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New to business


LawnSite Bronze Member
Barneveld, NY
I'm considering opening a lawncare business. I've read about the importance of having a business plan. I was wondering if anybody would like to share theirs?

I'm going to start out solo and I want to start out simple (basically just mowing and trimming until I get up and rolling). The only equipment that I have at this point is a truck and a trailer. I also have a computer and enough tools to repair my equipment. I know I need a mower, and trimmer, but what else to get me started. What mower options are helpful. How much and what kind of insurance do I need? How many customers should I shoot for?

Should I work for a lawncare company before starting on my own? I make $30,000 a year at my current job; could I make more than that working for somebody else? Would anybody hire me knowing that I want to start my own company which would be a competitor?

What kind of accounts are you looking to target? Residential or Commercial? You could probably look at a walk behind if you are just starting out, this will help keep you start up cost down. You need a good quality commercial trimmer, some will say you can get by starting out with a home owner model, but I'd opt for the better trimmer. They will last longer and give you less trouble. A good blower to blow the grass clippings off the sidewalks and driveways is a must. Stihl makes a pretty good handheld blower that should be good for you starting out, then you can later upgrade to a backpack blower.

Insurance, amount you will need will vary. Minimum I would say should be at least $300,000 liability. Get inland marine coverage on all your equipment with replacement value.

How many customers? As many as you can comfortably keep serviced on a a weekly basis. I do lawn care part-time right now and I service 13 accounts weekly, I mow around 25 acres weekly at these accounts. I can do more and plan to in 2001.

As far as working for another lawncare company, not sure on that one. I have seen and heard pro's and con's to doing that. If you go this route you may wish to have and understanding with the owner that you will not persue any of his accounts for your own. And that you will not solicit any business while on his time.

I hope some of this helps.


LawnSite Senior Member
NE Ohio
If you've never run commercial equipment before and don't know any of the in's and out's of the business then I would think it wouldn't be too bad to start working for someone else. This way you can beat up their equipment. However, I wouldn't want someone doing this to me so what I would do is to just start the business on my own. You can probably wrap up $4000 in a good gear w/b and trimmer, blower, and other misc tools. Then your overhead would be relatively low and you could turn profits soon. As for customers, only you can determine that. Being new you're going to be slower at first so don't base your potential on that.

SlimJim Z71

LawnSite Senior Member
I'm in the same boat. I'm currently doing snowplowing and parking area sweeping, but I'm toying with the idea of getting into landscaping. All I have for a mower right now is my Craftsman 21". I suppose I could start out with small lawns, and then once I make some money, go invest in a Exmark walk-behind. I've heard these are good units. Dixie Chopper's seem to be pretty popular too.

Any advice???


Eric ELM

Husband, Father, Friend, Angel
Chicago, IL USA
When I started out, I bought a 38" mower and then I passed out flyers. I should have done it the other way around since I couldn't do all the work I got with this 38" and had to trade it in and get a 50". I out grew it in a hurry too, so I got a 60". I wish I had just gotten the 60" to start with. I feel it is the best all around size for the size lawns I do. It depends on the size of the lawns you are going to target what size mower you get, but get the biggest you can use on your lawns.

I didn't have a forum like this to ask questions when I started out. I am so envious of all you new guys starting out and having this forum to guide you. You are some lucky people.