Nearly every home has some type of lawn and garden equipment that is used to maintain the property. Lawn and garden equipment may be power equipment like lawnmowers, string trimmers, and snow blowers, or it may be non-powered equipment like wheelbarrows and fertilizer spreaders. All lawn and garden equipment, whether powered or non-powered, requires periodic maintenance and repair.
It can a challenge for many people to transport their lawn and garden equipment to a repair shop for maintenance or repairs. Many people drive cars or compact vehicles that are not large enough to transport lawn and garden equipment. In other cases, people do not wish to take the time to bring their lawn and garden equipment to a repair shop and then pick it up again once the repair or maintenance has been completed.
Starting a home-based, mobile lawn and garden equipment repair business caters to customers who either cannot or prefer not to take their equipment to a traditional repair shop. A mobile lawn and garden equipment repair business takes the repair shop to the customer. This is a convenience to the customer, but also has the advantage to the business owner of not needing to maintain a traditional repair shop.
Those who are skilled mechanically and who like variety in their work may do well in the mobile lawn and garden equipment repair business. An entrepreneur operating this business may find himself or herself working on equipment that they have never seen before and for which they do not have a service manual.
The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports in their occupational projections data that 29,400 people worked as outdoor power equipment and small engine mechanics during 2008. BLS projects that this occupation will add nearly 2,000 new jobs over the decade from 2008 – 2018. This would represent at increase of 6.4 percent over the decade. Median annual wages are reported to be “low” at $28,920. 13 percent of people working as outdoor power equipment and small engine mechanics are self-employed.
A basic tool collection and some mechanical skills are the essential requirements for starting a mobile lawn and garden equipment repair business. Overhead for this business can be kept low because the work is typically performed at a customer’s home or business. A pickup truck or van could be more useful than a passenger car for the occasions when it was necessary or preferable to transport a piece of equipment back to your own shop for a complex repair.
Locating parts for many pieces of lawn and garden equipment, particularly older equipment, can be challenging. Maintaining a list of both online parts sellers and local parts suppliers can be essential to quickly locating parts for customer’s equipment.
Anyone who has worked on lawn and garden equipment has probably had the experience of needing to make their own part because a replacement part was not available or was too expensive. Having the tools and skills to make custom parts when necessary can also be a strong selling point.
A sideline business can be added to the mobile lawn and garden equipment repair business by purchasing used equipment, performing any necessary repairs, and then selling the equipment for a profit.
Word of mouth advertising is always a great form of advertising. Satisfied customers are likely to mention the mobile service to their friends and neighbors. The novelty of this business model may encourage people to discuss it with others.
Putting a sign or lettering on your vehicle can be a great way to promote your mobile lawn and garden equipment business. A sign on your vehicle serves as an advertisement everywhere you drive or park your vehicle. This also announces your business to everyone who sees your vehicle while you are at a customer’s home or office.
Posting brochures or business cards on community bulletin boards, at hardware stores, and at similar venues can be a low-cost way to announce your business to potential customers. Posting several business cards with a brochure allows a potential customer to bring your business card (and all of your contact information) home with them.
Advertising in a local, community newspaper or classifieds paper can put your business in front of thousands of potential customers. Community newspapers and classifieds papers usually have reasonable rates and typically offer discounts to advertisers who commit to a long-term advertising agreement.
Mobile lawn and garden equipment businesses may deal with fuel, oil, and other hazardous materials. This business may involve purchasing, storing, selling, and disposing of these materials. These materials are governed by federal, state, and possibly local regulations. As in any business, it is a good idea to make sure that you are in compliance with all appropriate laws and regulations concerning your business.
Business insurance is always a good idea. Any business that uses motor vehicles needs to carry appropriate automobile insurance. Adding a rider to your personal automobile policy to cover business use of the vehicle should not increase the premium significantly, but will prevent a claim from being denied because the vehicle was not properly insured.
Starting a home-based, mobile lawn and garden equipment repair business can be a good opportunity for the mechanically inclined entrepreneur who enjoys the challenge of working on a variety of equipment. Since nearly every home has some type of lawn and garden equipment the potential customers are nearly endless.
United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Site accessed on 7 October 2010.
Business Idea Center: Small Engine Repair. Entrepreneur. Site accessed on 23 November 2010.
Christi Bell, Andrew Crow, and John Eric Humphries. Steps to Success for Rural Entrepreneurs: Starting a Small Engine Repair Shop. Document accessed on 23 November 2010.