One Man and a Truck: Sole Proprietors in the Lawn Care Industry

You’d be surprised how many lawn care companies are simply one man and a truck. Of course, the goal is that they will scale their business and eventually employee a number of workers. But the reality is, the lawn care industry is largely fragmented into small, one-man (or woman) operations. Here we’ll discuss the positives and negatives of one-man-operations, both from a business and a consumer standpoint.

Photo source: Lawn & Landscape
Photo source: Lawn & Landscape

The Negatives

Because a one-man operations is, by definition, a scrappy upstart, there will be inevitable downsides to hiring one. First, often these companies will lack insurance. Why is this a problem? Well, because if a rock gets hucked through your expensive window, you’ll have no coverage. You’ll be paying out of pocket. Not only that, but if someone gets hurt on your property, you’ll be liable. Not a good scenario. There’s also the fact that, because they’re often in the field and on the job, it’s hard to get a hold of sole proprietors. Not that they aren’t good at customer service, but logistics simply don’t work in their favor; they’ve got to either do their job or take calls, not both. Often, these companies will have lower end equipment as well, solely because of financial constraints.

The Positives

There are many positives to working with sole proprietors as well. First off, you can really develop trust with the company you’re working with. You’ll always know who is doing your lawn, which increases accountability, and you know who to talk to if you want something changed. The service, then, is also more personalized.

In all honesty, we’ve had great experience working with one-man operations at LawnStarter. We deal with one-man companies in all of our operating areas – Orlando, Austin, Washington DC, and Fairfax County. Some of these companies are simply the most reliable people that we deal with. Some are not, but those are usually the exceptions. Overall, working with a sole-proprietor is not only something that is very likely (due to the large number of them), but it can be a super enjoyable experience because of the personalized nature of the business.

Just make sure you can reach them with email!


Alex Birkett

Alex Birkett is marketer and writer. Aside from mowing lawns, he loves snowboarding, eating sushi, and lifting heavy weights. He moved to Austin, TX after graduating from the University of Wisconsin.