Many teenagers have an entrepreneurial spirit at heart. They have that desire to earn some extra money to buy a car when they turn sixteen, or maybe they just want to buy the hottest new video game that was just released. But, as a teenager, there are many limitations to what types of jobs you can hold and how much money you can make. Most local businesses will not hire anyone unless they are at least fifteen years old, and even if you are lucky enough to get a job, you will probably only get paid minimum wage. Additionally, most young teenagers have to rely solely on their parents to get to and from their part-time jobs. So, what then is a teenager to do?
Look into lawn care. Teenagers have the opportunity to pursue many “homemade” businesses, but mowing lawns is one of the best ways to earn substantial amounts of extra money and be active at the same time. Here is a great guide to helping you or your teenager get into the business of mowing lawns.
Your Lawn Care Equipment
To run a successful lawn mowing business you will need a few essential items. Obviously, you will need a good, solid lawn mower. Teenagers who are first starting out could possibly ask their parents to borrow the family lawn mower for some time. This will give time to save up “business” money to purchase a lawn mower in the future. Before you purchase a shiny, new mower, go to a local home improvement store, ask some questions, and get a sense of what is on the market. One of the most helpful features to look for is a self-propelled mower. This will help ease the pain of pushing a mower up and down your neighbors’ lawns.
Another essential item for a lawn care business is a good trimmer or weedwacker. This piece of equipment will allow you to cut the blades of grass that you mower cannot. You must have a trimmer to make a lawn look “professionally” done. If you have many lawns to cut during the summer, you will want to purchase a gas-powered trimmer. Electric trimmers work just fine, but they are extremely cumbersome.
And finally, to give your lawn its finishing touch, you will need to purchase an edger, which trims the grass that grows onto sidewalks. A trimmer can do the same job as an edger, but it does work quite as well. While it is certainly recommended, an edger is not 100% necessary for your business.
Be sure to purchase a few other small items including some gas cans, black garbage bags, and extra trimmer line to get your business up and running.
How to Get Customers
Obviously, everything that you do as a teenager will have to be approved of by your parents. First start with the homes on your block. Do you personally know any of your neighbors? Ask them first if they need someone to mow their lawn. You could also walk door to door, starting with just your block, to see if they need a little extra lawn care help. If you are afraid to speak to strangers face-to-face, try leaving a flyer at the door. Also, many neighborhoods have newsletters that come out on a regular basis. Most of these newsletters offer free advertising for residents and teenagers. This is a great way to get your name out there with very little footwork on your part.
If you travel door to door soliciting new business, make sure that you have your entire sales pitched rehearsed. Be sure to practice with your parents before you start knocking on doors. State your name and that you are wondering if they need help mowing their lawn this summer. Emphasize that you live in the neighborhood. You do not need to state your prices when you first introduce yourself. If someone is interested, they will certainly ask what you charge. If someone turns you down, see if they need someone to mow their lawn while they are on vacation during the summer.
If you leave flyers at doors or advertise in a newsletter, be sure to state who you are, what services you offer, and what your prices are. Again, you should really highlight the fact that you are a neighborhood kid. Most of your neighbors would rather have someone they know mowing their lawn than a nameless employee from a big business.
How to Run Your Lawn Mowing Business
Once you have a few lawns lined up for the summer, you will need to discuss with your customers what they expect of you. How many times will you need to mow their lawn? In many drier climates, you will only need to mow once a week if that. Just make sure that your customer knows when to expect you.
Also, you must ask your customer if they want you to bag or mulch their lawn. Bagging will give the lawn a nice, clean look, but you will have trash bags that you must leave at your customer’s house. Mulching clips the grass into tiny, little pieces and deposits them back into the grass. When you mow through thick grass, mulching can leave big, unsightly clumps, but mulching is also healthier for a lawn. Just be sure that you do what the customer wants.
Keep Good Records
After you are done mowing a lawn, you can generally just go to the front door and pick up your check. Sometimes your customers will not be at their house and you will need to keep record of that. To do this, get a clean notebook and have a page for each of your customers. Each time you mow a lawn, record the date and if you were paid. This is important to know how much money you make, and it is important to have in case you forget the last time you mowed a lawn.
Lawn Care Tips
- Do not cut your customers’ lawns too short. By cutting higher, grass will develop a better root system.
- Do not cut in the same direction every week. Again, this will ensure a healthy lawn.
- Try to mow when the grass is dry. When grass it wet, it is more difficult to mow and has a tendency to clump together.
- Make sure you mower’s blades are sharp. This will ensure that your lawns have the best cut every time. Depending on how many lawns you mow, you may only need to sharpen your blades once a season.
Do You Need to Do Taxes?
As long as you do not make more than $5,700 in a year you will not need to pay taxes on your earnings. Also, you do not need to take out money for social security. If you do not understand these things, that is fine. Just know that you do not need to worry about them unless you make a lot of money!