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Insurance for lawn cutting
Old 05-20-2017, 07:34 AM   #1
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Insurance for lawn cutting

So, we've always heard not to deal with anyone not licensed and insured. I'm pretty sure there's no license for lawn mowing but I was wondering where to start on the insurance part. He's the twist, I'd like to support my grandsons getting out and earning some money by mowing lawns. I'm just not sure where to start on the insurance part.

I understand one level of insurance is to cover the mower (grandson) breaking/damaging something on the job. Some type of general liability insurance should cover that. But what about covering the grandson. I would think the purchaser of the service would like to know that they will not be held responsible for any accident that happens on their property that injures the grandson. What type of insurance is that?

Trust me, I know this is going over board. A teenager should be able to grab a lawn mower or a snow shovel and make some money in the neighborhood. But I'd like to be able to help them understand this in more of a business sense and I would like them to be able to tell the homeowner that indeed, they are insured. And, I'd also like to make sure my SIL/DD are not burdened financially if something did happen.

Any thoughts on where to start?

Here's the business:
Grandson(s) live in a subdivision with small lots. I'm thinking that with a nice walk behind (30") mower, a string trimmer and a blower, these houses should be able to be done in about 1/2 hour to an hour. 4 to 8 homes and a couple days a week/weekend and they're making pretty good money. Heck, they're not too good at any of the sports my DW forces me to go watch them play, so why not teach them to make some money.

Shoveling in the winter would be bonus money. I'd get them a good snow blower. My belief has always been to get the right equipment and let it of a lot of the work for you.
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:32 AM   #2
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In many states, the standard homeowner's policy covers injury to occasional workers. It's complicated, though. Here's one good link that explains how complicated it can get.

https://www.quora.com/Does-homeowner...-domestic-help

Even where it's covered, there are typically limits on how often they work or how much they get paid in a year, to make sure the company isn't providing coverage to, say, a live-in childcare worker, which would require extra premium.

The equipment they use would probably be covered against accidental damage or theft by their parents' homeowners policy (although maybe with a steep deductible). I say "probably" because if somehow the equipment is defined as being business property it might not be. Damage they do (say, running over a bed of prize rose bushes) MIGHT be covered under the liability portion of their parents' homeowners policy.

Best sources for better information: the parents' insurance agent. Keep in mind, though, that not all policies are alike and even if the parents' policies have coverage for someone who mows their lawn, the neighbors' policies might not.
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Old 05-20-2017, 08:56 AM   #3
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I would not worry about ins for the kids gettting hurt, their parents have them on health insurance, so what difference is it compared to they climb up on parents roof and fall off. Kids do stuff, and bounce back.
The real concern I think should be liability, say they are refilling the lawnmower, and drop the gas can spilling gas, which then catches fire due to the hot lawnmower engine, burning down the customer's house. Can the parents afford that ?.

Things like runninng over rose bushes would be paid out of pocket due to ins deductible limits.

They can get business liability insurance
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:30 AM   #4
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Does the kid want to work?
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:42 AM   #5
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I would not worry about ins for the kids getting hurt, their parents have them on health insurance, so what difference is it compared to they climb up on parents roof and fall off. Kids do stuff, and bounce back.
Regular health insurance specifically excludes claims for work-related injuries. (Most claim forms ask if the accident happened at work.) The OP needs to find out whether weekly lawn-mowing is considered formal work by the health insurer. The other consideration is that Workers' Comp. coverage is very thorough- no deductibles or co-payments. If the parents have a high-deductible plan like most of us, they could end up paying 100% out of pocket for an ER visit costing a few thousand $$.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:43 AM   #6
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Does the kid want to work?
The oldest one is starting to think about driving. He wants money. I'm trying to teach him about the connection of money to work. He works pretty good for me, but I have a riding mower. He's also just a bit young so this is preliminary thinking.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:14 AM   #7
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Why such a big (30") lawn mower? Almost all the walk behind's I see for sale around here are in the 21-22 inch range. I would think the smaller size would be easier for a kid to maneuver and to push around the neighborhood.
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Old 05-20-2017, 11:23 AM   #8
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Why such a big (30") lawn mower? Almost all the walk behind's I see for sale around here are in the 21-22 inch range. I would think the smaller size would be easier for a kid to maneuver and to push around the neighborhood.
Again, still in the thinking stage, but I like good equipment. My thought is that 30" is big enough to get done quickly, but not as big as the commercial walk behinds. Maybe I should get a small riding mower and then he can drive around the neighborhood.
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Old 05-20-2017, 11:28 AM   #9
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Regular health insurance specifically excludes claims for work-related injuries. (Most claim forms ask if the accident happened at work.) The OP needs to find out whether weekly lawn-mowing is considered formal work by the health insurer. The other consideration is that Workers' Comp. coverage is very thorough- no deductibles or co-payments. If the parents have a high-deductible plan like most of us, they could end up paying 100% out of pocket for an ER visit costing a few thousand $$.
I don't think this is factual, they will ask if it happened at work in case workman's comp will kick in a pay some of the cost. We farm and BCBS has paid more then a couple of work related injury claims with no questions.
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Old 05-20-2017, 11:46 AM   #10
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Boy, the times they have-a-changed!

Apart from the concerns about potential damages and litigation resulting from a kid mowing lawns around the neighborhood - where were those string trimmers and leaf blowers when I was a kid? We had to edge the lawn with a manual rotary wheel edger and sweep up any clippings with a push broom.

A snow blower? When asking our Dad about a snow blower, he told DB & I "that's what your mother and have you boys for!"
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:18 PM   #11
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Make sure the young worker has a spiel or menu of prices, clearly spelling out exactly what services the customer can expect.

As a young teen, I did all kinds of yard work for my Dad, who was by nature a critical perfectionist. You can imagine that I learned to do a good job. And yet...the one time I was hired to mow a neighbor's lawn for a month while he was on vacation, the neighbor was highly critical afterward. He felt he should have gotten more yard services than just lawn mowing for the price my Dad had negotiated for me to mow the lawn. All these years later, I still remember, short stocky mid-60's guy in shorts, white hair under baseball cap, repeating the phrase, "All part of the ball game! All part of the ball game!"
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:20 PM   #12
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Boy, the times they have-a-changed!

Apart from the concerns about potential damages and litigation resulting from a kid mowing lawns around the neighborhood - where were those string trimmers and leaf blowers when I was a kid? We had to edge the lawn with a manual rotary wheel edger and sweep up any clippings with a push broom.

A snow blower? When asking our Dad about a snow blower, he told DB & I "that's what your mother and have you boys for!"
It's about volume. If it was just the neighbor or a couple houses, I'd be with you (except I've already declared that I like equipment). But to get some volume, the equipment helps. My hope is that if this works, they'll learn some business principles out of this as well as making some money.
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Old 05-20-2017, 12:30 PM   #13
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As far as the kid having coverage for injury to himself, that would be a workers compensation policy on the one employee, himself. I don't think I have ever come across a gardener / landscaper without employees, obtaining a w/c insurance policy.

It would be costly, like >30% of payroll for a new business (His lawn service) with no track record on safety. Power lawn equipment can be hazardous, especially for someone new to it. Same for ladders and saws.,IMO

As far as liability insurance for damage to a customers property , theft of equipment, etc, Insurance would eat up most of the profits, IMO

I will not hire any construction contractors / Handymen , including sole proprietors who do not have w/c., coverage , for the exact reason of exclusion on the homeowners insurance.

Gardeners are sometimes are covered under homeowners policy's, but not always.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:40 PM   #14
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where were those string trimmers and leaf blowers when I was a kid? We had to edge the lawn with a manual rotary wheel edger and sweep up any clippings with a push broom.

A snow blower? When asking our Dad about a snow blower, he told DB & I "that's what your mother and have you boys for!"
This is where I got the idea to retire early!
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:41 PM   #15
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Just figure that america is screwed, and give up. Tell him to get a degree or certificate, and a government job. The rest is a lot of trouble, and as this forum proves, all many think of anyway is retiring. Be smart, do like the Italians. Get a job, then retire on the job immediately.

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Old 05-20-2017, 04:55 PM   #16
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Those cutting grass for a living very seldom bother with business details--like obtaining liability insurance and business licenses.

And they're part of a self employed sub culture that are living off the grid--not paying taxes of any kind. This group includes many self employed people like landscapers, backhoe owners and sub-contractors in the building field.

All the while, people like me only brought home about half what I made at MegaCorp. But the non-tax paying subculture would pay their rightful share if we had the Fair Tax.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:24 PM   #17
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in Oregon most minors are prohibited from operating power equipment.

Fortunately there is a carve out for lawn mowing


Q. I need landscaping work done around my office. Can I employ a minor to operate a power-driven lawnmower?
A. Yes, if the minor is 16 or 17. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds may not operate power-driven mowers except at private residences, as indicated above.
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Old 05-20-2017, 10:45 PM   #18
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I'm thinking that with a nice walk behind (30") mower, a string trimmer and a blower, these houses should be able to be done in about 1/2 hour to an hour. . . . My belief has always been to get the right equipment and let it of a lot of the work for you.
A 30" walk-behind mower is going to cost about $1500 new. The only exception would be a twin-blade Toro consumer model that sells (sold?) for about $975 last time I checked. These types of mowers don't come on the used market very often, either, and they can be handful to maneuver (swivel wheels on the front are great for irregular borders, not so great for mowing slopes). Before dropping that kind of money, I'd make sure Sonny is as motivated about this project as you are, and let him start with a regular ol' consumer 21" push mower (lots cheaper, often a better cut (less scalping) and fewer clippings). His time is cheap, and if he needs a better mower it will become apparent.

Edited to add: Here are some wide-area mowers. The Toro 30" model is still available (about $1000). It is three times the price and weighs 50 lbs more than their 22" self-propelled model. If the yards are moderately sized, a push (non-self-propelled) mower might be a better choice anyway--lighter, less things to go wrong, a faster mow for the same HP (all the oomph is turning the blade, Junior can push as fast as the he wants as long as the cut remains acceptable).

Insurance: If the prospective client asks about it, I would tell Junior to just go to the next house. It is sad things have even gotten to this stage.
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Old 05-21-2017, 01:18 AM   #19
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Both of our kids earned money between ages 14 and 18 as soccer refs for kids games at weekend. Even so they were covered by the health insurance of the soccer association in case they twisted a knee or were beaten up by an irate parent
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Old 05-21-2017, 06:33 AM   #20
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Those cutting grass for a living very seldom bother with business details--like obtaining liability insurance and business licenses.

And they're part of a self employed sub culture that are living off the grid--not paying taxes of any kind. <snip>
Yeah, I once made the mistake of hiring a tree trimmer who was driving around in a truck in the neighborhood. They did decent work and accepted a check, and I went off to the gym. When I got back, DH told me the guy had come back, frantic, because my check was written on an out-of-state bank (USAA- eminently respectable) and he couldn't cash it. I withdrew cash from the ATM, DH called him and he was back to return the check and pick up the $$ 15 minutes later. I'll never hire like that again.

But, back to the OT- isn't it a sad commentary that an enterprise that would have been simple back when we were kids has turned into a complicated analysis of risks and liabilities?
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