Magazine article Black Enterprise

From Landscaper to Landowner

Magazine article Black Enterprise

From Landscaper to Landowner

Article excerpt

Airyque Ervin thought landscaping was an ideal first business. But owning land, selling it, and buying more would prove a more fruitful (and profitable) venture

Think starting a business on your own may be too much to handle? Why not make it a family affair? That's what 14-year-old Airyque Ervin and his siblings did when it came time to operate their lawn care business, Kid's Help, located in Vallejo, California. First started by older brother Derryk about seven years ago, the company's services include mowing lawns, trimming bushes, hauling away branches, tilling dirt, painting picket fences, and taking out trash for the elderly.

Airyque decided to buy the business last May for $200 when Derryk went off to college. "I knew my brother was beading off to school," says Airyque,"and I thought about how I would make money over the summer. " So how did they come up with the selling price? "Two hundred dollars was waht the business was worth at the time;' Airyque says. "It was the business' equity."

Airyque started toiling in the business at age 11, By getting involved early on, he learned the importance of keeping customers happy and prices reasonable while still making a profit.

He also makes sure to keep prices competitive, which means he doesn't overcharge for a service, but he doesn't undercharge either. The average price for a one-time lawn-mowing job is $10. Kid's Help charges customers $30-$40 for the service, depending on the size of the yard and frequency of the service (weekly or monthly).

To get their hedges trimmed, it'll cost customers $20, but painting is a hefty job, which can include stripping and priming the wood, so it can cost from $50 to $120, depending on the area of the property and number of fences. Airyque thinks last. on his feet by also figuring in the amount of paint he'll need to buy to complete each job. …

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