Depending on where you live, lawnmowing can be a viable side gig or even a full-time job. One of the best things about running a lawn mowing business is that you can do it at basically any age.
If you are a teenager or young adult and are looking to make some extra cash on the side, then starting a part-time lawn mowing business is a viable idea. Lawn mowing businesses have relatively low costs and there is significant potential for return.
But how do you start a lawn mowing business? We put together this comprehensive guide on what to expect when starting a lawn mowing business and how to start one, even if you are a teenager.
How Much Can a Teenager Make Mowing Lawns?
It depends heavily on your location, the season, and the specific lawn in question. You have the option of charging on a per-hour basis, charging a flat rate per lawn or making rates on a case by case basis.
You can make anywhere between $5-$25 per hour mowing lawns or even charge up to $100-$150 for a large and complex yard. The amount you made is largely up to how well you can sell your services and how good of a job you can do. The size of the lawn matters as well as any difficulties like strange layouts, flowerbeds, different elevations, etc.
You can also charge for different services, such as mowing, edging, trimming hedges, raking leaves, and more.
With a bit of ingenuity and business smarts, you can make some side money as a lawn care company. Keep in mind that if you get regular clients and do a good job, then you can make more money as you get more experienced.
Pros and Cons of Starting a Lawn Mowing Business
- Stable business. As long as people have yards and lawns, then they will need those lawns to be mowed. Starting a lawn mowing company is a good idea because people will need their lawns to be mowed over and over again. You can pick up repeat clients and steady gigs.
- Straightforward. Mowing lawns is not physically easy, but you do not need to have any special skills or knowledge to do so. The process is really straightforward and anyone can pick up mowing lawns with a bit of practice.
- Good pay. If you pick up some regular clients and show you can do a good job, people will pay well to have their lawns mowed. You could make up to $30 an hour mowing lawns for a big project.
- Easy to find jobs. No matter where you live, there are probably people who need their lawns mowed. It is relatively easy to find clientele compared to some more specialized services.
- Looks good on applications. Starting a lawn mowing business is not only a good way to get some money but also looks great on any future resume for colleges or jobs. Starting a lawn care business demonstrates entrepreneurial sense and good judgment, both of which are important elsewhere in life.
- Seasonal work. One of the major downsides of mowing lawns is that the work is not always in season. People won’t have much use for a lawnmower during the late fall and winter, especially if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow or rain.
- High startup costs. Starting a lawn mowing business can also have a lot of startup costs. A good lawnmower for regular use could cost up to $500, potentially more if you go for a top-tier model. If you don’t already have a mower to use, it can be expensive to pay for one upfront.
- Physically demanding. Mowing is not complex, but it is physically tough. You will be spending hours under the hot sun getting sweaty and dirty. Also, there is always the risk that you could be injured working with a lawnmower.
How to Start a Lawn Mowing Business
Step 1. Find Your Tools
Arguably, the most important part of starting a lawn mowing business is making sure you have the right tools for the job. If your family already has a lawnmower, see if you can borrow it for your gigs. You may also ask your family if there are any other tools around for jobs like raking leaves, shearing hedges, etc.
If you do not have a lawnmower on hand, then you will need to get one. Renting a lawnmower is a possibility but the cost will most likely not be worth it in the long run. We recommend buying a used or new lawnmower.
A good used lawn mower can cost around $150-$250 and often works just as well as a new one. If you do opt for a refurbished lawn mower, make sure you buy from a trustworthy company that has a full maintenance history.
You also need to choose between an electric or gas-powered motor. Gas-powered lawn mowers are the classic choice and offer the most overall power and versatility. However, they are more expensive to buy/maintain, and you also need to factor in the cost of gasoline.
Electric mowers, in contrast, are usually cheaper and do not need as much maintenance. However, electric mowers are usually not as powerful as gas mowers.
There is also the option of a manual push mower, which is much cheaper than powered mowers. This option is not recommended though as manual mowers are much less efficient than a powered motor, and it will take longer to complete jobs.
Step 2. Find Clients
The next step is to find lawns to mow. If you live in a suburb or similar kind of location with neighbors, finding clients should be relatively easy. Just go down the street and ask your neighbors if they would be willing to pay for lawn mowing services.
You can also ask family and friends if they know any people who need lawn mowing services. Things like lawn mowing services tend to spread best by word-of-mouth advertising but you could also consider putting an ad in the newspaper or on Craigslist or a similar site.
The key thing here is to not take on too many clients at once. A lot of people bite off more than can chew when starting out and get burned out. Make sure that you are not taking on too many clients in the day and that you don’t schedule periods that are too long or too short. It looks really bad for business if you schedule an appointment but don’t make it.
Also, if you have never done it before, mowing lawns is hard work, especially at first. You will likely be really tired and sore after work for the first few weeks. However, you will get used to it as you go on and get more efficient.
Step 3. Manage Your Money
Once you build up a regular clientele you can start making some regular money. The next logical question is: what do you do with that money? Obviously, you can use some for spending, but you definitely should spend all of that money on stuff.
Keep in mind that lawn mowing is mostly seasonal work in the US, particularly if you live in the Northern states. If you live in the south, you might have a longer mowing period but there most likely will still be some downtime during the winter.
Also, make sure that you keep some money stashed away in case you need to take care of any business emergencies.
It would be pretty bad if your drive belt decided to break one day and you don’t have any money to get it fixed. A smart business owner makes sure that their tools are always in good condition. You could also use some of the money you make to buy better tools so you can get more jobs done.
Step 4. Grow and Expand
For most people, mowing lawns is just a summer job that does not really progress beyond a way to make some extra money on the side. However, lawn care businesses are a very real thing and the idea of expanding your one-man operation is not far-fetched.
If you actually want to start a real lawn care business then you would have to look into local laws and regulations about getting an official business license. From there, it would be a matter of buying the rights tools for the job and expanding your operation to a larger area.
There are a lot of ways that you can try to expand your business. You could start offering alternative services like raking leaves, trimming trees, or seeding lawns, and you could also find other people who want to work with you and share the money.
Building a network from referrals and word-of-mouth advertising is also a way to expand your operations. Full-scale lawncare entrepreneurs can make a good living when their business gets off the ground.
Mowing lawns is not only a good way to make some money on the side, but it is something that could turn into a full-fledged business. If you are interested in making some extra money on the side, then few things are as easy to start as mowing lawns.
You can get started for relatively cheap and the only limit to how much you make is how much you want to work. Mowing lawns is simple work that does not require any special education, so it is a good choice of first job for teenagers and students.
Ruben has been doing online marketing for the last 4 years. Prior to that, he spent 15 years managing different brick-and-mortar businesses, in the home improvement and logistics industries. Overall, he has 20 years of business experience under his belt. Recently, he added SEO, affiliate marketing, and link building to his business skills.