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Gary, a professional lawn care expert, mows a vibrant green lawn as part of GreenPal's local services.

Building a profitable lawn care business from the ground up

The Ultimate Guide
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If you're going to think
anyway, you might as
well think big.

Donald J. Trump,

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I wasn't born a natural
entrepreneur, I had
to be trained.

Robert Kiyosaki
Rich Dad, Poor Dad

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The best way to predict
the future is to create it.

Peter Drucker

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You can do it if you
believe you can.

Napoleon Hill

Congratulations! You've already taken the first step to a life that's truly worth living just by reading this blueprint.

Hi, my name is Bryan Clayton and before we jump in, I just want to take a second and introduce myself. Like you, I was a guy or gal – in my case a guy – who was kind of fed up with where my life was and the job I was working. It seemed like I was going nowhere fast, always scrounging for cash and was just tired of looking forward into a pretty dark future.

At the time I did what I'm about to show you how to do – start a profitable and successful landscaping business – I was working as a bartender. I wasn't college educated or even had any kind of trade school certification. I'm not stupid, not by a long shot. It's just that school was never really my bag and the idea of graduating high school and then spending another 4 years slogging away with my nose in a book never appealed to me.

I wanted to go out into the world and be my own man…

The only problem was that I quickly found that it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I had to work hard and earn little and my life was pretty much dictated by my boss. I mean if I wanted a paycheck, I had to work when I was told, right?

Gary respond to lawn care queries. Gary respond to lawn care queries. Gary respond to lawn care queries.

So after a few years of this, I began re-thinking my decision not to go to college. Maybe I should've just done it and then I'd get a degree and a real job…

That is until I started really looking around at some of my friends and acquaintances who had gone the college route!

Were they any better off? Not really. They worked long hours and were probably more tied to their corporate jobs than I was.

Choosing the right lawn care professional illustration.

Yeah, they got to sit at a desk in an office in cubicle hell rather than do some of the jobs I did – landscaping, bartending, laying sod, driving a forklift… you know the drill – yet they weren't' any happier and often weren't making any more money, either.

And hey, at least when I went home after work… I was done with work. I shut off the forklift and went home. I mixed the last drink, clocked out and was done with it. On the other hand, my corporate friends were always talking about "being on call" or having to go in on Saturday or were even kind of proud of the fact that they'd hang out at Starbuck's for a few hours on Sunday morning so they could use the WIFI and do some work…

What the hell? No thanks!

So I did what you're about to do. I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted to create a simple but cash making business that I could run all by myself and that would make me good money. So I thought about mowing lawns. They never stop growing, do they? And most folks, especially corporate slaves, don't want to spend their time off mowing, edging and weed eating! Or they can't because they're friggin' working on their days off!

Would it be hard work? Sure, I mean cutting grass 6 or 8 hours a day was definitely work… but what did I care? I was working anyway, so I might as well do something where I could be in control and where, if I did it right, I could even expand and hire some help so I wouldn't have to be the only guy out there.

Not only did I start a landscaping business that I built to a solid $100,000 a year income within my first year, I was able to then expand, hire some help and run multiple crews. After that, I actually figured out how to grow even bigger where I had more than 100 guys working for me and built a multi-million dollar lawn care business!

Sound crazy?

It's so doable – believe me, I'm nothing special. I don't have any more knowledge than you do. In fact, unlike you, I didn't have this blueprint to guide me along the way. So I made a lot of mistakes. But I still figured it out and now that I have, I want to pass that along to you.

Graphic showing growth over the years for lawn care expertise. Graphic showing growth over the years for lawn care expertise. Graphic showing growth over the years for lawn care expertise.

I'm giving you the roadmap you need to get where I got faster, easier and with a much brighter future than you ever thought possible!

As the Navy SEALs say, "Plan your dive and dive your plan."

From $0 to $5,000 a month

Okay, so what is this blueprint all about? What I've done for you here is to boil down my experience getting my landscaping business started from the ground up. And no, I didn't have a bunch of money in the bank either. I started with a few hundred bucks. So if you're reading this thinking that you don't have a pot to piss in, don't let that be an excuse, because I'm going to show you why that doesn't matter and how to overcome that little issue easily.

Now I built my business to six figures within a year. You can too, yet I also want to keep things realistic for you. Toward the end of this guide, I'm going to show you how to get to that incredible level of making $100K. And I'm talking about take home pay, too. However, let's focus on a goal that I think you'll agree with me is a bit more achievable for a person just starting out.

What this blueprint is going to show you is exactly how to start from the ground level and quickly create a landscaping business that generates $5,000 per month in personal income for you.

That's $60,000 per year and the truth is that you can do that working part time.

If you follow the advice laid out in this guide, you'll see that it takes less than 40 hours each week to generate that kind of take home pay being your own boss and taking care of your customers.

This isn't theory or big talk, either. This guide really is a blueprint. I'm going to walk you through the numbers – how many customers you need, what you can charge, expenses, fees, how many hours you'll work, all of that. This is a step by step blueprint that, if you follow it exactly as I set it down, cannot fail!

5 building blocks to a solid landscaping business

In order for you to start, run and be successful at your landscaping business, you need to make sure that it contains the 5 basic building blocks of success. So most of this book is going to focus on these building blocks. I'll show you what they are, how they work and how to make them work for you. If you have these blocks in place, you just can't fail.

Unless you simply don't cut the grass, of course!

Here are the 5 areas of business you're going to master:

  • Icon representing legal services for lawn care matters.
    Structure & legal

    How you register your business,
    your license and your insurance.

  • Materials selection icon for lawn care guide
    Equipment & Materials

    Equipment, expenses and how
    to get the most for your buck.

  • Marketing strategies icon for lawn care handbook.

    How to get and keep
    good customers.

  • Management efficiency icon for lawn care services handbook.

    Bookkeeping and accounting –
    it's easier than you think!

  • Operations management icon for lawn care handbook.

    Doing the work efficiently
    and effectively.

There's probably nothing in that list that surprises you, is there? I mean everybody knows you've got to set up your business, get the equipment to do the work, get customers, actually do the work and then keep track of stuff. In a nutshell, that's basically it.

Yes, there's a bit to know about each of these 5 building blocks, but don't worry, I'm only going to give you the stuff you need to know and nothing more for now.

I'm going to walk you through each of the blocks and show you how to tie them all together for the best results.

I want to say something about smarts now. If you're reading this, you're a smart guy or smart lady. You may or may not have gone to college. You may or may not have even graduated high school. Yet there's something you must understand and that I want you to trust me on:

Smarts has nothing to do with book learning!

Do you know that many of the world's most successful business people are not the most successful students?

Portrait of Robert Kiyosaki for financial insights section in lawn care handbook.

Robert Kiyosaki, author of the famous Rich Dad, Poor Dad book and a whole series after that often says that in reality, it's the A students who work for the B students, and it's the B students who work for the C students… and the C students are the ones who own the businesses!

So my point is that there is nothing in this blueprint that's beyond you. There is nothing in here you won't understand or be able to master pretty easily. Sure, there may be a few concepts that are new to you, but that's okay – that's why you're reading this blueprint, right?

I promise that you've got what it takes and then some. So with that said, let's get started, what do you say?

A working model

Oh, one more thing…

Table of Mac screen resolutions for optimal website display. Table of Mac screen resolutions for optimal website display. Table of Mac screen resolutions for optimal website display.

This is a blueprint written for regular folks like us. It's not some piece of high-brow literature or intended to be fancy in any way. I specifically wrote this in a very casual and conversational tone.

With that in mind, let me give you fair warning – I like to swear sometimes. In this book, I'll make some off-color remarks, drop in the occasional damn, hell, ass and even a bullshit here and there. I'll try and leave out the F-bombs, you know, just to be nice… but the point is that whether you're a man or woman, I want you to know that it's me and you here. I'm going to talk to you like a real person. Like we're sitting at the tiki bar having wings and beers.

So if you're easily offended… then maybe this isn't for you. Because anybody who wouldn't start a successful and potentially big business because of a few earthy comments probably can't handle chasing a mower around a lawn in July anyway.

Okay, okay, enough BS, right? Let's get down to brass tacks.

What I'd like to do in order to make this blueprint more effective is to walk you through the whole process from A to Z. I mean I called it a blueprint, so I might as well make it one, right?

Like any business, the first thing we need to do is figure out what our business is going to be. In our case, it's a landscaping business – lawn care to be precise.

Wow, that was easy!

In truth, landscaping is actually a pretty big category. When you hear the word "landscaping" you probably think cutting grass, like I do. But really, there are lots of options, such as:

  • Tree trimming and removal

  • Designing flower beds, planters and tree placement

  • Creating walkways, patios and outdoor amenities

  • Rubbish removal

  • Snow removal

  • Even pressure washing

As you get more experienced, and depending on the area of the country you're working in, you may want to add some of these services later on. You may need to, in fact. If you're in Florida, for example, you'll be cutting lawns 12 months out of the year. In New England or the upper mid-west, you may not touch a blade of grass for months, on the other hand.

Even in Florida, you won't cut every single week of the year. During the months between December and March, it may only be every two weeks. You may or may not need to add more services.

However, I also want to keep you focused. So for the purposes of all the samples in this guide, I'm going to talk only about the core lawn care services – mowing, weed eating, edging and blowing.

Now that we know what our business is, we next need to name it. After all, you've got to have something to put on your shirts, business cards and the sides of your truck, right?

What you name your business is really up to you. Some people like to get creative and some like it simple.

Which best describes you?

Informative illustration for GreenPal handbook.

If your name is Joe Smith, for instance, would you rather call your business "Joe's Landscaping" or "Green With envy?"

Does the name "Smith Lawn Care Services" appeal to you more, or does the name "Yard Groomers" turn you on?

Well since I'm taking the time to write this, I'm going to decide for you! That's right – for the purposes of our examples, I'm going to call your business "Mean Green Landscaping"

So we now know what our business is and what it's called… the next step is to make it official. Which brings us to Chapter 1 – and how to get started.

So if you want to be on your way to becoming your own boss and getting your own slice of the American dream. Keep reading.