Lawn care businesses can be hugely successful. However, to operate within legal limits, you’ll need to know how to start a lawn care business legally.
When you operate a business legally, you’ll minimize liability and protect both your personal and professional assets. There are a few simple ways to ensure that you’re operating inside the legal limits for your business.
Name Your Business
All businesses require a name, but this may be one of the easiest parts of the process. You’ll want a name that’s not used in the state, defines your type of business, and separates you from the competition.
You can use your state’s business database to search for your favorite names to determine if anyone shares that name. If so, you’ll have to choose an alternate.
Bonus tip: If you choose to purchase a franchise, you’ll possibly skip this step. You’ll also receive a number of benefits including proven processes, help getting started, and marketing materials.
Register for an EIN
An Employee Identification Number is required in the United States. You can obtain this by filling out an online application on IRS.gov. You’ll have to have this number in order to operate the company legally, so make this your second step in the process.
Register Your Business with the Appropriate Credentials
You’ll need to decide how you want to register the business for your taxes. You can choose a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, and corporation. Most lawn care businesses only need to be registered under your business name through your local government. However, if you want to protect your personal assets, then you’ll probably choose to be a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC).
It’s a good idea to meet with a local attorney who can set this up. If you’re the only employee when starting, you may want to start as a sole proprietorship. This keeps taxes and bookkeeping simple. And you’ll have fewer up-front costs to start the business.
However, since you will have greater liability once your business starts to expand, you’ll want to transition to an LLC that will protect your personal assets in the case of a legal dispute.
Once your company is registered, you can obtain insurance. This is an essential step of the process and should be done before you start to take on clients. Insurance will protect you in case you damage client property. It also will protect you if you’re sued or involved in a lawsuit. Any damages or injuries on the job can also be covered.
Obtain Licensing (if needed)
Once your lawn care company is up and running, you’ll want to establish your contact information, build a website, and market the business. These are not legally required, but you should ensure that you are able to attract clients.
You may also need to obtain licenses for certain services in certain states. Fertilization, landscape design, and pesticide control may be services that you want to offer. Your local Department of Agriculture can let you know if you need specific licensing.
Starting and running a lawn care business is a fairly simple process, but it is important to ensure that your company is operating within legal limits. These are the steps to follow to start and run the business legally, so ensure that you have all of these areas covered before taking on clients.