These days, most people shell out at least $10,000 to start a company or sign up for just as much debt or more!  Then if the season takes longer than you expected to get going, they are left in a lurch. Here at CLIP, we always recommend avoiding debt – that way if your business collapses for some unknown reason, it still doesn’t take your house!

Here is an excerpt from Dave Tucker’s book, Lawn Maintenance and the Beautiful Business showing how someone can start a lawn company with nothing but sweat (proved by his nephew).

Well, take heart! I already told you the story of my nephew, James, who was 11 years old, had no savings, his parents couldn’t help him, and he needed to raise $1,000 by the latter part of the summer. It turns out that he made even more money than he needed in that one short summer (Today he is 18 and runs the company from out of state).

Tips to start your first lawn care business

Let’s say that you are young, don’t have any money and you can’t drive. How in the world do you get started?

So here is the strategy: Find someone in your church or social group that wants his or her lawn mowed. In exchange for your mowing his or her lawn, you borrow the lawn mower to mow other people’s lawns.

A variation of this would be to go around and ask your neighbors if you could mow their lawns with their own equipment. Please note that this is only to get you started. You want to own your equipment, so you know that it has been maintained in a state of readiness and so you get to know your equipment well. Also, you want to continue obtaining better equipment until you have the professional type that “cuts the work in half” (Pun intended!). These machines are expensive, and you need to raise enough money to purchase one, but this is how you could start.

Once you have access to a mower, you can now go door-to-door asking people if you can mow their lawns. Keep within a few block radius of your home because you will be walking to the jobs. Two opening dialogs, to fit our two previous scenarios – borrowed mower and no mower, would sound something like this:

“Hello, Mr. Smith. My name is John, and I am trying to raise money for {college, mission trip, to pay my own expenses, etc.]. I want to mow your lawn this season so you can have more time with your family. I have my own lawn mower so this is not a problem. How does $22.50 per week sound to you?”

More money than your average job

Now, note a few things:

  1. You have personalized the conversation by telling Mr. Smith that you are raising money for a worthy cause.
  2. You have explained how your offer will benefit Mr. Smith (more time with his family).
  3. You gave Mr. Smith a price that was not even an amount like $20 or $25. There is much less negotiation when the price is precise.
  4. You should also wait for him to answer you – don’t say anything else until he responds. Just smile and look him straight in the eye.

Once you have an OK, you have your first customer! Now, go get another one! You should be able to do 5-10 lawns in one day. Now you’re earning between $112.50 (for five lawns), and $225 (for ten lawns) in 12 hours. Compare this to working fast food where you get paid $7-8 an hour instead of $22.50!

Be sure to keep aside money for taxes as you grow, and also, set aside money for a commercial mower. With a commercial mower, you can mow up to 20-30 laws a day!

Check out “Lawn Maintenance and the Beautiful Business” to learn more!