If you’ve ever wanted to earn some extra cash cleaning up other people’s backyards, you’re not alone. It’s a simple idea and one you’d think would make a great side hustle.
So, can you really make money this way?
Yes, you can make money cleaning yards. This a real service that people are willing to pay for. How much you earn depends on the services you offer, but $25 to $50 per yard for general yard cleaning is a good estimate. So this could be a lucrative business if you are able to get regular work, especially considering the low startup costs.
Let’s discuss the yard cleaning business model in more detail, along with some of the pros and cons. This way, have a much better idea as to what you’re getting yourself into ahead of time.
Making Money as a Yard Cleaner
When most people think about making money as a yard cleaner, they think about mowing lawns, landscaping, and raking up leaves. Which are all jobs you do as part of this business, but you can actually get creative with this in terms of the different ways you can earn.
Here’s some ideas of the different services you could offer:
- Lawn mowing
- Picking up trash
- Weeding and general landscaping
- Cleaning up after construction or renovation
- Cleaning up after parties or meetups
- Shovel snow after heavy snow fall
- Clean up debris after storm
These are just some ideas, but this should be enough to show you that this could be a potentially year round business if you plan it right. It really comes down to what services you want to offer and how much effort you want to put in.
For example, if you just want to make a few extra bucks, you could pick one of the services I just mentioned, like picking up trash, and focus on that. And if it snows where you live, you could offer to shovel snow from peoples yards during this season to keep the cash flowing into your business.
Or you could combine a bunch of these services and start a fully fledged yard cleaning/ yard maintenance business. Even going as far as to hire employees and expand into new locations.
And don’t think you need to mow lawns and rake leaves to make money this way! There’s a variety of reasons someone might need a yard cleaner.
For instance, someone might want to hire a yard cleaner after a family gathering, party, seasonal events like Christmas, or any number of events. And if they’re busy people, they’ll happily pay someone to do it for them, especially if the price is right.
Or you could focus on a specific niche like construction clean ups. Construction work is messy. And as such, most new homes and renovation projects could benefit from a simple clean up service.
So my point being, it ultimately comes down to your goals, and what types of services you want to offer. You could specialize in one or two main services, or perform a whole bunch of related yard cleaning services.
It’s really up to you.
And once you decide what services you want to offer, it comes down to how many jobs you want to take on. Obviously the more jobs you do, the more money you’ll make.
How Much Money Can You Make Cleaning Yards?
Like most businesses, the amount of money you make ultimately comes down to how you start, run, and grow your business.
This could be a simple side hustle you do during summer, or a fully fledged business that provides multiple yard cleaning services, year round.
With that being said, it’s obviously not going to be as lucrative as some businesses that require a more advanced skillset, or license of some kind. But considering the need for this services, the low barrier to entry, and the low startup costs, it can still be quite lucrative.
So, how much money can you make cleaning yards?
How much you earn depends on the services you offer, but $25 to $50 per yard for general yard cleaning is a good estimate. And if it takes you 1-2 hours per yard you clean, that’s not a bad income stream!
One site I found called Fixr.com estimates that the average cost of hiring a yard cleaner is between $200 to $600 for half to three quarters of an acre.
I personally think that’s a bit extreme.
But I guess if you’re offering services like mowing, weeding, trimming trees, raking leaves, cleaning up trash and so forth, and hauling this stuff away, and the property is large enough, that may not be such a stretch.
In order to properly gauge the cost of yard cleaning, the idea would be to first of all decide on what services you want to offer. Then, do some market research by contacting some existing businesses in your area, who are already offering these services.
And once you have a bunch of estimates, you could figure out an average price you could charge for that service per yard. Then all you need to do is work out how long you think it’ll take, to get an idea as to what your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly revenue might look like.
And it goes without saying that there are going to be some costs that you’ll need to factor into this equation. Let’s take a closer look at this aspect now.
What Are The Startup Costs?
At the most basic level, you’ll need some gloves, a rake, and a rubbish bag. If all you’re going to focus on is cleaning up trash from yards, that’s all you really need. Especially since most customers won’t mind if you use their bin.
So you could literally start this business for less than $100.
However, this could easily ramp up significantly higher, if you want to offer lots of different services. And depending on the types of services you want to offer.
Here’s some potential costs you might factor in:
- Lawn mower
- Leaf blower
- Other general tools (shovel, trimmers, pressure washer etc)
- Weed spray
- Pickup truck or vehicle with a trailer to haul away rubbish
- Business insurance
- Miscellaneous business running costs
It’s also worth noting that the extent of costs like marketing, insurance and other related costs depends on how you approach this.
For example, going door to door to get customers, running ads, or using a freelance app, will make a difference in your overall startup and running costs.
If you’re just starting out, it’s probably better to keep it simple and get a feel for this type of work, and the services people want to offer, before going all out.
This way you know what sort of tasks you like performing and what people actually want in your area, before spending lots of time and money building an empire. In other words, try not to overthink it.
Start with a trash bag and some gloves.. and go from there!
How Do You Get Your Business Started?
There’s a few different ways you could get your business rolling.
One way is to just go door to door to get new clients. If you’re really keen, you could travel around your local neighborhood in search of messy yards, and start with those.
Or if you don’t want to knock on doors, you could place flyers you print at home in letterboxes. Or place a simple ad on a local noticeboard, paper, or local classified site.
Another option is to register your services on an app like TaskRabbit, AirTasker or Handy. There’s tons of these apps around, so you could even register on a few of these.
The benefit to this option is you can immediately tap into an existing customer base with lots of people already wanting this service. The drawback is you are competing with people who have more resources and experience from day 1.
At the end of the day, do what you think makes sense for your business. And perhaps test both of these methods out, to see which method you like best.
Also worth mentioning is that it pays to consider the local laws regarding registering a business entity, insurances, and other things of this nature. You don’t have to form a corporation to clean the odd yard here and there. But making sure you are adhering to local laws and regulations is always a good idea.
What Are Some Pros and Cons to Consider?
As with any business or side hustle, there’s going to be positive and negative aspects to consider. And knowing these can help you decide if this is something you really want to do.
- Yard cleaning is a fairly simple business to start.
- The startup costs are low.
- You don’t need any prior experience.
- Can be lucrative if you approach it right, especially given the low startup costs and range of services you could offer.
- It is physical work which means there may be some heavy lifting involved.
- This is outside work, so it’s really for people who want to get their hands dirty.
- Not good for people who suffer from allergies.
- There are definitely more lucrative business models in general.
Alternative Money Making Ideas
Some of the more obvious alternative business ideas include starting a dedicated lawn mowing business. Or a landscaping business, where you specialize less in cleaning up yards and more in creating beautiful yards and gardens to begin with.
But you can definitely “branch out” from here (I couldn’t resist!).
For example, you could start an outdoor cleaning business. And perform services such as cleaning roofs, gutters, pools, washing driveways, or home exteriors and so forth.
Or you could start an indoor cleaning business, which is always something that is going to be in demand. As long as people are living, they’re going to be making a mess!
Other than more work potential, the other good thing about this alternative is it’s an indoor gig, and overall less physical since you won’t need to be lifting heavy objects.
And you can really start thinking outside the box from here.
For example, you could start a yard maintenance website and promote all kinds of related products as an affiliate.
The way this works is pretty simple. The idea is to start a simple blog, fill it with useful content that relates to this niche. Like cleaning yards, lawn care, gardening tips… tons of ideas. In doing so, you can get visitors from search engine’s like Google.
And once you have visitors, you can promote related products as an affiliate, thanks to sites like Amazon who pay commissions when people buy stuff you recommend online.
This is how I earn a living online these days, and I was in construction before this. So if I can do it, anyone can. It’s a great alternative for someone who is interested in work that is less physical, and a business that is more scalable.
You can learn more about affiliate marketing here.
Summing It Up
Yard cleaning could be a simple way to earn some extra cash, or you could turn it into a full-time business. It’s really up to how you want to approach it.
Either way, there’s no shortage of people with messy yards.
And you might be surprised at how many people will happily pay someone to clean it up. It’s like any service really, a lot of people would rather outlay a small chunk of cash, than spend their Saturday cleaning their yard!
So there’s lots of avenues to explore here. And hopefully, this article has given you some useful ideas to get started and makes your decision on whether or not to pursue this a little easier.