Going legit with your lawn care service.

What makes a lawn care company legit? Many new business owners think about this and wonder about it to themselves. Do you need to be incorporated? Do you need to have an employer tax ID number? In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one veteran of the industry talk about his reflections on what he did starting out and what he would advise others to do when they are just getting started.

One new lawn care business owner asked “I want to get my mowing business off on the right foot and be a legit company. I have some questions I hope you guys can answer to help me out.

First off I was planning on going straight for an LLC, but I read you should just start with a sole proprietorship. From what I understand you would have to go to all the cities you plan on working in and register your name, which could be a couple hundred dollars a year when all said and done.

With an LLC, from what I understand, you pay the state a fee to become an LLC and that’s it (about $300 for me). Are there any advantages to a sole proprietorship that would be worth paying the couple $100 a year? I know with sole proprietorship you can be sued for everything you have. What would be a better choice?

Second, I have a question about licensing. I did a little looking and I think all I need is a business license. I’m not getting into any landscaping other than mulching and installing edging, small stuff like that, so I don’t think I need a contractors license.

Third, what about quarterly taxes. With my LLC I will also apply for my tax identification number and everything else needed. My question is, I’m small right now and I don’t have much income for my business, since I don’t make very much, will my quarterly taxes be a small amount I could easily pay until I can grow my business?

Registering as an LLC, I have 2 other options for my name if my primary one is taken. I already have all my marketing made. I want my llc to be ****’s Lawn Care LLC, so should I just do a doing business as and make it ****’s Lawn Care so I will have that name no matter what?

I really want to start my business the right way, and my goal is to be completely legit by next year.”

A second lawn care business owner responded “if you are just starting out, you should just go the sole proprietor path. That way you will only have to do your taxes yearly and it will give you more flexibillity if you do not make much money.

There is nothing wrong with an llc, s-corp, or straight up inc. but it all really depends on how much money you make and what services you are performing. If you are doing construction work your liability goes up drasticaly but if you are just doing lawn maintenance the risks are minimal.

There are obvious protections from being incorporated but you are cutting grass for a living and outside of yourself or an employee getting injured, what would you expect to happen where you lose everything without that protection.

If you have commercial liability and commercial auto insurance, the only way someone is going to get everything you own is if it were proven that your actions were the sole cause of said problem fully knowing the consequences and choosing to do so with no regard to said consequences or you had real crappy insurance and the lawsuit exceeded your coverage.

When you get further along in business after a few years you may find that there really is no money in this business and if you have a change in heart it will be harder and more costly to dissolve your business if you are incorporated.

I have been in business for over two decades and I am well established as well as I am a llc but if I were starting out today, I probably would choose a different career path because the landscape business is not what it used to be.

Hourly rates are not much better now than when I started and everything today cost 10 times what it did when I started. Lawn mowers, insurance, gas and vehicles all cost a lot more and we now make less today than when I started.

All you need to do to be a legitimate business is have a registered business name, pay taxes, have the proper insurance, look professional and if you hire employees, pay them on the books. Being incorporated will not make you anymore legitimate and if anything it will make you a slave to the government and it’s ever growing complicated tax codes.

A lawyer will probably suggest to you to incorporate so he can charge you and a n accountant will recommend you to incorporate so he too can charge you. Most accountants charge more money to do your taxes as a corporation than an individual or sole proprietor so without even talking to a lawyer or accountant you already know what their answer is gonna be.

I myself worked for a big company for several years and learned the business from the bottom up and I went from the bottom of the pay scale to the top level pay scale and I realized I wanted to make more and the only way to do so was taking it to the next level.

To this day i never really cared much about being my own boss because in reality I went from having a boss to having hundreds of bosses by way of customers.

If you are starting out I suggest you go for the easiest and cheapest route that will make you a legitimate business until you actually start making real money and by real money I mean 4 to 5 times what you would make as a high level employee for a big company because you can always incorporate and change things if and when you become more successful.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with thislawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.ā€¯

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