The preparations to start your own lawn care business are not that different from starting any new business. While the work you do of making people's lawns look great is different from many businesses, the rules of how to start a business apply to you too. And one big rule that you must obey before you get started is to know the costs of doing business before you launch out on your own.
Running a professional lawn care business must be done with a different approach than just doing lawn care to make money as a contractor. You may have already learned a lot by loading up your small push Briggs and Stratton lawnmower in the back of your pickup and going around mowing lawns to make money. Not that this is not good honest work. But to actually upgrade from that stage to running a full scale lawn care business means you will think bigger, plan to make more money and approach the question of equipment with a bigger vision as well.
There are expenses that are a natural part of running a lawn care business. Probably the top three expenses are (1) employees (2) equipment and (3) storage and maintenance of your equipment. One reason you must do some realistic thinking about the equipment you will need to create a business out of your talent for lawn care is that knowing the "start up costs" is a big part of becoming a full fledged business. When you finally have your business started, whether that means incorporation or some other format that you frame your new business in, you must be ready to get out there and start working as soon as possible. That means moving quickly and efficiently to buy the tools of the trade for taking good care of your customer's lawns.
The basic tools needed for lawn care are pretty easy to list. Depending on the kinds of services your lawn care company will do, those tools might include lawnmowers, edgers, rakes, brooms, leaf blower/suckers, weed eaters, hoes, trowels, shovels and clean up equipment. If you have been doing lawn care either of your own place or as a contractor, you no doubt know this equipment well. But that basic lawn mower that does a good job being used once a week in a home is probably not going to be sturdy enough to be used 8 hours a day, 5-7 days a week.
In addition to finding out the costs for "industrial strength" equipment, the types of contracts you will be servicing and the kinds of services you offer impact equipment needs. If you are going to be the primary lawn care service for a large golf club, you will need large riding lawn mowers and other equipment that can handle such a big job. Also think about storage and transportation of that equipment and any maintenance needs you will have in keeping the tools of the trade that make your business work in tip top operating equipment all the time.
As a rule, start out evaluating the equipment you will need for your first few months of business. If you already have customers, just upgrade the equipment you have been using to be ready for the expansion of business you are planning. Don't invest in equipment to support hundreds of large scale corporate contracts if you are starting off with a dozen residential customers that will be the starting place for your business. Plan for today and for your next step in growing your business. And grow your equipment and employee base to support the business as it grows. That is sensible business management that will serve you well day one and for years to come as your lawn care business continues to grow and succeed.