A Teenager's Potentially REVOLUTIONARY Lawn Care Business Model

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by lawnandorder2013, Jun 23, 2014.

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  1. lawnandorder2013

    lawnandorder2013 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Thank you so much for your responses. They are super helpful and give me some very important points to consider. However, when I started this thread late last night, I left out some important details about the business model. Here are a few points of clarification:

    1. This business would be more or less "under the table", just as a kid mowing his or her neighbor's lawn would not pay taxes. I know that "legal stuff" will become a concern as the business grows, but much of it would surely be helped by the fact that this is not a direct boss-employee relationship. I don't know the specific legal details of this, but I could essentially sign a contract with the parents, stating that they are ultimately responsible for the worker in terms of legal stuff (many parents in this community are very hands-on, and would be thrilled to contribute in this way).

    2. Each worker provides his or her own equipment, and is responsible for its transport and upkeep. Each worker will either have their own means of travelling between jobs (such as loading their mower into a van) or will only work within walking distance of their home. This policy seems harsh, but I do not think that it's unreasonable; they are making around $20 an hour, more money than the average teenager could dream of making at another job.

    3. Employee retention is quite possible. I just graduated high school, and I know MANY people that would work for the business. Of course, upon realizing how tough the work is, many of them will decide not to do it. This job is not one that everyone could do. But I am confident that I will find a team of workers who is comfortable with more demanding work for better pay. For example, my little sister (who is a freshman in high school) just learned how to mow yesterday, and she mowed 5 lawns on that day!

    4. If I, the leader of the business, do my job effectively, quality control should not be a huge issue. There are three reasons for this:
    A. First of all, clients are quite forgiving, as long as I communicate well with them. For example, one time I simply forgot to mow a lawn (embarrassing), and I called the client as soon as I realized it, which was 5 days after I was supposed to mow it. I apologized profusely, took full responsibility, and offered to mow that day for half price. He was completely forgiving and even still paid full price.
    B. I am in the process of writing a lawn care manual for my workers. It will tell them exactly what to do in great detail, and they will be expected to follow it exactly. Again, not just any teenager will be able to do this, but I am confident that a select few reliable workers will accept the greater demands for greater pay.
    C. I have my family as a support cushion. My mom helps me manage the business and helps me pick up slack when I need to. She is even taking over the business for the autumn when I go off to college! Her, my brother, and my sister all love to mow.

    4. This business will be rooted in the friendly relationship I have with each client. Some of my clients come outside to talk to me each time I'm there. They just love the idea of a young entrepreneur. One time when my mom was mowing a lawn (she mows when I need someone to, and she does it for charity), she started talking to a neighbor, and then another neighbor, and then another one. It was an odd social gathering. I believe that clients eat this social stuff up.
  2. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,554

    Oh boy
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. Joe Shooner

    Joe Shooner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    Now, if a person really wanted to do something like this, you'd come up with a system like Uber is for lawn mowing. You make an app that allows people to punch in their address and get quick service on-demand. The work is done by individual contractors like you're describing, but you collect all the money via the app and pay the contractors on a set schedule.

    Of course, there's lots of reasons this wouldn't work.
  4. Service.com

    Service.com Sponsor
    Messages: 804

    We have that!! lol ^^ That is crazy you mentioned that! We are keeping that quiet before our September launch.
  5. Zlawncare

    Zlawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I don't think this would work because why wouldn't a teenager get more intelligent and realize that they could make more money by going out and doing it on there own, since they have to provide for there transportation and then pay you. Its just like they are working for themselves but they're not. Are the teens working more than one lawn or are some of the teens making more than others by having more lawns? What will you do for the teens who exceed expectation? Just some things to keep in mind. Also I think you would get some retaliation by some teens and they wouldn't pay you, but I'm interested in seeing how this turns out.
  6. Service.com

    Service.com Sponsor
    Messages: 804

    On the thread note however, I would be careful of doing the entire operation "under the table" that is just asking for problems. Also, having your employees handle their own equipment etc. is problematic in that they literally have everything they need to not need you because they have it all themselves. Seems it would be a very high poach rate. I thought you would provide the equipment necessary, something that they would need you for to do the work. That would be your value to them.
  7. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    The legal and logistical pitfalls in what you propose are not minor, but it's going to take some serious salesmanship for these kids' parents not to run you off the property. What you're looking for is an entrepreneurial-minded, self motivated, self directed high school kid to provide all the equipment, all the labor, and essentially their own route management. By the sounds of it you're not providing any tools, any protection in terms of insurance, and the "training" you provide is... a binder? What are you bringing to the table to justify your cut of the revenue? If it's the accounts, any kid who's your ideal subcontractor (calling them employees is a misnomer) could canvas a neighborhood and get all the work he or she wants.

    It's been a while since someone came on here with an idea for how to build a lawn care empire while never getting dirt under his nails, it's about time!
  8. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,763

    $20 an hour is peanuts if they have to supply their own equipment

    We have had teenagers work for us, they generally think fishing and going to the beach is more important than work
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. ztman

    ztman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,115

    I think this is the same business model that was in the movie Risky Business with Tom Cruise. They just did it with women, you are doing it with lawns. Under the table and house takes a cut. Not a good idea IMO
  10. Service.com

    Service.com Sponsor
    Messages: 804

    ^^ I thought Tom Cruise came out on top in that one lol
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