How To Start a Lawn Care Business

 

Hi! My name is Jonathan Pototschnik, and I understand you are looking for information on how to start a lawn care business. I want to share a couple of quick things with you. I am the one that put together the package and wrote the guide. And now, I want to tell you why I might be a little different than a lot of the other information that you’re going to come across, and why I think I bring a different perspective to it.

I’ve been in the lawn and landscape business for quite a few years and have built a multi-million dollar company. We are in commercial and residential and are pretty diversified with both middle and high end properties. In our company, we have built a team of pretty incredible people. And, we really pride ourselves in our sales and marketing.

My background has been in ownership of many different companies in the service industry. I also now own a company called Service Auto Pilot. My partner and I built software that runs all of the marketing, scheduling, invoicing and billing for service industry companies.
I know what it takes to build a lawn care business. I’m not just going to tell you how to schedule clients and what equipment to buy. 95% of companies fail because they don’t know how to market their business.

Most guys hate selling. They hate pounding the pavement and knocking on doors. I agree. It’s horrible. So why not build a marketing system that drives all the prospects to you? These people are already ready to buy…all you have to do is close the deal.

I’ve been in business for many years so I will tell you how to bid properties. Everything from commercial to residential to big apartment complexes. You can’t just eyeball everything. I know how to do it. In the beginning, we were scared out of our minds. We wanted to get the clients but didn’t want to get slaughtered if we underbid them!

I can tell you exactly how to do that, what it will take to run your business, and how to put a system to it. I can tell you why, if you don’t get out of the business of doing all the labor and all the work yourself, that you’re going to be miserable five years from now. I can address all of that stuff. For hardly any money, you can get my unique perspective. I’d love to share it with you. If you don’t like it, send it back. I’ll give you every dollar back.

If you’re evaluating the industry, what I recommend is that you take a look at what I’ve got. Go out there and take a look at what else is out there as well. Pay attention to the guys that are really in the business and running a real company. You want to hear from the guy that started the $50,000 business and grew it to a $3 million dollar business. That guy had to go through all kinds of pain, and all kinds of experiences, and he’s been there and done it. You want that guy to show you the road map from when you’re little bitty, to when you get big. That’s what you want.

I also recommend that you just start reading everything that you can. Do a Google search and find all the industry trade journals and subscribe to all of them. They are free. Go buy a book by Dan Kennedy and learn how to market your company. You can also buy marketing books on Amazon for under $10. Learn what a PNL is and a few things about accounting. Start getting familiar with finance. Then, begin searching for lawn service software and find out what is out there for you. Of course, we have software for you, but this will get you started and informed of all of your options.

I’m giving you a whole lot. But, if you really are dedicated and you really want to turn this into something…if you don’t want to work for The Man and you don’t want to be frustrated…if you want to build a life that’s fun and cool and exciting…then you’re probably willing to do some of the extra stuff.

This is going to make you an expert. You are not going to be one of the 95% of guys that fail…you will be one of the 5% that knows what it takes to build a successful lawn care company.

Everybody needs our service. There’s grass everywhere, trees everywhere, and irrigation everywhere. Everybody needs us. I will teach you how to sell a market, how to price and estimate, what equipment to buy and how to run it. Once you know those tricks, you’ll make it in business, and you’ll really create something that’s pretty cool.

So take a look at it. If you don’t like it, send it back for a full refund, no questions asked. You’ve got a full year to try it out. I didn’t do this to get rich. I did this to earn your trust, so that hopefully down the road you will look to us when you want marketing advice or a software system to run your company. That’s why I did this. It’s just honest advice from my life experience.

If you’ve got any questions, shoot us an email and let us know how we can help you. We would love to hear from you.

Thank you.

Buying Lawn Mowers At Wholesale Prices

Question:
Where can I buy lawn mowers at wholesale prices?

Answer:
Even if we were buying 100 mowers at one time we would negotiate a deal with the vendors in our local market.

Every December we test the market to see if the price we are paying for equipment and supplies is still extremely competitive (we buy most of the equipment and supplies we anticipate needing for the upcoming year in December for tax reasons).
Over the years we have spent a lot of time looking around for the very best prices. The prices we can negotiate in the local market are generally as good as any we can find.

Note: If you want maximum negotiating power buy all of your lawn care equipment at once.

Even if we were able to slightly beat the local vendors we normally buy mowers, line trimmers, stick edges, trailers, truck beds, etc from by buying out of state or 100 miles away — we would continue to purchase from the local vendors we have relationships with.

I firmly believe that if we take care of our vendors and send them a lot of business they will take care of us in a hurry when we need very fast service. (Or need them to help us find a new employee.)
If not, we will find another local vendor next year when we make a very large equipment purchase.

We try to be very loyal to our vendors as long as they are good to us and remain very competitive on price.

How Can I Learn About Irrigation and Irrigation Systems?

Question:
How Can I Learn About Irrigation and Irrigation Systems?

Answer:
The fastest way to learn the irrigation business is to locate the vendors in your local area – the guys that sell the parts. They can tell you where to get licensed. They can teach you a lot. Many of them run workshops and classes. There is a lot to learn about pipe sizes, flow rates, pressure, heads and the different controllers… they can advise you all of this and guide you on how to best learn it.

Remember… they want to sell you parts. Go visit them in person. Don’t just call them up and ask questions. Go see them. You will get more attention and respect from them in person than you will over the phone.

The state will require you to get licensed. So they provide books and manuals to prepare. This too will teach you a lot. My experience has been that you must also attend classes prior to taking your irrigators test. You will learn a lot in these classes.

Also, Google search irrigation magazines. Subscribe to every magazine you can find on the subject and start reading them. For example, look at www.igin.com.

There is also information that can be learned on forums such as www.lawnsite.com. Remember, forum advice isn’t always accurate but it can be very helpful.

Amazon probably has books on the subject. Search on something like… irrigation installation.

To learn about licensing in your state search on something like… irrigation license ‘yourstate’.

The vendors that sell the parts will be your very best initial source… they will be able to lead you to all of your other sources. If you don’t already have a business, consider working under someone for a short while and learning. Hands on training is the best way to learn the irrigation business.

Quick (random) How To Start A Lawn Care Business Tips

1) Figure out your business name.

2) Register your business name with GoDaddy.com.

3) If you can afford it – register your business as an S Corp or LLC from day one. Budget $300 to $400 if you use a service like LegalZoom.com.

4) The same is true for your trademark. If funds are tight I would at least file the LLC or S Corp and hold on the Trademark.

5) If you register a different LLC or S Corp entity name than the name you plan to call your business you must file a DBA (use LegalZoom.com).

6) If you can’t afford to form an LLC or S Corp register for an assumed name certificate at the county courthouse. You can use your social security number. As soon as you can afford it… file to become an LLC or S Corp.

7) Setup your business bank accounts from day one. They are nearly free. This is very important. First file as an S Corp or LLC or Sole Proprietor or Partnership (Assumed Name Certificate at the courthouse) and then visit the bank and setup your business bank accounts.

8) If offered, take the credit card the bank offers with your business account but do not use it. File it away only to be used for emergencies. Debt (too many high monthly payments) runs more small business owners out of business than you would expect).

9) If you are starting your business with a partner consider a Buy Sell Agreement.

10) File for a sales tax permit. (you can generally do this online in your local city)

11) Look for a great inexpensive software tool that has the potential to run all facets of your business as you grow. Obviously we recommend Service Autopilot (http://www.LawnServiceSoftware.com). Regardless of which solution you ultimately chose this is critical.

12) If you are just getting started and you are not using Service Autopilot consider buying QuickBooks day one and getting your business off to the right start financially. By the way, at http://www.lawnservicesoftware.com/ you can get free software that when you’re small will allow you to delay the purchase of QuickBooks – it will do everything you need for now.

13) Create a simple file folder structure in a small two drawer file cabinet and keep all of your paperwork and files organized. If you wait until the end of the year to record your financial records in QuickBooks and organize your bank statements and paperwork you will be miserable come tax time. This is one of the easiest ways to minimize costly tax mistakes.

14) At year end clear all of your file folders from the file cabinet and put them in a box. Start all of your file folders fresh for the new tax year. Label the box. This will help keep all of your important paper work organized by tax year.Once again, if you are not using Service Autopilot consider setting up QuickBooks so you can use their built in credit card charging functionality. Service Autopilot automates the process for you but if you are not a Service Autopilot user QuickBooks has a fairly easy to use manual process. Accepting and charging your clients credit cards is a great way to speed up your businesses cash flow and get paid fast and on time.