Theoretically, the absolute bare minimum equipment needed to start a lawn care business is nothing. That is, you could call on customers looking for those who would let you use their tools and equipment to get their yards done and would just pay you for the labor. You could go out prospecting for the elderly families on your street and nearby neighborhood first.
Next Step Up To Your Own Tools
Other than borrowing tools from customers at their homes, the least equipment needed to start a lawn care business would be a push mower, self-propelled or otherwise, a spade shovel, and a optional broom. Those items would get you started with a customer or two, but bare in mind each lawn would take you much longer to manicure. If you were to walk behind a push mower with a 21″ cutting width, you’d be moving slower than you would if you were driving a commercial mower, and you’d have to make many many more passes to cut the entire area than you would with a wider cutting pro mower. Additionally, you’d consume a ton of time and energy because you’d need to painstakingly trim gardens, driveways and walkways with that spade by stabbing it into the grass where there’s overgrowth, and need to jump on the shovel to dig it in 100,000 times a day. You should care about tidiness too, and so you’d add way more time on top of all of that to sweep up your cuttings with a broom. These tools would get the yard done but you probably only have time to do 3 residential yards during daylight, and forget about commercial gigs.
If you get asked to do hedges and trees then you’d need a heavy duty set of hand operated clippers or a machete and maybe even a hatchet or axe.
Next Step Up Toward Power Tools
Even if you would just add a power lawn trimmer to your arsenal, you can cut the time per yard substantially. You could use the trimmer for gardens and up against the walls of the house and fences etc., and you could turn it sideways to be used as an edger along driveways and walkways. Mind you, you’d go through a lot more string trimmer line when using a trimmer as an edger. A LOT more.
While you could use corded electric tools if your job sites have electrical outlets within reach, those long electrical cords will drive you nuts. They’d get in your way with every turn, there’d be plenty of potential to cut the cords in pieces when you’re in a hurry and not watching out. Further hassle is that you would have to wind those cords up to put them away after each use (and unravel them on job sites when they’re knotted up). Electric cord powered equipment would certainly save you a lot of gas and oil money until you could upgrade your equipment, but you really would want to switch to gas powered tools as soon as you can afford them.
So, the minimum equipment needed to start a lawn care business described above (push mower, shovel, broom) would get you to a couple of locations a day, and if you could do that for two weeks (12 working days or so), you should have enough cash to add some power to your business. After your daily job expenses, you should have around $500 cash to spend on equipment upgrades.
First things you should add to your new lawn business should be a gas powered string trimmer and a leaf blower. You’d have to continue to just make do with the push mower; hopefully yours is self propelled. I prefer FWD propelled mowers because they make 180 degree turns easier at the end of each cut path. Front Wheel Drive mowers are also easier for pushing up inclines because you will be leaning a bit and all you have to do is lift up ever so slightly to shift more weight onto the front wheels to propel that mower upward.
At this point, with minimal gas powered lawn tools you’d have better equipment needed to start a lawn care business: push mower (self propelled); string trimmer (also used for edging); and a blower for quick clean up of clippings. Don’t forget the other yard tools mentioned above when you’re asked to do a hedge or something other than just grass.
Next Step Up From Powered to Entry Level Commercial Lawn Equipment
Ultimately you would get real pro equipment needed to start a lawn care business. To enable you to do that, we offer our Fleet Deals up to 20% off, and our custom package deals to suit your needs (we love to bundle equipment into package deals). Oh, and we offer financing on tree and lawn tools and equipment too.
Giant Step Up From Powered to Real Commercial Lawn Equipment
Commercial use lawn equipment is made much differently than homeowner tools, and is priced accordingly. There are many different levels, but since we were originally talking about minimums, here’s a middle ground commercial lawn care package deal all of which you can get at 20% off and get financing.
But how would you get from job to job?
Transportation Equipment Needed To Start A Lawn Care Business
You obviously would need a way to carry lawn equipment to customers’ locations.
If you’re too young to drive or don’t have a car for whatever reason, you would need a sturdy wagon to pull tools you need up the street, unless your customers will let you use their tools. If you’re old enough to drive, read on.
Using Your Car For Your Lawn Care Business
If you’re just starting out and have a customer or two and they aren’t far apart, you could carry your push mower and other equipment with your regular daily use car.
I advise that you should save all of the profit from each gig so you could upgrade that car to better transpo that is more conducive to the work you would be doing.
Using A Pickup Truck For Your Lawn Maintenance Business
Better than lugging lawn equipment around in (or on top of) your car, a pick up truck would be easier to load and unload. Keep security in mind; lawn equipment does seem to walk away on its own. A pick’em up truck would work well for you because it’s easy to lift trimmers and blowers over the side to load and unload, and the tailgate can be lowered so you could load and unload a mower (with a ramp depending upon the weight of your mower and the amount of muscle you have left at the end of the day).
Using A Van For Your Lawn Service
A van would be better than a pickup truck for security and for the shade that they could provide when needed. You’d want to consider a cargo van, not a passenger van or mini-van. Vans for lawn businesses would keep prying eyes away better, and would be tougher to break into if a thief wanted the tools that you would need to protect for your livelihood. Unfortunately a van would be more difficult to get tools in and out of. It’d be much easier to simply lift tools over a rail and into a trailer or bed of a pick ’em up truck.
Using A Open Trailer For Your Yard Work
This is the prefered method of transporting tools and equipment to job sites by most commercial lawn services, but like a pickup truck, you would need locking racks for your tools so they wouldn’t wander off. A trailer could conveniently be hooked up to your daily driver (car or truck) and hauled to job sites, but still would not be secure and wouldn’t provide any shade. They’re cheap enough, and light for you to pull as long as you don’t have a Smart Car or some puddle jumper. When you’re off the job, you could simply unhook the trailer, leave it locked somewhere, and drive around as you please for personal use.
Using A Enclosed Trailer For Your Lawn Business
When you’ve hit the big leagues, you would possibly want the convenience of being able to hook up your daily driver to an enclosed lawncare trailer and hauling tools and equipment to job sites. You’d have the security of a van, some shade, a nice big sign to drag around for advertising, and still be able to unhook and drive the vehicle for personal use. Still, enclosed trailers would be harder to load and unload tools and equipment than open trailers and pick ’em up trucks.
Using A Step Van For Your Lawn Company
Some pros go as far as customizing the innards of a huge cube van or step van for a lawn business usage. Those trucks are large, heavy duty and require a fair amount of parking space when not in use. If storing away from your house, you’d have to consider security. They hold more than a cargo van and can carry more weight; some have a lift gate. These big rigs would be way more problematic for parking on streets in front of houses because they’re too heavy to park up on the grass and they can block traffic – not to mention that they are more difficult to maneuver.
Insurance Needed To Start A Lawn Care Business
What if you got hurt and could not work for a while? What if your tools got stolen? What if you damaged your customer’s house, windows, car or something? There are different kinds of insurance you’d need right away, or eventually: that which would cover your property from theft, that which would cover your bodily injury, and that which would protect your customers and their properties. You really should look into it sooner than later.
Some basic physical insurance would be protective gear. The recommended personal wear equipment needed to start a lawn care business would be PPE to protect your body from immediate harm. Personal equipment needed to start a lawn care business should include eye protection (flying objects and clippings), ear protection (noise), hand protection, and foot protection (you’d look funny at the beach with just 3 toes). Don’t wear shorts because flying debris could get you, and you really should wear long sleeve shirts for the same reason and for sun protection. Keeping the sun off with cotton garments will actually make you feel cooler than short pants and short sleeve shirts.
I hope this info has been eye opening for you. We’d really like to help you if you’re local. If you come and see us, it would be well worth your while and could save you a lot of trouble and money.
Lloyd Bronson says
My older sister is looking to start a lawn care business. I’m glad that your article mentions the importance of purchasing higher-end power equipment to increase productivity. I’ll look into purchasing the equipment for her to help her out.