Every business needs a business plan, but many lawn mowing businesses don’t create one until later in their business growth. Whether you’re seeking finance for a new lawn care service, or you’re taking an existing business to the next level, putting together a business plan is essential.
You may also need more documentation to get commercial lawn mowing contracts, or to attract investors to your business. But every business (and therefore every business plan) is a little different. So what do you really need to put into a lawn mowing business plan?
In your lawn mowing business plan, it’s important to include your business description, your financial information, the business’ revenue model, an analysis of your competition and any official business documentation you have. All of this information is vital to your plan and the success of your pitch.
But each section of your business plan will be pretty comprehensive. How much are you supposed to put in each section, and how are you supposed to structure it? Don’t worry! In this article, we have the answers to all of those questions, and more, on how to write a lawn mowing business plan.
What Things Do I Need to Put in My Lawn Mowing Business Plan?
Your Business Description
Every business plan worth its salt starts with a business description or an executive summary. This description should be an overview of everything your lawn mowing company owns, does, stands for, and plans to do in the future.
In short, your business description should include your:
- Mission statement
- Services provided
- Service area
Starting a business plan with a strong business description not only helps keep the most important information about your business easy to find and well documented. Being clear about your business also shows potential investors, partners and financiers that you know what you’re doing, and you’re serious about the future of your business.
Your Business Mission Statement
A mission statement helps give prospective investors (or clients) insight into who they’ll be working with if they choose “you” over another company. Your mission statement is about more than just your lawn mowing services, it’s about selling yourself as an owner and a business.
It’s very easy for different companies within the lawn care industry to offer the same services. You won’t be the only gardening business in your town, so what makes you different? Your mission statement should answer that question.
Some things to consider including in your mission statement, are:
- Your company’s goals
- What you offer that other companies don’t
- Your company’s core values
- The types of clients you work best with
- Your company’s strengths and weaknesses
Having a solid mission statement is key to building trust with potential clients and investors. It shows that you’re not just in it for the money, you actually care about your clients, their landscaping needs and earning their trust. This is especially important in a business such as lawn mowing, where people are inviting you onto their properties and into their homes.
If you’re not sure what makes your business different, consider the feedback customers mention in positive Google reviews. What really leaves a good impression on clients, and how can you leverage that to the fullest?
Your Lawn Care Services
You need to outline everything your lawn mowing company will provide in your business description, because services need to be as easy to see as possible. As a landscaping business, your services are the single most important thing in this document.
Doing more than just cutting grass is a great way to score extra business! People will always look to save time and money by working with landscapers who provide multiple services, and do a great job. By incorporating things like weeding and fertilising into your landscaping business, you can pick up lots of extra work without changing or adding too much to your business.
However, having lots of services isn’t necessarily a good thing. Too many lawn care services can confuse potential customers and make it difficult to target your business toward the right type of customer. You also give yourself more overheads, because you’ll need to maintain more equipment, and train employees or contractors to do even more roles. While having lots of services might make you appear more ‘professional’, it’s always important to remember what your business is good at, what your service area needs, and do it well.
Some additional services that will complement your lawn mowing business include:
- Hedge trimming
- Lawn aeration and overseeding
- Lawn fertilising
- Garden pest treatment
- Lawn edging
- Broader landscaping design
- Contracted long-term lawn maintenance
If you’re not sure what services your target area needs, consider collecting more client data and performing market research first.
Your Lawn Mowing Service Area
Clearly stating your service location will help define your lawn mowing business and your services to potential customers. Identifying your service area will allow you to streamline the most essential and profitable aspects of your business.
Your service area is more than just your local area. Choosing specific service areas will lay out the rest of your business. The services you provide, the types of jobs you undertake and the price you charge are all dependent on your service area. You’ll also want to focus advertising for your business on your service area for the best value on your marketing budget.
Here are some key things to consider when choosing a service area:
The property types in that area – Knowing the types of properties in a given area can help you decide whether it is, or is a part of, your service area. Areas that are mostly industrial are going to need less lawn mowing and landscaping in general. However, light industrial areas that have many offices with lawns may pay a premium for fast, professional and continued commercial lawn mowing services.
The financial bracket of that area – Not all areas have the same amount of disposable income. By identifying the average financial bracket of your service area, you will be able to price your services accordingly. Affluent areas not only bring people with more disposable income, but larger homes with bigger properties, on average.
The competition in that area – Like any business, it’s important to know your competition. Local landscaping competition is very important because if they’re in the same area as you are, then chances are they’ll be bidding for the same jobs as you are. You’ll also have to contend with being the new guy on the block and trying to attract customers from the older established businesses with strong customer loyalty, which can be especially hard in smaller, close-knit communities.
As you can see, there are many things to consider when choosing your service area. You can’t just choose whatever is closest to you. Even though a service area local to where you live may help you save on fuel, you could risk missing out on a truly lucrative service area by not researching properly.
Not sure where to start with your customer’s demographics? Read more about gathering and understanding customer data.
Clearly listing your assets is important for any business, but it’s critical for businesses that rely on expensive equipment or other physical assets, like lawn mowing services. Listing your assets can help you secure a loan, and it can also help you understand your business’s financial health and stability.
When you’re listing your assets, make sure, where relevant, to include the following:
- Transport vehicles
- Tools and equipment
- Lawn mowing machines
- Office equipment
- Safety gear
Clearly listing your assets also provides you with a clear way to structure how you reinvest into your business. Identifying the assets you have within a business and how often they get used can help you reallocate profits back into the business to help you maintain essential equipment, streamline the workload, and expand the business.
Aside from information about your services and your clients, you must also include your basic business documentation. This information is required by many banks and investors for not only legitimacy, but are also legal requirements in many cases.
Some of the main documents to include in your business plan are:
- Your Australian Business Number (ABN)
- Any certification you have
- All experience you have in the industry
This is the basic information about your business that every business plan requires. This is a great place to put any other business documentation you may have, such as licences, trademarks, and patents. Having this information readily available will make your business look more professional and legitimate to those who are reading your plan. This section is the only part of the business plan that requires legal documentation, so it’s essential you take care to provide accurate and up-to-date information.
Your Australian Business Number (ABN) is a legal requirement for any business operating in Australia. Your ABN is the unique identifier for your business, and it’s what banks and investors used to identify and track your business.
To get your ABN, you first need to apply for an ABN through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). This can be done online, and it’s a fairly simple process. Without an ABN, you won’t be able to operate as a business in Australia, acquire loans or investment, or contract work.
It’s important to keep your ABN up-to-date, as changes in your business (such as name changes), often require reapplying with another fee via ATO Services.
Previous Experience in Landscaping
By outlining any previous experience you have in the industry, you can help reinforce the idea that you know what you are doing, and that your business is a well thought out venture. The more experience you can add, the stronger your business plan will be.
When you present your business plan, your experience is one of the first things that people will look for. Fancy new machines and good looking logos are great, but when it comes to landscaping, people want to know that you know what you’re doing. By adding your experience to your business plan, you can show them that you’re a credible and professional business.
Listing your previous experience is more than just a way to look good in front of your clients and potential investors, it’s a way to help plot the course of your business. By specifying what experience you have and how much experience you received during that time, you can piece together what gaps in experience you have, what your strengths are, and good times to refresh yourself on certain skills.
Lawn Mowing Training and Accreditation
Listing any training and accreditation will only add to your business plan. Any training or accreditation you have will show that you’re serious about your business, and that you’ve taken the time to learn the proper skill set.
The importance of training and accreditation will depend on the industry. In lawn mowing and landscaping, for instance, it may not be as necessary as it would be in a financial service or health care industry. That isn’t to say landscaping accreditation doesn’t exist and isn’t important, and you should include it if you have it, and pursue it if you don’t.
Training and accreditation is also important for any specialty services you are providing. If part of your lawn mowing business includes fertilisation or weed removal, any training or certification you have for working with hazardous chemicals is a huge addition to your business plan.
There are a range of available certificates and accreditations available for people wanting to start a lawn mowing and lawn care business, including:
- Gardening and Lawn Care Certification
- Certificate of Garden Maintenance
- Turf Care Accreditation
- Lawn Mowing Machinery Operation Competency
Every company has competition, no matter how unique the service or product may be. Understanding that you will have competition, and what you can do to stay ahead of the curve, is an essential part of creating a successful lawn mowing business plan.
When writing your competition analysis, you will want to include the following:
- Identifying your local competition
- Comparing how you and your competitors charge for services
- What services do you offer that your competitors do not
Competition analysis will tell clients and investors that you have done your research and understand the industry in which you are competing. A lack of competition analysis will make any well-meaning business plan appear naïve and could potentially scare away investors.
Start by doing a quick Google search for lawn mowing services in your area. Once you have an idea of your service area, searching for lawn mowing services in your area will give you a list of companies that you will be competing with.
It’s also important to check local Facebook groups, online platforms like Gumtree and newspaper advertising or classifieds, as these are other platforms that people regularly advertise on. Checking multiple platforms will give you a more holistic idea of places where your competitors will advertise, who they are, the services they provide, and the prices they charge.
A cost breakdown of your services and those of your competitor is another standard addition to any business plan. This is important to give yourself a price range for your services that is both affordable to customers but still reasonable enough to generate profits.
The number one thing to remember when developing your cost comparison and setting your prices by extension is to never copy competitor prices. There are far too many variables that go into a company’s pricing structure for you to simply replicate it.
For example, a company may charge significantly lower prices for their services, but they may exclusively provide continuous contract work. This will allow a lawn mowing company to generate profits even in winter, when lawn mowing services aren’t required nearly as much, but from an outsider perspective, it will just appear that they are significantly undercharging for their services.
You also should avoid wholesale undercutting your competition. It may seem like a good idea, being the cheapest mowing service around, but it can be detrimental in the long run. Not only are you not necessarily generating a sustainable income, but you may also miscommunicate the quality of your services.
All of this information generated from creating a competitor cost comparison will overall help you structure your own pricing.
What Services You Provide Over Your Competitors
When assessing the competition, it is important to understand what lawn care services they are providing and how you can set yourself apart. Listing the unique aspects and services your business provides is a basic requirement for any good business plan.
At this point, you should be well aware that you’re going to have local competition, and simply providing the same services as your competitor at a lower price is not a sustainable business model. You will need to develop competitive advantages over your competition, and offering new and unique services will be a huge boon.
Offering unique landscaping services shouldn’t be about finding and selling a novelty. Instead, you should be looking for gaps in the market, and skills you have that would be beneficial for your clients and a natural addition to your business.
By providing more services than just cutting grass, you not only make yourself a better option to your clients, but you open yourself up to picking up more clients who require the additional services you provide. With more services that you can reliably provide, you’ll become the first choice for more and more of your clients.
Business Growth Plan
The goal of any business is to grow, and as a business owner, you need to be aware of that. Within your business plan, you should have a clear plan for how to expand your lawn care business and how you plan to get there.
The basic inclusions for a business growth plan include:
- Your marketing budget
- A basic 5-year plan
These simple additions are the basic components necessary to start a successful lawn mowing business growth plan. Between them, you will have an understanding of where you want your business to go, give yourself a timeframe, and work a budget to achieve those goals.
While you can use some free business advertising strategies to get your business off the ground, few businesses can scale up without paid marketing. Identifying a clear and reliable source of ongoing leads will give your business legitimacy, rather than relying on word-of-mouth.
Lead generation platforms like Bizza (powered by Jim’s Group) can allow you to anticipate a steady stream of ongoing leads, at a clear and competitive cost per lead (CPL). Signing up with a platform like Bizza helps you put together solid financial forecasts, with predictable business growth.
When you’re creating your business plan, one of the most important parts is figuring out how much money you’ll need to allocate to marketing and branding. Even if you have the best product or service in the world, it won’t mean anything if people don’t know about it.
Having a budget dedicated to marketing and promotion is especially important for a small, local business such as a lawn mowing business. You are competing with established brands and companies, and well-known local businesses, so discoverability can be an issue.
A marketing budget isn’t just about ads. Having a budget for simple things like fliers and brochures can go a long way to spreading the word about your business to your customers and potential customers. Even getting your company car branded and purchasing work uniforms adds to your brand awareness and legitimacy.
Some of the most important things to account for as part of your marketing budget include:
Newspaper ads – Tens of thousands of people still read the newspaper, but the cost of newspaper advertising in Australia makes it less popular for small businesses.
Letterbox drops – Not everyone who needs their lawn mowed uses social media, while letterbox leaflet advertising reaches almost every home.
Yellow Pages advertising – Yes, the Yellow Pages is still around in Australia, and modern options combine digital advertising with the big yellow book.
Lead generation platforms – Lead generation platforms are a great way to turn a small marketing budget into long-term clients, if you choose the right one.
While some lead gen platforms in Australia force you to compete on price, Bizza (powered by Jim’s Group) offers independent Aussie businesses exclusive leads at low cost, giving you great return on your investment.
A platform like Bizza charges a small fee for each lead provided to you, and you’re free to quote your standard price to the customer. This is an excellent way to get your business off the ground, and you’re free to work with that client again in the future.
A 5-year plan is a simple concept that marks an excellent way to round out a business plan. The 5-year plan outlines where you hope your lawn mowing business will be in the next 5 years, and the steps you will take to get there.
A 5-year plan is a great way to summarise your business goals and strategies for the next five years. It can also be a helpful way to keep yourself on track and to measure your progress. By breaking it down into smaller goals, you can also track your progress and make changes as needed.
Most people consider a 5-year plan to be a requirement for a business plan. Without one, it’s difficult to chart your progress and ensure you are hitting your goals. While it can be easy for a smaller company to focus on hitting short-term goals, it’s important to have a long-term goal in mind as well, with a structured process on how to reach them.
A basic revenue model should be a standard in your lawn mowing business plan. By working out your revenue model, you can figure out how much money your business needs to make in order to be successful. This is important information for both you as a business owner, and potential investors.
When looking at developing your revenue model, you need to start with two basic things:
- Ideal client base
- Payment model
Between these two things, you should have a good starting point for how to price your services, what type of clients to focus on and how to reach them. As your business grows, you will need to continually update your revenue model as your services and ideal client base change.
Knowing your ideal client base is an important part of market research, and should be done as a part of any business plan. Knowing your client base will inform you of a range of different pieces of crucial information that will shape how you charge and offer your lawn care services.
When starting a business, it’s important to know your ideal client base. This is the group of people you will be targeting with your marketing and sales efforts, as they are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
There are a few things you want to consider when trying to identify your ideal client base:
- The demographics of the service area, which can be sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics
- The environment and landscape in the area
- What tools and skills you have at your disposal
These factors will help dictate the type of client you go after and how to reach them. This can also influence the service areas you start in, and expand into. It’s impossible to start a business plan without having a clear understanding of your client base.
How You Charge For Your Work
Choosing how to structure your payments is a big decision for any business. Charging hourly rates can be a great way to connect with people who need your lawn mowing services frequently, but this may not be the best option for businesses that are just starting out.
As a fledgling lawn care business, you are dependent on early income. The first twelve months alone are an incredibly fragile period for any business, no matter the industry. So making the correct decision on how to price lawn mowing jobs is very important. The three main ways of charging are an hourly rate, charging flat rates and charging by area.
Charging an hourly rate – Charging an hourly rate lets you set a price for your services and maintain some level of control over how long the project takes. Your hourly rate can be influenced by several factors, including your overhead costs, skill set and the competition in your area.
Charging by area – Charging by the area of a job is a great way to generate revenue for larger jobs. However, in smaller residential areas, it may not be an effective way to charge for your services.
Charging flat rates per job – Charging a flat rate for a job seems very easy, but can lead you to lose revenue if not done properly. In smaller, residential suburbs, charging a flat rate for a job can mean you maintain a constant income for relatively fast jobs, but can be detrimental the further out you go, where properties are commonly larger.
You’ll also need to decide whether to charge a callout fee, as there are pros and cons for businesses who require it. However, one thing is certain: the prices your charge to customers will need to cover your business expenses.
For more on quoting for lawn mowing businesses, see our complete guide to lawn mowing service pricing.
As part of your business plan, you will need to include various types of financial information. This is important for banks and investors, but also for you as the business owner, as it will allow you to set projections and targets.
As you put together your lawn mowing business plan, there are a few different categories of information you will need to include. Some of the information you will need is:
- The cost to start the business
- The cost of equipment needed
- Your monthly profit goals
Outlining this information will serve as a very useful tool. You will have a better understanding of where your business is at and where it’s going. By having your outgoing costs in one place and your monthly profit goals, you can start to see how close you are to meeting your targets and finance repayments.
If you have taken out a loan to pay for an industrial or professional lawn mower, for example, knowing how much you are required to put away for repayments each month can help you budget for other costs and emergency funds.
One important piece of information to include in your lawn mowing business plan is how the operation will be financed. Listing how funding will be sourced, if required, is an essential step in structuring your business plan, and your business at large.
There are a range of ways in which a business can be funded, including:
Self funded – Self funded businesses, as the name implies, are businesses funded by the saving and personal wealth of the business owner. This could be you, using your savings from a previous job to start your lawn mowing business.
Debt financed – Debt financed businesses, or loan financed businesses, are those in which a business owner will take a loan from a bank to facilitate the start of the business, using profits made to pay back the loan.
Family and friend funded – Family and friend financed businesses are those partially or completely funded by a business owner’s family and friends. The repayment of those loans are structured and paid back at their discretion. This type of funding is a common way for young or enterprising business owners to start their lawn mowing business without being beholden to strict and structured bank repayments.
Privately funded – Businesses can also be funded by private investors, or angel investors, in exchange for a part of the company or a percentage of the company’s profits. This amount is determined through negotiations between the investor and the owner.
Venture capitalist funded – Venture capitalists are corporations that spend time and money investing resources and financial support to other, smaller businesses. These corporations are drawn towards companies they see as having explosive potential.
If your start-up business is part of a franchise group, such as a Jim’s Mowing franchise, your franchisor can give you advice on ways to finance your new business.
Financial projections, not to be confused with your 5-year plan, are estimates of profits you will make over a certain period of time, using information and data currently available for your business.
The five key types of financial projections are:
Sales projection – an extrapolation of income your company is expected to make in the future
Expense projection – an estimate of the amount of money that will be spent on expenses over a period
Balance sheet projection – a projection of assets and equity a company has, or is believe to have, over a certain length of time
Income statement projection – an estimate of all income and expenses over a certain period, including sales, the cost of those sales, and expenses.
Cash flow projection – an overview of the company’s holding of assets, revenue and overall cash flow, including received and outstanding payments
Consult with your accountant or bookkeeper to prepare these financial reports according to accounting standards.
Cost To Start The Lawn Mowing Business
As part of your lawn mowning business plan, you need to state the cost it will take to start the business. This is a key step for people preparing a business plan for an investor or bank. Clearly defined costs will show that you have a realistic plan and understand the financial demands ahead.
The costs of starting a business can vary wildly depending on the type of business you are running, your service area and your services. For a lawn mowing business plan, you need to include:
- Equipment costs
- Transportation and work vehicles
- Registration fees and insurance
- Training and accreditation
- Initial marketing and advertising costs
- Franchise fees, where applicable
As you can see, there are many costs to starting a business. It’s about more than just getting your lawnmower and cutting some grass! By specifying the different costs it will take to start your business, you can create a realistic idea of what it will take to get the business off the ground and use that information to factor in your loan repayments.
Cost Of Lawn Mowing Equipment
The cost of equipment needs to be in your business plan, especially for a lawn mowing business. Having the cost of equipment as a separate section allows you to monitor the depreciation of the equipment and understand when it is time to upgrade.
As you will know, there is more equipment necessary for a lawn mowing business than just the lawnmower itself. Everything from backpack garden sprayers to leaf blowers to is equipment that needs to be documented, and this will only increase with additional services you provide.
By having this information separate and readily available, you will know exactly how much it costs to buy different pieces of equipment for your business, and how much they should be covered for insurance purposes.
The upfront cost, depreciation and maintenance of equipment is also important to consider when setting prices for a lawn mowing business. You will also have to factor in the cost of running the equipment, maintenance fees, replacement parts and refills. The fuel for your lawn mower for example is something that will quickly add up as you use it all day, every day, and that needs to be factored into the cost of your equipment.
This information will be used to shape your business projections and affect the financial targets and thresholds you need to reach.
Monthly Profit Goals
Outlining the monthly profit goals for your lawn care company can help with cash flow projections and goal setting. Knowing what you need to make to cover your overheads and still turn a profit is an integral part of your business plan that will allow you to track your progress and make changes where necessary.
As a lawn mowing business, you have overheads to cover each month, such as the maintenance of your tools, fuel to keep them running, insurance and paying staff members and subcontractors, just to name a few. By outlining your monthly profit goals, you can begin to structure a business that is both profitable and sustainable.
A monthly profit goal can also help you identify whether a certain service is worth your time. By breaking down the time each service takes to complete and factoring in the overhead costs, you can come up with a target profit margin for each service. If a service is not hitting your monthly profit goal, you may want to replace it with a more profitable service.
Is A Lawn Mowing Business Profitable In Australia?
Yes, a lawn mowing company in Australia can earn up to $100,000 a year. Australia is a large country with a lot of open space, making it the perfect place for a lawn mowing business. The market is competitive, but there is room for a good lawn mowing business to succeed.
In Australia, the average hourly rate for a lawn mowing specialist is between $35 and $55. The benefit of working as a lawn care specialist is you have control over your hours and your clients, so your business can be as profitable as you want it to be.
How Much Should I Charge To Mow Lawns?
As a lawn mowing business, you can either charge based on the size of the job or the time taken to complete it. How you charge is based on you, your experience, and your tools.
For more on quoting for lawn mowing businesses, see our complete guide to lawn mowing service pricing.
Starting or growing a lawn care business in Australia? Check out some of these great resources: