Every lawn care business needs money to get off the ground and grow. From loans to investors, there are a variety of financing options to explore. However, these aren’t your only options. Grants are an often overlooked source of funding that can help you expand and build your lawn care business.
In order to take advantage of them, you need to get creative with the types of grants you research and apply for.
While it can be difficult to find grants tailored to lawn care specifically, you may qualify for other, more general grants that can be a huge help––especially if you’re just starting your business.
So, what types of grants should you look into and how are they relevant to you? Read along to find out.
Types of grants that can help your lawn care business
Grants are offered on federal, state, and local levels. The larger the geographic area, the more competition you’ll have. For a small, local lawn care business, it’s probably best for you to focus on local and state grants unless you have a notably unique and innovative aspect to your business.
While you should research grants in your town or city to find out what they offer, some potential grants may include:
Environmental, recycling, and green grants
There are a ton of different grants out there that focus on green businesses. They range from grants for businesses that use low emission tools and machines, to businesses that reduce waste and contribute to sustainable initiatives.
If you use electric or hand-powered tools, environmentally friendly lawn care products, or you have a composting program for yard waste, then consider applying for grants that reward businesses for their sustainability and environmentally driven goals.
Some examples include:
- Office of Science grants
- Small Business Innovation Research Program
- Rural Energy for America Program
Grants for new immigrants
Typically, grants for new immigrants exist on all three levels (federal, state, and local). These grants are often for refugees or new immigrants to the US who have started a small business.
The qualifications for these grants vary depending on who is funding them.
If you’ve recently started a lawn care business in the US and you’re an immigrant or refugee, it’s worth looking into grants that you may qualify for in your city or state.
Some examples include:
Job creation grants
Job creation grants were designed to reward and help businesses who have contributed to creating jobs in a given area. This could mean you employed teens or adults to work for you part-time or full-time from the local community.
If your lawn care business has helped create jobs in your city or town, and you have plans to continue contributing to the local job market and economy, then make sure to do some research on potential grants you could benefit from.
Some grants were created for certain age groups, like young entrepreneurs. These are typically awarded to young founders with startups or small businesses under a certain age. Some grants are even awarded to teens and pre-teens with small businesses of their own.
Most of the time these grants are local, but you can find state and federal grants as well.
If you’re a young person who has started a lawn care business, take time out of your schedule to see which grants you could qualify for before you’re outside of the age limits.
Improvement grants are meant for businesses that are trying to improve, either through renovations, technology, or upgrades. In terms of a lawn care business, you may want to research these types of grants before you upgrade tools, machines, office space, or any other physical aspect of your business.
Small business grants
Most cities have general small business grants. They can have a variety of different focuses, from growing the local economy to community involvement.
The qualifications and awards vary depending on where you’re looking, but they’re definitely worth checking out as you build your lawn care business.
Some examples include:
What can you use your grant for?
Lawn care grants can be used for all kinds of different things, depending on the types you apply for.
Commonly, grants can be used towards things like:
Pro tip: Before moving forward with any new initiatives, like hiring or equipment upgrades, check if there are any grants that you could qualify for so that you can be sure to meet the requirements as you grow!
Tips for applying for lawn care grants
Check out your local small business organization
Most cities and towns have a small business organization that exists to help and support people just like you. These organizations often have a complete list of grants in the area and will be familiar with the qualifications and application process.
It’s definitely one of your biggest assets when trying to find grants that are applicable to you and your local lawn care business.
Aside from having the tools you’ll need, most of them will have staff that can give you advice, review your applications, and help you to find even more funding options that could be available.
Applying for grants can be a long and arduous process. Make sure that you read over the application and qualifications carefully a couple of times before filling anything out.
Ensure that all required paperwork is in order to avoid delays or disqualifications due to clerical errors.
Always have someone else review the requirements and your application before you submit your proposal to ensure you haven’t missed anything.
Hire someone to apply for grants for you
Some business owners and many nonprofits hire people to apply for grants for them.
Grants can sometimes be a bit tricky to gain access to. In some cases, you need to use the right language and terminology in your proposal to be awarded specific grants.
If you’re new to grant writing, then consider finding a friend or a professional who has experience.
You can always hire someone who has experience in writing grant applications if you don’t have the time to invest in it. One option is to offer them contract based work for each grant you wish to apply for.
Don’t be afraid to network a little bit to learn more about grant opportunities and submission help. Check online forums, or ask other small business owners in your city about their experience.
Folks who have been awarded grants might be able to share how they wrote their proposal, or can share which grants they have been successful with in the past.
Small business tax credits
Aside from grants, you also have other options available to you, such as tax credits. The IRS offers a variety of small business tax credits for small business owners and entrepreneurs, from biodiesel use, to implementing a pension plan.
To see if you may qualify for any, review a comprehensive list of IRS small business tax credits and get the forms you need to claim them.
While it can be hard to find lawn care specific grants, thinking outside the box can lead you to a diverse range of potential options.
Are you a female founder, young entrepreneur, or immigrant with a lawn care business? Have you helped your community by creating jobs? Does your lawn care business have an eco-friendly aspect?
These are all questions you can ask yourself to find out what types of grants you have the best chance of receiving to help your business move forward and grow.
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