Starting a lawn care business? Do you need a license or a tax receipt?

A new member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum wrote abut his situation. He had just recently gotten his lawn care business started and was finding there were plenty of things he needed to do in order to go legit. It’s pretty crazy the amount of hoops you gotta jump through to be legit, but in the end it’s worth it.

He wrote “Hi, I am a student that has started a lawn maintenance service a few months back to help myself and other students pay their tuition here in Florida. Our catch phrase is, ‘Let your grass pay for my class!’

Here is a little background on my situation. I have recently come to Florida to study. I had a sponsor that was going to be helping to pay for my tuition etc. Unfortunately he backed out, so I was forced to fend for myself and was liable for my own tuition. I brought a mower and made a few business cards and flyers online. I began handing those out and my lawn care business started growing. Right now it’s myself and few other students earning their way through college by offering lawn maintenance (mowing, trimming, edging etc.)

Here is how I have been bringing in the lawn care customers. I contacted a local property investment company. Due to the current state of the housing market, there are no houses being sold. Because of a high foreclosure rate, there are a high number of vacant properties. I cut a deal with this property investment company to go cut all their inventory for a flat rate. They agreed. Now word of mouth is growing and I find it to be the best form of advertisement and it has been working well. I have also been cutting grass for a few banks as well.

I want to get licensed and insured so I can expand even more, perhaps in franchising out, you never know what tomorrow may bring. How do I go about doing this? I have heard I need a license and a tax receipt. What is the occupational license/tax receipt called that I need? Any information would be greatly appreciated!”

One member responded and said “To operate a lawn care business in the state of Florida, you will need an occupational license (available through your county court house/ building dept / tax office / or online.)

To get this you will need to register a dba (doing business as…. Joe’s Lawn Care dba). If you choose to, you can incorporate instead (INC., LLC.)¬† A quick search on your local state or county site will have all the forms to fill out. You will also need to look into getting a tax receipt. The form for that will be available on the same site.

For liability insurance you should shop around a bit, look up a local office in the phone book & call around. I have a policy through nationwide for what that’s worth. Dealing with vacant properties increases the chance that you will strike a rock or other object hidden in tall grass. A thrown object can cause damage to person and property.

Another thing to consider is what is the business relationship among you and the other students? If they are doing business under your business name, you should strongly consider having them bonded to add further protection for your business.

Keep up with your tax obligations too. You will need to make quarterly estimated tax payments. Contact a CPA for professional help. For a hundred bucks a CPA will likely set you up with all the forms needed to keep you in line with tax obligations.”

That is fascinating! How did you go about finding out who to contact at the banks and the property investment companies? I am kind of amazed they didn’t require you to have insurance to work for them! How did you get around that?

“That is the really odd part. I haven’t been asked for proof of anything until this morning which is the other reason I’m finding out info on license and insurance. I asked a property wholesaler the same question and he said that it is probably because the bank has so many foreclosed properties, they are basically taking who they can get. So it’s worth a shot if you looking for contracts!

I built a connection with a property manager, by maintaining his lawn, then he involved me with his management properties. Then he got me in contact with this investment company. Basically just persevering and doing the best job you can with what you get. Here is a tip for everyone, contact your local realtors about this because they deal with the banks’ foreclosed properties. Once you make contact you should be able to bid on their properties.”

After some leg work, this lawn care business owner was able to register his business as a dba and told us he got himself an Employee Identification Number as well (EIN). The requirements to start a business can vary from state to state as well as from town to town, so check with your local government to make sure you are complying with all the rules and regulations.

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Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
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