ESTEVAN - For many kids, mowing lawns will be their unofficial first job, as they will be paid to cut grass for neighbours and other friends.
But an enterprising local 12-year-old has turned his skills with a lawnmower into a first business.
Charlie Hayes is the owner of Charlie’s Lawn Services. He cuts grass and rakes leaves for people in the community.
“A family friend reached out to my mom and asked if I could cut grass,” said Charlie. “My dad thought I was too young, but he taught me anyways, and then the word spread from there.”
He was 10 years old when he started in 2020.
Last year he cut 14 lawns on a regular basis. People would hire him to look after their yards when they went on holidays, too, so he believes he tended to 25 different yards in the summer.
And he’s cut the grass for businesses, including this city’s oldest business, the Estevan Mercury, and he has handled Souris Vista Townhomes in the Westview area of the community.
“It’s important to cut in patterns, horizontal, diagonal and vertical, to help the grass heal, and it’s also important to cut high when it’s really hot out to keep it looking green.”
Charlie said he started cutting grass because he wanted to purchase a new computer. He has able to buy the new system, but he’s still out mowing lawns and raking leaves.
He never imagined he would be so busy cutting grass. He will usually work three or four hours a day in the summer. And sometimes he has so much work that he needs other people to help him out, including his younger sister, friends and others. When that happens, he’ll split the revenues.
Charlie has a healthy number of customers lined up for this year, with some new clients in the mix.
He said he loves being outdoors and learning new things.
His father, Brian, said the business has been a great way for Charlie to interact with new people.
“As a parent, I’ve been just really pleased with how the people of Estevan have just really given Charlie a chance,” said Brian. “He’s a young guy, and I know most people, most men, anyways, myself included, are pretty protective of their lawns. But there are a lot of great people in our city who have given Charlie a chance.”
They will visit with Charlie at their yards and share stories with him. One customer named Bob gives Charlie chocolate as part of the payment.
“A lot of people he cuts for are older people who can’t cut themselves,” said Brian.
And he has looked after the yards of people who live out of town.
Charlie pays his father for gas to get him and his equipment to a job site, in addition to paying anyone who helps him.
“Not that it’s a whole lot, but it’s enough to teach him that any type of business comes with overhead and expenses, and that a paycheque is never what it seems,” said Brian.
Charlie’s Lawn Services has been a great learning experience. Charlie encourages others to not be afraid and to try hard.
“Estevan has lots of people who like giving kids a chance,” said Charlie.