Why We Don’t Have a Lawn Care Service–Hint: It Used to be Cheaper When Teens Did It…

MTD Yard Machines Lawn Mower 4.5HP Tecumseh En...
What happened to the simple joy of cutting your own lawn…and what happened to letting a teen make a buck by cutting your lawn? Now, so many people in Fairfield feel the need to hire expensive “professional” mowing services once reserved for commercial properties. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lawn mowing services may be a convenience, but at what cost? 

It’s lawn-care season, but this post was on my mind during leaf-raking season, too. I was pushed to write this post when I saw a lawn care service truck parked in front of an otherwise frugal friend’s home.

We mow our own lawn, but one of my frugal friends said it costs her $60 every two weeks to have the grass cut, which means it’s $120 a mont–of course that’s not all year round, but then there’s raking services… I’ve also seen services with deals for $25 a mow (not around here, however), and heard that other companies charge $45 a mow (around here). That cost is just for mowing, not for other services, such as fertilizing, etc. (see post from CostOwl.com below). My kids are more than willing to cut the grass once a week for neighbors at a lot lessthan that! There seem to be no more lawn-cutting or leaf-raking gigs for teens around here, unfortunately.

Needless to say, these lawn service guys (in teams of two to four people) spend all of 10 minutes at each house if they are there to mow a lawn and whack some weeds–they have the heavy-duty (and really loud) equipment to do it in record time. I’ve timed it! We are talking about small quarter-to-half-acre plots of land here. Plus, it’s a high-volume business which means they have to get in, get out, and get to the next customer’s lawn to make the hour worthwhile. And the lawns don’t look all that much better than ours (well, now we have a weed whacker so we look a lot better). But if you do have a service and want to know why it’s expensive, here’s an article that explains the price increases.

There are times when a service would be quite handy–if you are unable to physically take care of your property, if you work an ungodly amount of hours, or if you have acres of land. So, what should you pay for the service if you get one? One blog, Landscaping Ideas Online, gives you some good tips, which will hopefully talk you out of feeling the need to get a service.

Here’s an excerpt of the post from Landscaping Ideas Online:

If you are looking for the very barest of basic services, the average cost of lawn care services in Small Town, USA should run somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 per week, which puts you anywhere from between $120-150 per month. Not really bad when you consider that other services cost considerably more than this each and every week and most of us could easily axe a daily run to Starbuck’s in order to make up for this particular expense.

Of course, me being me, I like to look at everything from the point of view of personal value. Most basic services include moving, edging, equipment provided as well as fuel, trimming the lawn, and general removal of debris (limbs and such) though you should check with the provider you are considering before you hire them to be certain. I certainly would not pay more than $30 per week for less.

Why not use your own lawnmower and save the money (better yet if you have an electric mower), or even better yet, get a push mower (read Aimee’s post on the value of cutting your grass with a push mower here).

More Lawn Care Costs, courtesy of CostOwl.com.

  • A reasonable price for lawn care is $25-$35 per week, or $100-$140 per month. By the hour, this works out to $20-$25 per hour, or $40-$50 for half acre lawns.
  • Most landscapers will include basic lawn maintenance such as lawn mowing and edging.
  • Larger lawns cost more.
  • The local cost of gasoline will affect the price.
  • Trimming, pruning, clearing planting beds, trimming the hedges and clearing debris generally all cost extra.
  • Lawn care services such as applying Scott’s LawnService or Tru-Green run about $50-$60 per application, with about eight applications per year, or a total cost of $400-$500. Such a service handles fertilization and both kills and prevents future weeds and pests.
  • Tipping and the use of an additional worker for some jobs costs extra.
  • Most lawn care can be easily handled by a homeowner and doing it yourself will save money over hiring a professional lawn care business.
  • This Old House offers lawn care tips on everything from cutting the grass to more complicated landscaping.
  • Organic lawn care is actually cheaper in the long run than using synthetic fertilizer and pesticides. This Old House offers an excellent guide. Also, check out this list of frequently asked questions about organic lawn care.

Until we are unable to mow our own lawn, we’ll suffer with some less than perfect patches on our lawn.

~Marilyn, TFF

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8 thoughts on “Why We Don’t Have a Lawn Care Service–Hint: It Used to be Cheaper When Teens Did It…

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  3. I’d add that one CAN find a high school or college kid who is more than willing to get cash to do some local lawn work. Contact the high school and area college job placement offices and post a help wanted ad, get the word out amongst friends/neighbors with teens that you are looking for someone to help with the yard work. It has been very hard for teens to find jobs, since the economy took a down turn as many displaced adults have taken the kid’s jobs. Agreed, cheapest to do it yourself. One compromise I made is to start paying HS son to do our lawn as he really can’t find work right now and it’s helping him to fund the fuel for the car he drives (an expense that he is responsible for).

    1. Great ideas! And absolutely you are so right, so many teens are willing to do this kind of work if neighbors would just give them a try. ~Marilyn, TFF

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