Lawn and Gardening Service Owners
Education and Training Requirements
Take agriculture, shop, and other courses that will help you gain familiarity with the machinery, fertilizers, and chemicals used in lawn maintenance. Agriculture courses will also teach you about different grasses and plants, and how to care for them. Joining associations such as the National FFA Organization (formerly the Future Farmers of America) and 4-H can give you additional experience with horticulture. Business and accounting courses are also useful to learn about record keeping, budgeting, and finances.
After high school, you can learn about lawn maintenance on the job, either by assisting someone with an established lawn care business, or by taking on a few residential customers yourself. Though a college degree is not necessary, lawn and gardening service owners benefit from advanced courses such as small business management and finance to help run their business.
The Professional Grounds Management Society offers two certification options: Certified Grounds Manager (CGM) and Certified Grounds Technician (CGT). Each has different criteria. Contact the society for more information or visit https://pgms.org/certifications/ to learn more.
Other Education or Training
The International Franchise Association offers continuing education (CE) classes, webinars, and workshops such as Marketplace Fundamentals, Knowledge-Driven Financial Performance, and Cash Flow: How to Prevent Your Cash Flow From Going South. The National Association of Landscape Professionals offers a variety of horticulture-related CE opportunities, some of which are available only to members. Contact these organizations for more information.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
Certification is not required, but many lawn and garden service owners choose to earn professional certifications from the National Association of Landscape Professionals. The network offers the following certification designations: landscape industry certified manager, landscape industry certified interior technician, landscape industry certified technician–exterior, landscape industry certified horticultural technician, landscape industry certified lawn care manager, and landscape industry certified lawn care technician national. Depending on the certification, applicants must pass a multiple-choice examination or a hands-on field test.
Most states require lawn care professionals who apply pesticides to be licensed. This usually involves passing a written examination on the safe use and disposal of toxic chemicals.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Aspiring lawn and gardening service owners should obtain as much experience in the field as possible by participating in summer internships and part-time jobs with lawn care service companies, golf courses, and public gardens.
As entrepreneurs, lawn and gardening service owners need to have people skills and be self-motivated to successfully promote their own business and attract clients. They need to be good salespeople and committed to doing a quality job for every customer. Service owners should have an eye for detail to notice all the areas where lawns need work. They must also be in fairly good health to withstand the hard labor that the job calls for, often during the heat of the summer.