May 19, 2017

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  • People all over the United States like to go swimming, and many of them head to a swimming pool when they want to take a dip. Keeping the many swimming pools in the country clean and operating properly is major business. According to IBISWorld, the swimming pool cleaning services industry is a $3 billion industry. With no single company dominating the industry, there’s plenty of opportunity for new business owners who are interested starting up a business that cleans and services pools. Who is this business right for? Anyone who enjoys working with their hands and being outside may enjoy running a pool service business. It also helps to be self-motivated, as business owners spend much of their time working alone while cleaning pools, and personable, because owners frequently see their customers when cleaning pools. What happens during a typical day at a pool cleaning business? A pool service business owner spends a lot of their time going to customer’s locations and cleaning their pools. A typical cleaning may involve: Driving to a customer’s site Checking the pool’s water and adding chemicals as appropriate Emptying debris baskets, cleaning the pool’s filter and similar tasks Looking over the pool’s equipment and making any necessary minor repairs Leaving a bill and driving to the next customer’s site When not cleaning customers’ pools, business owners schedule cleanings, market their business, order additional supplies and maintain their equipment. What is the target market? While most pool service businesses clean and maintain individual’s pools, a business’ ideal customer is a business or organization that has a commercial pool (e.g. a hotel, apartment complex, condominium property, gated community, school, park or fitness center). Commercial pools take longer to clean, but pool service businesses are able to charge more for cleaning them. They also are used by more people and, therefore, frequently need to be cleaned more often. Some commercial pools may need to be serviced weekly, or even two or three times per week. How does a pool cleaning business make money? A pool service business makes money by charging for cleaning swimming pools and making minor repairs to pools. What is the growth potential for a pool cleaning business? A pool service business may be a single-person operation, or it can be a large company. Many business owners never hire employees and simply clean pools in their area themselves. Others grow their business into regional or national chains. An example of a local business is Belleair Pool Service & Supply. America’s Swimming Pool Co., a national franchise.
  • Pros for Starting a Lawn Business Flexibility is one of the reasons many people want to start their own business. A lawn care business has much to offer and can morph inot something much bigger, if that's what you choose to pursue. Stable & Repeat Business: Lawn care accounts are perpetual, meaning ongoing and consistent. Your customer base will need their lawns mowed once a week, making for a stable book of business. Revenue Generating Consumables: Not only do people need their lawns maintained, they need special fertilizers and treatments for weeds and bugs nearly every 4-6 weeks. These treatments would be considered “consumables”, meaning reoccurring product usage, and this business feature makes for an attractive business model. Scalable: You can start by offering one service (mowing lawns) and build out to other service offerings like landscaping services, new sod installation, gardening, tree trimming, weeding…etc. The myriad of options available will allow you to scale up as customer demands change. Customizable: There are so many ways to tailor this business to fit your needs or expertise. You can choose to be a sole proprietor, who literally does it all, or you can be the marketing genius who manages multiple lawn care teams from your home office. You can decide to go after residential contracts (the B2C route) or commercial building contracts (the B2B route). Entry-Level Workforce: If you scale up and need employees, the majority of this type of workforce needs no formal education and is able to learn on the job. This means no expensive training or recruiting costs. Beware, however, this workforce typically comes with a higher turnover rate. Franchises Available: If you are interested in purchasing an existing model to work from, there are many proven and reputable lawn care business franchises available for purchase. Additionally, you can consider purchasing an existing business, which will provide you with an existing customer base and equipment. Seasonal: Excellent for those individuals who have summers off (i.e. teachers or full-time students or people whose professions revolve around winter climates). Cons for a Lawn Business There are a few issues that you'll need to consider while planning your business. Seasonal: Unless you live in an area where winters aren’t bad, your customer accounts go into hibernation by mid-October. If you are looking for a year-round business, you will need to find something to diversify your product offering (i.e. snow removal) to keep business up and running through the winter. Start-Up Expenses: Depending on the type of lawn care business you decide to build out, you will need equipment and something to transport this equipment with. This may require upfront cash and in some cases, a sizable amount. Competitive: Open your phone book and you will find a number of lawn care businesses in your area. If the market is too oversaturated, you will find the need to compete on price and this will cut into your gross margins. Research your area and if possible, speak to existing lawn care companies about what they are experiencing in your area. Some Economic Risk: When economic times get tough, existing residential customers may find the need to cut non-essential expenses, and for many, outsourced lawn care is one of those. Estimated Start-up Costs To start a business from scratch, you could range from $500 (cost of a lawn mower, trimmer, and leaf blower) for a one-person shop up to $100k+ for an existing business purchase. A franchise purchase will vary.
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