My First Lawn Business Year…not a great success

In the finishing months of 2016, I decided it would be a good idea to start a small lawn care business in my hometown. At almost 16 years old, I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to take my first step into the business world and make a little bit of money while I was at it. We had a brand-new 60″ Lazerz Exmark Zero-turn mower, just ready to take on the job. Also picked up a few other necessities (as we needed them), such as a weedeater, chainsaw, bush trimmer, etc.

As most teenagers can probably relate, I didn’t have a lot of finances. However, my dad thought it was a good idea and invested in my “company”. He said that he would take care of all the fuel, equipment, etc. if I would give him 50% of the money made. I agreed.

Got started with a friend’s yard, and did it for a couple of weeks. We were able to get $40 per visit. Due to being late in getting ready for the season, this was the only job we got.

The following year (2017), we put an ad (see below) in the local newspaper and began getting a few calls here and there.

NEED YARD work done? Cutting Edge Lawn Care serving Pike County & northern Calhoun County. Big or Small mowing/weedeating jobs. Call ——– Brown or Ethan Brown at — — —-.

(BTW: the other name is my dad. I’m very greatful for his assistance throughout the season, even when he could be at home doing something else.)

Most of the people who called just wanted it done once, maybe twice. At the time of this posting, I only have two that want it on a weekly basis. Overall, it is a pretty slow start. However, after learning a variety of lessons this year, it will better prepare me for the next season. Here are a few things I’ve learned that may assist anyone reading that is thinking about getting into the mowing business:

  1. You can mow a lot faster than you think. Make it go just slow enough to do a good job. Remember: cutting corners is a good trait in business, if the job gets done acceptably.
  2. References don’t matter in communities where every dollar counts. Bottom dollar wins.
  3. Always make your price clear (whether hourly or for each job) to the customer, even if it is a little awkward. It’s the only way to make money in the business.
  4. When the owner says “it takes me X hours to mow“, remember they said mow. It can take you just as much time to weedeat and push-mow the tight areas as it does to run the big mower.
  5. Lastly, if a customer offers you more money than you had originally quoted, accepted it graciously. Keep Pareto’s 80/20 rule in mind…”20% of the customers will give you 80% of the trouble”.

In terms of the future, I will try to get some more yards next season. Armed with some much needed knowledge of the industry and several good references, I think it will be much easier to get clients next year.

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