How to write a lawn mowing business plan
By David Serville, Founder of Crewcut Lawn & Garden
In my view, a lawn mowing business plan should be kept simple. Once written, it should provide you with clarity and should be easy to follow for any reader.
So who are you writing your lawn mowing business plan for?
- A bank
- A business Partner
These are in order of complexity. Before you write one for a bank or a business partner you need to address one thing; What sort of security and resources do you have to bring to such a venture?
The bank will likely want to see equity in a property or home. You will need to fill out a financial statement of position form. This tells the bank everything you own, your current outgoings, your debt and the equity you have at that point of time. The bank will want 3-6 months of bank statements (if it is a different bank or lender to who you normally use).
If you don’t own a property with a good amount of equity, in other words unencumbered home with little debt, then don’t bother even calling a bank as they will not be interested. One advantage of a Crewcut Franchise System is that we can overcome some of this as long as you have enough money for the vehicle, equipment and a small deposit. It is key that you don’t start any business with more debt than the business can handle in the start-up phase.
I would recommend in any scenario that you always start with your own plan. I mentioned what is required by the bank only to save you time. The place to start any plan is with your personal business plan. A business partner will at the very least want to see this if they are investing time and money into the venture, unless it is your wife or a trusting relative. In my view, you should alway start with a one page plan.
Answer these questions
How will you financially live or get by for the first 6-12 months as you build you business?
If you purchase a lawn mowing franchise, this is less relevant as you start with a ready-made own business with only a small development cost, if any. This depends on the package.
What is the cost of the equipment?
- 2 Lawn mowers of commercial quality for residential or commercial use.
- One straight arm loop handle of commercial quality line trimmer
- One blower
What vehicle or trailer will you use?
- Your current Vehicle with Trailer or Van or Truck - Vehicles need to white for a Lawn mowing Franchise.
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What is your marketing budget and how will this be implemented?
This could be a monthly cost and strategy which is outlined in just a paragraph or two. A big unique benefit to a Crewcut Lawn mowing franchise or business is that you get your own web page and digital marketing package when you start along with dedicated marketing to insure your business always develops and grows. With an in-house marketing team, the national marketing plan is being constantly developed.
What number of lawns will you need and how long will this take to develop?
If you are considering starting as an independent, you need to consider this and at least write yourself some targets. It may be crystal ball gazing, but it is an essential number as this is the thing that will be the difference of survival or not. I would estimate the average lawn price in Auckland is about $30 while this may be more or less in smaller cities. Based on Auckland lawn mowing prices, when your business has grown to 40 lawns a fortnight, it will have a revenue of $1200 or $600 per week in summer. This is still only a part time business. As a Auckland Lawn mower contractor, you will need grow your business to at least 80 lawns a fortnight with additional property maintenance so that you could earn revenues of $1500 per week. At Crewcut we like to introduce someone that is not mowing fit with about 60 lawns and then grow the business rapidly from there. This gives enough time for a lawn mowing franchise operator to orient themselves to all aspects of the business while their business gets to 80 lawns in the following weeks. Some lawn mowing franchises nominate to have larger businesses however, the only requirement at Crewcut is providing a top notch service to your client base. You could eventually have 140 or more lawns and this is determined by the franchise owner.
Will this be part-time or full time?
A part time business may not need much funding, and could be started with just one 21 inch catcher lawn mower of commercial quality with the ability to mulch or side deliver. A line trimmer straight arm loop handle and a blower and trailer. However if you want to be working full time, then purchase a small private round or a lawn care franchise and get cracking.
Put all this in writing on one pager
If it is for the bank with a position of statement form, it will be a two pager. Keep a copy to look back at and celebrate certain milestones. If you buy a lawn care franchise you can start any time of year. If you choose to start a lawn care business from zero, I’d advise you to start in spring. That will give yourself the best chance for your marketing to work. I can’t stress enough that you should always write your goals down and add them to your plan at the start of each year. People who do this have a written plan to look back at and have mentally prepared themselves for success each year.
Other things to consider are your plans for a lawn mowing health and safety policy, a trading name that is memorable also to use for the business bank accounts, selecting a good reputable accountant and taking advice. You can also get your tax returns done for as little as $500 if you are organised and shop around. If you are purchasing a franchised business you will need a lawyer as well. For professionals, always get a quote. A lawyer will prepare any sale of purchase agreement for you and or advise you on a Franchise Agreement.
Now you have considered all this, don’t procrastinate. Start!
If you're looking for my advice before starting your career as a lawn mowing business owner, check out some more lawn mowing business tips here.