Listed within this page is a breakdown of the steps needed to start your own commercial lawn maintenance company within the State of Texas. Keep in mind that this list is always growing, and that it should be considered in no means a diffinative collection of everything that you must or should do prior to staring your lawn maintenance business. It will assist you in what steps are needed to get your new business up and running and may offer some insight on items that you may not have thought of when planning your new venture.

STEP 1: Establishing Your Assumed Name Certificate

An assumed name certificate (aka: Doing Business As or DBA), is a certificate filed with the county clerks office showing that an individual is engaged in business within that county under a particular business name.

To file for your assumed name certificate, you will need to make a visit to your local county clerks office and ask for assistance in filing for a DBA. Depending on the county, this is generally a simple one page form that you can fill out at the county clerks office and give back to them. Then after paying your filing fee, which generally runs between $10 – $20 dollars, they will check their database to confirm that no other businesses in that county are operating under the business name you have chosen. If no such other business exist, you will be issued your assumed name certificate. This certificate is required to be able to open up your commercial checking account at your bank, which is deffinately suggested.

STEP 2: Opening A Commercial Checking Account

Having a commercial checking account is important for several reasons. First off, having a seperate business checking account makes it easy to seperate your personal finances from your business expenses. This is actually a very critical step when it comes to tax time as you will want to be able to claim on your tax return, the initial startup expenses you will incur when starting your business.

Secondly, as customers pay you for your services, you will need a means of depositing their payments. Though it is a common misconception to think that you will be able to start up and only accept cash payments, you WILL miss possible jobs as people do not always have the cash on hand to pay. Thus you will either not receive a possible contract, or you will be requested to return at a later date for payment. This is deffinately something you do not want to get in the habit of doing as it requires a second trip to the residence, thus increasing your non-productive time and well as costing you fuel and travel expenses.

STEP 3: Establishing A Business Phone Line

Though I have known serveral new startup companies who have tried to use their cell phone or home phone as their business line to save up front money, this is not recommended. As there really aren’t any benefits to doing the above, I will only list the draw backs of using your home phone or cell phone as your primary means of communication.

First and foremost, almost immediately after you file for your state sales tax number, your phone will ring off the hook for about two months with every Tom, Dick & Harry credit card company, marketing company, insurance company, etc., etc… trying to sell you something. As state sales tax information is public domain, these companies scan all the new businesses that have filed for a state sales tax number and begin bombarding them with promotional phone calls. If you are using your cell phone as your business line, then your cell phone bill can certainly cost you more money than the initial setup cost of a business phone line.

Secondly, if you are using your home phone as your business line, then you will run into issues when trying to claim this as a business expense on your tax return. A dedicated business line can be claimed on your tax return as an expense with no problems.

Third, if you perform quality work and do even a minimal amount of business promotion, your business WILL GROW. And as it grows and develops, you will start receiving more and more phone calls. As customers aren’t always the most courteous about what times of the day or night that they decide to contact you, you will develop problems in maintaining anything remotely close to normal business hours.

STEP 4: Filing For Your State Sales Tax Certificate

A big misconception is that a person operating a lawn care company does not have to collect state sales taxes. In the vast majority of situations this is entirely inaccurate. You can view the State of Texas requirements for lawn care businesses HERE. In the State of Texas, sales and use tax permits are distributed and handled through the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts office.

Filing for a resale sales tax certificate is very simple and can be accomplished in a couple of different methods. The first and probably the simplest is to file for your certificate online. We have provided a link to the Texas Comptroller Of Public Accounts website for filing for a sales tax permit HERE.

The second method, and though not complicated, does require travel time and expense. And that is to visit your local Comptrollers Office personally and file for your certificate.

In Closing

You have now completed the vast majority of the initial business requirements for startup. Though you will face a host of other business decisions prior to having your new lawn care business established and fully operational. The above steps are only the first initial chores that must be accomplished prior to beginning your business. Other decisions you will make regarding your new lawn maintenance business startup will include:

  • Equipment (Buy or Lease)
  • Advertising
  • Establishing Service Fees
  • Accounting / Billing Issues
  • Employees
  • Scheduling
  • Income Diversification

We will try and cover these topics in more detail seperately. Click HERE to return to our Commercial Lawn Maintenance Business Tips page for additional articles.

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