Post written by: Cassie VanValkenburgh
With spring in full bloom, the sounds of the season can be heard with regular frequency; lawn mowers, lawn equipment and a gentleman with a Scottish brogue saying “Feed your lawn, feed it.” Many of us maintain our own lawns or hire a landscaper or lawn service to handle the weekly tasks. But, have you ever considered becoming a small business owner and forming your own lawn service?
When researching this topic, I came across an article “How to Run a Lawn Service” on a small business website. (http://smallbusiness.chron.com/run-lawn-service-16191.html) In the article, they sum up this business plan in five easy steps:
- Check for regulations
- Register company
- Buy equipment
- Hire employees
The plan seems simple enough, however, upon further review a couple of these steps have more layers to examine. For instance, most states require lawn care professionals who apply fertilizers and pesticides to be certified. This certification or license is in place to protect the owner and the environment against pollution, run-off or over-spray claims.
Purchasing equipment and supplies, including seed, also has its share of regulations. State seed control agencies inspect and test retail seed businesses and verify the label complies with seed laws. This testing is used to verify the seed has been maintained and stored in an appropriate manner. In addition, vehicles used in the operation must meet the Environmental Protection Agency exhaust and emissions regulations that went into effect in 2010.
Finally, before hiring employees, owners must know workers’ compensation laws and have a safety plan in place. Employees who are trained to use the equipment properly and wear protective gear are less likely to have costly accidents.
So, before getting started, discuss this new venture with your independent agent to make sure you have the appropriate coverages in place. Lawn maintenance is a retail business that can be quite lucrative for the small business owner and knowing the local regulations will help to keep your business in “the green.”