First steps to lawn care business legitimacy.

Starting anything from scratch can be difficult because you don’t know the intricacies of the interest you are exploring. Getting a business going is no different. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one entrepreneur about the steps he took to get his mowing business up and running. Sure it may seem like a lot of steps, but just jumping through these minor hoops should be no problem for anyone. Once they are done, they are done and you can move forwards.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I just attended a small business basics workshop. It cost $45 for 4 hours of information ranging from fictitious names, to the importance of business plans for getting bank loans, to tax information, and more. Enough info to make your head spin, but they also offer free personal counseling service which I signed up for.

I had a pretty good grasp on much of what was presented, but I’m still confused on what order I need to do things in. (naming, tax ID #, insurance, etc.) Unfortunately, it seems there are no direct answers to some of my questions other than ‘talk to an accountant’, and ‘talk to an attorney.’ Sigh, I guess there’s no getting around that.

The attorney that spoke mentioned that her firm has a fee of $800 (plus fees for misc. items such as LLC formation) to set up a new business. They submit ALL paperwork for you. I don’t know if that’s worthwhile, or even if it’s anywhere near average as far as cost is concerned, but I think I’ll do this myself. That said, I think I’ll need an accountant and/or attorney - or at least meet with them at a minimum.

I’m a bit uneasy about starting a business of this nature at the ‘end’ of the season but there are calls coming in. I talked to a customer to give a price on cutting a jungle of forsythia bushes that have grown to 12′-14′ high. She didn’t balk at the quoted price, but since I’m not insured, she wanted to wait to have the work done. Fortunately, she told me she isn’t going to have someone else do it - that she wants me to have the job, and she’s willing to wait a few weeks until I get things in order.

She apologized, but I explained that I understood fully, and that I’d be happy to keep her updated on my progress as I get my business up and running, and reschedule her job for another time.

In addition to that, I’ve been in contact with a customer in a rather upscale neighborhood who has mentioned my services to some neighbors - they are interested in hiring me, but the lack of insurance is preventing me from a very good opportunity to get some steady work there.”

A second business owner said “my view is keep it simple in the beginning. Who knows if you will like this. Who knows if you will want to continue to do it after you get started so why invest too much until you get your feet wet a little.

Business Name: If your name is Joe Smith, Why not go with Joe’s Lawn Care or Smith Lawn Care. Keep it simple and keep it personal. Play to your strength of being an owner operator and play to your competitor’s weakness. Advertise ‘Hi I am Joe of Joe Smith’s Lawn Care and I will personally make sure the job is done right the first time and you are more than satisfied.’ People love to know the owner of the business, so use this to your advantage and let them know you own it.

Tax ID #: Why not just start as a sole proprietor. That way, your social security number is your tax ID. You are paying tax on money you make, just as you have been doing all your life. Sure you have to do things a little different from being an employee somewhere, but the difference is pretty slight.

Insurance: It depends on your needs. Just starting out, you don’t need too much insurance. Maybe a million dollar liability? Maybe less for residential, depending on how much you have to protect in the way of assets.

Commercial customers may require you to have $2 million dollar liability insurance, but why bother with them early on. Focus on residential customers and focus on bonding with your customers.

Don’t know who to buy from? Call your home owner’s insurer. Call you auto insurer. Then do an internet search and see what pops up. Get a few quotes on insurance and go with the one that works best for you. Then you will be fully insured and can get all those jobs you haven’t been able to up to this point because of your lack of insurance.”

Order the book “The Lawn Care Business Can Get Dirty, Ugly, And Mean.: Stories Of Survival And Success To Get You Through The Rough Times” today.

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
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A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success