Description of Job
• Perform basic lawn care, including lawn mowing, trimming around buildings and lawn furniture, and edging.
• Conduct seasonal fertilizing and application of other lawn chemicals,
including weed killer.
Do you have a lawn? You need to keep it trimmed.
It’s not just a matter of keeping up with the Joneses; in most communities,
laws and regulations require that property owners keep their land reasonably
neat. Cutting the grass also helps reduce the incidence of ticks, fleas, and other
unwelcome visitors in residential neighborhoods.
That said, not everyone has the time, inclination, or ability to take care of
their own lawn. The market for lawn mowing services includes older homeowners, persons with disabilities, and people who just don’t have the time to do it
In most parts of the country, lawn mowing is a seasonal job. (In northern climes,
lawns generally hibernate at least half the year, from about October through May.)
You’ll need to pay off the cost of equipment during the growing season . . . and
watch it gather dust over the winter. You will also likely have to pay for 12 months
of insurance and licenses even if your business runs only 6 months of the year.
Rain helps the grass grow, which is good news, but a particularly dismal summer could result in long periods when lawns cannot be mowed. Similarly, a
drought could cause lawns to grow unusually slowly.
Know the Territory
Will you bring your own equipment, or use whatever you find at your client’s
Using your client’s equipment simplifies your operation in many ways: You
won’t have to buy a lawn mower and other devices; you will not be responsible
for maintaining it and providing gas; and you will not have to transport bulky and
heavy machines from your home to your customer’s lawn.
On the other hand, the equipment you find may be of poor quality or unreliable. Some homeowners won’t have lawn mowers, costing you a job.
Using your own equipment should guarantee you’ll have machines you can rely
on; you will, though, have to properly maintain the devices. If you bring your own
equipment, you’ll need to transport the devices to your clients. If you’re working on
your own street, you may be able to roll the mower down the sidewalk; anywhere
more distant will probably require that you use a truck or a trailer with a ramp.
Will you be responsible for removing grass clippings? Are there any local
regulations regarding disposal? (A mulching lawn mower may solve this problem, if that’s okay with your client.)
Investigate other local ordinances. For example, some towns may limit the
hours when noisy power equipment may be used.
Educate yourself on lawn chemicals, including fertilizers, weed killers, and
pest control options. Take care to avoid exposure to dangerous substances. Remember, although a manufacturer may claim that a chemical is not harmful when
its instructions are followed, you may be exposing yourself to repeated use of the
substance as you move from one job to the next.
Not all lawns are the same. If the property is hilly or irregularly shaped, it
will likely require more time and effort than a flat, square property.
Lawn mowing is the sort of job that can be done by one person or by a crew.
A lawn that takes one person two hours to cut could be done in one hour by a
crew of two. Although having a crew may allow you to cut many more lawns,
you’ll also have to pay additional salaries and benefits, and you’ll need more
equipment. The principal advantage to hiring a crew is that you may be able to
step back from actually cutting the grass yourself and instead earn your income
as the manager for your lawn mowing empire.
How to Get Started
Market your services before they are needed. In the best of all possible worlds,
you will be able to sign up enough clients ahead of the season to justify purchase
of equipment. Place ads on bulletin boards, at gardening supply stores, and in
Ask friends and neighbors for referrals. Offer a discount or a free service for
any clients they bring to you