How Much Should I Pay My Teenager To Mow The Lawn
Warm weather, combined with recent rain, finally has my lawn green and growing. Ive dropped my first application of fertilizer, pulled my lawn mower from the shed, and generally gotten ready for another season of lawn care. Soon enough, my lawn will need to be mowed regularly.
I love being outside and mowing the lawn, but Im a busy guy and the two hours it takes to cut the grass and trim around the house is sometimes hard to find.
That being said, I have a teenage son who is looking to earn some extra money. Hed like to get a part-time job, but getting one at age 15 is difficult, because most business require applicants to be at least 16.
Mowing the lawn would be a perfect way for me to save some time, and for him to earn some money. But heres the question:
How much should I pay him to mow my lawn?
My three options:
The Cons Of Lawn Mowing For Money
- Expensive start-up-costs: If your child needs to purchase a lawnmower, it could be an expensive job to start. You could let them use your mower to get started or help them purchase one secondhand.
- Safety: Make sure that your child understands how to operate a lawn mower with caution. Anytime a child operates machinery, there is the possibility of injury. Create a plan for your child in case he has an emergency.
- Limited ages: Lawn mowing is appropriate for older children who can operate a lawn mower safely. Younger children may want to consider raking instead.
- Competition: There could be stiff competition for lawn mowing jobs if they are all interested in the same job. Encourage your child to get creative to land repeat jobs.
- Weather: Rain can cause a problem for a lawn mowing business so can drought. Help your child create a backup plan for getting lawn mowing jobs done when there is inclement weather.
Why Start A Lawn Mowing Business
A lawn mowing business offers anyone thats fit, honest and hard-working the opportunity to be their own boss and build a profitable business. A lawn mowing business also has low barriers to entry – all you need is a some basic equipment and a way of getting to jobs to be up and running.
Whilst running a lawn mowing business, you will encounter people from all walks of life and work across the whole spectrum of properties. In my own business, I cut the grass at anything from bungalows in the suburbs to large country houses with several acres and at commercial properties in town.
Lawn mowing can also be very satisfying work, particularly when customers appreciate the extra effort you put in to make their properties look their best.
Also Check: What Kills Mushrooms In Grass
Not All Types Of Mowing Are Profitable
The main types of mowers you’ll see are catch, mulch and side-deliver. In a perfect world we would side deliver, side throw on all our lawns. These types of mowers are by far the fastest and easiest. Next is mulch mowing. It’s both quick and very good for most lawns. So it’s a great environmental solution. Catching is one of the slowest and even if you start charging more, it’s always harder to recoup all your time and effort. The best catcher is a Reel Mower but this is really for the flat lawn that will be kept in the best shape. Again you will have to charge a premium. By encouraging your clients to mulch you will be both fast and environmentally friendly. Just remember that the client is always right, so do what they want, but it doesn’t hurt to sell and promote mulching. In the end, it does grow a healthier grass, which is something all clients want.
See If You Need To Be Licensed
Each state has its own criteria for whether you need to obtain a license for your lawn business.
To make it more complicated, you might need local licenses as well. So, you might have to take a trip to city hall and contact your states Secretary of States office to get the licenses you need.
Some municipalities require businesses to also get an occupational license, which is usually based on how much revenue you generate in a given year.
For example, in Fairfax County, Virginia, if you make more than $10,000 youll have to pay a flat fee of thirty bucks for your occupational license. If you earn anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000, the amount you pay goes up to fifty dollars.
You can search the Small Business Administrations website to determine the requirements in your state.
Fertilizer Applicator Certification
If youre fertilizing your clients lawns, you might need a fertilizer applicator certification.
The Environmental Protection Agency sets the guidelines for herbicide and pesticide applicators. However, every state sets its own regulations. Some states require that you complete one or all these things to get a lawn care applicator certification:
- Passing a written exam
- Passing a performance-based exam
- Using other standards approved by the EPA
You can find out what the policies are for your state by checking out its Department of Agricultural Resources website.
You May Like: Belt Sander Rental Lowes
Can Lawn Mowing Be A Year
It can. Especially in the South. But even elsewhere, you can add services like gutter cleaning, leaf removal, pool cleaning, junk removal, landscaping, debris removal, snow removal and many other things to carry you over until the next Spring mowing season comes along.
As I said earlier, this is truly a side hustle you could turn into a full-time income if you wanted. Its all up to you. Most people are perfectly happy earning a part-time income with the lawn mowing side hustle, and that is just fine! But if you dream of bigger and better things, its possible to reach those higher dreams by building yourself a successful lawnmowing business.
Finally Keep Up With Market Changes
Every year, or even every quarter, look into how much other companies charge for similar services. Once you build your client base, you can also ask how they feel about your services. Youll want to know if they think your prices are fair and reasonable, and how much theyre willing to pay.
If a few customers decide to leave you, ask them why. Take note if its because your prices are too high. You may want to make a change. Alternatively, you can also offer a seasonal deal or package.
When it comes to how to price your lawn care, do what you can to serve your clients, offer them great quality, and stay profitable. And above all, remember prices can change. Keep up with the market and you’ll keep your business going strong.
*Monthly payment calculations do not include initial premium down payment and may vary by state, insurance provider, and nature of your business. Averages based on January – December 2020 data of 10% of our total policies sold.
I earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison . After realizing my first job might involve carrying a police scanner at 2 am in pursuit of newsworthy crimes, I decided I was better suited for freelance blogging and marketing writing. Since 2010, Ive owned my freelance writing business, EST Creative. When Im not penning, doodling ideas, or chatting with clients, youll find me hiking with my husband, baby boy, and 2 mischievous mutts.
Read Also: How To Clean Mold Off Lawn Chairs
Pro Side Hustle Tip #: Start An Online Course
“If you’re an expert in your field, consider starting an online course! While it may take some time to film and edit your online course, you’ll never have more time than you do right now!”
“Once you have your video assets, you can use a platform like Teachable or Thinkific to easily upload your videos, format them into lessons, and begin marketing and selling your course!”-Meg, Founder + Hiring Manager of K9 of Mine
How To Get Customers For Your Lawn Mowing Service
Now, how are you going to get customers? Here are a few ideas I have for you.
As with any side hustle, word of mouth is the best advertising youll ever have. Start by talking to your friends and families and tell them youre starting a lawn care business.
Make sure you have some business cards made up. You can get some from Vista Print pretty darn cheap. Like 100 for $15 or something like that.
Another way you can get lawn care customers is to use the Internet. This is my favorite way to advertise because there are so many ways to do it for free or low cost.
For example, you could simply start making posts on your Facebook page that you offer a lawn mowing service. If you have a lot of local people who are following you, that will be some cheap advertising. Just remember, not everyone on your friends list will see your posts thanks to how Facebook works. I would make at least 2 posts a day. One in the morning, and one in the evening. Make sure you add some pictures and it wouldnt hurt to add your starting price, like Lawn mowing service starting at $35)
Dont overlook your local for sale groups on Facebook. A few posts a week will do wonders for your new side hustle gig
Other apps Ive heard people doing well with are OfferUP and LetGo.
You can check out VistaPrint for door hangers. Get a couple hundred made up and every time you mow in a new neighborhood, canvas the street leaving door hangers on their neighbors doors. Keep doing this about once a month.
Read Also: How To Get Rid Of Geese On Lawn
Pro Side Hustle Tip #: Consult College Students
“Squired, is a college consulting platform that connects students applying to competitive universities with mentors who have been through the process themselves, to offer help and advice with the college application process. Mentors offer essay editing, feedback, interview prep, and guidance through a 2-way approval scheduling system over video chat, offering students world class application advice no matter where they live, which school they go to, or who they know.”
“Mentors earn money on their own schedule, setting broad working hours that students can book and have the option to accept or reject each booking. As traditional tutoring services have shut down due to COVID, we see a significant move online, particularly through video services that can offer the same personal touch. This move online has meant that our Mentors can work from wherever, and whenever they want.” –Alex Thorburn-Winsor, Cofounder of Squired.co
Those are two great suggestions for out of work teachers to make money during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are many more opportunities as well!
Here are some of the best teaching and tutoring sites to make money online:
Squired.co- Consult college students for money.
Teachable- Sell your own course online.
Thinkrific- Sell your own course online.
VIPkid- Teach children virtually on your own time.
Education First- Help people learn English.
CourseHero- Get paid to tutor students online.
Magic Ears- Teach Chinese students English.
Do You Really Save Time And Money By Mowing The Lawn Yourself
Are you really saving money by mowing the lawn yourself?
Have you ever wondered if the time you spend performing lawn care could have been spent doing something else?
Worse still, do you know the dangers associated with lawn care?
Interestingly enough, lawn care is one chore that most people believe saves time and money but does it really?
Lets find out!
You May Like: Does Lowes Rent Riding Lawn Mowers
What Machinery Are You Intending To Use
It stands to reason that you will get more area covered if you use larger machines. This does not always mean you will be making more money. The larger the machine and the more moving parts it has the more it will cost to run.
I have a lawn care business that is currently buying domestic leads off me and they run a tractor and service seven local schools. The owner bought that business a couple of years ago and tells me the turnover is terrible. This business is slowly but surely moving in smaller lawns with smaller machines. He tells me that he will be selling the tractors and school contracts soon.
You could say that the mistake here, was made when buying the business and you will probably be right. Even if I had known him when he was buying I would not have been much help as that is not the kind of business that I any real knowledge of.
When you use smaller machines to do smaller yards your running costs can drop dramatically.
I dont even bother with self-propelled mowers these days as the last one I had had ongoing issues with the drive on the back wheels breaking down. I paid over $2000 for the machine and traded it in after 6 months. When a self-propelled or zero turn breaks down and wont drive then you cannot finish the job. Using a push mower at least I am not going to have any issues with the self-drive part (unless I am not feeling so good that day.
Lawn Care Services Offer A Higher Quality Of Service
Could you do it better? Most lawn care professionals have spent thousands of dollars on equipment and still offer affordable lawn care.
These mowers, blowers, and weed eaters are normally of the highest caliber and are designed to cut better, cut faster, and cut more consistently than your residential equipment. Also, most lawn pros have years of experience and have an eye for making lawns look great each and every time.
Think about it this way
Would you want to buy your own tools and fix your cars transmission, or would you rather take it to a shop and let a mechanic do it?
Recommended Reading: How Much Is Trugreen Lawn Service
Pro Side Hustle Tip #: Try Gigsmart For Freelance Work
GigSmart is a staffing app connecting individuals looking for work with companies that are hiring. Our app is unique in that it uses skills matching to connect skilled Workers to local, hourly Gigs seeking certain skills.”Weve seen COVID-19 impact our user base in a variety of ways, from the industries we are serving to the number of users signing up for our platform. If youre looking for immediate work opportunities in your area, download a Get Gigs account and setup your Worker Profile so you can start applying to hourly gigs or part-time and full-time jobs that are hiring right now.”
– Jenay Sellers, Director of Marketing at GigSmart.com
List of freelance apps to get your side hustle on:
GigSmart.com- Find local hourly work across 3,000 skills.
Hired- Help people find employees, and get paid!
StitchFix- Start a side-hustle as a virtual stylist.
DroneBase- An site for certified drone pilots to get paid.
FixThePhoto- Get paid to Photoshop pictures.
Rev- Transcribe audio to text.
Scribendi- Proofread and edit documents.
Proofreading-Services.com- Tutor English students, and proofread documents.
Scribbr- Proofread academic level documents.
Fiverr- Offer a unique service to Fiverr’s community.
Upwork- Find freelance gigs in Upwork’s online marketplace.
The Pros And Cons Of Teens Mowing Lawns
Lawn mowing is big business. In some neighborhoods, the competition is fierce. Landscaping companies with huge mowing machines can mow multiple lawns in a single day for a reasonable fee. But that doesn’t mean an enterprising teen can’t do well as an independent lawn mower with the right motivation, marketing plan, and equipment.
Also Check: Peat Moss On Lawn
Schedule For The Tightest Routes You Can Make
For your upsold services, its important to keep in mind the same tactics that made the maintenance jobs profitable in the first place: grouping them tightly to cut out unnecessary drive time that eats profits.
It can be tempting to take the easy way out and group the jobs at random since theyll probably still be profitable – BUT youre not that kind of lawn care business owner. Lets walk through how to do this as efficiently and profitably as possible:
Use something like Service Autopilot Automations to tag your clients by neighborhood and direct a timely offer for the upsell into their inbox. When someone calls in or responds to the email to purchase an upsell service, you need to add them to a list of people in their neighborhood waiting on that service.
Have a specific day that youre planning on sending a crew out to that neighborhood and stick to it – get as many sales as you can in that neighborhood. Ahead of the deadline, you can have an office assistant call people in the neighborhood who havent responded yet.
You can even have the crew knock on the door of clients who havent given you a yes
Youll probably end up with a few jobs that come in after the deadline. In the name of great customer service, you can take the jobs and consider that little bite out of your profits the cost of doing great business.
How To Report Income From Lawn Mowing
Mowing lawns is a common way for young people to make money, and the Internal Revenue Service considers it taxable income. Unless you work for a lawn care business and get a paycheck, you are operating your own business. You must report your income using IRS Schedule C, Profit and Loss from Business . Youll probably have to complete Schedule SE, Self-Employment Tax as well.
Don’t Miss: How Much Does An Artificial Lawn Cost
Either Stay Small Or Scale Up The Right Way
Russell keeps his service area small by design.
Most million-dollar companies only have a 10 to 14% margin because they have a lot of overhead. However, he says that companies who do less than $2,000,000 worth of business annually have a 50% to 60% profit margin.
If youre a small company and your profit margins are less than 50 to 60%, youre doing something wrong.
Thats why he doesnt want to get too big.
Although there are advantages to staying small, you can scale up if you do it right. No matter how big you get, stay lean. Heres a video weve done on that topic:
As you grow your business, you might have the desire to branch out into more directions. Thats what Russell is doing right now.
He has big ambitions, and he has plans to give his company a makeover:
You might start out with a broom and a single push mower. But, if you do fantastic work and continue to rake in the cash, theres no telling how high you can fly.
The skys the limit!