New Jersey teens launch summer lawn clipping business

August 6, 2013 3:03:06 PM PDT
Two young entrepreneurs in New Jersey are seizing an opportunity.

When their town stopped picking up grass trimmings, they took matters into their own hands and saw a chance to earn some green.

For John Douma and Alex Abolt of Wyckoff, it's a dream summer job: fresh air, making their own hours, and cashing in when they roll up to their next customer.

For $50 a month, John and Alex visit eight customers each week, coming to their homes and picking up can after can, barrel after barrel of smelly grass clippings.

"The first time we did it we went to the Quickie Mart and got Purell and air fresheners, it was so bad," said John.

These intrepid seniors at Ramapo High School seized on an idea.

After hearing that Wyckoff was no longer picking up homeowners' grass clippings at the curb, necessity became the mother of invention.

"I figured I just got my truck, and he just got his truck, so it would be perfect, it's pretty easy," John said.

"John came to me and said, 'Do you want to help pick up grass clippings around Wyckoff or something cool like that. I love being outside, so I might as well," said Alex.

One of their first customers, who cuts his own grass, was their history teacher Joe Del Buono.

"They filled the void," Del Buono said. "It was a service the town used to provide and now it doesn't, and they picked up right at the start of the spring. It was perfect timing."

As we followed them around on their run, it was certainly clear they're no threat to pricy lawn service companies and their manicured lawns.

But John and Alex have been able to branch out.

"This opened up a lot of people calling us and asking us if we would move stuff or mulch or cut grass, we do anything," said John.

"On the side jobs we see how tough it is. I mean it depends. Some furniture is really heavy and they help us out," said Alex.

Business is so good, as word spread even their classmates wanted in.

"When one of us isn't here, I'll get them and help them out," said John.

Finishing up at the recycling center, well before the afternoon heat, Alex and John enjoy the financial fruits of their labor and a good portion of the summer.