Monday, November 14, 2011

Lessons learned

I don't remember his name, but I think of him at this time every year, when the leaves are falling.

He came by with a rake; a boy somewhere around twelve or thirteen, I think. While we almost always rake our own leaves (our small front yard takes about 20 minutes to clear), we were impressed with his entrepreneurial spirit. He was raking lawns at $5 each, he said.

Though money was a little tight (when is it ever not?) we wanted to encourage him, so we agreed, he raked, he got paid.

After that, he came back every week and raked the lawn (our big old trees shed a lot in the fall), collected his $5, and promised to be back. He was faithful, and we were impressed with his efficiency -- he took less than my usual 20 minutes, yet he was thorough.

One day we were heading out the door when he came, so my husband gave him the $5 in advance. He'd been reliable and dependable, after all, and there would be several more weeks of raking that season.

When we came home, the yard was not raked. We never saw the boy again.

For a "free" $5, he gave up at least six times that much in future business (at least from us -- don't know if he worked for neighbors down the block, or not), not to mention the possibility of lawn mowing the next summer, and more raking money the next fall. We knew a man who built a landscaping business starting in much the same way, ending up with a decent full-time income. It's not that the work was all that arduous. He could probably make $15 or $20 an hour, which is more than I made as a temp secretary, if he had a number of lawns lined up going down the block.

But he took his fee in advance and took off.

I wonder if he learned some kind of lesson.

I know we sure did.

No comments:

Post a Comment