How to Start a Lawn Mowing Business as a Teenager in 3 Clear Steps
Just like adults, teenagers often need to make money. It can be difficult for a teen to find a job, though, as many places do not hire under the age of 18. Even if they do, there are only so many jobs out there, and the shifts may not work with a teen’s busy social life, school schedule, and extracurricular activities.
This is why a lawn mowing business can be a great idea for teen entrepreneurs. It can allow them to work as much or as little as they want, and they can largely set their own schedules.
Starting a business from scratch can be a little daunting, especially if you do not have much work experience in general, which can be the case for many teens. So, if you want to learn more about how to start a lawn mowing business as a teenager, keep reading for our tips and tricks.
Step 1: Do Your Research
Does a Teenager Need Any Licenses or Permits to Start a Lawn Mowing Business?
While it may seem like they should not, teenagers should technically obtain at least a business license for their lawn mowing venture. Anyone who opens a business typically requires a business license, no matter how old they are at the time.
Sure, many teens have probably opened up businesses without a license and have had no issues, but that does not mean that these businesses were legal – it is more like they just got lucky.
All it takes is an upset customer or a rival business to make a formal complaint to throw these kinds of teen businesses into legal trouble. If a teen does not have the correct license for their lawn mowing business, they could face closure, fines, or other penalties.
While a business license is typically required in this situation no matter where you live, any other permits or licenses may vary by state or even county. Contact your local city officials to find out more about what a teenager needs to run a lawn mowing business in your area.
What Are Some Skills and Experiences That Will Help a Teen Build a Successful Lawn Mowing Business?
A teen with an entrepreneurial spirit is certainly ideal for starting up a lawn mowing business. They have to really want to do this type of work to be successful at it, and they should be able to handle it as independently as possible. If parents have to constantly be nagging at them to run their business responsibly, then it is doubtful that they will put in the work that will allow their business to really take off.
A teen with a lawn mowing business should also be skilled with a lawnmower, especially when it comes to the details. That means making sure that grass is cut evenly and that they do not miss any spots. They should also have the stamina required to cut lawns of any size and/or cut multiple lawns in a day.
Finally, it is also important to have customer service skills. Teens will be dealing directly with customers to get and keep their business, so a professional and friendly demeanor is essential. They must also be able to maintain that type of demeanor when getting feedback or complaints from customers, which can be difficult for people of any age.
Step 2: Figure Out Your Costs
What Are the Startup Costs for a Teen’s Lawn Mowing Business?
This largely depends on what method of transportation teens will be using and where they are planning on getting their equipment. If they are just planning on doing their neighbors’ lawns, then they could potentially get away with just walking their equipment around their neighborhood.
If, on the other hand, they want to be able to service a larger area, then they will need a vehicle large enough to carry all their equipment. A truck or maybe even an SUV would probably be ideal. If they already have access to one, then problem solved; otherwise, they would be looking at the expense of buying one. This is really an expense that is probably out of reach for most teens starting their own business, but maybe once they start making money, it could be possible.
The situation is similar when it comes to securing their equipment. A lawn mowing business at its most basic requires something like a lawnmower, rake, grass trimmer, and maybe yard waste bags and gloves. If a teen’s parents already have the machinery at home for them to use or if their clients will let them use their equipment, then it will cost them next to nothing.
Otherwise, they will have to buy everything themselves, and a new mower alone can cost over $100 (and that is for some of the cheapest ones!). You could always try looking for secondhand ones as well to cut costs, so check out some buy-and-sell sites or see if a bigger landscaping company will sell any of their old equipment.
What Are the Ongoing Expenses for a Teen’s Lawn Mowing Business?
Fortunately, ongoing expenses are minimal for a teen’s lawn mowing business. If their mower is gas-powered and they are driving, the number one expense they need to worry about is fuel. That expense can grow over time if they continue to grow their business, but it certainly should not be a big consideration.
Step 3: Make a Profit
How Does a Teenager Market a Lawn Mowing Business?
The first thing a teen with a lawn mowing business should do is identify their target audience. This would primarily be individual households with yards in residential areas, but this could also potentially be expanded to small businesses with grass on their properties. In most cases, though, a teen’s lawn mowing business would likely be most welcome in residential neighborhoods.
After they have figured out their target audience, it is time to start advertising. They can post flyers, put brochures in mailboxes, and even go door-to-door to offer their services. If teens do decide to go knocking on doors with their equipment at the ready, it is a good idea to try and target those houses with unkempt yards. They may be able to drum up business on the spot, and if they do a good job that first time around, they may be able to schedule regular appointments with these customers.
If teens have access to a truck to use for their business, they may think about expanding their reach even further than their local neighborhoods. It can take a lot of time and legwork to reach every household with flyers and door-to-door marketing, so they may want to consider marketing their services on social media. Parents can even make posts on their accounts to get the word out to friends and colleagues who may require lawn mowing services. These people may also be more willing than strangers to support and hire a teen they know who is just starting out in the business.
Once they have a few happy clients, teens may be able to get even more business through client recommendations. Word of mouth can be an effective marketing strategy, whether in person or online. If you have a few people vouching for a teen’s business and professionalism, strangers may be more willing to take a chance on them.
How Much Should a Teen Charge for Lawn Mowing Services?
In short, they should not charge as much as a professional lawn care company would for mowing lawns. If people are given a choice between an established lawn care company run by adults or a teen with little more than a lawnmower for the same price and services, they will almost undoubtedly go with the established company. And why would they not?
Professional lawn care companies typically have a lot more experience under their belt and perhaps have better equipment to get the job done. Therefore, offering competitive pricing is essential for teen lawn mowing businesses, especially when they first start out.
To determine how much to charge for a lawn mowing service, teens should first research to see what the professional lawn care companies charge for lawn mowing services. Then they should set their prices at least a little lower. For example, if companies charge $20 to mow yards, consider charging $15. Even if it takes an hour per yard, teens would still be making above minimum wage at this price.
Any Other Tips for Jump Starting a Lawn Mowing Business as a Teenager?
Sure! Here are some tips and tricks to help get things started for your lawn care business:
- When first starting out, try not to take on too much business at a time. Start with a few clients and make sure commitments are honored in a timely manner before expanding the business. If teens cannot keep appointments or are rushing through jobs and not doing quality work, their business may develop a bad reputation right from the start.
- Consider targeting residential areas that have a large senior population. They will likely require more help with lawn care than younger households.
- Print business cards and give invoices to customers. These will give an air of professionalism that may surprise and be appreciated by both potential and ongoing clients.
Ready to get started? Read our guide on how to start a business for a better idea of the steps that must be taken to jump-start a successful side hustle.
Be sure to check out our other posts for more ways to start your side hustle!