Should I buy an office for my lawn care business?

When it comes to running the back office of your lawn care business, where do most lawn care businesses operate this from? Do they run it out of their home or do they buy office space? What about equipment storage? Where do they keep everything at the end of the day? Some lawn care business owners may have a need for an office away from their home but what ever it is you are purchasing, you always have to ask yourself, can I do it for cheaper and save that money for use elsewhere?

A lawn care business owner asked his question on office space on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and got quite a few responses. He wrote “I am new to the lawn care industry and this is just my second summer. Last summer I had 50 residential yards on my schedule and expect a lot more this summer. I was thinking of moving my office out of my basement and purchasing a small office building to look more professional. Do you think this is a good idea? Do most of you operate your office out of your houses? And where do you keep your equipment? Any advice will help me a lot.”

One lawn care business owner replied “I have just over 5 acres of property with four buildings on it. I keep my gear indoors during the winter. In the summer, excavators and tractors almost always stay on job sites. Mowers, blowers, trimmers etc. are parked here at my home at night with the company vehicle.

I used to have daily meetings in the morning here at my home, however we have moved to a local coffee shop not far from my house. Generally we all talk for 15 to 30 min about the day ahead, issues from the previous day, equipment issues or questions and then head out. The guys are allowed to switch the crew they are on as long as they are trained in each others job. Sometimes I will quickly lay out upcoming jobs in the very near future. To me it’s all about team building. I am no better than anyone on the team. On job sites we are all equal, it really works.

On Wednesday evenings we go to an all you can eat sports bar. I generally have one beer with the guys, something to eat and that is about it. The guys are all good and take the work for the coming day very serious. I never once had an employee call in sick or not show last year. I am very proud of the team. Another added benefit from meeting in a public place is that I discovered we were picking up business when we met. There are generally 12 to 14 of us along with four vehicles at the local coffee shop, so it has been amazing marketing. Local residents quite often come up to me while we are meeting to discuss issues they are having with their property.”

A second lawn care business owner said “I built a 12X14 steel building to keep my equipment in last year. I got tired of always loading and unloading so now I just keep the common equipment in the truck and the other stuff like the equipment which is rarely used stays in the shop. I only bring the equipment needed for that day to minimize my loading and unloading times. My office was in a spare room of my house, but now as I am expecting my third child, I gave up the room and have the office is a make shift office in the laundry room.”

A third business owner said “personally, I can’t justify any additional overhead at this point. I would love to have a store front type office in the future, something that would allow me to offer more than just offer lawn service. I want it to sell anything that one could buy for their yard, lawn furniture, fountains, special nick nacks and other things as well as offering our service.

For the time being, I’m operating out of my apartment. My equipment is stored in an enclosed cargo trailer that is almost always attached to my truck. Any equipment not in use such as snow removal stuff in the summer or mowers and such in winter I store in a storage unit I rent. I also use the storage unit as a shop during the summer months. The equipment storage costs me less than $100 per month.”

A fourth business owner said “having an office away from your home will cut into your profits. Don’t do it unless you absolutely have too. If looking professional is all you need, there are much easier solutions. A nice web site and a virtual office. Lawn care customers will never be coming to your office anyway.

I run my business out of my home and have my wife answer the phone, handle my mail and messages. I should mention this method is dirt cheap compared to the price of office space and staff. Get your family involved if you have the option. You will feel good about it and they will feel good about it.”

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