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Requirements/Suggestions for starting business this year?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by J.R. Services, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    I'm 18 and have worked in the lawn care industry for about 5 years now and have always wanted to start my own business, I have all the skills to do it I have a 7x20 trailer, 96 150, 250/350 on the way, trimmers, pushmowers, and hand tools, the only thing that is hindering me is the business end. I know for MD you dont need a license for lawn care, but is there one for lawn care because I have already had people ask me if I was licensed, USDOT??s what exactly is it and do I need it to start out with, Bonded? Insured? Necessary? Do I change my car insurance to commercial insurance? I plan to start out as a sole proprietorship and maybe move to LLC, anything wrong with that? How do you do taxes, and what can you write off. I know its a lot questions but any help will be apprieciated. Thanks
  2. 360Landscaping

    360Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    As far as lawn care in MD, my understanding is if you are going to do anything beyond mow and blow you need an MHIC license. This is a gray area, I think, on purpose by the state of MD. The wording of the law is something like " any improvement in the house or on the property..."
    For example: If you were to spread mulch on an existing bed you do not need an MHIC license; if you cut in a new bed and then mulch it you need the MHIC.
    MD also does not make it that easy to get a MHIC, they contract out the testing and the process is confusing. You have to have 2 years trade experience (they don't consider lawn care trade experience), a net worth of $20,000 and at least $50,000 liability insurance.
    The best part is you have to prove to the testing company you are eligible to take the test and there is no guarantee that if you pass the test you get your license - the licensing board will review everything and determine if you are worthy.

    It is a pain in the butt, just like everything else in MD. I wish I never left Virginia.

    Also, get commercial insurance on your work vehicle - well worth it. Contact your local Erie Insurance agent, great rates, at least for me.

    Good luck
  3. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    So I'm thinking forget the MHIC, I heard that as long as your fert doesnt contain weed controlers you dont need a license, I mean, is a cop gonna stop me when I'm spreading and test the fert? Kinda doubt it, so I think I might chance it. So what's you're opion of getting Bonded and USDOT
  4. Tommy Boy

    Tommy Boy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 220

    You need a general liability insurance policy. Then I would see about a local city business license then you are licensed and insured. If your a single owner operator, I would not do the DOT vehicle registration yet. Bonding is cheap but I would not get it unless requested by a commercial contract.

    Follow industry standards and use good faith with the State requirments you should be ok, but get the insurance first and also inform your auto policy holder your using the truck for part-time lawn care, they don't need to know everything about your business.

    Join Planet or some local trade group, show your a memebr in good standing and work on getting some more industry education. John Deere Landscape Training Classes, RainBird Irrigation school, local community college certificate or degree. Keep adding tools to your tool box.
  5. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    Commercial auto is definately a must. If you were to get into an accident while having the trailer on (whether you be at fault or not) your insurance may not cover you. It really isn't that much more to go commercial auto. My personal auto was about $900 and my commercial auto would be about $1100 with a lower deductable.
  6. RGM

    RGM LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Baltimore Md
    Messages: 979

    You could get pulled over because of the size of your trail without the dot stickers its based on weight of vehicle and trailer. You need an agriculture permit to do any kind of fetilizing. mhic is needed any time you change the face of the property of dwelling so if you dig a hole you should have one.
  7. J.R. Services

    J.R. Services LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    Is $735/yr a good price for insurance? And do I just need to "Register" for DOT? How/where do I get bonded, I want to start getting bids in for commerical jobs.

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