Warm weather, combined with recent rain, finally has my lawn green and growing. I’ve dropped my first application of fertilizer, pulled my lawn mower from the shed, and generally gotten ready for another season of lawn care. Soon enough, my lawn will need to be mowed regularly.
I love being outside and mowing the lawn, but I’m a busy guy — and the two hours it takes to cut the grass and trim around the house is sometimes hard to find.
That being said, I have a teenage son who is looking to earn some extra money. He’d like to get a part-time job, but getting one at age 15 is difficult, because most business require applicants to be at least 16.
Mowing the lawn would be a perfect way for me to save some time, and for him to earn some money. But here’s the question:
How much should I pay him to mow my lawn?
My three options:
- Hourly wage: The Minnesota legislature just voted to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, which I’d round up to $10 per hour just to keep the numbers even. I’d have him track his hours, then pay him each week like a real job.
- Per-service: I called a few lawn services in my area, and the most common quote I received was around $60 per service. I had no idea it would cost so much to have someone else take care of my lawn! I’m certainly not paying my son that much, but I’d be willing to pay him $25 per service.
- Per-week: Finally, I could pay him a flat rate of $30 per week to take care of the lawn (regardless of how many times he’d have to mow).
Each of these options has their advantages and disadvantages. The per-week method is best for me, because there are times when he may have to mow more than once per week. The per-service is best for him from a money-making standpoint, because he could earn the most. But the hourly wage is the most fair for both of us — and has the most financial learning potential for him in the near future.
All of these behaviors would accomplish both goals: a well-kept lawn and some extra money for my son. Plus, there are the extra bonuses of teaching him some valuable lessons about responsibility, work ethic, and finances.
What would you do in this situation? How much would you pay your child to do yard work?