This sample will provide you with some of the elements that should be included in your lawn and garden service business plan. Use this example to compile your own.
Fescue & Sons Yard Care is a residential lawn care service targeting rural middle-class homes with large yards which the owners cannot care for well on their own. Over the last three years, the prices for homes in the nearby urban area have skyrocketed.
Many families in our targeted income bracket have chosen to buy larger parcels in the nearby countryside, rather than spending huge amounts on small lots in the city. However, many of them are unprepared for the level of care such large lawns require, and end up with small gardens near the house, and overgrown acreage further away.
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Fescue & Sons Yard Care will start out as a partnership, owned jointly and equally by Red and Kikuyu Fescue. For the last five years, Red has worked as head landscaper at ABC Landscaping. He now has the design and lawn-care expertise, as well as the management experience, to begin his own business. Kikuyu is a graphic designer and master gardener.
Her skills will be extremely useful in creating the look of our marketing materials, from brochures to business cards to newspaper ads. She will continue to work in her current job while Red manages the day-to-day details of the company.
Over the first summer, Red will be the primary employee, with some part-time help from his son, Rye. Rye has worked with Red at ABC landscaping and will continue to help out at Fescue & Sons in the summers.
In the coming spring, we will hire an additional landscaper for seasonal work, and may hire another if demand warrants. In mid-summer of Year 2 we will purchase additional equipment, including a second trailer or used truck.
As a business with largely seasonal profits, we will use the high summer revenues to support the business through the winter’s leaner months. We will have a modest profit in the first year, but expect profits over $8,000 in the second fiscal year and over $10,000 in the third year.
Our objectives for the first three years of operation are to:
- Create a service-based company whose primary goal is to exceed customers’ expectations.
- Obtain contracts for yard service in at least 30 different residential homes.
- Increase our number of clients served by 3% per year.
- Develop a sustainable home business, being maintained by its own cash flow.
The mission of Fescue & Sons Yard Care is to provide top-quality residential and commercial yard care service. We will strive to attract and maintain customers by providing services in the most timely manner to provide 100% customer satisfaction. Our services will exceed the expectations of our customers.
1.3 Keys to Success
- Experienced landscaper with excellent customer-service skills
- Commitment to high quality and professionalism in every task and encounter
- Small size, allowing direct management oversight of every project and employee
Fescue & Sons Yard Care will offer residential and commercial lawn care service, including lawn cutting, trimming, edging, and removal of the clippings. Most of our customers will use our services once every week or every two weeks, depending on the amount of rain we get.
In this area, lawn care needs vary greatly depending on the weather, and while this year is likely to be dry, future years will probably see a return to normal rain levels, meaning faster-growing grass and weeds and more frequent lawn care.
2.1 Company Ownership
Fescue & Sons Yard Care will start out as a partnership, owned jointly and equally by Red and Kikuyu Fescue. As the business grows, the owners will consider re-registering as a limited liability company or as a corporation, whichever will better suit the future business needs.
2.2 Start-up Summary
Fescue & Sons Yard Care’s start-up costs include:
- Home office equipment: file cabinet, computer system (including printer, scanner, and fax software)
- Vehicle: The owners are contributing a 1998 Toyota pickup to the business
- Two commercial mowers
- Trimmer: used to reach grass around trees and other hard to reach areas
- Edger: cuts grass that grows over the border of the lawn and driveway
- Blowers: blasts stray clippings that litter the sidewalk and driveway
- Hedge trimming equipment
- Two rakes
- Two shovels
- Two pruners
- Two loppers
- Safety equipment, including steel toed shoes, goggles, gloves
- Standard tool box with tools for simple repairs.
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Fescue & Sons Yard Care will provide residential lawn care service which includes lawn cutting, edging and trimming. Optional services will be available upon customers’ requests. The service is typically offered once a week in season, but we can create a custom schedule for clients if they have beginning of the season projects, or if the weather changes their lawn care needs.
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4Market Analysis Summary
Fescue & Sons Yard Care will target rural middle-class families with larger lawns or parcels of property. This population is the most likely to use a lawn care service such as ours, since they often have more acreage than they can easily care for.
Red will be canvassing neighbourhoods and posting flyers to develop a clientele. We will also place advertisements in the local rural newspaper to develop visibility for Fescue & Sons Yard Care.
In the second year, Red will expand service beyond the small rural town to the urban area located 15 miles east.
4.1 Market Segmentation
Fescue & Sons Yard Care will be targeting families with annual income over $50,000. The median income of $50,000 and above is targeted because they tend to have more disposable income for the care of their lawn, whereas lower income families will tend to provide their own lawn care.
Over the last three years, the prices for homes in the nearby urban place advertisements have skyrocketed. Many families in our targeted income bracket have chosen to buy larger parcels in the nearby countryside, rather than spending huge amounts on small lots in the city. However, many of them are unprepared for the level of care such large lawns require, and end up with small gardens near the house, and overgrown acreage further away.
By targeting customers with large lawns and parcels of property, we will fill the niche created by urban flight, as well as keep our margins higher than we could with small lawns. Transportation time and costs for all the equipment make it more profitable to do a few large lawns than many smaller ones.
By doing a superb job on these rural lawns in the first year, we hope to build a positive reputation which will carry over with recommendations to co-workers and friends in our customers’ former urban neighbourhoods. Since we want to maximise lawn size cared for in both settings, our eventual outreach to urban dwellings will focus on high-end houses and lawns on large, often older, lots.
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4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy
Initially, we will canvass nearby homes in our rural town. Red will be basing the business out of our home, very close to the target market. Red will start by speaking with his own neighbours. Although some people are put off by solicitors, Red is their neighbour, so they will be more comfortable with him and he will be able to make his sales pitch. We will also put some small signs on our own lawn advertising our service.
Once Red has built up a steady list of customers he will begin to run advertisements in the local paper to gain access in different neighbourhoods. In the second year, we will continue running ads and begin outreach to the more affluent city customers with large lawns.
4.3 Service Business Analysis
Fescue & Sons Yard Care will be working in the lawn care industry. The industry includes both residential areas (individual homes) and commercial areas (apartment complexes, business parks, schools, etc.).
The commercial side is generally serviced by larger landscaping services. The residential side is serviced by both landscaping companies and basic lawn care service companies.
The lawn care business is made up of many small companies. This occurs because of the high labor intensity and low start-up costs of the industry. The industry is vulnerable to recession, as lawn care is a luxury. Lastly, the lawn care industry is seasonal, with the high season being spring through fall. There is usually little activity in the winter, but some can be achieved by acquiring a clientele that will utilise monthly maintenance through the winter months.
4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns
The lawn care business can be divided into two types, residential and commercial. As a start up or one person business, it is much easier to enter into the residential market compared with the commercial market. The commercial market is dominated by larger, established companies.
Within the residential market, there are two competitors: full-scale landscaping companies and basic lawn care services. The full-scale landscaping companies will generally be handling jobs outside of Fescue & Sons’ range. They are servicing even larger homes that require other landscaping activities that need more equipment and multiple employees.
The margins are therefore larger for the full-scale companies because they can charge more for the higher-skilled work. The other competitor is the basic lawn care services, not unlike Fescue & Sons Yard Care. In the residential market, the current competition is underwhelming and often lacks basic quality and professionalism.
The trend with the residential customers is that they are making their purchasing decisions based on referrals and perceived professionalism and quality of service.