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My 11 Year Old Son Wants to Work

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Darryl G, Mar 17, 2005.

  1. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    My son, who will be 11 next month, wants to make some money and work with me this season. He has helped out a little in the past with loading and unloading equipment, picking rocks on installs and snow shoveling and did a good job.

    I'm just not sure I can make a spot for him for lawn care other than sitting in the truck and watching the equipment and maybe winding trimmer spools. He's small for his age and only 72 pounds.

    As for power equipment, I have let him run the cultivator on my Shindaiwa multi-tool in the veggie garden at home and the single stage snowblower. He also rides a full blown race team motocross bike, so he knows to respect power equipment. But I don't feel i can turn him loose with a string trimmer or push mower yet...not on someone else's property anyway. And I don't think I could forgive myself if he got seriously injured or caused injury to someone else.

    So the question is, do any of you have your young sons/daughters working with you? What do they do? Then there's the legalities and liabilities to deal with. I'm not sure my insurance company would like the idea....and what would my customers think? Slave Labor, lol.
  2. txlawnking

    txlawnking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,905

    One of the very fond memories I have of growing up was my Grandfathers ( Dad And Mom's side ) teaching me how to operate various OPE. My Mom's dad owned an OPE dealer, as well. When I was 6 I mowed his property @ 2 acres with an old Hahn 30" rider..

    I would surely trust him with a 21" er, at least, And, depending on how well he LISTENS, and learns, I'd move him up.. There is nothing wrong with learning to work hard, even if you don't have to... :) Either way, I'd surely encourage him. Just remember Kids dehydrate much easier, than adults.

    BTW, you are in an excellent position to teach your Son about the real important things, Like how to conduct Business, sell your services, etc.. Kids pick up on these things at an early age..And those things along with an understanding of Business integrity can only help him in the furure..
  3. ProLawns

    ProLawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 476

    I trained my son to operate a 52" walk behind with a velke when he was eleven. Of course I kept him off slopes. When he was thirteen I trained him on the trimmer. He's almost fifteen now and can operate every piece of equipment almost as good as I can. He saves two thirds of what he's paid and has the other third for spending money. He has saved several thousand dollars over the last four years. It's good experience for our sons to get out and work. In Va. its legal for your children to work and there's no hour limit as long as it's a family business and it's a non-hazardous job. I don't believe their permitted to operate riding mowers though.
  4. Toy2

    Toy2 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,924

    It will teach a great work ethic to some.... saw some LCO yesterday, he was on the trimmer, daughter behind the 21" she was about 15....
  5. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 851

    My 13 year old daughter runs my Z on the weekends. I pay her $8 per hour and she works better then most of my old employees. Her goal is to work all summer and over the next couple of years save enough money to by a new Mini Cooper when she turns 16. She started driving at 11 on a DC Flatlander.
  6. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,810

    I think it's great that he has displayed an interest and wants to work with you. IMO.. 11 is too young. My daughter wanted to work with me when she was 13 but I made here wait until 15.

    Now my son wants to work with me this year. He's going on 14 and I told him he has to wait until next year like his sister did.

    It's already a stressful & demanding job... do you really want to have to worry about your 11 year old too?

    Give him some more responsibilities around the house... like yard work. I turned over our lawn to my son last year. He did okay but his sister is more detai oriented :)

    Here she is in action... and that's her in my signature line too.

  7. smlavin

    smlavin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 183

    My eleven year old son helps on cleanups and big mulch jobs. He doesn't run power equipment yet but he can do enough to be a pretty big help. He has his eye on a dirt bike by summers end and he may earn just enough money by then to get one. It has been good for him to develop a work ethic, set a long range purchase goal, and save toward it.
  8. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    I'm sure I could find a little work for him as a helper on installs, hedge jobs, mulching and stuff, but don't know how to use him on mowing. He wouldn't be able to use my push mower since it's a 6HP pusher and pretty heavy...I would have to get him a self propelled one I'm sure, and other than cutting in the edges, even that wouldn't be much help.

    But he can handle this bike, so maybe I just need to adjust the seat switch on the rider for him and let him rip.

    rm65 001cropped.jpg
  9. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    Here he is on it in the back yard.

    rm65 006cropped.jpg
  10. lampeslawnservice

    lampeslawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 323

    My opinion, work is for those of us who enjoy it. Start him to early he might get burnt out early. If he really want's to, I don't see the harm. Just make sure he keeps a good balance between work and play. You remember, back when you used to get to play with your toys, not your tools!

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