Aside from the manual labor, you’ve got to grapple with sales, marketing, HR, customer service, data analysis and much more.

To give you some pointers on starting a lawn care business, we turned to Pat Hyland, vice president of franchise development for The Grounds Guys. The company has more than 260 lawn and landscaping locations, mostly franchised, in the U.S. and Canada.

Here is a Q&A with Hyland that’s been edited for length and clarity.

The Ground Guys

The Ground Guys has more than 260 locations in the U.S. and Canada.

What are a few basic steps that someone should follow if he or she is starting a lawn care business?

Start by determining what you want the “end” to look like, such as selling the business or passing it along to a family member. Be specific with your “end,” such as the time it will take to get there, and what it will look like when you get there, such as the size of the business and the types of services you’d like to provide.

Now that you know what the end looks like, put together the projected monthly financials for your business. Then, you have a roadmap to help you accomplish your long-term goals as opposed to many business owners, who have no plan and therefore don’t ever reach their personal and financial goals. This will guide your business plan and all the things that need to take place along the way, such as setting up a corporation, developing a marketing plan, and securing financing for equipment and operating capital.

Pat Hyland

Pat Hyland is vice president of franchise development for The Ground Guys.

What are some of the benefits of operating a lawn care business?

Lawn care is a needed service and is recession-resistant. You can offer year-round services like lawn care, bed maintenance, pruning, weed and feed, snow removal, tree care, landscaping and holiday lighting. Plus, the services are not driven by emergencies, providing an opportunity to structure the schedule for your business.

What are some of the drawbacks of operating a lawn care business?

It’s no different in the lawn care business than it is in any other small business — employee challenges, cash-flow challenges, the owner wearing all the hats and the owner working too many hours.

The Ground Guys

Being a lawn care entrepreneur involves more than just mowing lawns.

What does it take to maintain a successful lawn care business?

There is an old adage that states that the capacity of a business is limited to the capacity of the business owner. The owner must invest the time, money and energy — or go outside their organization to get them — to develop and implement systems into their business. This allows the business owner to work on the business and not in the business. Some of the systems that need to be implemented are for marketing, sales, pricing, financials, statistical tracking, human resources, customer service and ongoing technical training.

What does the future hold for lawn care as a business?

The future for the lawn care industry is very bright, especially for companies that have the ability to attract and retain commercial customers. There is more and more consolidation within the property management industry, and lawn care companies that have a good reputation, along with the capacity and systems in place for sustained growth, can really benefit.

Property management companies have come to realize that it is easier to work with 10 or 15 regional or national lawn care providers as opposed to 1,500 independent contractors, so making your company appealing can have a huge impact on your growth and profits.

Top photo: Flickr/breakmake


John Egan

John Egan is the former editor in chief of Now, he is a freelance writer extraordinaire. He lives in Austin, Texas.