Basic Equipment and Selecting Your Service Area
If you are a teenager who wants to start their own lawn mowing business, you can get by with a lawnmower, a rake, and an edger or weed-wacker, and chances are that you already have all of that equipment sitting in your parents' garage. Since you have the tools already, there is only one question left to ask yourself: "Do I have access to a truck?"
If you do have access to a truck, you can scour your city far and wide, mowing lawns from one tip of town to the other. If you don't have access to a truck, you are going to need to serve your local neighborhoods–places close enough for you to push your lawnmower.
Marketing: Door to Door or Facebook Galore
Back when I was a kid, I used to rake leaves for extra money. I had what I considered the perfect strategy at the time. I would look for the house on the street with the most leaves on their lawn, and then I would offer to rake those leaves for a few dollars. Basically, the idea was that there was obviously a need for my services, and I didn't want anyone to turn me down because of the price. I was 12, and I figured some money was better than no money. My strategy was good, but I should have asked for more money. But that was before the Internet (I know, I'm old), and no one was writing articles about tips on a lawn mowing business for teens.
If you go door to door to try and drum up business, target the lawns that look unkempt. People who already have a lawn service might be willing to switch to you if you offered them a better price, but they may already be happy with their gardener. If you target the people who obviously need your services, you are more likely to pick up some business, especially if you catch a guy like me who wants to spend his Saturday playing video games, not mowing the lawn.
If you have access to a truck, consider marketing on Facebook – social media marketing is easy and, best of all, free. You can even ask your parents to make a post to their wall about your lawn services. Chances are, your parents' friends will be more than willing to help. It's free advertising, and you can make all of the arrangements from the comfort of your home or cell phone.
Offer Competitive Pricing
Ultimately, it comes down to this: People aren't going to want to pay a teenager the same price as a professional lawn care service. Nonetheless, you don't have to give your services away for free. For example, if a local lawn service charges $25 per week, consider charging $15 per week for a basic mow and edging job. If local services charge $30 per week, try $20. You want to be proving additional value to your customers to offset any perception they might have that you lack experience.
Think of it this way, you can charge $15 for what would be about an hour's worth of work. Compare that to the minimum wage you would make at nearly any business willing to hire teenagers, and you are looking at roughly double the money for the same amount of time, with the additional perk of controlling your own schedule and being your own boss.
Be Professional and Do Good Work
If I had to offer only two tips on setting up a lawn mowing business for teens, I would say above all be professional and do good work. Consider printing free business cards online at sites like Vistaprint.com. Why not make an invoice to provide to your customer for their records? These small, deliberate steps to make your lawn mowing business more professional, will encourage your customers to stick with you. Sure, they may have hired you the first time because they knew your mom, but if you blow them away with a high level of professionalism and excellent work, they will rehire on your own merits.
Source: Author's Personal Experience.
Image Electric Lawn Mower By Hedwig Storch (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Image of Electric Lawn Mower Bag By Hedwig Storch (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons