The Pros And Cons of Starting a Lawn Care Business
Every new business comes with risks and rewards. Ask a thousand successful business owners, and they’ll tell you that they had their fair share of ups and downs on the way to the top. The lawn care industry has plenty of both, which often leads to the question, “Is starting a lawn care business in this economy worth it?” This article will look at the pros and cons of the lawn care business and analyze the risks that potential lawn care business owners encounter and how to overcome them.
Introduction to lawn care business
Contrary to popular beliefs, the lawn care business goes beyond cutting and clearing the grass in a yard. The lawn care business covers services ranging from grass lawn cutting, edge trimming, debris removal, turf maintenance, fertilization, weed control, and pest control. As per your business objective, these services may be offered to residential customers, commercial, or even both. Depending on the maintenance schedule of the customers, you might be required to perform these duties on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.
Pros and cons of starting a lawn care business
One of the best things about starting a lawn care business is that the industry has high growth potential. Why? Look around you; lawns are everywhere. Whether big, small, commercial, or residential premises, there is always overgrown grass that needs grooming. The infinite supply of work makes this business one with great potential, but it comes with its constraints, which we will discuss below.
Pros of starting a lawn care business now
1. Opportunity for potential customers
You should not have great doubts in your mind about finding customers for your lawn care business. As stated earlier, there are numerous opportunities for lawn care businesses because lawns are everywhere, which isn’t going to change anytime soon. A look at today’s economy quickly makes it apparent that the baby boomer generation accounts for most of the country’s wealth. This generation also has the most investment in real estate, and they are going to need someone to care for their investment because they physically can’t do that as they get older. Starting your lawn care business now puts you in a great position to seize the opportunity when it finally arrives.
2. Booming real estate industry
Another reason why starting your lawn care business now is that the real estate industry is hot right now. As the price of real estate goes up and people have equity in their homes, they are bound to look at their homes as an investment rather than just a place of residence. This means that they’ll do everything to ensure that the property is in top condition, including every form of maintenance and landscaping projects to add value to the property. One of the easiest ways to increase the value of a property is by raising its curb appeal, which can be done through landscaping investment. A simple $2000 investment in cleanup and bark mulch can increase a property's value if it eventually goes up for sale on the market. Another factor is the correlation between real estate and the lawn care industry. Both industries work hand-in-hand; therefore, happenings in the real estate world often affect lawn care businesses. This is often an advantage because there is a proportional increase in lawn care service costs as real estate properties appreciate.
3. Potential for recurring revenue
Another factor that makes the lawn care industry valuable is its potential for recurring revenue. This means that as a lawn care business owner, the demand for your services is all-year rather than a one-time thing. If a customer contacts you for a service for the first time, chances are the exchange will lead to a recurring engagement. Depending on what customers want, you might be required to mow their lawn once a week, bi-weekly, or monthly, and this exchange has the potential to go on for years as long as you continue to deliver. Also, when a customer contacts you for the first time, you have the opportunity to introduce other services that might be of value to them. The customer may have contacted you to only have their lawn mowed, but it doesn’t have to end there. You can also recommend other services such as bark mulching, bush trimming, weed control, or even the pressure washing of their gutters. The recurring revenue will allow you to scale the business quickly and build a system-oriented brand, where you as the owner can take a back seat when it is large enough.
Cons of starting a lawn business
Starting a lawn care business is not without potential hiccups, some of which we will get into below.
1. Labor shortage
One of the major challenges you might encounter when starting your lawn care business is a labor shortage. Why? This potential challenge stems from the fact that most people don’t want to work outside or work hard. The most common answer when you ask people about their dream job is finance and tech, with very few dreaming of a career in lawn care and landscaping. The problem is that not many people think about landscape as a great industry to get their career started. They would rather secure jobs in other fancy industries with chances for more relaxation. As a business owner in the lawn care industry aiming for success, one of the first things you need to focus on is finding employees. To ensure the success of your business, you need to find people with like minds who are willing to join as the company grows.
2. Excess competition
Another challenge to growing your lawn care business is stiff competition. Odds are you might have several family and friends warning you about the competitive nature of this industry, and why not? Take a drive through your street and you’re almost guaranteed to see a new lawn care company. What makes it even more difficult to thrive is that these competitors may be offering services at much more discounted prices because they might be using unmarked vehicles, illegal workers, or even without insurance and licenses. When you consider the challenge that these adversaries pose, it might put you off from even starting the business. However, later in the article, we’ll explain why this is a good thing and how to make your lawn care business thrive in these times.
3. Lawn care is not glamorous
Another reason why anyone may be put off starting a lawn care business is simple - working outside in the sun and shoveling through a pile of grass is not romantic to everyone. It is not as exciting or intriguing as building the next Facebook or developing a project in the metaverse. Also, the lawn care business is often looked down on because it is considered a simple service compared to adjacents such as construction and excavation.
How to overcome challenges of the lawn care industry
We’ve gone through the three major challenges you’re likely to experience when starting your lawn care business. Next, we will discuss how you can overcome these challenges, turn them into advantages, and why they don’t have to stop you from making your way into the lawn care industry.
We discussed how labor shortage could constrain new business owners in the lawn care sector. What can you do to find good employees at the start of your business?
- Pay for performance (P4P)
The number one step to overcoming this challenge is introducing the pay for performance strategy. This strategy involves offering employees a percentage of their labor revenue rather than the standard hourly rate. The benefit of this strategy is that it ensures that employees are rewarded based on their input into the company. In this case, the high performers earn more money while the low-output workers receive close to base pay. While this will cause the low performers to leave eventually, it helps keep the company’s best workers because they will be well-remunerated for their effort. The performers will realize that they can make $5 to $6 more per hour with your business. Another benefit of this strategy is that profit-sharing helps you attract employees who are more concerned about the bottom line and willing to grow with the company.
When starting a lawn care business, you might not make a lot of money since you still have to cover up the cost of equipment, maintenance, and labor. But, your employees don’t know that, so why not show them? You can open up your books and share the numbers with your employees. Tell them the revenue and how much you charge for services, and you’ll have an advantage over competitors who don’t do this.
- Upward mobility
Another incentive that might encourage employees to stay with your business is the inclusion of an upward mobility plan. It involves giving employees a chance to develop in other roles such as estimators and office managers. Once they become aware of the opportunity for growth, they’re likely to stay for longer.
2. Overcoming competition
As a lawn care business owner, your second major challenge will be overcoming competition. Earlier, we discussed people using unmarked vehicles, illegal workers, and those without insurances and licenses offering cheaper rates. The way to counter this is by offering:
Instead of thinking about reducing your prices to attract more customers, you need to be more concerned about offering value. Value could be a branded truck to assure customers of the people showing up on their property and professional employees in uniforms who can speak good English and converse well with the clients.
3. Lawn care goes beyond the glamor
The final reason you might be put off by starting a lawn care business is the optics. Beyond glamor, lawn care is a great industry to work in because it allows you to learn a lot. Aside from the sweaty grind and grass cutting tasks, owning a lawn care business allows you to learn more complex parts of business easily. You can learn anything from marketing to hiring in the business world from your lawn care start-up. Since you’re starting small, you have the opportunity to make mistakes and learn valuable lessons that will be useful in other businesses. The lawn care business also provides the financial pillar required to venture into other businesses. The money made from your lawn care business can be used to start other businesses and propel them to success. Finally, this business provides a platform for entry-level employees that require a place to grow, earn, and get ahead in life.
The challenges shouldn't put you off if you’re considering starting a lawn care business. Your primary focus should be getting the business up, and it will grow, provided you employ the right strategies. Remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Every successful business started small and hired help on its way to the top.