Tips for 14 year old lawnmower?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by clean_cut, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. clean_cut

    clean_cut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,327

    I have been mowing grass since I was probably 10 or younger with a toro self propelled mower, I can remember when I had my mom come out to help me start it, haha:laugh:. Right now I mow two yards (mine and my neighborÂ’s), this will keep me busy for probably around two hours or more. I was thinking, just thinking about enlarging my "business" and picking up a few more lawns around the neighborhood. I could probably find a quite a few since the house are close together (so I wouldn't have to travel far) and most of the owners are older, or would just rather be golfing than mowing grass. The only problem would be trying to compete with major commercial businesses, I would guess that 80% of the lawns mowed are not by the homeowners, but by commercial businesses. I was also thinking about upgrading my 20 in. (I think) toro self propelled mower to a commercial grade used scag or similar walk behind or possibly a heavily used ztr. I have some money saved up so I don't think I would have a problem buying one as long as it could pay for its self in a season or two.

    Are there any other concerns at my age like insurance or business license, etc. Remember I;m only 14 (almost 14).:)

    Thanks in advance for all of your help!
  2. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    you cant enter into a contract with a minor
  3. ontheouter

    ontheouter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    I really do wish you the best of luck with your new venture, but at your age I think you are approaching this entirely wrong.

    As the previous poster mentioned, you cannot enter into a contract, you will probably find it very difficult to get insurance too. I'm not sure what business requirements are needed to be met under your federal, state and local laws either, but I believe you would have major problems there too.

    I reckon you have 2 options:

    1) stick to pocket money work, let your customers know you don't have insurance etc. keep it simple and earn a few dollars. Whatever you do... don't try to pass yourself off as a legitimate contractor, this will only cause you, and possibly your parents problems in the future.

    2) if you're one of these whiz kids who can make a million bucks before your 16'th birthday, then go for it!!! But get yourself set up properly and legally. This means your parents will need to be the official owners and operators of the business for legal reasons. The trouble is the insurance company probably still won't insure YOU to do the mowing work because of your age. If you go down this route you'll have to hire staff from day one.

    Don't forget, the best training you'll receive is being a worker for a legitimate and respected contractor. A bit of work and training and you'll be ready to go on your 18th birthday with a far higher certainty of success.

    Again, good luck and all the best.
  4. dan1a1984

    dan1a1984 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Glad to see there are still some teenagers out there that still value a dollar. When I was your age I did the same thing, with a cheap Briggs and Station push mower. I would not worry about upgrading your equipment until you have to. New commercial grade mowers are very expensive; a lot of small LCO don’t have ZRT mowers because of that very reason. The best way for you to pick up more customers is to go door to door and talk to your neighbors. I would start with the neighbors that mow themselves. Be honest and be professional and you will be surprised how many lawns you picked up. Do some research, have a LCO come out and give you a quote for your lawn so you know what to charge customers. Just remember people probably aren’t going to pay you what they pay an LCO because the fact you are a teenager. Best of luck, and keep up the hard work and you will be reward for it.

    North Pasco Lawn Service
  5. clean_cut

    clean_cut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,327

    I couldn't work with a contractor until I am like 16 though right? I just asked about insurance to make sure that it's not illegal to mowing 4 or 5 lawns at my age. So you guys think I should use the same mower I have now, or should I try to upgrade to a commercial or semi-commercial grade used mower?:confused:
  6. clean_cut

    clean_cut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,327

  7. dan1a1984

    dan1a1984 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    At age 16 you may still not be able to do this line of work LEGALY. At age 16 you are required to take a 30min break ever 4 hours (you must clock out and clock back in, if not the company you work for can be fined heavly for each time you dont), and you are limited to the type of equipment you can use, for your own saftey.

    I would not worry about haveing your customers sign a contract just agree on a day and time that you will be there to mow and make sure you show up on time. Alot of folks will resept a 13 year old kid breaking the mold and will reward you for your efforts. If you want to buy a good used commercail grade mower you are looking around $300 (21 inch self pro walk behind), keep a rainy day fund and buy a new one when you can no longer keep up with you customers demands or your old one breaks.

    North Pasco Lawn Service
  8. keepinitgreenpa

    keepinitgreenpa LawnSite Member
    Messages: 16

    I'm just going to throw this in real quick because my comment has nothing to do with helping the kid out and it should.

    These guys are completely right on the business aspects of lawn care so listen to them. Set yourself up and be legit you need to remember (especially with the economy today) lawn maintenance is a luxory so treat your customers like they are getting what they pay for. It's a cheap and easy business to get into so don't be like the guy who mows lawns illegally because he still gets a SSI check and want to make an extra buck.

    1. Get an EIN
    2. Insurance (GL 1 million is plenty)
    3. Come up with a name and register it with the state (be sure to check on sales tax)

    If your 14 and thinking about a business your smart enough that you don't need anyone to hold your hand and tell you what to do, however you do those three things and you've got the majority of the market beat.

    Where do you get a commercial grade mower for $300 and if it's from Walmart you need to think your strategy a bit better.

    FYI I paid around $800 for my 21" Toro, just a thought
  9. dan1a1984

    dan1a1984 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Please read the entire post "good used commercail grade mower" USED being the key word. Noone said anything about a NEW mower.

    If he looks to buy out off season he can get a deal. Check out the daily paper in the winter time and you will see tons of deals. I would also check with dealership let them know what you are looking for and price you want to spend. Most will give a you a 90day warrenty(on USED EQUIPMENT) if you ask for one, for peice of mind.
  10. clean_cut

    clean_cut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,327

    I don't know if you guys misread my post, or if I misread yours:dizzy:, buy I already have a 22" toro personal pace mower. I was asking if I should upgrade to a used commercial grade walk behind, but I don't think I need to until the yards begin to be too much to mow. I am mostly looking for something to do this summer, I might be able to keep mowing all of the yards during the fall, but with school and all, I might only have time to mow three or four.

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