Taken from "Adams Businesses You Can Start Almanac"
Startup cost: $500-$1,500
Potential Earnings: $25,000-$50,000
Typical fees: $12-$15 per hour or flat rate of $50-$100 per job
Advertising: Flyer's left in front doors, ads in local or community newspapers
Qualifications: Love for working outdoors and some knowledge about lawn care
Equipment needed:Power mowers, rakes, leaf blower, power trimmer and spreader, pickup truck or station wagon
Home Business potential: Yes
Staff required: No
Hidden costs: Insurance, transportation, some equipment rental
Many people could find time to mow their own lawns if they wanted to, but it's the weeding, trimming, fertilizing, aerating, and leaf removal that are difficult to squeeze in. By providing these services, plus the mowing, you can rake in the profits. There's a lot of competition out there, from neighborhood kids who mow lawns on the cheap to the expensive professional lawn services that include landscaping and related services. But if you plant you seeds in the right places, develop you niche, and cultivate the business, your lawn care service can grow.
Let's assume you already have a truck to carry your equipment. You'll need to shell out at least $300 for basic tools, such as rakes and edgers; more if you need to upgrade the power lawn mower you probably already have. Consider renting some of the items you don't use regularly. Double or triple your costs if you decide to have a team of workers mowing a lawn simultaneously (you'll make more money that way). You can charge roughly $50-$100 per job in a residential lawn care business; more if you can handle corporate accounts. Keep in mind, however, that you income isn't limited to flat fees; many happy customers also include a tip for your trouble.
Bottom Line Advice:
By scheduling some or all of your services with customers in the same neighborhoods, you can save on transportation and rental costs. One day you might be mowing lawns and another you'll be aerating. You might have to rent an aeration roller at a cost of $25 or more a day, but if you schedule aerations in one neighborhood for the same day, you'll easily recoup the investment. In many parts of the country lawn care is a seasonal business. To pick up the slack in winter, you might consider adding rock salts, shovels, and snow blowers to your equipment inventory.