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A couple business related questions

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by keeman, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. keeman

    keeman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    Gearing up for my first full season in lawn care this season.

    1. What does a business license cost? And do I just go down to my town hall to get one?

    2. As far as insurance, I basically just mow, trim and do clean-ups so how much insurance do I need to get and what do most of you pay for that?

  2. BearWise Landscapers

    BearWise Landscapers LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 456


    I recommend that you purchase three insurance coverages. They can all be combined into the same policy or in three separate ones. The coverages are general liability insurance, commercial auto insurance, and equipment floater insurance. You may also need to purchase workers' compensation insurance if you hire any employees. Here is an article describing these recommended insurance coverages for new lawn maintenance companies. Here is another one for lawn maintenance companies with a couple of employees.

    For limits, I would recommend $1,000,000 in general liability coverage per occurence and $2,000,000 for the policy period. I would also recommend at least $300,000 in liability coverage for your commercial auto policy. There usually is not much of a pricing difference between $300,000 and $500,000 limits, so go with that one or $1,000,000 if you can.

    Let me know if you have more specific questions regarding these coverages. I am here to help.

    Good luck with your business!
  3. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    I got my license from the tax accessors office at the court house, they used to be 50 bucks now they are like 200. I would HIGHLY recommend the insurance!! Few years back I was trimming some shrubs and cut a large gas line going into the lady's house, that was a horrible hissing sound knowing I had no insurance!! I did not set foot on another property until I was insured!! I could see me burning down a 200k house! Also if your equipment gets stolen you will be dang glad you have it! And what if you bust out an expensive glass on a door or BMW, hit someone in the eye with a rock. Our society has become very sue happy.
  4. keeman

    keeman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    That's exactly what I was thinking about, breaking windows or mowing over lines. Insurance is a necessity I was just unsure of how much coverage
  5. BearWise Landscapers

    BearWise Landscapers LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 456


    QualityLawnCare4U had some good advice. I think that before you purchase insurance and decide your limits, you need to look at the exposures and risks of running your business. If your business did not have risks, then there would not be a reason for purchasing insurance. The reality of running a business in the United States is that you have many risks and the main one being that your business is held responsible for the damages it causes to the property of others and their bodily injury.

    Here is an article I wrote about the purpose behind purchasing insurance policies. It is a little bit of a dry topic, but it is important to keep in mind.

    My statements above do not completely answer your practical question of how high your limits should be. I always recommend at least $1,000,000 in coverage for lawn maintenance and landscape installation businesses. I increase that recommended limit when you add large commercial clients and when you go over 10 to 20 employees. As a small lawn maintenance business, you may be fine with $500,000 in coverage, but that increases the risk of a large claim going over your coverage. I have seen a claim from a small lawn mowing company that hit a sprinkler head that broke the pipe underground and caused structural damage to a home. It almost broke through a $1,000,000 limit. The cost for increasing your limit from $500,000 to $1,000,000 on a general liability policy is usually only around 15 dollars for a landscaping business with under 5 employees. For that reason, I say go with the $1,000,000 limit and use your peace of mind to concentrate on growing your business.

    I hope that helps...
  6. helidriver

    helidriver LawnSite Member
    Messages: 108

    INSURANCE INSURANCE INSURANCE..............Please consider the options if you get jammed up on a lawsuit or a total loss of a trailerload of your equipment. I lost a trailerload of my equipmnet once......Thank god for insurance. Think before you lose your ass. Nobody really wants to pay for something you dont think you will need. but trust me, its like a warm blanket when you have a claim. Its just like someone telling you its gonna be alright when things go wrong! GOT INSURANCE?

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