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How much would you pay a 14yo for 4hrs of lawncare?


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I'm feeling like my neighbor underpaid my son, but maybe I expected too much. (Nothing was agreed on beforehand.) So I am curious to know what you would pay. Also, if you thought she had seriously underpaid, would you do anything? (I am considering an email saying that we won't allow our son to work for her again and if she plans on hiring anyone in the future and paying way-below-market rates, she should let them know that upfront.)

 

Or should I just let it go?

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I think it depends on what you are talking about...$2.00/hour? Yes definitely I would say something. I would expect to pay about $8.00 per hour for a 14 year old's work based on my past experience. I would expect the amount to be considerably less than I would pay a 40 year old for the same job. That is just how it is...imo.

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I just realized I forgot to answer the other part of your question. :blush:

 

I wouldn't pay a 14 year-old to do my lawncare, not only because we already have a regular landscaper, but because the liability would be huge if he got hurt while on our property, so I can't really tell you how much the job is worth. I know that our landscaper would charge several hundred dollars, but he would be bringing employees and equipment with him, and this is his full-time business, so that's not really comparable to having a 14 yo do the work (even if the kid does a great job.) A "real" business has to pay taxes, insurances, professional fees and many other expenses that a kid from the neighborhood wouldn't have to pay, so that's why I would assume that the kid's rates should be significantly lower than a business owner would charge for the same job.

 

Your neighbor may have no clue as to what "market rates" might be, so I think I would give her the benefit of the doubt and not make a fuss, unless your ds wants to work for her again. It was really your ds's responsibility (or yours, as his parent) to know how much he was going to be paid, before he ever started work. That said, I can absolutely understand his disappointment and your annoyance if the amount she paid was very low.

 

How old is the neighbor? If she's elderly, the last time she paid a neighbor kid to do a job for her may have been when she was paying a babysitter $1.00 an hour to watch her now-60yo "kids" on a Saturday night. If she's a lot younger and you're sure she knows better than that, then maybe she was intentionally trying to under-pay your ds... but without prior agreement on the amount, you still don't really have a leg to stand on.

 

I'm sorry your ds feels like he was cheated. :(

Edited by Catwoman
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Lesson learned. Don't send the email, this is something that should have been discussed beforehand.

 

For what it's worth, $40 is what I view as fair.

 

We went through this with my daughter. She worked 2 nine hour days in a row, starting at 6am and was only paid $50. We were both really annoyed, but learned to always have the hard discussion beforehand.

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I'm feeling like my neighbor underpaid my son, but maybe I expected too much. (Nothing was agreed on beforehand.) So I am curious to know what you would pay. Also, if you thought she had seriously underpaid, would you do anything? (I am considering an email saying that we won't allow our son to work for her again and if she plans on hiring anyone in the future and paying way-below-market rates, she should let them know that upfront.)

 

Or should I just let it go?

 

What did he do, specifically? What did they agree upon that he would do and for how much? Specifics are needed to answer your question.

 

This is not your issue, but I'd certainly teach him how to approach it in the future.

 

I always overpay my really good help, and pay what was agreed, if the work was mediocre. But I don't just let someone work and not pay him something fair, ever.

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I would probably pay him between 40-50 dollars. One thing I have learned is if you do not have a set price before hand or if the person feels like you are a friend. Then it seems like they use this as an excuse to pay you less then the going wage. Some people also will not pay an teenager the same price they would an adult.

Personally I would not say anything. Next time I would give a set amount before hand.

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I'd probably let this go and consider it a lesson learned, but I would personally pay a 14 year old neighbor the same way I'd pay a 40 year old doing the same job.

 

IF I get the same quality work. I care about the quality and I'm a perfectionist. Make it perfect and I'll give you a huge bonus. Make it crappy and I will pay you and hire someone else in the future. I really don't care about the age.

 

I did have a fantastic landscaper who was in his teens. A really hard worker, the grandson of the lady next door, who was also a really hard worker. He was amazing. I gave him all kinds of work at all my properties, for years. I even hired him for other kinds of jobs as he got older.

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...but you're eventually going to tell us how much she paid him, aren't you? Because I am very curious!

:iagree:

 

I would expect a low of $7.00/hr & high of $10.00/hr; depending on the type of work & how well it was done.

 

I also agree with others that elderly are likely to pay less.

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I have a 15 year old who does my lawn every few weeks. When he started, I also had him do a huge weeding/mulching job, too. For that job, we agreed upon a set amount for the whole job that averaged out to about $10 per hour. We also agreed on a set amount for the mowing, which he can get done faster. That comes out to around $13-$15 an hour.

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No way!

$17.50?

 

 

I actually had the reverse situation several years ago. I hired a teen w/o setting a price before, then he threw a huge fit because I didn't pay him $20 an hour. I paid $10/hour, which I thought was good pay for a teen. He got in my face and told me he could go to McD's and make twice what I paid him.

Long story, short.

He just dropped by the house the other day to apologize. He went to college on a full-ride scholarship and flunked out and was now working at McD's making min wage and he realized how well I had actually paid him.

 

 

I think $10/hour is good pay for physical labor for a teen. But it also depends on how hard the teen worked. In the case of the teen I hired, he grumbled the whole time and spent half the time leaning on the shovel. (I worked alongside him, as it was a two person job.)

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No way!

$17.50?

 

 

I actually had the reverse situation several years ago. I hired a teen w/o setting a price before, then he threw a huge fit because I didn't pay him $20 an hour. I paid $10/hour, which I thought was good pay for a teen. He got in my face and told me he could go to McD's and make twice what I paid him.

Long story, short.

He just dropped by the house the other day to apologize. He went to college on a full-ride scholarship and flunked out and was now working at McD's making min wage and he realized how well I had actually paid him.

 

 

I think $10/hour is good pay for physical labor for a teen. But it also depends on how hard the teen worked. In the case of the teen I hired, he grumbled the whole time and spent half the time leaning on the shovel. (I worked alongside him, as it was a two person job.)

 

Karma, baby!

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Not sure.

We pay our yard guy $80 a month - he comes out once every two weeks (so twice a month) and spends about 30 minutes mowing, trimming, blowing (when we have leaves). Since he does it a couple times a month, there's never anything super "heavy" about the work. Sometimes he will lay down mulch and seed when we ask him to do so (we just give him the cash and he purchases the materials himself). He also uses his own equipment.

 

What kind of work was involved? Did it take four hours because it was *hard* work and involved a lot, or because HE took 4 hours to do it? (I don't mean that to sound rude; just a question about hours -vs- output/requirements)

 

Assuming my yard was just a hot mess and it legitimately took 4 hours to finish it, I would definitely pay anyone, regardless of age, at least $40 (if not more), so long as the product was good. This would be subject to change if they were using my mower/blower/gas/etc -vs- their own.

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I think somewhere around $40 @ $10 an hour sounds fair to me.

 

:iagree: I wouldn't mention it to her though now. If she tries to hire your son again, he should let her know his rate (or you if she comes through you).

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Sorry, but, I would have to say something. $17.50 is just wrong! I remember years ago raking an elderly couple's yard for about four hours. My friend and I worked really hard. I even had blisters on my hands. We were trying to earn enough money to go to the skating rink. Anyway, they only paid us $2 each :tongue_smilie:! I'll never forget that!

 

Tina

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Wow. $17.50? She actually handed him $17 plus 50 cents in change? :eek:

 

What's even stranger about it is that $17.50 doesn't even divide evenly into 4 hours, so it's not like she was paying him 5 bucks an hour or something.

 

She probably thinks she paid him plenty, though, and wasn't trying to cheat him, unless she has some sort of reputation in the neighborhood for ripping off the people who do some work for her. I'm sure a lot of people who don't have young teenagers or kids of their own, might consider $4.00 an hour to be enough. (I think it's a complete rip-off, but I'm sure there are people who would disagree with me!)

 

I don't think you can assume that people know what the "going rates" are.

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I think somewhere around $40 @ $10 an hour sounds fair to me.

 

:iagree: For help from a younger teen I would do the same.

 

I agree on not sending an email after the fact. The time to talk wages is when the job is agreed upon. Also, IMO at age 14 it should be your son talking wages, not mom.

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I would chalk it up as a great lesson for him. I've been very frustrated by teens and early-20s who don't have their own going rate for babysitting, housekeeping help, cooking and just have me guess and I get a "that sounds good." I've eventually resorted to Craigslist research to come up with a rate.

 

The other frustration is knowing what will/won't be done of the tasks I've written out to be done. If I were a teen doing yard/household work, I'd wrte down exactly what the employer wanted and/or the precise services I provide and how/when and at what rate. Not a formal contract, but will serve the teen and those they work for really well.

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I really think it's a huge favor to your son to learn early. (before the job) He should say something like, "I work hard and I do my best. I work for $8.00 an hour to give room for a tip if you feel like I earn it. I also like to know if you have an comments about my work that I could improve on or if you particularly like something I do so I can make sure to do it again, next time. People's Court has so many times of oral contracts or failure to get contracts. Learn early... :)

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I asked my husband because he's hired teens to do some lawn work for us on several occasions since we've moved to another town. He first said it would depend on what was done (we go by job instead of hours) but probably about $50 assuming it was really 4 hours worth of work. FWIW, I think my hubby tends toward generous.

 

I wouldn't say anything though. Now your son knows to agree on terms before taking a job. She may really have no clue what would be fair.

 

ETA: I hadn't read the whole thread. $17.50?? I would probably contact her then. I'd just say my son typically gets between x and y an hour and so really expected something closer to x amount for the work he did for her. That's just not right. Maybe she really had no clue what is expected and will gladly make it right.

Edited by sbgrace
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I would chalk it up as a great lesson for him. I've been very frustrated by teens and early-20s who don't have their own going rate for babysitting, housekeeping help, cooking and just have me guess and I get a "that sounds good." I've eventually resorted to Craigslist research to come up with a rate.

 

The other frustration is knowing what will/won't be done of the tasks I've written out to be done. If I were a teen doing yard/household work, I'd wrte down exactly what the employer wanted and/or the precise services I provide and how/when and at what rate. Not a formal contract, but will serve the teen and those they work for really well.

 

:iagree: Also how old is this person. I'm 40+, when I worked minimum wage was 3.35. If I were elderly, I probably wouldn't have a clue of what going rates were.

 

Building a business like lawn care can mostly be done by word of mouth. If you write an e-mail, he probably won't get referrals. I would chalk it up to experience. How did this care come up? Did he ask for the work, did they?

 

If it comes up in the future with this person, I would establish a rate before any work was done. I would simply cover by saying you've decided to really pursue this business and want to treat it as a professional, so now your rate is_________ per hour.

 

Some people may also see teens as not worth of an adult rate because they are not as experienced or productive. We live in a lower COL area and would probably pay about 8.00/hour for yard work. Honestly, if we were hiring a teen I would pay a flat rate for a set amount of work. That way there is no room to milk the job for more money. Dh worked that way with subcontractors when he had his own business, otherwise hourly rates can widely vary.

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I'm guessing they paid him $5 an hour, and thought he worked more like 3 1/2 hours. In our area, that's probably pretty close to the going rate for a teen under 16. Jobs are really hard to come by here and as a result, teens working outside 'regular' jobs aren't making much. We're seeing college educated folks working minimum wage jobs here so folks hiring babysitting and yard work aren't willing to pay teens much.

 

Or maybe your neighbors are just cheap.

 

We always pay by the job because having a set price is more comfortable for us.

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Well, I would chalk it up to lesson learned, too. And I've been there. When I babysat all the time, I learned the hard way to be upfront about money BEFORE the job.

Now that I clean houses, I charge by the entire job, not the hour. I clean really efficiently and I wouldn't make any money otherwise.

Man! That just stinks, OP! Was the 50 cents a tip? ugh!

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Most teens around here charge by the job, not the hour. A teen would get around $40 for mowing a small yard (1/3 acre), trim, weed-whack, sweep up. He'd charge $40 but most pay extra, especially if it's really hot. This would take him about 3 hours.

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I think somewhere around $40 @ $10 an hour sounds fair to me.

:iagree: This was my first thought.

I wouldn't send the email. You said it was a neighbor and I do all I can to keep good relations with my neighbors. If you are really unhappy about the pay you need to make sure an amount is set before your child works for them again.

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Ds does yard work. Just like your ds, he learned early to bid the job before doing the work so that he'd get paid a reasonable amount. Usually, his bid is $20-25 for everything, which takes 1.5-2 hours of work depending on what they need done, but the people often pay him more than that because they want to be sure he'll come back when they need him.

 

I would NOT send an email. Chalk this one up to experience, and if she calls again set a price before doing the work.

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It depends on the area I guess. Here I would have paid about $5 an hour knowing that most likely I would have to go back out and finish or redo parts of it. $5 an hour is what my friend who owns a landscaping business pays her teen age boys when they are working for her. For them that is an improvement because they start at $1 an hour and have to work their way up. Just mowing, definately not morte than $5 an hour. If the kid was supurb, cleaned up all the grass thet blew everywhere, trimmed everything, and more, then I would do more money, but not more than $10.

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It depends on the area I guess. Here I would have paid about $5 an hour knowing that most likely I would have to go back out and finish or redo parts of it. $5 an hour is what my friend who owns a landscaping business pays her teen age boys when they are working for her. For them that is an improvement because they start at $1 an hour and have to work their way up.

 

But those are her own children. Most people under pay their own minor kids, even when they're helping out with a real business.

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:iagree:

 

I would expect a low of $7.00/hr & high of $10.00/hr; depending on the type of work & how well it was done.

 

 

:iagree:

 

Hours don't always matter. I have a 14 year old that can spend 4 hours on a 1 hour job. :glare: I'm sure they worked hard and well. I would assume the above payment and I live in a rural/cash low area.

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If it were me I would give him an extra $20 and explain that sometimes elderly people don't know what the going rate for odd jobs is and that if he is asked to do another job he should politely explain that most people in the area pay $10/hour or whatever and that is what he is asking. I don't think it's worth creating a rift between you and your neighbor for that amount of money. I'm guessing they paid $5/hour and thought he worked 3.5 or saw him sitting down several times and docked the pay. If they had given him a really, really low amount, maybe $2/hour, I would have talked to them.

 

My first job was farm work at 14 years old, I did manual labor moving trays of flower planting around and planting seedlings. In the suburbs of a major metropolitan area in ny I was paid minimum wage - $5.15 per hour. Our of that I had to pay taxes, fica, etc. and reimburse my mom for the gas it took to drive me there and pick me up. It amounted to about $3.50/hour in my pocket. Adjusted for 15 years of inflation that would be $4.73 - more or less on par with what your son earned.

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