Start a goat lawn mowing business by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your goat lawn mowing business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a goat lawn mowing business?
Starting a goat lawn service requires goats as an initial purchase.
If you already have goats, you’ll need a trailer or vehicle for transporting them. Small livestock trailers average around $1,500.
You’ll need to include goat care and feeding costs also. When the goats aren’t on a job, you’ll need shelter and food.
Make sure your goats are up to date on any necessary annual livestock vaccinations as well. You can administer the needed vaccines yourself or have a vet do it for you. The cost per goat runs around $20.
Advertise heavily for your first few months to establish a business name and identity. Create a website and personalize your goat crew. Connecting with clientele makes a big difference, especially with this endeavor. Factor in $250-350 to have someone build your website and another $50 for monthly maintenance.
You’ll also want to budget for business insurance and the fees for filing an LLC or opening up a small business. Liability insurance covers you if the goats damage a customer’s property. Additionally, check locally to see if there are livestock fees you’ll need to pay.
These are all cost estimates and are subject to change, depending on your location.
What are the ongoing expenses for a goat lawn mowing business?
Most ongoing expenses will focus on travel expenses and maintaining your goat herd. Vaccines, food, and animal care are all ongoing expenses. Fuel costs and service on your tow vehicle can also be included. Your business insurance and phone, internet, and website costs will also carry over every month. When totaled, a goat lawn mowing service does not have a lot of operating costs.
Who is the target market?
A goat lawn service is geared towards younger, more ecologically conscious consumers. Goat mowing also capitalizes on a client’s affection towards animals. There is also a need amongst landowners with rugged conditions. Consider all of these groups for your marketing campaigns.
How does a goat lawn mowing business make money?
Goats are rented for a block of time, at a set price, or the customer is charged per acre being serviced.
How much can you charge customers?
Many goat lawn services charge by the acre. These costs can range from $300 to over $1,000, depending on the terrain and level of weed and brush management needed.
How much profit can a goat lawn mowing business make?
Goat mowing is gaining popularity across the US, especially in more rural areas. The appeal of this eco-friendly business is also attracting more goat mowing businesses. On average, most goat mowing businesses are earning $1,000 a week during the grazing season. Winter, especially for snowy areas, puts a halt to most business. $30,000 - 40,000 annually is a reasonable estimate for this business’s yearly profits.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Goat mowing is growing in popularity. Consider contacting farmers or goat owners in your area to see if they want to rent their goats or join a goat mowing organization. By teaming up with other goat owners, you can expand your business coverage and pull in more revenue.
Consider using your goats for other projects not relating to mowing, such as photoshoots or school shows and events. Or, hire them out for goat-related businesses, such as goat yoga or animal therapy sessions.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your goat lawn mowing business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
How to promote & market a goat lawn mowing business
Goat lawn mowing, on first take, sounds like someone’s pranking you.In reality, this is a business plan that needs a dynamic advertising campaign. Splash your prospective clientele with print ads, flyers, posters, and lots of web traffic. Set up a website and consider using a webcam to show your goats in action. Pictures and testimonials help bolster your legitimacy and usefulness.
Social media is also your friend. By engaging an audience, even if they aren’t customers, you are building an interest in the business. And, while you’re showing the goats, you can also introduce the efficiency and effectiveness of their work. Explain how these sure-footed gardeners are perfect for a customer’s specific lawn needs.
How to keep customers coming back
As we discussed earlier, this is a bit of a niche business. Your best customers will be the ones you connect with and build a relationship with. Offer these return customers discounts for new customer referrals or special contracted deals. For example, offer a free month or reduced cost for signing up for a year of service. Or, if they own a business, offer some collaborative advertising featuring the goats. Both of your businesses can benefit. Overall, make sure your customers know and see they’re appreciated.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Goat Lawn Mowing Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
Goat owners looking to earn some extra money via their goat’s appetite may find this business a fun challenge.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a goat lawn mowing business?
Goat lawn mowing is an expanding niche idea. In essence, the goats are left on an area of land which requires weeds and grass maintenance. The area may be too vertical or the terrain too rough for a machine mow. The goats are able to roam over the land, eating weeds and grasses. With this in mind, the goat tender will more than likely be checking on their goats’ progress and will be transporting the goats to another location once they have finished.
Additionally, a goat lawn mowing business will need advertising and readily available information about the services you offer. Creating an online presence, managing a website, answering calls, and directing ad campaigns constitutes regular work that will need to be done for your business.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful goat lawn mowing business?
This business model will be too strange for some people. Others will love it and will gravitate toward you. You’ll need to understand how to talk to both sceptics and supporters, as well as everyone in between. Strong interpersonal skills help promote such a personalized business. Get accustomed to introducing yourself and striking up conversations.
You’ll need to show customers how your goats will fit their needs. Know your goats well and educate people about what they offer. Showing off goats in demonstrations is a great way to drum up business too.
Having experience running and marketing small businesses can also be very beneficial. You will more than likely be able to start your business as just an individual. Being well-rounded in running a business is important for success.
What is the growth potential for a goat lawn mowing business?
Since this is a relatively new business idea, initially growth may seem slow. Still, there seems to be an emerging market of eco-conscious consumers who may embrace the idea of animal/lawn symbiosis. Especially for a niche business, it is critical to perform some market research before getting started.
Only certain areas of the country can support a business like this, and you’ll need to make sure you’re near such an area. Especially if you already own goats, consider initially making this a side business to see what the market actually produces for you.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a goat lawn mowing business?
As mentioned in the past section, work to connect your customers and a larger online audience with your goat team. Create a website and develop an online presence with social media sites. Introduce your customers and online goat lovers to your associates. Tell names, describe their personalities, and show off their handiwork. You’re selling a unique brand, so tell a unique story.
As you’re starting up, you should also scout out potential clients in your area. Goat mowing offers low ecological impact. Goat mowing is also beneficial when working in difficult terrain. Keep these selling points and consider how they align with potential customers.
How and when to build a team
Starting out, you will probably be able to operate as a one or two-person team. Goats are fairly easy to manage and care for. They usually have agreeable dispositions, too. The real effort will be in the transporting and contracting of jobs. Between driving here and there, and talking with potential clients, a one or two-person team should be sufficient.