We see many great questions asked on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, some seem to appear more often than others. Start up questions seem to be really popular because that is a time when you know the least about the trade and what you don’t know can hurt you. So here are the top three most asked lawn care business start up questions.
One new lawn care business owner wrote “I just wanted to know if anyone knew anything about state regulations for lawn care businesses. We are starting a lawn service and also plan on offering basic landscaping services. I am 21 and graduated college. So I guess here’s some of questions I been wondering:
1. Do I need insurance right away and do I need insurance only when I want to have contracts with clients?
2. Company name, what’s the process of registering it so I have no troubles with that?
3. I see others talking about the need to be a ‘legal’ business. Can anyone help me out about this subject and what that means?”
A second lawn care business owner said “to answer your first question, most commercial accounts require insurance. Residential accounts you can really do what you want but if you blow a rock through someone’s $1,000,000 stained glass church window you better have the cash to cover it!
To be on the safe side, it is always better to have liability insurance. Too many things can happen that will cost you more than just your business. Get insurance, it is not that much money. So to be practical, yes you need insurance.
Another point is that if you are going to apply pesticides/herbicides you need current insurance to even apply for the license in most states.
To answer your second question, if you use your name as the business name, such as John Smith’s Mowing, you don’t need to apply for a fictitious business name. If you use ‘and Sons’ or something like that, you need to apply for a fictitious name whether you use your name in it or not. If you’re going to make up a name such as ‘Lush Grass Lawn Mowing’ then you need to apply for a fictitious name through your county court house.
You also may need to apply for an Employee Identification Number from the federal government to open a business checking account or else the bank won’t cash your checks unless everyone agrees to make them out to your name and not to the business name. It’s free, do it.
Depending on your state, you may need to apply for a sales tax license so that you can collect sales tax. Each state is different and some states deem mowing as a taxable service. It’s free to do this also.
To answer your third question, here in my state ‘legal’ basically means that you collect and pay sales tax and have all the necessary licenses and insurance.”
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