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Plants & Agriculture

Lawn Care Service

Know the secrets to making grass a little greener? Start a lawn care business.

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Business At A Glance

Lawn Care Service

Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Everybody’s ideal lawn is a swath of emerald green, each blade as precision-cut as a Marine drill sergeant’s hair, and not a weed, bare patch or dog doodle in sight. But in today’s two-income family and single-parent/breadwinner world, who has time to mind the lawn? It could be you.
As a lawn care professional, you can save the day by feeding, weeding, aerating and mowing the yards of not only residences, but businesses and institutions as well. And you can add to your income by rounding out your services from strictly lawn care to routine landscape maintenance. If you like working outdoors, making the world a greener and more beautiful place, and helping things grow, then this could be the business for you. According to the Professional Lawn Care Association, more than 22 million households spend $14.6 billion on professional landscape and lawn care services, so there’s lots of room for growth.
The advantages to this business are that you can start on a shoestring, you’re out in the fresh air every day with no ringing phones or clattering keyboards to interfere with the birdsong, and if you enjoy physical labor and the accomplishment of putting in a good day’s work, then this can be a rewarding field. You’ll need a good basic understanding of lawn care and of fertilizing and weed control products and techniques. A sense of logistics will also be a plus–the better route you map out of customer sites, the less time you’ll spend on the road and the more efficient and cost-effective you’ll be.

The Market

Your customers can be residential property owners or a wide variety of commercial properties–apartment and condominium complexes, hotels and motels, hospitals, large and small businesses and office parks. Government institutions make good sources of income as well.
 
Nab residential customers by going door-to-door with fliers or door hangers. (Don’t place them in mailboxes–the U.S. Postal Service gets very upset about this.) Place ads in your local newspaper and in your neighborhood Yellow Pages. For small-business commercial customers, hand-deliver fliers or brochures and explain your services.You may not get any takers the first time you visit, but don’t get discouraged. A repeat visit or two can often seal a deal. A direct-mail campaign of a brochure will work better for large corporations; follow up with a phone call.

Needed Equipment

You’ll need field tools, including an aerator, a power mower, an edger, a trimmer, a selection of rakes, a spreader for fertilizer and seed, a sprayer, and a small gasoline container for on-the-job refills. (Be sure to use an approved container and follow safe storage and usage practices.) You’ll also need a vehicle to carry them in, a pickup truck or other medium-duty vehicle and possibly a small trailer.

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Plants & Agriculture

Organic Farming

If you love farming, now is the time to get in on the booming organic market.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Organic Farming

Startup Costs: $10,000 – $50,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Is it time to sell the house in the city and move to the country, but you’re just not too sure what you could do to earn a living? Well if that’s your dilemma then perhaps organic farming is for you. In the past decade organically grown and produced food products have really taken off in popularity and have been scientifically proven to be better for our health.
 
Of course, operating a farm that grows organic foods requires a great deal of consideration and research prior to committing, not to mention an extremely large financial investment. However, the current demand for organically grown foods shows no sign of slowing down and will only continue to expand as the human population continues to become more concerned about maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.

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Plants & Agriculture

Small-Spaces Landscaping

Looking for a niche landscaping business concept? Think small.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Small-Spaces Landscaping

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

Condominiums, townhouses, and lofts are being constructed in record-breaking numbers across the United States and Canada, and this building boom has spawned an entirely new and red-hot industry in small-spaces landscaping. Where are these small spaces?
They include sundecks, patios, decks, balconies, rooftops, and courtyards for both residential and commercial locations such as professional offices and restaurants. Home and property owners want to have beautiful outdoor spaces to enjoy, but when your outdoor space is limited to a ten-by-ten foot balcony, most don’t know how to combine both function and flowers in such a small space.
That’s when they call in a professional small-spaces landscaper. Capitalizing on your knowledge of plants, flowers, and design, you can offer customers a specialized landscaping service that transforms their small outdoor space into a lush, yet still highly functional living space. Planters, gazebos, seating, water features, flowers, ivy, sunshades, heaters, and barbeques are just a few of the elements you will have to work with and plan for. Income is earned in three ways. One, planning and installing the small-space garden; two, purchasing products wholesale that will be used in the garden and selling them to clients at retail; and three, ongoing monthly fees to maintain and upgrade the garden area as required.

The Market

Owners of condominiums and townhouses whose only outdoor space is a balcony or small courtyard. Business owners who want to add landscaping to outdoor employee break areas, and even restaurants with outdoor seating.

Needed Equipment

Standard gardening equipment.

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Plants & Agriculture

Tree Planting Service

Plant beautiful green rows of shade for landscape lovers.

Entrepreneur

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Business At A Glance

Tree Planting Service

Startup Costs: $2,000 – $10,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Online Operation? No

Business Overview

On the surface, starting a tree planting service may not seem like a very lucrative business to operate. However, each year forestry companies cut down thousands of trees and replant thousands more.
 
Typically, the task of replanting these trees is left to subcontractors who either have successfully tendered for the job or have established a working history and relationship with forestry companies to provide tree planting services. A good starting point in this industry is to compile a list of all forestry companies and commence contacting them to inquire about forthcoming tenders and the status of their particular tree planting programs.
 
Providing you are successful in securing tree planting contracts, be prepared to work hard and form a crew of tree planting laborers. The work is physically demanding and usually requires the operators of these businesses to be away from home for extended periods of time. However, it is common for tree-planting contracts to exceed $100,000 in value.

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