Cash Grows on Grass: Senior Trevor Schwartz runs successful lawn mowing business


Trevor Schwartz poses with his tractors for a photoshoot in Mills Farm. Photo courtesy of Trevor Schwartz

Siri Chevuru

While average high school students are busy balancing their school work, attending social events or working their jobs, senior Trever Schwartz is also tasked with organizing his own business. Five days a week, he works on lawns after school until dark. He said he takes care of more than a 100 lawns per week and does a range of jobs from irrigation, mowing, patios, fertilization and clean ups to mulching trees. However, the success is not easily gained. Trevor began mowing in fifth grade.

“I was kind of the neighborhood lawn guy,” Trevor said. “I just had to push mower and was only mowing maybe five yards a week.”

Craig Schwartz, Trevor’s dad, said Trevor started mowing for enjoyment.

“When [Trevor] was 12, he was really was just trying to do something because he liked it. He’s always been mechanically inclined,” Craig said.

Trevor has been working on growing his business for seven years.  Trevor said the most significant point for his growth is when he purchased his first truck for $30 thousand during his freshman year. Trevor said the moment was “pretty cool.”

From the beginning, his parents have always been supportive of him.

“My mom is like, the cheerleader,” Trevor said. “And then my dad’s the brain.”

Craig, a fellow businessman, has given Trevor advice on what steps to take and taught Trevor how to do all the paperwork, billing, payroll and everything else needed to run a business.

“We frequently sit down and talk about business,” Craig said.

Craig said they talk about advertising and advice on equipment and investment. Craig also played a major part in purchasing equipment. He said because Trevor’s a minor, his name needed to be on the contracts and insurance papers.

“He provides money that pays [the costs] off, and as his father I have to help him and I have to be able to put my name on the contracts,” Craig said.

From a child just wanting some pocket money, Trevor said his business is now making into the six figures.

“I’m proud of the fact that I can pay for my own stuff and have nice things,” Trevor said.

Trevor said he enjoys having “more than enough money” at the age of 18 to buy anything he wants. In the end, Trevor said he earns a profit of 54-55%.

Craig said Trevor’s success is accounted to Trevor’s work ethic.

“He would be able to succeed at whatever business he puts his mind to,” Craig said.

Trevor has grown, not only in the size of his business, but also as a businessman. In an incident nearly two years ago, something went wrong when working on a lawn. Craig said Trevor did not run away from the problem.

“He stepped right up and took responsibility for it,” Craig said. “It was very impressive for a teanager at that time.”

Trevor said he reinvests a lot of his profits back into the company. He purchases new machines, some as expensive as a car, and also uses the money to buy gas, insurance and everything related to maintenance: oil, tires, spark plugs, etc. He said he is required to be extra prepared because that’s “just the nature of the beast.”

Trevor said his business has became so big that he uses the help of fellow students in school to assist him on lawns. Trevor said he enjoys working with his friends.

“We’re working, but still get to hang out,” Trevor said.

Usually, Trevor said he works with one to two other people, but for large landscaping jobs, he takes multiple people with him. Right now, he has one full-time employee and five part-time employees. His full time employee is paid $15 an hour and his part time employees are paid $10 an hour.

Trevor’s employee and manager, senior Alex Adler, said he loves the job because of the flexible hours along with multiple other factors.

“I can have fun at my job [and] work hours I want,” Adler said.

Even though he works repeatedly on lawns, Adler said mowing lawns is fun because there’s something new every time.

“It’s always a different challenge because of the things that are affected,’’ Adler said.

Maintaining a business is not so easy when trying to balance it with school. Trevor said it’s stressful because along with his school work, he has to work on lawns, landscaping, paperwork, make bids and schedule all his clients. Adler aids Trevor in dealing with his busy life by helping Trevor plan his schedule and decide the best routes that have the shortest travel time.

“Sometimes some sacrifices get made. Sometimes homework [is] late, sometimes stuff just doesn’t happen because I just ultimately don’t have the time,” Trevor said. “That’s just…the harsh reality of it.”

Trevor said his business is always on his mind.

“There’s always something going on, you know, you lose sleep,” Trevor said. “I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and be like, ‘Crap, I forgot to do this. I forgot to do that.’”

Sometimes, Trevor said he wakes up at 3 or 4 a.m. to start homework he forgot.

“I love [what I’m doing now], but I don’t think it’s something I would necessarily want to do for the rest of my life because it’s just a hard business to be in,” Trevor said. “It’s stressful.”

In the future, Trevor plans on graduating from Johnson County Community College and then plans to work with his godfather afterward. He said he plans on taking over his godfather’s business of selling and leasing semi-trucks and semi-trailers to people who cannot take out a loan.

“I find it interesting and I think that’s a good source of revenue and [it’s] something I like to do,” Trevor said.

Trevor said he already knows a lot about that area and he thinks that it’d be easier than owning a landscaping business. He said the one main stresser that’ll be lost is paying overhead — which is an ongoing expense of operating a business — Because he’d be doing the business on his own. There won’t be anyone above him and he’ll have the freedom to do what he wants.   

“I just enjoy having mostly the freedom…to make my own decisions and say, ‘Hey, I want to do this, then do this tomorrow. Yeah, I want to start doing this. I don’t want to do this. I want to work with these clients. I don’t want to take these clients on,’” Trevor said. “In a nutshell, [I] just like the freedom to make [my] own decisions and do what [I] want.”