Finding a Job

How to Make Money Cutting Grass

Cutting grass has been lining the pockets of teenagers, college students, and full-blown entrepreneurs for a while. It’s a very solid way to make money during the spring, summer, and fall seasons.

You only need a few basic tools to get started. As you might guess, a lawn mower is a big one. If you’re a teenager, your parents might even take care of it for you in exchange for you cutting grass at home.

We’ll go over the rest of what you need in the article. Let’s start with the absolute basics on getting started making money cutting grass and you!

1. Cutting Grass: The Basics

When you start to look at getting into cutting grass, there are a few things to keep in mind. You should wear older clothes for lawn care projects, nothing that you wouldn’t want to get dirty.

Regardless of how nice it is where you’re working, you will end up with grass stains on your shoes, socks, pants, and possibly your shirt. If there’s any dirt, (especially really dry dirt) expect that to cut caked on your legs if you wear shorts.

We’ll get into different types of mowers in a minute, but you will probably start with a push-mower. You’ll also likely encounter a few hills here and there which will wear out your shoes faster.

Don’t let the wear and tear hinder your motivation to get into this. Regardless of what you do for work, something will get worn out!

Picking A Mower

The grass-cutting mower that I used for nearly six years was owned by my family from 1999 until about 2012. It cost around $99 at a going-out-of-business sale for a hardware store.

If you’re lucky, you can find one just like it that fires up reliably every weekend to cut a few lawns. Plus, mine lasted through a bunch of Minnesota winters getting frozen in the garage and then thawing in the springtime.

If you take a look at this inflation calculator, you’ll also see that $99 back in ’99 would be almost $160 today. There are a lot of reliable grass-cutting mowers at that price point for you to consider.

That being said, I only cut 2 lawns per week on average, so my mower didn’t have the heaviest amount of use. If you plan to scale up a bigger business (5+ lawns/week) then you will probably want to invest a little more long-term.

To start out, though, something like a less expensive one is perfect to land a few initial clients and get some grass cutting cash-flow.

2. Mower Care

Briggs & Stratton, a company that produces high-quality engines for various uses has a helpful guide about engine oil. Choosing the right one will be vital to making sure your grass cutting goes smoothly every season!

Depending on the mower you use, you will probably have the option to either bag your grass clippings or create mulch with the mower as you go. Mulching is basically just shooting the grass clippings out the side of the mower or letting them fall back into the ground.

There are special blades out there or kits to turn your mower into an official mulcher, but you’re probably fine just spitting the grass clippings out the side. If you decide to stick with a bag, the presentation should end up a little better.

A decent amount of customers will probably ask that you bag the grass up. Frankly, it does look better without the clippings everywhere, so you should ask people what they want and take it on a case-by-case basis. Make sure that you empty the bag once it’s ready to be emptied since letting it get too full can make it spill back into the blade of the mower.

You should change your mower’s oil and filter every grass cutting season or 50 hours, according to Stanley and Son. If you aren’t comfortable doing that, there are usually local repair services that specialize in lawn equipment.

3. Getting Some Customers for Cutting Grass

Once you know the basics and have your equipment ready, it’s time to find some clients. When it comes to getting one or a few to start, you don’t need to do anything that’s too over the top.

You can probably put up some signs around your local neighborhood to start. This will allow you to drum up interest from people nearby.

It will depend on your state/city laws about whether or not you can put up signs on public property. This would be like street signs or light poles.

You can also just ask around, too. I remember getting my first lawn mowing gig as a 12-year-old cutting grass for my old middle school football coach. The worst answer is always “no,” and most people are pretty nice about it (if you already know them).

Going door-to-door is a different story, that might get you yelled at if you’re not careful!

4. Make Money Cutting Grass

Once you’re all set up with at least one customer, make sure payment terms are set. It’s best to have some kind of schedule, like they pay you everything at the beginning or the end of the month.

Some people might want to stick with giving you money when the job is actually done. That works, too. Just make sure there’s some consistency to it.

Asking for payment (especially if you’re younger) can get a little awkward. Once you have steady income coming in from your first client, consider setting some aside every month to start building up an emergency fund in case business is ever slow.

Tying It All Together

Going out and mowing some lawns can make your summer a lot greener – and not just from the grass stains. It’s possible to make hundreds of dollars a month if you really go out and cut a lot of people’s grass. Start by making sure you have the important stuff – a lawnmower, decent tennis shoes, and clothes that can get dirty. Make sure you know how to take care of your equipment and then go get some customers! Also, don’t forget to take payment terms with them before you get going.

Bob Buckley

Bob Buckley writes about food and business.