The Pros and Cons of Teens Mowing Lawns

A young teen girl holding grass clippings
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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.

Why a Homeowner Might Hire a Neighbor Kid Instead of a Lawn Service

There are a few reasons why your child may find work as a lawnmower even in a competitive field. Here are just a few:

  • Some families like the idea of giving a local kid a leg up and this is an easy way to do so.
  • In some cases, neighbors have known the neighbors' children since they were tiny, and want to do whatever they can to help out a friend.
  • Some families are more likely to trust a neighbor than they are to trust a "faceless" landscaping business.
  • An individual can adjust prices to undercut the rates charged by large landscaping firms.

The Kind of Kid That Should Consider Mowing Lawns

Lawn mowing usually requires the ability to fuel and make minor repairs to a motorized lawnmower. It may even require the ability to responsibly manage a riding mower. While young children can help with some aspects of lawn maintenance, only teens should even consider mowing lawns for a living. In addition, they should:

  • Be able to handle a regular responsibility on their own without adult prodding.
  • Have the skills and stamina to manage a heavy, potentially dangerous machine.
  • Be detail-oriented enough to handle tricky aspects of mowing such as mowing small areas, coping with fallen limbs, and using a clipper to tidy areas that a mower can't reach.
  • Be able to handle feedback from homeowners who may want to see the job done differently.

The Pros of Lawn Mowing for Money

  • Flexibility: Your child should be able to manage the mowing schedule around schoolwork and other responsibilities.
  • Great pay: Your child has the potential to earn multiple repeat jobs that last all summer. If he charges anywhere from $10-$40 per yard, depending on the size, he could earn a considerable amount of money by the end of summer.
  • Repeat customers: Not only will the jobs repeat all summer, many will repeat the following summer. During the winter it could lead to snow shoveling jobs, too.
  • Proximity: Your child should be able to find neighbors or businesses close by that would like lawn service. This will keep him close to home.
  • Jobs are plentiful: As long as you live in an area with grass, the grass keeps growing all summer, so there won't be a shortage of work. Your child should be able to line up multiple jobs to keep him busy.

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 (or anyone) 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.