Grass cutting service business?
Hi everyone, I’ve been thinking of starting to offer grass cutting services over the grass cutting months. I’ve looked into it, but a few questions I have is: I understand that I will need to register as self employed – but will I need to register the company? I understand that I should have public liability insurance – but is there any other insurance I should really consider? I would like to either do a leaflet drop through peoples letter boxes – do I require any licenses for this? Also, I’d perhaps like to knock on peoples door and offer my services (while giving a leaflet) – Is this a good or bad idea and would I need any licenses or anything or this? As for paying NI and tax – how would I do this? Is there anyhthing else I may be missing? Any tips?
yes you will probably need to register as self employed with HMRC.
You wont need a limited company – this is *lot* of work/effort and inappropriate for a bit of grass cutting unless you are employing gangs of workers and its a large operation.
You pay tax by submitting a personal tax return once a year, and they will send you a bill. You also pay quarterly NI payments if you earn enough to do so.
Insurance, you will get sold all sorts but if its just you then not a lot. General ‘all risks’ cover should be fine should you slice through something valuable. If you employ someone you will need cover for that.
Leafleting is an excellent way to target people for something like this, not least as you can check they have an suitably large lawn before popping it in the box (!). No licence required. I would do it yourself to avoid it getting lost amongst a load of pizza leaflets (avoid local paper night). Door knocking depends on you really, if it was me for this sort of business, then I might although be prepared to get lots of doors slammed in your face, I think you have to be really careful who you target and what your sales pitch is ie "keep up with the neighbours" or "save yourself time at the weekend".
Main tip is, go for it, and dont under-price to get work as you will regret it later on. The sorts of people who would want this service will tend to value reliability (ie showing up when you say you will, and doing the job you are paid to do, well and without fuss) over cost and if you price too low you may find you are trying to pack too much in and cut corners so you end up doing a bad job.
James Smith [i]Chartered Accountant[/i] www.jamesesmith.co.uk --------------------------- Your indispensable guide to Small Business Bookkeeping, Self-Assessment & VAT
You might want to consider getting a website up and running too as it will be good for new customer to find you generally and for those you offer your service to to check out. If you are going into peoples homes, often they will want to know you are a legitimate business.
I wouldn’t break the bank though for the time being, get something basic up and running.
If you drop me an email email@example.com I can send you over a quote document with a few ideas and costs.
Matthew Adams ____________________ Affordable Web Design http://www.webfactore.co.uk
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I personally don’t think a website is needed for a business like this and your money would be better spent elsewhere… My father and my brother both run their own independent mowing companies. Both are self employed and both make a very decent income off the back of it.
Register with HMRC (as much as we all hate them)
Get some business cards designed along with a relatively decent logo.
Either pay for some flyers to be designed/printed with that same logo on, state that you do free estimates, strimming, mowing and maybe even paddock topping? depends where you’re based.
Get yourself in the local friday-ad and in local shop windows.. before you know it the phone will be ringing off the hook and you’ll be moaning as much as my dad used to!
You don’t need to spent thousands, you’re not a huge company with a ‘brand’ to worry about (as of yet) you just need a name and a catchy slogan of sorts! If you need a hand with anything design or print wise you know where we are.
------------------ Graphic Design | Print Management | Web Design | Digital Marketing http://www.crane-creative.co.uk
Both are valid points I think but word of mouth is just as important.
Get people talking about your business by doing special offers (% off etc). Simple things such as this do help to promote you and get people talking about your business.
This is probably too far ahead as you’re probably still in the planning stages, but make sure you think of cheap and effective ways of promotion to start with.
Facebook and Twitter can help but they can be difficult to get off the ground.
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Hi everyone, Thanks for your replies, sorry I haven’t replied sooner.
So basically, I’ve been doing some research into this and circumstances dictate that I would be better off aiming to start this next year.
My basic idea at the moment is to start on my own and then as I get more customers, hire 3 further members of staff. I also am unsure on how payment to this staff would be best dealt with and how much to pay. I was looking into piece rate work, and that seems like it could be a beneficial option, but I’m not sure how it would work. I was thinking a piece rate pay, per job, (where a job typically took approx 40 minutes) however, does the time between gardens need to be paid for? and if so, would that need to be in addition to this?
Also, if I paid a ‘piece rate’ and was upfront in saying that the jobs were as and when they were available, would this be legal? and reasonable? Obviously assuming that the NMW was achieved for the hours worked. I mean ideally, they would get the full target hours and pay, but it’s just a concern that customers might cancel or we may not get enough in the early stages. Any further advice in this? or alternatives?
I’m not sure about pricing at the moment. But I aim to provide a professional service – and have a professional image – rather than be a guy with a mower (not that there’s anything wrong with that of course.) ideally I would be looking at having a minimum number of fortnightly customers, at a typical price of £20 per lawn. I’m not sure if this seems too much, or too little. But it seems the going rate for a guy with a mower around here is £15. Does £20 a cut sound unreasonable, or sound like it could be problematic in getting customers? Or does it sound too low? Looking at finances at the moment, assuming I achieve target customer numbers, or at least 3/4 of my target number of customers, it will be profitable.
Also, another concern is – I won’t have a truck to remove grass cuttings, and at least some companies seem to offer this service. Is this a necessary service? Is it often expected? And given that I would be getting paid for the service, would I be allowed to leave the cuttings/garden waste in the peoples garden bins?
Thanks a lot for all your help everyone.Revised on 22/06/2012 02:29Also, James, you mentioned to be careful who I target as customers, in what way do you mean? Do you have any advice with regards to targetting potential customers? Thanks a lot.