Most lawn care owners don’t have a lawn care business plan, which is why they go out of business within the first three years of operation.
Growing a business without a business plan is like rowing across the ocean… without a rudder… or a crew… or even a paddle. It’s not smart.
Your plan is the key to growing a successful lawn care business.
A good business plan will keep you accountable to your major goals, help you identify your most important milestones, and show you the best opportunities in your market.
But what makes a good lawn care business plan?
How do you create your own, if you’ve never done this before?
Whether you’re just starting out, or you’re updating your business plan, this step-by-step guide will help you to build the best lawn care business plan for your business.
How a Lawn Care Business Plan Sets You Up for Success
Before we get started, let’s talk about how a lawn care business plan sets your business up for success.
By creating a business plan, you will:
- Stay organized
- Prepare for the unexpected
- Keep your focus on clear goals
For these reasons, it’s important that you create a lawn care business plan as soon as possible.
Pro tip! A business plan doesn’t stop after you create one. You should be continuously updating your plan with annual full revisions and monthly financial revisions.
1. Cover Page
Cover pages are a great fast-track resource to give your new employees a quick overview of your management and contact structure. As your business grows, this will help you streamline your training process as you’re introducing new employees to your lawn care business.
Alternatively, if you apply for grants or loans, it creates a quick contact and information page for the viewer to reference back to.
Think of your cover page as a brief cover letter for your business. Since it’s the first thing anyone will see, it needs to quickly introduce your business.
For this reason, your lawn care business plan should resemble a professional booklet.
Therefore, your cover page needs to include things like:
- Business name
- Contact information
- Business address (if any)
- Your role in the lawn care business
Once you’ve built your cover page, you’re ready to create your executive summary.
2. Executive Summary
Simply put, your executive summary is a brief, one-page summary of your entire lawn care business plan.
This page helps you to crystalize the main concepts of your business by establishing clear, firm growth goals to help your lawn care business sustainably grow to become successful.
In your executive summary, you should include things like:
- Company history
- Mission statement
- Business goals and objectives
- Competitive advantages (your keys to success)
After you’ve completed your executive summary, you can continue onto the next step.
3. Business Overview
It’s important to create a business overview because it outlines the basic information, everyday functions, and operational structure of your lawn care business.
This way, whenever someone new enters your business (like a new employee or third-party accountant), they can quickly understand how your business operates at a glance.
For the company summary, you'll have a brief overview of your vision for your lawn care business.
You’ll want to include things like:
- What types of lawn care services will you offer?
- How frequently do you plan on servicing your properties?
- Are you offering services for residential, commercial, or both?
- How do you think the weather (i.e. the rain) will affect how frequently you’ll service properties?
Once you answer these questions, you should have a complete company summary.
Since every lawn care business is different, you might find that you’ll need to add additional information to your company summary.
A company summary is a great way to help you outline what the everyday operational structure of your business looks like.
Without a company summary, you’d be aimlessly wandering around without any sense of direction. This step will help you to get a better idea of what your ideal lawn care client looks like.
Find Out the Emotions and Benefits YOUR Clients Care About
When you registered your lawn care business, you had to decide between business entities like a partnership, corporation, sole proprietorship, and etc…
Since your business entity holds tax implications, it’s important that you include this in your lawn care business plan.
By establishing your business as an entity, you're protecting yourself from personally being financially liable for your business.
Since this is such a significant aspect of your business (with serious consequences for you personally), it’s a good idea to further solidify it by putting it on paper.
By including your company’s ownership, you’re essentially formalizing what’s already been finalized (or should have been finalized).
If you haven’t registered your business as an entity yet, click here to read our full guide on legalizing your lawn care business.
A start-up summary is important because it outlines your startup costs and uses your assets to evaluate the overall value of your lawn care business.
Your assets and/or start-up costs can be an excellent predictor of your upcoming success.
Plus, if you were to seek grants or outside funding of any kind, this is one of the most important sections of your lawn care business plan.
If you’re just starting out, then this section will be your start-up summary; however, if you’re updating an existing lawn care business plan, then this section will include your business expenses and assets.
You want to start estimating your start-up costs so you can include it into your overhead costs. When you establish your lawn care prices, your start-up costs can be included in your overhead.
If you skip this section, you could drastically undershoot your prices and lose money.
To start off your start-up summary, you’ll include all of your start-up costs. This section outlines how much it’ll cost you to buy the equipment and materials you need to actually start your business.
More than likely, you already have some of the tools you need to start your business, so you don’t want to include anything you already own here.
This section is solely for the purpose of detailing what you need to buy.
To give you a general idea, your start-up costs might include things like:
- Office supplies
- Business software
- Lawn care equipment
- Capital to pay your employees (if any)
- Marketing expenses (i.e. your website, ads, etc… )
In your start-up summary, you’ll need to detail how much all of this will cost you.
Even if you’re not looking for outside investors or loans, this will help you to create a better financial plan for your lawn care business.
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Also included in your start-up summary are your long-term assets.
As you might guess, these are the assets you already own that will contribute to your business in the long-term.
A great example of a long-term asset would be your vehicles and equipment trailers, since neither of these will need to be regularly replaced.
Your business’ assets are a huge predictor of your success. It also shows how much your business is worth.
This especially comes in handy when it comes to third-party financial assistance. If you ever apply for grants or need a financial advisor’s help later on, this section indicates to them what you’re actually worth.
Be sure to detail your assets as much as possible (make, year, model, cost, and etc… ).
In addition to your long-term assets, you also need to include your short-term assets.
Opposite to long-term assets, these are assets that you already own that will contribute to your business in the short-term.
Examples of short term assets are equipment like:
These are just a few of the many items you might’ve already purchased for your business.
The more assets you have, the less overhead you have, which means more of your revenue is going towards profit.
In order to adequately evaluate your business’ revenue (and increase it), you need to know how much your lawn care business is worth. This section is especially useful for third-party financial advisors.
While this section might seem tedious, be sure to include ALL of your short-term assets. You’ll thank me later when you start tracking your inventory.
4. Lawn Care Services
Now that you’ve built out your complete business overview, you’re ready to list your lawn care services.
Based on the costs you calculated in the previous step, you should be able to determine what lawn care services you can offer.
This decision should be based on the following two things:
- Your lawn care equipment: Based on what you already have or can afford to purchase, your services will be limited to the cost of equipment.
- Your area: If there’s a demand for a service in your area that no one offers yet, then this is an exceptional opportunity for you to get ahead of your competition - fast.
Based on the scenarios listed above, write a three to five-sentence paragraph detailing the services you’ll offer.
Don’t forget to include seasonality and frequency for each lawn care service. Doing this will help you to establish a foundation for your everyday business operations.
5. Market Analysis Summary
In this section, you’ll outline your target market (AKA your ideal client).
Your market analysis summary should detail how your lawn care business is going to meet the needs of your target market. You’ll identify industry trends as well as your ideal client.
Answer the questions below and input them directly into your market analysis summary:
- What does your ideal client look like?
- Age, income, and socioeconomic status
- Identify their wants and desires (what they care most about)
- Find out the local target market size (how many locals fall under this category)
- Who’s your local competition? Are they established lawn care businesses, start-ups, or are you a new pioneer in this market?
- List your top 3 to 5 competitors
- Lawn care services
- Business sizes (team sizes, company size, etc… )
- List services (with prices) that are similar to yours
- List your top 3 to 5 competitors
- Why might your ideal clients choose your competitors over you?
- How can you make it to where your ideal clients will hire YOU over your competitors?
Also, you can download our free lawn care client persona template. It’ll help you to better identify who your ideal client is. Plus, you can even include it in your lawn business plan to look even more professional!
The best part about a market analysis summary is that you can make it as detailed as you need.
6. Business Strategy
Everything you’ve completed up until this point has prepared you for this step in your lawn care business plan creation.
Now, you just need to connect the information you’ve previously laid out.
By creating a business strategy, you can better establish the best lawn care pricing strategy for your lawn care business.
In this section, you’ll focus on increasing your profits, so you can grow the most successful lawn care business possible. As a result, you can get a better grasp on how to grow.
Lawn Care Pricing
As you determine your lawn care prices, you should consider things like:
- Profit goals
- Software cost
- Taxes and fees
- Overhead and equipment cost
- Hourly rate (including employee pay)
These are just a few of the many factors you should consider in determining your lawn care prices.
Download our FREE lawn care pricing calculator to find out exactly how much YOU should be charging!
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7. Implementation Summary
Your implementation summary is going to outline your marketing and sales strategies you’ll use to sell your lawn care services.
Based on your overhead costs and service prices, you should be able to determine how many clients you’ll need to acquire in order to reach your profit goals in your lawn care business.
Then, you have to determine how you’re going to win those clients.
These are a few basic marketing strategies to help get you started:
- Google Ads
- Facebook Ads
- 9-arounds with flyers
Click here to discover more detailed marketing strategies for your lawn care business.
If you want to go more in-depth, you can also include things like:
- Sales forecast
- Sales strategies
- Milestones (if any)
- Competitive advantages
You want to create an implementation strategy so that you can explore the most effective ways to reach and win over your ideal clients.
By doing this, you can establish a clear, direct plan of what your marketing campaigns will look like, which will help you to achieve your goals.
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8. Management Summary
Did you know that labor costs can make up as much as 30% of your annual revenue costs?
For this reason, your management summary is an important section to include in your lawn care business plan.
Unlike many of your other costs, you can control your labor costs by streamlining your everyday operations, increasing your route density, and improving your time management.
By the way, Service Autopilot can automate all of these tasks (and more!) for you using our lawn care software.
You’ll want to hire workers. Your prices + operational costs + your profits will help you figure out when is the best time to hire your first employees.
In your management summary, you should include things like:
- Your salary
- Labor costs and employee pay
- Number of employees needed to reach your goals
- If you’re going solo, how many jobs can you realistically complete in a day?
- What’s your minimum price you have to charge to service a property (and reach your profit goals)?
You may not be able to hire an employee at first. While having new employees is great, you may not have enough clients to support having an employee - and that’s okay.
Many new lawn care business owners mow lawns solo for the first year or two until they win enough clients that they can’t handle the workload alone anymore.
You’ll know when it’s time to hire a new employee when you’re constantly feeling overworked, it’s time to consider hiring a new lawn care employee.
And if you’re ready to hire a new employee, but you can’t afford it, then it’s probably time to start raising your lawn care prices.
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9. Financial Plan
You need a financial plan to better ensure the success and consistent growth of your lawn care business.
Without a financial plan, you’d be spitballing about your finances without any sense of how profitable your business is.
Businesses owners that skip this step, or skim through it, are the types of businesses that go bankrupt. Don’t be that business owner.
As you complete this section, it would be in your best interest to work with your bookkeeper or accountant.
When you work with a financial advisor, they can help dig deeper into your finances to find any potential profit holes or concerns before it becomes a problem.
While a financial advisor might cost your pretty penny, this step alone can make or break your business.
If you haven’t already, I STRONGLY urge you to contact a reputable financial advisor ASAP.
If you don’t have one by now, then you should consider doing so.
Your finances can make or break your lawn care business, so there’s not much margin for error. It’s important you do it right the first time.
Your financial plan includes things like:
- Balance sheet
- Sales forecast
- Business ratios
- Start-up funding
- Personnel plan
- Expense budget
- Break-even analysis
- Projected cash flow
- Projected profit and loss
The items in bold are the bare bones pieces that you MUST include in your financial plan. Everything else listed is just another way you can take your financial plan to the next level.
While not everything on this list will apply to you, this is a great start in creating a financial plan for your lawn care business plan.
Using a Lawn Care Business Plan to Create a Long-Lasting Business
Now that you’ve read this guide, you’re ready to create your own lawn care business plan!
While a business plan is a little tedious to create, this step-by-step guide has shown you how to simplify the process and create the best plan for YOU.
At last, you’re ready to use these steps to successfully grow your lawn care business beyond your wildest dreams.