A garden watering business is a good business for a young entrepreneur because it fills a niche. Homeowners have plenty of lawn and garden companies to choose from. But most lawn and garden companies have tools, equipment and expertise for large jobs – and they charge large prices. Typically, these companies have contracts with homeowners to come in every week, or perhaps every month, and tend to lawns and gardens.
We’re not talking about that kind of business. The type of situation we’re talking about is a homeowner who maintains his or her own lawn or garden but needs someone to water it when they go away on vacation. The cost of hiring a big company to water their lawns or gardens a few times while they’re gone – if they could even get one to do that – would probably be more than the homeowner wants to pay.
That’s where you come in. They don’t want to pay a lot and you don’t need a lot of money (presumably, or you would start a different type of business.)
— Light work that most people can do
— Flexible hours
— Minimum investment necessary since customer is likely to have any needed tools and equipment
— It may involve outside work with all of its potential disadvantages (for example heat, mosquito and maybe snake bites).
— You may have to work during periods when people are on vacation, which means staying at home on holiday weekends.
— You won’t make a ton of money.
How to get started:
NOTE: Before you start your business, you should read the page on this website entitled “things to think about before you get started.” After you have taken the preliminary steps for starting any business, you can take the specific steps outlined below.
The great thing about a lawn and garden watering business is that you don’t have to learn a whole lot to get started. Each lawn and garden is different and, most likely, the homeowner who hires you will give you detailed instructions on what to do. All you have to do is follow the instructions.
All that is not to say that you shouldn’t try to learn something about lawns and gardens. You might, for instance, read up on lawn and garden care from a good do-it-yourself website like HGTV. It might impress potential clients if you know a little about and seem to be interested in lawns and gardens. You can also google “lawns in (your state)” or “common plants in (your state).” Often, universities will have information on the most common lawns and plants in your area and how to care for them.
Homeowners also will almost surely have their own equipment, such as a watering vessel, and they won’t mind letting you using it. But even if you do have to buy equipment, you likely won’t need anything much beyond a watering vessel and rubber gloves.
When you are ready to start soliciting customers, make up fliers offering to water lawns and gardens while homeowners are on vacation and giving your contact information. Place the fliers next to doorknobs in your neighborhood. (It is illegal to put your fliers into mailboxes, and you don’t want to litter by putting them on the ground.)
You should also get the word out by social media. Nextdoor is a particularly good way to advertise – all the people who see your notice will live in your neighborhood, and they will tend to trust you because you are their neighbor. Also, you can tell your story as part of the notice (e.g., “Hard-working teen trying to earn money for college.”) And Nextdoor is free.
Obviously, if you do not drive (or can’t depend on your parents to drive you), you want to stick to your immediate neighborhood.
How much to charge:
In every business, you want to cover your expenses. And earn a profit. The great thing about a lawn and garden watering business is that your start-up expenses are so low that you can charge almost anything you want and it’s pure profit.
A good way to set your prices is to call professional lawncare businesses and ask what they would charge to water a lawn for a weekend. If they even do that, the price they charge is probably going to be a lot higher than you would charge the homeowner. In fact, you can charge half of the price you are quoted and use that a part of your sales pitch – I charge half of what the big lawn companies charge.
Taking it to the next level:
Create a website where you can offer photos of lawns and gardens that you cared for. (Of course, make sure they look great.) You can also offer customer testimonials – that will motivate even more people to trust you and hire you.
As you get more and more customers, consider taking on a business partner so you can take on more work. And if you have a partner, you might be able to split up the holiday weekends so one of you can each get away for a bit without losing business.
You might also want to learn more about lawn and garden care so that you can supply a bit more service to the customer; however, that is a fairly big jump in knowledge and trust that will probably take at least a year of experience to develop. For example, you could grow plants and sell them to customers to plant in their garden. You can take the knowledge you gain from watering customers’ gardens to learn what plants are popular in your area.