Teen Learns Valuable Lessons Operating Lawn Care, Mower Maintenance Business

Stephanie Figy
Written by Stephanie Figy
Updated June 15, 2021
Lukas has had to recruit family and friends to help with the yardwork portion of his business. (Photo by Sandy Moreland)

Lukas Moreland started his lawn care and lawn mower maintence business when he was just 14. Find out what motivates him to keep the business going.

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As a teenager balancing homework, Boy Scouts, athletics and band, you’d think 16-year-old Lukas Moreland wouldn’t be able to take on additional responsibilities. But to add to his impressive resume, Lukas runs a lawn service and lawn mower maintenance and repair company — The Neighborhood Mower — in Cincinnati.

“I started the business because I have a love for mowing grass, working on engines and helping people,” Lukas says.

The highly rated business, which he started at age 14, also helped him earn money for Boy Scout trips to Florida and Minnesota. “Now, I would like to buy a truck,” Lukas says. “But mostly, I’ve been saving the money.”

As you might expect with a young entrepreneur, Lukas has had a little help along the way from his dad, mom, little brother and even friends. “It’s become a family business.”

Lukas’ dad, Joseph Moreland, helps to mow and also focuses on the billing and marketing portions of the business. But, it was Lukas’ grandfather who taught him about lawn mower maintenance.

“I have learned almost everything I know from my grandfather, who is very handy and can fix anything,” Lukas says, adding he also taught himself through research and tinkering with lawn mower parts.

His grandfather, Paul Heise, says Lukas has fixed lawn mowers alongside him. “He’s very adept mechanically, and has the ability to just stand there and look at something and figure out how it works,” Heise says. “That’s something a lot of people don’t have.” Heise lives in Hughesville, Pennsylvania, but says Lukas will ask him questions over the phone or send him pictures from time to time.

Joseph says it’s remarkable how much his son knows about engines: “He is really good with carburetors and has a real knack at diagnosing and fixing problems with mowers.”

Lukas says his business has spread mostly through word of mouth, but he’s also gained customers by advertising at his school and being listed on Angie’s List and Craigslist.

The lawn mower maintenance portion of his business has grown as well. “People love the fact that we can come to their house or garage and perform a tune-up on their mower,” he adds. “They don’t have to take it to a shop or pay to have a shop come pick their mower up. That’s the real benefit of our Mobile Mower Maintenance program.”

Lukas charges approximately $30 to $35 for lawns a quarter of an acre or smaller, and prices go up from there. Mower maintenance charges are approximately $55 for push mowers, $70 for walk behinds and $95 for riding mowers. However, his fee depends on how far he has to travel to get to the home. Charges are based on the job, he says.

Lukas' dad says it's impressive how much Lukas knows about engines. (Photo by Sandy Moreland)

Balancing lawn maintenance and schoolwork

One of his biggest obstacles to overcome has been scheduling, Lukas says. “Schoolwork comes first. Sometimes we have to be creative with the schedules, but for the most part, our customers understand and have been flexible.”

Lukas will soon be adding an Eagle Scout service project to his long to-do list, but he and his dad are confident that he can continue providing quality service — partially by not biting off more than he can chew.

“We actually had to turn down some lawns this year,” Lukas says. “I hated to do it, but we wanted to make sure we didn’t get too many lawns where we’d rush through them, not taking our time to do them right.”

Going the extra yard for customers

Lukas says he’s learned a lot about meeting and working with people. “Sometimes it’s intimidating talking to people on the phone, but it’s a necessary part of the business,” he says.

Joseph says the customer service aspect is probably one of the biggest lessons Lukas has learned.

“When you make an appointment, you have got to keep your appointment,” Joseph says. “If something happens out of your control that makes you miss or be late for the appointment, then you need to call the customer to let them know what’s going on. Also, treating people with respect, honesty and having integrity in what you do is always the right way to run a business.”

Cincinnati reporter Scott Springer covers sports at Lukas’ high school, and learned about his business after seeing it listed in Joseph’s email signature. He hired The Neighborhood Mower for lawn mower maintenance this spring.

MORE: How to get the lush, green lawn your neighbors will envy

“My latest [lawn mower], I bought at Lowe’s, and it’s under warranty, so I have to put it in my car, drive it up and wait a month,” Springer says. “[Lukas and Joseph] come right to your house. It’s somewhat of a luxury for lazy folks.”

Springer says the service was accurate, quick and the right price.

“He’s honest and does a good job,” Springer says about Lukas. “I’d definitely recommend him to anyone.”

Angie’s List member Dianne Loos hired The Neighborhood Mower for weekly lawn service two summers in a row. “They do excellent work at a fair price and are dependable,” she says. “He informed me in advance when they’d be out of town and couldn’t do my yard for that week.”

Lukas says he learned everything he knows from his grandfather, Paul Heise. (Photo by Sandy Moreland)

Continuing the business for years to come

Lukas says he’d like to continue his business, even through college. Joseph says owning a business is a valuable lesson for anyone who’s his son’s age. “It’s not just about earning a living, but the whole life experience is very important,” he says. “We’ve met a lot of very nice people and have had a tremendous experience learning about people and business.”

He adds that being honest and hardworking are the keys to his son’s success.

“He is a perfectionist when it comes to doing the job, whether it’s cutting lawns or sharpening a blade,” he says. “He takes the extra time to make sure it’s 100 percent right.”

CHECK OUT: 8 maintenance tips to keep your lawn mower running

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