Business Overview

A lawn care business offers the services of cutting grass lawns, trimming around the edges, removal of debris, and maintenance of turf, which includes fertilization, weed control, and pest control. Most lawn care businesses offer regular service on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly schedule depending on the maintenance needs of the customers. Services may be offered to residential customers, commercial customers, or both.

Who is this business right for?

The people who succeed in this business enjoy working outdoors in a variety of weather conditions. The temperature varies depending on the seasons. At times during the summer, it may be very hot in certain locations. This work requires enough physical strength and stamina to be able to lift heavy equipment in and out of a pickup truck and to push the lawn cutting equipment around the yard.

People who are friendly and like to talk with people usually are more likely to get customers. It helps to have a good eye for details and to be meticulous in the maintenance work in order to do a good job that customers appreciate.

What happens during a typical day at a lawn care business?

The days start very early. Before going to the customer’s job sites, the equipment needs to be inspected and to make sure it is in proper working order. Typical activities of this type are cleaning the mowers and sharpening the cutting blades. Additionally, all equipment that uses gasoline needs to be filled with a mixture of gasoline and the appropriate amount of oil required. After all the equipment has been checked, the trucks are loaded and the crews (if any) are assembled and given the day’s job orders that have been prepared in advance.

The rest of the day is spent working at customers’ job sites. Naturally, any problems that come up, like truck breakdowns or equipment troubles, need to be dealt with. When the crew(s) return to the office, they should fill out a report of the work completed, making note of any special conditions or requests by the customers. This information is added to the system for billing purposes, and to help in the preparation of future job orders for those customers.

At the end of the day, equipment should be cleaned and checked for damage to see if it needs repairs. For some owner/operators, these can be very long work days, until they can hire enough crew to reduce their workload.

What is the target market?

Long-term customers who are willing to sign up for ongoing automatic payments are the best. These customers allow you to plan your budget far in advance.

Local businesses can also be excellent customers, as they typically are willing to pay more for your services than residential customers, and they are more likely to request regular service. Big operations with lots of lawns are excellent customers, such as hospitals, office buildings, shopping malls, and schools. However; many have their own lawn maintenance crews, and landing a big contract like that can be difficult, because this business is highly competitive.

How does a lawn care business make money?

These businesses charge a monthly service fee for the basic lawn maintenance service and earn additional revenues for any special services provided such as installing new grass sod, fertilization, and winter preparation.

What is the growth potential for a lawn care business?

Many operations start out with a single person, perhaps one helper, and a single pickup truck. The ability to expand depends on the acquisition of more equipment and being able to hire more crew members.

There are very large commercial companies in this business that serve an expansive area. There are national companies as well. Realty Biz gives a list of the top 50 lawn care companies in the USA. TrueGreen is the largest lawn care company in America. They are headquartered in Memphis and serve over 1.7 million residential and commercial customers from multiple locations across the country.

If you add landscaping services, ValleyCrest Landscape Companies is the biggest in the USA with international operations also. They have over 100 locations, more than 10,000 employees, and earn over US$1 billion in revenues each year.