Business Ideas Part 1 – Lawn Care, Christmas Lights, Mobile Locksmith

Show notes from Episode #122 of the Sweaty Startup Podcast.

This is the first episode of a new series called Business I Love, where Nick will speak with guests on the show about industries that offer a lot of opportunity for sweaty startups to jump in and find success. For more businesses Nick loves check out this list.

These businesses will have varying levels of capital and skill requirements, and the goal is to get you thinking about what business you want to start in your area. For this episode Nick joins his business partner Dan and popular Sweaty Startup guest Max Maher to discuss lawn care, Christmas lighting, and mobile locksmithing.

Lawn care

  • Many listeners have made money doing lawn care, and the environment is still profitable.
  • Lawn care is low skill, low cost, yet still offers high hourly wages.
    • Some customers will let you use their equipment and still pay you $30-40 per hour for your work.
  • There’s tons of room for add-on services like weed control, fertilization, gutter cleaning, and snow removal during the winter.
    • If you get really good you can use lawn care as a loss leader for a landscaping company, which will put your hourly wages north of $100.
  • While there is money to be made, lawn care companies see a lot of price competition.
    • Be prepared to lose a lot of bids, it’s better than selling yourself short for your service.
    • Market door to door, target new homeowners, and get in touch with other businesses like realtors and pool cleaners that can provide referrals.
    • Nick has a previous article about how he would launch a lawn care company on a small budget.

Christmas lights

  • Dan got this idea from driving around Athens, and started to look into what companies exist in the area for hanging up Christmas lighting.
    • The one quote he received was for $1800 on a relatively small house, so there is good money in the service. Even more appealing though was that the business owner said he will store the lights after the holidays and provide a 10% discount to repeat customers the following year, and retention was incredibly high.
    • Install and takedown are not time sensitive and the customer doesn’t even need to be home for you to do it.
  • This industry offers potential for a high margin recurring business with little time commitment, and can act as an off-season complement to a seasonal business like lawn care.

Mobile locksmith

  • Locksmiths are life savers when you need one, and are priced accordingly. Max has had to call them when employees lock their keys in their truck and every call is up to $200 for 10 minutes of low skilled work.
  • You can work nights and weekends at first with $15 of tools from Amazon and a few hours of practice.
  • Car dealerships will refer locksmiths if they don’t keep the cuts of keys for older models of cars, and there’s opportunity to upsell.
    • If you can cut keys on top of this, people will pay huge money for spare keys. This is a great way to go door to door and establish your brand while waiting between locksmithing calls.


Lawn care [3:15]

Christmas lights [6:55]

Mobile locksmith [14:50]

Also referenced:

Episode 44: Guerrilla marketing with Max Maher

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.