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Young Teenvestors should consider offering services instead of selling products. To sell products, you either have to make it yourself or buy and resell items. In service businesses, young investor provide services to their customers by doing physical or mental work for them. This work can range from computer programming to car washing to painting. Many young investors choose service businesses because these businesses are cheaper to start than businesses in which they have to sell manufactured products. Teenvestors can start service businesses with little or no money. For example, some young investors who have keen interests in computers are starting their own computer consulting businesses in droves.

The then-18-year-old Viveca Ryn, founder of Grass Catchers Lawn Service, wrote the following story about her service business and the satisfaction it brought her from a personal point-of-view. Please note the sense of social responsibility this young entrepreneur felt at the time she wrote the piece.

 

GRASS CATCHERS LAWN SERVICE 

By Viveca Ryn, Grass Catchers Lawn Service (18 years old)

In the last two years I started, built up, and managed "Grass Catchers Lawn Service," my own lawn–mowing and snow–removal company, a sole proprietorship. It grew to the point that I had four employees, one of them full time. I did all the advertising, met with prospective customers, negotiated fees, set efficient schedules for employees, managed accounts receivable, including the preparation of invoices, and generally handled company finances and salaries. That I could perform all of these tasks with ease and self–confidence, and that, through my efforts, the business grew to as many as forty lawns a week, was a source of great satisfaction. I started to acquire a reputation in the local community for running a good and reliable service. People started to make jokes to my parents and myself about the 16–year–old "big entrepreneur." I felt a good deal of pride knowing that I could turn my own ideas into reality and make a substantial profit as a result.

Trying to expand my list of customers, I had for a long time been eyeing a very large lawn close to that of one of my customers. It was one that would be easy to cut but for which I could charge a high fee and still be very competitive. I tried several times to persuade the particular home–owner to change from his lawn service, a large regional company, to Grass–Catchers, which would be less expensive. Finally, he decided to make the change. He would cancel his present contract, and let me take over in a few weeks. I could not have been more pleased. Adding this particular lawn would be very profitable over time.

While I was waiting for this new customer to sign on, I happened to have a conversation with one of my workers, Jimmy. He is a man in his forties, married with four children. By what he had earlier told me and by the way he spoke, dressed, and carried himself, I knew that he was poor and that his circumstances were unsettled. Jimmy had tried on his own to support his family by cutting grass. He hadn’t been very successful getting customers, which is how I came to employ him. And yet he was a good worker and an honest, dependable person. What I now learned about him, from a passing remark he made, was that he was having real trouble. He had a chronic health problem but had not been able to afford insurance and could not pay for the medical care he needed. In order to help finance treatment at a clinic he was going to sell his VCR.

I did not really need that new, big profitable lawn. If Jimmy were to take it on himself and not just receive the usual commission from me, he could pocket the whole weekly fee with little extra effort. And I, with little sacrifice, would substantially ease his burden. And so it was arranged.

It was then that I really understand that financial achievement could never be my deepest source of happiness, and that, whatever my life may bring, money will always be secondary. However, I believe that I will always be interested in entrepreneurship.