Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

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loves2read
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Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by loves2read »

We need to find a new service to do our yard...person now is just not dependable. We are gone weeks to months at our FL house and want someone we can trust to take care of the yard and flower beds but also not to take advantage of fact we are gone.
I check Angie's List but one person doesn't serve our area...two others haven't gotten back to me yet...Posted query on neighborhood bulletin board--got couple of replies and my neighbor called me at lunch after reading that, wanting to know if we would consider using her son. He is 15...nice boy...can't drive yet. She wants him to do something this summer besides watching TV or being in the pool--I know from talking to her. I told her that I had thought of asking him but was concerned that it might cause friction between them...
I know that if she thought he did a bad job or was too slow in getting to cut the yard or clean the beds that she would get on his case...she would want him to live up to his responsibilities--which as a parent I can understand--but we don't plan on moving any time soon...I don't want to hire him and then find out he can't/won't do a good job and have to let him go...

Our daughter worked as nanny for our dentist when she was senior in high school and during summer when in college...
she was great at that job...I didn't have to check up on her and they were VERY pleased with her attitude and ability and their kids loved her...
It might be that this boy would handle the work just fine--just don't know because he doesn't have a history with us or anyone else really because of his age...
The other factor that makes me cautious is liability if he is hurt doing this--for whatever reason--
I know that might seem overly caution/paranoid but people can be hurt doing yard work, especially if they are careless...
I just don't know that you can omit considering that issue...however unlikely it might be...

Comments?
Anyone do something similar?
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wilpat
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by wilpat »

Clearly explain your expectations to him and his parents. Then hire him!
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leonard
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by leonard »

Interview him. Good experience for him and if you hire him....

Have him do the job for a while when you are there, so you can supervise the outcomes.

If that works, have him continue to do it while you are gone - but have someone you know drive by the house and ensure that it's done on a regular basis. Or, install an internet came and point it out the window to the yard and you can have a look.

If he beats your expectations, consider giving him a bonus over the agreed upon rate.

Ensure that you have all adequate insurances to cover any issues that may arise.
Last edited by leonard on Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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wfrobinette
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by wfrobinette »

loves2read wrote:We need to find a new service to do our yard...person now is just not dependable. We are gone weeks to months at our FL house and want someone we can trust to take care of the yard and flower beds but also not to take advantage of fact we are gone.
I check Angie's List but one person doesn't serve our area...two others haven't gotten back to me yet...Posted query on neighborhood bulletin board--got couple of replies and my neighbor called me at lunch after reading that, wanting to know if we would consider using her son. He is 15...nice boy...can't drive yet. She wants him to do something this summer besides watching TV or being in the pool--I know from talking to her. I told her that I had thought of asking him but was concerned that it might cause friction between them...
I know that if she thought he did a bad job or was too slow in getting to cut the yard or clean the beds that she would get on his case...she would want him to live up to his responsibilities--which as a parent I can understand--but we don't plan on moving any time soon...I don't want to hire him and then find out he can't/won't do a good job and have to let him go...

Our daughter worked as nanny for our dentist when she was senior in high school and during summer when in college...
she was great at that job...I didn't have to check up on her and they were VERY pleased with her attitude and ability and their kids loved her...
It might be that this boy would handle the work just fine--just don't know because he doesn't have a history with us or anyone else really because of his age...
The other factor that makes me cautious is liability if he is hurt doing this--for whatever reason--
I know that might seem overly caution/paranoid but people can be hurt doing yard work, especially if they are careless...
I just don't know that you can omit considering that issue...however unlikely it might be...

Comments?
Anyone do something similar?
What in the world have we come to here. I only wish that a neighbor boy/girl would consider mowing,shoveling snow, other odd jobs around my neighborhood. I'd jump on it in a heart beat. at 14(1984), I had 4 lawns plus my own and a trimming and vacuuming gig at an apartment building across the street. Never once complained about the one's that I got paid for. I did slack on our own lawn from time to time.

The Mom wants to teach her son responsibility. As the other guy said, explain expectations and if he is willing, hire him.
investor
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by investor »

I would be cautious about supplying any power tools (*lawnmower) . Have him furnish his own as would a hired Gardner.
As a kid I earned money mowing lawns and chopping weeds for neighbors but we had Push Mowers, not power tools.

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loves2read
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by loves2read »

The boy didn't come asking for the work--his mom did...but she said that he was willing to do it when she asked him...
he was in school to be fair when she called...said we would talk later--

and agree--we wouldn't supply any tools...but his dad has all he needs...
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mhc
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by mhc »

Give him a shot. Just set your expectations appropriately. He is 15. Remember when you were 15? I'm glad adults were always willing to give me odd jobs in my youth.
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MikeWillRetire
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by MikeWillRetire »

Life was just so much simpler when I was a young man.....
user5027
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by user5027 »

MikeWillRetire wrote:Life was just so much simpler when I was a young man.....

+1 Cutting lawns in the neighborhood, when I was a young teen, was my first exposure to working for money. :moneybag
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Bengineer
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by Bengineer »

I second giving him a shot. I'd interview, set expectations and hire him directly, rather than through his mom.
Rattlesnake
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by Rattlesnake »

I gotta say we need to give the kids a chance... So, the answer is yes... I agree with the comment "Life was just so much simpler when I was a young man....."
Just my $0.02....
Last edited by Rattlesnake on Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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pshonore
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by pshonore »

I remember "hiring" myself out to cut a neighbor's lawn when I was about 7 yrs old. I had a push mower, the old reel kind with big cast iron wheels. The lawn was not big but I couldn't finish it and my father had to step in and finish. Valuable lessons were learned by all the parties concerned. Kind of funny looking back on that. :happy
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loves2read
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by loves2read »

We are going to take a chance on him...
he and my husband had conversation about the work and the boy was so funny--my husband asked him if $30 a cut was fair (we paid the previous guy $25) and Zach said "oh, I would do it for free just not to be bored" He also said that his dad wouldn't let him cut their yard--too particular. So maybe this is good learning opportunity for all of us as well...
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loves2read
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by loves2read »

re owning a place in FL--
we do that because our daughter, SIL, and grandson live there---and have little time to visit us in TX--
we are lucky that we were able to buy the house next to theirs so we can visit them but have our own space...
we can take our dog and cat and stay for longer stretches--
considered renting home for month or so at time vs buying but in that area there is difficulty finding homes that will allow cats (dogs are easier) and for short rentals (a month is considered short in some neighborhoods)...

so having second home can complicate life but was nice to spend Christmas and Thanksgiving there and have room for our son and his wife to come as well...
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by Flobes »

Edit: Self-deleted post, per obgraham warning below.
Last edited by Flobes on Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by obgraham »

If I were you, Flobes, I'd keep that arrangement off the Web. Next thing, you'll have Fed and State agencies down your throat for not following some bunch of regulations.
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by bertilak »

Heck, when I was 15, living the "Leave it to Beaver" life in the suburbs, I don't think a "real" lawn service company could have stayed in business, there were so many teenagers looking for spending cash.

Babysitting was the easy money for the younger crowd. Fifty cents an hour, dollar after midnight or any time on weekends and holidays. Two dollars bought an awful lot of fireballs, bubblegum and comic books. Almost everything was ten cents!
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by dolphinsaremammals »

I used to cut grass, babysit, clean houses, and snow shovel for money when I was a teenager. I'd love to hire teens to help me out now, but they all seem to have vanished. I'd hire the neighbor's son in a heartbeat.
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by Jill07 »

loves2read wrote:He also said that his dad wouldn't let him cut their yard--too particular.
What a shame that his own father will not let this 15 year old mow the lawn. So what if the kid mows the lawn a little sloppily the first few times… let him learn! Your husband can be a mentor to this young man. What a boost to his confidence to be given this mowing job. You’re doing a good thing for this boy. The boy’s father really needs to think about why he can’t allow his son to mow the yard and what he is doing to his relationship with his son.
tim1999
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by tim1999 »

I would not, despite having cut neighbors' lawns when I was a kid myself. Too much liability in this sue-happy nation these days to employ a minor with no insurance to work on my property operating machinery that could injure them if not used properly. Either I'd hire a professional service or do it myself. I'd let my own kids do it, but not someone else's.
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victorb
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by victorb »

When I was growing up, I had 4 lawns to cut with a 20" mower and hand push, not self-propelled. It was a small town and one lady always had lemonade or something to drink. I always talked to them after each cutting and made sure they were satisfied. I used the mower to blow the grass off the sidewalk and driveway. I took pride in my lawn cutting and I liked every one of my customers. One lady was a widow and she always made me feel special. She asked me about my school work and was genuinely interested in me.
I think it is a wonderful thing to give this young man a chance. Explain to him what your expectations are. Always mentioned what you are pleased with and what can use a little tweaking to make you happy. Take care of him with offering a drink and a treat, when you are around. Talk to him and get to know him and you will be surprised at how willing he will be to work with you and make you happy. It is a tremendous experience for him and you.
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hoppy08520
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by hoppy08520 »

I hope you'll hire the kid. As others wrote, start small and go from there. I think they call this "temp-to-perm" in the business world.

While we're all walking down memory lane, I will stroll with you. Back in the 1980's, as a teenager, I mowed the lawns for at least 5 or more neighbors, plus raked leaves, cleaned gutters, etc. On snowy days, I grabbed the shovel and went door to door. Mom wasn't my agent; I negotiated all my own deals and I did my own business development. I also had a newspaper route.

Heck, when I was 16, I even bought my own chainsaw so I could do more jobs. Looking back, I can't believe my mom let me do that. I have a photo from then of me cutting down a dead birch tree with the chainsaw, and I wasn't even wearing gloves. At least I did have goggles though. I can't believe anyone would pay a teenager to operate a chainsaw on their own property. I don't know how we made it to adulthood back then.

Anyway, back to your question, I hope you'll hire the kid. Speaking for myself, doing all that work taught me so much, and I hope you can give that neighbor kid the same kind of experiences that I had when I was the "neighbor's son".
Louis Winthorpe III
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by Louis Winthorpe III »

I would hire him. His mom sounds great. If you really had an issue with his work, she doesn't sound like the type who would give you a hard time about it. I'd actually prefer the son of neighbor rather than someone off of Angie's List.
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by Sheepdog »

My two sons mowed lawns, cleaned leaves, etc. over about 12 years total for 2 kids. They put out flyers, were interviewed and they did enough to pay almost all of their out of pocket expenses, including gas money and auto insurance when they started driving, They did that, plus other odd jobs, in middle and high school and their first 2 years in college. It was great business and personal economic experience for them. So, yes hire the boy. Tell him what to expect. You will be rewarded and he will be rewarded too.
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by likegarden »

Yes, hire that boy, he needs that experience.
My grandson is close to 12. I told him he will get hired by me to mow the lawn and do other yard work when he is 14 or so. That would be much better than playing video games. I plan then to buy a new mower (present one is probably 15 years old) and buy him leather boots with steel toes to protect his feet, and leather gloves to protect his hands. I will train him first using the mower. Raking leaves is also good work. $40 per week would be good for his speding money when in college.
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by pennywise »

Two viewpoints:

Professional: I am a career advisor for college students and when we're working on creating their resume, I always am very happy when the student has high school work experience such as mowing lawns, lifeguarding, babysitting, even working at fast food or retail service. The kids are always a bit surprised/shocked till I explain that for a recruiter it translates to being a responsible person, helping earn money while going to school, demonstrating good life skills and making an effort to be independent. So your neighbor's son will be doing some very good things for himself if you give him the chance, which judging from the follow up you are inclined to do.

Personal: when my daughter was in high school, one of the teachers who lived in our neighborhood asked her to cat-sit for him when he traveled. She was paid something like $10/day, which for a 14-15 YO was good money :happy . It worked out very well for both parties: he didn't have to board his pets, which of course would have cost far more than what he paid my daughter. And, he knew she would not only take care of them but bring in the mail and newspapers and provide a daily check-in to ensure everything was ok at the house. My daughter earned some spending money before she could even legally be employed and in fact she continued to do it through college! Win-win for both parties. I hope your situation works out as well as hers did.
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by SJG »

Absolutely. My brother and I had a neighborhood lawn mowing business when we were in our teens. We both ended up being very successful in our chosen fields (not lawn mowing). Nothing focuses the mind of a teen on the importance of education quite so much as sweat and dirt on 98 degree days and builds the determination that you don't ever want to do crap like this again.
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by chessmannextmove »

No. I wouldn't.
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by 4nursebee »

Sure hire him.

Many good suggestions here.
I'd add something along the lines that increases accountability, like have him take quick photos or vid to send to you to show the job was done well each time, perhaps before paying him. Set up a quick pay method for near instant reward (direct deposit?).

I had many yard jobs. I hated the walk around with the customer before getting paid, but it was how the got what they wanted and I was held accountable. Overall, they were very good to me.
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by dolphinsaremammals »

4nursebee wrote:Sure hire him.
I'd add something along the lines that increases accountability, like have him take quick photos or vid to send to you to show the job was done well each time, perhaps before paying him.
I think that's a bit much. Nothing like saying, I don't trust you to get off on a good footing.

Nothing to stop a dishonorable kid from taking a bunch of photos once and sending them each week, either, so futile as well.
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by MnD »

I had 5 neighborhood lawns age 12-15, did a very good job and made great money.
I hated doing "stoop" work - one dentist neighbor wanted me to take out all the wood chips in his beds, sieve and shop-vac them to get rid of leaves, twigs and dirt and put them back every year.
I think I lasted two hours at that before I quit. My son is the same way - great at lawn cutting, worthless for detailed gardening/cleanup.

So he might might be as great in the flower bed work.
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Impromptu
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by Impromptu »

I have a cousin about 25 years older than me. He had been poor, drifting around, but eventually began working a lucrative career in advertising with my uncle, eventually going off on his own. He could have begun to live the high life had he wanted to. Instead, he hired my friends and I to do yard work in his yard, and he paid us very well for teenage quality work. We all fought to be able to work in his yard, and he ended up getting a nice looking yard as well as helping all of us to learn some work ethic and responsibility.

Fast forward 17 years to now when I have a decent paycheck and a house. I decided to use his example and give the youth in my church a chance to earn some money. I had one pull all the ivy from around my house, others got to use a sledge hammer to knock down a fence (it was only fun the first several swings) and dig out the concrete footings, others helped me dig out the stump of a tree. I knew what quality of work I expected, but I got much more.

I buy from kids coming around with fundraisers. I'll hire my neighbors daughters and/or sons as babysitters someday. I always stop at lemonade stands.

I certainly cannot influence the work ethic of the entire country, but I can help in my neighborhood. I would much rather that my cash went to them.
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by 3504PIR »

[OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek]
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Re: Would you use your neighbor's son for yard service?

Post by dolphinsaremammals »

3504PIR wrote:[OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek]
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