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Texas Start Up Advice

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Babbages01, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. Babbages01

    Babbages01 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    My name is Mike and I live in Denton Texas. I've mowed yards off and on for neighbors and people I know for the past 10 or so years and now I'm trying to expand, but I want to do it legally because well...I don't want to have any problems with tax fraud and whatnot. I have no employees except myself and I have all the equipment I need at the moment. I was hoping some legit Texas guys on here could offer some advice on the following...

    1. What, if any kind of business license will I need?
    2. Taxes. Will I have to pay them?
    3. Insurance is always a good idea, but is it absolutely necessary? About how much does it cost for basic coverage and where can I get it.

    I'm in college and I'm not going for the big bucks. I currently do about $300 in business a month but would like to see it expand to around $1000. I generally charge about $40 a yard and I'm not worried about being undercut. I've never had any complaints on my mowing and everyone thinks I do a professional job so I'll just let my quality speak for itself.

    Any good advice would be greatly appreciated. Reading through the forums has got me worried about the legality of everything.
  2. RHill

    RHill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 89

    Hi mike,

    I am a small operator like yourself, been mowing part time for several years. I don't know if any general business licenses(unless you are going to apply herbicides or pesticides)you must have, you may check with your city or county to make sure about it in your area.

    You do need to collect sales tax, you can file a application with the state comptrollers for that. It probably wouldn't't hurt to have a small general liability insurance policy, which you should be able to get from any insurance agent that sell general policies/ Since you don't have any employees, I don't think you have to have worker's compensation insurance. Some commercial accounts may want you to have a insurance policy in case you get hurt on their property while working, otherwise their insurance may have to cover it.

    Hopes this helps,

  3. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    You need a license to sell nursery products, Apply pest control/ herbicides/ Irrigation.

    You do not need a general business license or a contractor licenses until you get up to about 20K in a single home improvement/ contractor type job.

    If you get the Pest Control license you will be required to carry a small GL policy of a few hundred k.

    Just about everything you do is subject to sales tax. It is pretty complicated to keep track of what is and is not taxable so I basically tax it all.
  4. NELawnCare

    NELawnCare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 175

    I'm originally from San Antonio. I pretty sure you need a State Sellers License in order to legally collect sales tax from your customers. But it's best if you visit the Small Business Administration (SBA) in your area and they will tell you EXACTLY what you need. If you don't know where the SBA is in Denton, call your Chamber of Commerce. They work together, they will be able to push you in the right direction.

    Take it from experience, you don't want to be tied up in a Fed or State tax complaint. It just ain't worth it!
  5. Babbages01

    Babbages01 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    Thanks for the advice. It would seem my only worry is sales tax for the time being.

    I mow houses for a realtor and I was talking about it with him yesterday. He said just keep my sales tax in order on checks and let the cash just magically slip in my pocket. As for insurance, he said don't worry about it now but just be careful. If I throw a rock through a window just pay for the window but if I wanted to start bidding on commercial contracts then I'll need the insurance. I just read the thread on insurance and got a few pointers for that.
  6. Mowingman

    Mowingman LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 4,717

    I am also in Denton. Have been mowing here for over 25 years. Send me a private message with your email address or phone number and maybe we can get together and talk.
  7. Toy2

    Toy2 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,924

    Don't waste your time and money on any type of license. The herb. license is a waste, homeowners don't care if you have one or not. Plus homeowners do not want to pay taxes...just a flat price. Stay small to avoid all the BS. Plus lowball to get more yards, otherwise the illegals will end up mowing the yards you really want. Good luck, plus stay in school....
  8. RHill

    RHill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 89

    I agree with the idea that homeowners want to pay a flat price, ie $35. So just figure your price for the work, add sales tax then round up to the next dollar to get a dollar figure to quote the customer.

    Good luck with you business
  9. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    Typically a Doing Business As, aka DBA, is recommended particularly to avoid due diligence problems.
    Also a DBA will assist in lowering insurance premiums regarding Commercial Liability Insurance. Provided you do not acquire a TDA License category 3A, your GL premiums should be quite affordable.
    Market your business according to your desires, I would recommend the investment in silk screened t-shirts, decent non magnetic logos on your truck/trailer/equipment to market brand your business.
    Ignore the comments about other, lower priced LCO's around where you operate.
    Separate you and your business from this segment of the market and it ceases to become an issue.
    I would also recommend networking with professional nurseries in your area, let them know of you and your business, your capabilities and desire for work.
    Talk to your local chamber of commerce, rotary and other not for profit groups as these people are usually involved in the community, typically represent most of the known businesses and can either point you in the direction for more work or assist in your networking.
  10. Babbages01

    Babbages01 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    So I must be stupid since I can't find a way to PM you on here. Anyways, my email is curiousmichael at gmail.com

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