800-706-4117 Call now!

We're still open and operating as an essential service during the COVID-19 shutdown. Learn more.

Starting a Company

Cost of Starting a Lawn Care Business

7 min read

Starting a lawn care business can be a rewarding, lucrative profession if you can get it off the ground. But as the saying goes, you typically do need to spend some money in order to make money.

How much money do I need to start a lawn care company? The cost of starting a lawn care business can be as low as $500, but a successful business requires some investing for equipment, marketing and sometimes hiring additional staff. You can start your business as a solo endeavor where you do all the work yourself, or you can hire part-time, full-time or on-demand labor.

Most lawn care businesses typically range from $5,000 - $8,000 in order to get started (not including the total price of a truck).

When planning your business, you may want to consider the following types of cost:

What are the startup costs for a lawn care business?

The cost of starting a lawn care business can be as little as the combined cost of buying a mower and printing some flyers in your neighborhood. However, as you grow your business by increasing the number of jobs and the complexity of the work that needs to be done, additional costs may come into play in order to keep you sane and profitable! The key costs of running a legitimate lawn care business include:

Structural and legal expenses

Business License You don’t need any type of permit specifically for a lawn care business, but you do need to get a business license for your company and a name. An LLC typically costs around $100. In some states, you can file a fictitious name fee, also known as a DBA, which costs around $50. Other expenses might include legal fees for setting up a corporation.

Taxes You also have to register with the federal government and IRS to get a number for withholding taxes.

In addition, most states require you to collect and pay sales tax on services completed. Check with your state’s department of taxation for the requirements of your state.

Insurance You also have to get insurance if you plan to hire staff. Workers’ compensation insurance is mandatory. Workers' compensation rates range from $0.50 - $2.00 per $100 of covered payroll.

You also have to pay any company or employee insurance premiums, which are usually based on estimated income. You’ll also have to open a business bank account for your company to process checks and make cash deposits so that you can pay your bills with business checks. The alternative is accepting cash only, which will severely limit your customers and make it impossible to offer expensive services.

It may sound complex, but it is possible to complete these procedures in as little as one day. With all of the resources available online, it’s easier than ever to get started.

Equipment and Materials

The equipment that you need depends on what services you plan to offer. Remember that you can always start off small and expand your services as the business grows. You’ll need some mowing equipment, edgers and safety equipment.You’ll also require a truck and/or equipment trailer to transport your supplies from job to job. Getting all these items can run anywhere from $5,000 to $8,000.

Check out our extensive articles about getting started with the right equipment.

Fuel

As a lawn pro, you’ll be spending a good amount of time on the road getting from one job to the next. Many pros also travel great distances outside of their own neighborhood in order to complete work. Especially with large trucks and heavy equipment, you can easily spend hundreds of dollars per month on gas. Building effective routes is one way to reduce this cost, along with finding relatively fuel-efficient trucks.

You’ll also need to fuel up your lawn mower and other gas-powered equipment. It costs about $7/per hour in fuel to run a gas-powered mower.

Did you know? Lawn Love helps you plan the most cost effective lawn routes with our map view. Schedule jobs that are close to one another in order to maximize your time and to save on fuel.

Lawn Love pro app map view

Marketing Expenses

You can begin marketing your business by passing out flyers, using signage locally and on your truck and relying on word-of-mouth referrals. Depending on your goals and the size of your local community, this may just do the trick with little to no money.

Marketing online can be relatively inexpensive as well. You’ll first need to create a simple website, which can cost as little as $100-$500 to either do yourself or to hire someone to set up a basic Wordpress or Wix site. Then you’ll want to get people to your site using Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, local internet advertising and/or Search engine optimization (SEO). These are all techniques that promote your website to people browsing online, even with a relatively low marketing budget we’d recommend starting with a budget somewhere around $200 - $2,000 a month for online marketing if you can!

You could do marketing yourself or hire a consultant. Even better, you could let a service such as Lawn Love help you with no additional cost for advertising! Lawn Love automatically matches lawn pros with customers in their area based on their skills and the jobs that need to get done. This works well especially as businesses are getting started in order to supplement your marketing and get you jobs that will bring in money for more robust marketing, or other things! Most of our pros use Lawn Love even if they have a successful business outside of the platform because it’s so easy and allows you to sit back and focus on the other parts of running a business.

Calculating your costs

Management

Operations Management costs vary whether you’re a one-person operation or work with a network of contractors. At the very least, you’ll want to establish a home base or headquarters from which to operate.We’d recommend setting up a dedicated office space and preferably a business phone / answering service.

You’ll want to make sure you have a computer with either Excel or other spreadsheet-related software to stay organized when it comes to managing operations like scheduling, budgets, and customer payments.

Equipment maintenance Maintaining equipment on the day to day is not typically expensive, but repair costs do come up as a normal part of the job and should also be budgeted for. A mower repair could be typically around $60 - 100.

To save on management costs, use an app that can handle much of the management for you. Our free pro app allows you to track all of your expenses, in one location. We also keep track of your customers, jobs, and schedule so that you don’t have to.

Cost Effective Business Structure for a Lawn Care Business

You have to choose a business structure for your lawn care business. The options include sole proprietorship, a partnership, corporation, limited liability corporation (LLC), or more complex structures. Most small startup businesses choose sole proprietorships because they’re the most simple. In this type of business, the owner’s personal and business assets are considered the same, and any debts can be charged against them.

Partnerships work the same way, but the debts are allocated based on the partnership percentage. If one partner owns 10%, he or she is only responsible for 10% of any debts or liabilities. Corporate structure can protect your personal assets as separate from corporate assets. You should consult an attorney for help in choosing the best legal structure for you in addition to helping set up your business, but you can do this yourself if you’re good with paperwork.

How to Impress Potential Clients Without a Lot of Cash

The tips for starting a lawn care business can be summarized simply: provide the services that customers want, and do what you do well, in a professional and courteous way using well-maintained equipment. You don’t need a on of cash to make a good impression, but you do need to invest in tools that keep you organized and professional.

Using the Lawn Love app is one of the best ways to impress potential clients by keeping you organized and on time, while saving you overhead and marketing costs. Apps help you schedule work crews, generate professional contracts and invoices and even take online payments.

Sign up to become a pro.

Get more lawn care customers instantly with Lawn Love.

Apply Now →

Keep reading

Related articles