A GaryNorth.com site member posted this.
We live in small town in the mid-west, population under 1200. This is something that we’ve done that I thought I’d pass along for kicks.
My wife and I have 6 kids, oldest being 11. Our oldest has a lawn mowing business that just entered its second year. Yesterday afternoon, we went door to door passing out flyers (I was going to upload a picture of one, but don’t think that I can here) to every house in town advertising his lawn mowing company for the upcoming summer months.
Our flyer has a picture of our son wearing the local public school shirt (we homeschool) standing by his mower with a smile on his face. We also offer that he’ll mow your yard for free the first time, “so you can see that I’ll do a good job for you.” And at the bottom are three references from some of last year’s customers with their first name, last initial, and address so that people know they are legit.
As I suspected, last year, none of the customers would allow him to work for free and they all gave him a “signing bonus” or “a tip” of some kind so he never lost a dime with the offer.
Our town is small enough that he doesn’t have much in the way of competition from any professional companies and no other kids would even want to do something like this if they knew how because they are playing video games.
It’s also small enough that we let him go 2 blocks away and mow without an adult using a walkie talkie.
We pass out flyers in the fall, to sort of fertilize the ground so to speak and we do it again in the spring — like we did last Saturday.
We make him pay us $2 per lawn for gas/oil/weed eater string, etc so he understands gross v net. Of the remainder, he tithes 10%, saves 65% and gets to spend 25%. He’s a natural saver and doesn’t even spend the full 25% so he ended up saving more like 75%.
Anyway, last year, net of tithe and expenses, with 5 customers he saved $950 and we got skunked in June with no mowing because we had no rain. I keep him at about the $25/hr rate when bidding on a new customer’s yard and no one even blinks.
This year he’s hoping to add in another 2-3 customers and he’s ‘sub-contracted’ out the sidewalk sweeping to his 9 yr old sister and 7 yr old brother. 🙂
In a small town like this, with these kids getting more and more known as the ones who will work, I told them they could have dozens of customer when they are older and be able to save a lot of money — something they are all excited about.
Just thought I’d pass that along in case you need some ideas with your kids.
The job described here is a lot more than just lawn mowing. This has to do with marketing. It is not just grunt labor.
When I was a boy, and even when my father was a boy, the standard job for young men was to deliver newspapers. It took a lot of work, and it took a lot of discipline. A young man received a stack of newspapers, usually delivered by a truck, and he had to fold them, put them on the back of a bicycle, and toss them onto lawns in local neighborhoods. He also had to collect the money for the newspapers once a month.
I never had any interest in that job. I did know one young man who did it. I was happy not to do anything like it.
It took capital: a bicycle. It took a lot of time. He had to do it in terrible weather. When it rained, he had to put the newspapers into waterproof baggies. It did not pay well.
That was a kind of job I decided early that I was not going to take. My parents never mentioned it, for which I was thankful at the time.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)