Landscaping is a lucrative business venture. It has low startup costs (other than equipment and labor) and fewer barriers to entry compared to other businesses. At a minimum, you need proper equipment and licensing. If you’re contemplating starting a landscaping business, you may be wondering; Do I need a business license for lawn care?
In almost every state, landscaping contractors need to be licensed. Some places require no licensing, but you must liaise with the local city government to determine the licensing needs.
What type of license do I need to start a lawn care business?
Most states require that you get a general business license. Apart from state lawn business licenses, there could be local business requirements. To avoid any confusion, you may want to check with the department of local regulation—there’s always an expert to point you in the right direction.
Some states will require a license for herbicide application, irrigation, and other specialized services. You could also reference the associations listed in local business directories.
If this is a hoop you don’t want to jump through, you can market your business as a green lawn care alternative.
Structuring Your Lawn Business
What type of business do you wish to run? You can decide to keep the business as a sole proprietor or a limited company. The former has no corporate structure and comes with many downsides.
One challenge with a sole proprietorship is the liability. Since the company is the person, you have to deal with all the risks. If you hit someone on the sidewalk or rocks are thrown at a moving mower, you take the responsibility.
A limited company comes with many perks. Being a separate entity from its owners, it shields your property. If something goes wrong, your assets are free from being in jeopardy. The other benefit is taxation. Any income from a limited company is reported as individual income taxes.
Steps to Obtain Your Business License
Form a company or work with a franchise
If you want an LLC business, you should choose a business name, address, and phone number. In addition to that, you should state whether your business will be offering residential or commercial lawn services.
On the other hand, finding a quality franchise is a great option. While you’ll still need licensing, you’ll receive multiple benefits including:
- A reputable name
- Established, proven procedures
- Marketing tactics and material
Apply for a business tax certificate
In most localities, you require a business tax receipt. You need to fill out the appropriate forms to begin the process. Some states will check both a city and county business license. If you plan to hire staff, you need an employer identification number.
Apply for additional licenses (if necessary)
Apart from the basic license, your business may be required to apply for additional licenses for irrigation or herbicide application.
Startup Lawn Care Business License Costs
On average, you should expect to pay $100 or more per year. You may need an additional license to operate heavy equipment in specific locations. Other states require that you get a separate license if you hire people to work on people’s yards. You must confirm the renewal requirements.
Failure to acquire the necessary license can result in hefty fines. You also risk losing your company.
If you’re planning to start a lawn business, this could be the best time. To be certain about what you need, you should contact the licensing department of the county you’re in. Be sure to follow the above steps to keep your business thriving.