What do you need to start a landscape company?

It depends on who you ask.

Here’s this week’s story.

We had the opportunity to speak with high school students at the local Achievement Academy this week. The staff and faculty thought these kids might be inspired by a real-life business owner…that is also a potential employer…on their special career day.

I asked these teenagers, “What do you need to start a business?”

The quick answers:

  • A business plan
  • Money
  • A product or service
  • A business license…

And my response was, “Wrong answer. But thanks for playing.” 

Next question to the same students. “Would you like to learn how to put a million dollars in your checking account?” An enthusiastic, “YES! YES! YES!” followed.

And so I began my promotion of the lawn and landscape industry, my personal journey starting a lawn service business, growing that company to three locations and millions in annual sales. 

The series of photos grabbed their attention.  I endorsed the pursuit of becoming a business owner as a way for a person to put one million dollars in their personal checking account. Keep this in mind.

You see…

If you ask a bureaucrat what you must have to start a business, they will insist you must follow every letter of the law and every rule that local, state and federal bureaucrats have created for responsible business owners to follow.

In essence, the bureaucrat will give you an endless list of hurdles that will scare you into thinking you can’t start a business until you … a-b-c.

Ask a group of adults who have never actually started a business, “What do you need to start a business?” They will tell you it takes MONEY to start a business. You need a rock-solid business plan and a terrific product or service. You get the point?

But if you ask a real business owner if they followed every bureaucratic policy, had piles of money in the bank and a well-written business plan when they started out…the answer is 9 times out 10 – NOPE. Real businesses have very little at time of start-up.

The reality of starting a business comes down to ONE SIMPLE IDEA.

The only thing you need to start a business is a customer.

The one thing…the most important thing…the most easy-to-get thing…is to find a person who is willing to pay you for a product or service. That’s it.

Acquisition of customers is the first step to starting a business. There’s no reason to go through the motions of jumping hurdles like business plans and licenses if you don’t have any customers to serve.

All the crap designed by bureaucrats to make your life hard doesn’t matter when you start. At least…not if you’re starting a lawn and landscaping business.

You won’t get thrown in jail for knocking on a door and introducing yourself to a prospective buyer. You won’t get thrown in jail for handing out business cards to friends, family, neighbors and business associates. You won’t get your personal checking account hijacked by the Internal Revenue Service for depositing money that you are paid when you provide valuable services to your customers.

And face the facts. None of your customers are going to ask for a copy of a business plan before you weed their flower beds or prune their shrubs. Your customers won’t ask to see a current bank account balance before you mow their property.

You only need ONE THING to start a business! You need someone to say YES to your offer to provide a product or service.

Now…if your business is going to be a huge success one day…a business plan can help get you there. Sure, you’ll need to comply with the laws, rules and regulations set up within your locale and business profile.

And YOU will have to get your butt out of bed day after day, rain or shine, to the best of your God given ability and honor the commitments you have made to the customers you acquire. Your success will mostly depend on your commitment to keep those customers happy. 

If you get a chance to speak with youth and share your story of how you started your business, I hope you will remember this little story.

Perhaps you can inspire some future entrepreneurs how to avoid the goofy misinformation found in the minds of those who have no experience actually starting a business.

What do you think?

Can you relate to this story and how you started your lawn or landscape business?

Hit reply and let me hear from you.

Tony Bass, founder


PS – If you find yourself in need of more customers right now for your business, take a look at our recent series on marketing your lawn or landscape business below:

Landscaper Marketing Plan – Step 1

Landscaper Marketing Plan – Step 2

Landscaper Marketing Plan – Step 3

Landscaper Marketing Plan – Step 4