No matter what the economy, the grass still grows. There is always someone near by who needs their lawn mowed and cannot do it themselves. These folks have a problem and you, the full-time employee wanting to start a part-time lawn mowing business, have the solution. They can pay you to mow their yard. Problem solved.
I often get the question of whether you can start your lawn mowing business part-time in the evenings and on weekends and keep your full-time job. The answer is a big yes!
The question is can you do it? If you have lots of energy, enjoy being outdoors and working in your yard, and can handle just 5 to 10 extra hours of physical work each week, you can start a part-time lawn mowing business and keep your regular job.
People who work 12-hour rotating shift schedules are in a terrific position to run a lawn mowing business part-time while keeping their full-time jobs because they have so many days off.
First, you need to find some customers. Write a flyer using word processing software, print it, take it to your local copy shop, have 25-30 copies made, and distribute them around your neighborhood within walking distance of your house. You may want to use a half-page flyer so you can distribute to 50-60 houses. Include what you offer the prospect (lawn mowing, edging, cleaning off the concrete), your name, best phone number to contact you, your address so they know you are a neighbor and how much you charge. Since you are new to the business charge on the lower end of the average rate other lawn care professionals charge in your area. Five dollars cheaper than average may get your neighbors to stop using someone out of the neighborhood and start using you instead.
Another reason to start with your neighbors is they know you or know of you and we all want to help other people, especially people we know. Since these folks are close by, you get to go out, knock on doors and meet your neighbors while marketing your business to them. Smile, introduce yourself and tell them which house is yours or what street you live on and get to know a little about them and some things you might have in common. Hand them a flyer at the end of the conversation and move on to the next house.
Keep this up until you have at least one person ready for you to go home, get your equipment right now, come back and work that day and are pulling out their checkbook to pay you. If this happens, stop marketing that day, service your new customer and earn some money. Continue marketing the next day.
When you have the number of customers you think you can handle, stop marketing daily and only doing a little occasionally or when someone asks for your information. You will need to keep a few flyers on hand to give out. Be on the lookout for yards that overgrow and see if a lawn service comes to mow them. These folks may need someone closer who will service their lawn regularly. Be sure to visit them and ask.
Do not buy any commercial equipment or go into debt. You only need the mower you use on your own lawn, a gas-powered string trimmer and blower to get started. If you have an electric-powered string trimmer and blower, you can still use them, but make sure the customer knows you will need access to an electric outlet and you will need a very long extension cord.
Alternatives to gas and electric-powered trimmers and blowers are the cordless rechargeable models. They are less expensive than their gas-powered cousins, cheaper to operate and much more environmentally friendly. If you have electric equipment that requires an extension cord, you will want to replace it with cordless electric or gas-powered equipment as soon as you earn enough money mowing to do so.
Starting within walking distance of your home eliminates the need for a truck or trailer to haul equipment to job sites keeping costs down. If you live within walking distance of the job you can put your equipment and gas can in a wagon or cart and pull your lawn mower along by hand. If you are willing to do this extra manual labor you are more likely to succeed because you are not afraid of hard work and not prone to overspending.
One of the biggest reasons to have a part-time lawn mowing business is you make significantly more money for the time you spend working than at most other part-time endeavors.
If you charge $50 to mow the grass, edge and clean up and you can do 5 lawns after work and on weekends each week, you will earn $250 per week. You will need to set 15% of your revenue aside after expenses (gas, parts, repair, replacement equipment, etc.) for self-employment taxes which you will need to pay each quarter. If you spend $9 on gas and save $36 for taxes, your net weekly earnings will be $205. Six weeks of hauling your equipment by hand will build physical strength and allow you to accumulate about $1230. You could also resubmit your form W-4 at work to take the correct amount of extra money out of your pay checks to cover these taxes. However, if you are trying this to determine if you want a full-time lawn mowing business I recommend you become familiar with paying self-employment taxes quarterly.
After 20 weeks of mowing 5 lawns per week you will have netted nearly $4,000. It will be less than this because your equipment will need maintenance and repair. That will not cost more than a few hundred dollars, so you will still have around $3,700 if you save your profits.
Now you will have the cash to buy a good used commercial lawn mower. Once you have a commercial mower you will be able to increase the number of yards you can mow per week in the same amount of time it took with your residential mower, increasing your revenue. You may be able to mow 10 yards per week instead of 5, so your gross revenue will jump to $500 per week. After another 10 weeks you may have enough cash to buy a used trailer to haul your commercial equipment.
Remember that in many areas there are only 3 mowing seasons or about 40 weeks of steady work each year. If you spend the first 40 weeks earning enough to get some commercial equipment and increase your customer base, your second part-time year will be mostly profits.
Two years part-time in the business will allow you to decide if you want to start mowing full-time. You will know it is time to go full-time when you are turning customers away because you do not have time to service their yards and if you could take on those customers, you would earn more annually than at your full-time job.
Earning more means earning more than your current annual pay after taxes plus paying for the benefits you and your family need, like health insurance. If your spouse works outside the home, he or she may carry the family benefits leaving you free to earn lots of cash. You will have to save for retirement and pay your own disability insurance even if your spouse can provide the other benefits. Few companies offer spousal retirement or spousal disability coverage.
If you are willing to work during your off hours and not spend money on equipment you do not need, you can work part-time mowing lawns and earn a lot of extra money. You may also be able to eventually leave your job and run your business full-time.