EPISODE 61 ~ MAKE MORE: How to Make More Money Off of Your Bank Account!

Many thanks to the Detroit Free Press, where I first saw this topic.  The key, as the song says is to “Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.”  Let’s start with the positive.

CD’s: The average yield for a CD or certificate of deposit, basically a fancy savings account that earns interest, is just .59 percent.  BUT, as interest rates go up, some banks are starting to advertise CD rates of 2.35 to 2.75 percent instead.  Much better.

Savings accounts: Some regular savings accounts are also offering better interest rates on your deposits.  Close to 2 percent in some cases, according to bankrate.com.  I will link you to Bankrate’s list of top savings accounts from EasyMoneyShow.com/61.

Checking accounts: There are even checking accounts that pay as much as 3 percent interest or a cash bonus for opening account.  Nerd Wallet has a good list of those and, once again, I’ve got that for you at EasyMoneyShow.com/61.

Now, let’s talk about eliminating the negative:

Checking account fees. The best way to sidestep checking account fees is to open a checking account at a credit union.  82 percent of large credit unions offer free checking.  Bankrate has the report.  Trust me when I say that ANYONE can join a credit union.  There’s no secret handshake.  Just go to FindACreditUnion.com and enter some basic information to find one you are eligible for.

Overdraft fees: And finally, speaking of negatives, let’s talk overdraft fees.  Many consumers have unwittingly opted in to a system where if they overdraw their account, the bank covers it, but charges them a fat overdraft fee.  One option is to opt out again.  This means your debit card could be declined at the register, when you go to pay for something, but maybe iff you knew you were going to incur hefty fees, you’d rather pay cash for that coffee and you have the money on you.  Or you might decide to skip the $5 coffee to avoid the $35 fee.  One more tip: Sign up for text alerts on your phone that tell you where your account stands.

Avoid fees and seek out decent interest payments, and you can actually make money off of a CD, savings or checking account.

Take a look at Bankrate’s top list of saving accounts:  bit.ly/2N78wKH

Check out Credit Union to avoid checking account fees: www.asmarterchoice.org

Don’t believe that credit unions offer free checking? Take a look at Bankrate’s article out: www.bankrate.com/banking/checking/survey-free-checking-largest-credit-unions/

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EPISODE 60 ~ MAKE MORE: Ever Dream of Becoming a Chef, Writing a Cookbook, or Opening a Restaurant? Here’s How You Make Your Dreams Come True

Attention fabulous amateur chefs: Are your knives —and your skills— sharp enough to go pro? Could you make money as a restauranteur? How about as a cookbook author?
That is our featured “make more” segment of this podcast. My guest is Jennifer Brule who —you guessed it— just opened a restaurant and has a new cookbook out. Welcome to Easy Money, Jenny.

You are obsessed with food —in a good way. Was that your clue —and would that be a good clue to others— that a culinary career could be for them?
I think about food all the time. I’m either shopping for food, cooking it, eating it, talking about it, researching it, writing about it, or day dreaming of it. Thoughts of cooking and food consume me. I met an astrologer once who told me that in a past life I starved to death and have spent every lifetime since then trying to feed people.

You say that when you went to culinary school, you finally found a curriculum at which you excelled. Is that another clue for people? If they don’t love the book learning, but have a mad knack for hands-on learning?
I graduated with honors from Baltimore International Culinary College. And it’s true, I felt like I had finally found a curriculum at which I excel.

Despite thriving in culinary school, for a long time you preferred to write about food professionally, rather than cook food professionally. Where did you write and why was that best for you for a while?
•I started my career as food writer for the Newburyport Daily News  in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
•Move to Augusta, Georgia. Food writer for the Augusta Chronicle and Augusta Magazine.
•But I also had 4 daughters during that time. At one point I had four children under 7 years old!
•I have 4 daughters and we lived abroad. Not a money maker for a long time but I was always cooking. That is my passion.

You were edging closer and closer to what it takes to run a restaurant by opening restaurants for others. Tell us about that part of your food background.
•Test recipes for Cook’s magazine; manage to be simultaneously invisible and irritating to editor, Christopher Kimball.
•Write the menu for Sam Adam’s Brew Pubs.
I developed recipes for national magazines, like Cooking Light, Shape, Fitness and Draft Magazine.
•Culinary consultant and recipe developer for S&D Coffee and Tea (North America’s largest custom coffee roaster), Tropical Foods Summit Coffee and Alino Pizzeria.

Jenny, I know you recently turned 50. Tell us about the shocking turn of events in your life, at this age, that was so devastating, but has also been a new beginning for you.
I turned 50 in February, one month later I fulfilled a dream by opening my restaurant, one week after that, my world as I knew it ended, when my husband of nearly 25 years left me for a woman he met on an airplane. 
Most of running a restaurant is a mental game. While I was thrown into an emotional tailspin, I had to get up every day, put one foot in front of the other, lead my kitchen brigade and muddle through– I couldn’t afford to let let my dream slip away. In that way, my restaurant saved me– kept me focused and continues to bring me so much joy. It is truly a place of happiness– happiness that customers feel. for support.

Final question is about advice for others. Writing a cookbook or opening a restaurant is a big deal. Many people may not be ready —yet. What should they do to prepare?
Find something related that you can tolerate. For me it was catering. I catered the Masters for several years. Very hard work. Up at 5 and bed at midnight and physically tough work but I made incredible money. I would not be happy catering 5 days a week. But having it every once in a while as a cash injection allowed me to be able to prepare for what I love and that was a good balance for me.

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EPISODE 59 ~ MAKE MORE: Do You Have a Side Hustle? If Not, Here’s Why You Should

Side hustles have gone mainstream with 37 percent of Americans saying they have one. That’s more than 44 million people!
Bankrate conducted the study that most young side hustlers —96 percent— say they work at their side gig monthly. Older side hustlers were pretty industrious too, with 83 percent saying this is something they do every month.
The most popular side hustles are home repair services, online sales, crafts and babysitting. A big chunk of those polled say they are doing these things —and more— for the sake of disposable income. There were others who said they need the extra money for basic living expenses, especially women, which on the one hand, I think: good for them for going for it, but bummer for them that they have to have a side job.
If you zero in on millennials, more than half of them have a side hustle. By contrast, baby boomers with side hustles were the most likely to make good money at it. People with a side hustle are making an average of $686 a month, but younger boomers pull in more than a thousand a month!
So, clearly, this is a hot trend and I’m happy to be tapping into it here on the Easy Money podcast, where we will continue to dig up and spell out creative, clever, satisfying —lucrative— side hustles that you may want to try on for size.

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EPISODE 58 ~ MAKE MORE: Turn Your Passion for Music into a Lucrative Career

Is music your talent and your passion? If so, I’m here to tell you that it IS feasible to make money as a musician. From playing weddings on up to recording and selling your own albums, it’s all possible. And it’s our featured “make more” segment of this podcast. My guest is Rebecca De La Torre, a singer, songwriter, pianist and savvy business woman. Welcome to Easy Money, Rebecca.
Since you’re a performer, let’s set the stage. You come from a musical family and yet you were encouraged to be more practical in your career. Do I have this right?
I was always a singer. Started to read music in preschool. My grandmother is piano teacher and professional pianist. Everyone in my family plays an instrument or did at one time. I played trombone in hs and wanted to go to school for music but was encouraged to do that as hobby. I was good at computers and so I went into computer science/engineering.

In fact, you got your degree in electrical engineering and you landed a prestigious job at a major defense contractor, right?
Ten years ago I left a full time engineering job making $102,000 to do music full time. I was working on my PhD in electrical engineering at the time and only making about $600 a month playing piano and singing at churches in town. I realized if I was a full time scientist then music will always be my hobby and that scared me. So I dropped everything and decided I wanted to do music full time. I started planning how to get out.

Don’t tell us yet how much you make now in music. We’ll save that for later. But do tell us the first job you got in music and what it paid.
I speak Spanish and decided to get a job at a church. There was a church 7 miles from me in Mesa, AZ. Music Director job became available. Job paid $36,000 – went from $102,000. But I did it.

It may sound to people like you leaped before you looked, but that’s not the case at all. You had a plan. What was it?
The first year I made $40,000 but then I kept growing it. I realized I needed private events and to advertise and put videos and recordings online so people would see what I could do. I still made about $40k my first year as a musician because I set a BUDGET and had a PLAN that I stuck to.

A strict budget is important for you and something you would recommend to other musicians and creatives, am I right?
I have no debt besides my mortgage and I NEVER buy something I don’t have cash for.  This is SO crucial to being a successful business?person. One time I had $20,000 in credit card debt.  I DID used to have debt, but I paid it off BEFORE leaving engineering – so I’ve made that mistake, too. Back in the day I bought stuff I didn’t have money for. Not any more! I don’t have the latest fashion. I cook rather than eat out. I don’t live extravagantly. I don’t spend what I don’t have.

In fact, because you’re frugal AND because you’ve learned ways to make money as a musician, today you own several properties and have the luxury of splitting your time between 2 different cities, right?
As of right now I own 4 properties in 3 states. My job and the money I make allows me to leave town for the summer. It allows me to be a sunbird and get out of this heat in the summer. It allows me to make my own schedule but I work a lot.

We’ve got their attention now! So what are your revenue streams as a musician?

  • I still have my small salary as music director at a church, which pays the mortgage and groceries.
  • I perform at private events.
  • I do live shows
  • I sell albums at my live shows all the time.
  • I have also sold albums online but I’m still trying to figure all that out.
  • I write music for other people’s lyrics.
  • I perform at wedding ceremonies and receptions. At one times weddings were 30% of my business. Now about 20%.

I know you love it, but is it easy or hard to make a living as a musician?
It’s not easy money. It’s not easy. You have to hustle. It’s not for everyone. I think there are certain personality types that are good for it. You need to be resourceful. You need to be outgoing or have someone on your team who is outgoing. If you can do anything else, anything else in the world to make a living and be happy then do that because music is that hard. But if you have to do something with music, then be ready to work every day, master your instruments. Be humble. And always promote yourself.

How do you promote yourself as a musician?
I mainly use the internet and social media for building up my community of fans, promoting my gigs, and advertising for private events. In this day and age it’s all about the connection economy. People want to feel connected to where they spend their time.

So you’ve stitched together a career combining your own music and other people’s music, your own gigs and gigs for hire. Now, the big question: What kind of money are you able to make at it, Rebecca? And, thank you in advance, for being direct about this because it’s an inspiration to others.
Five years in I started making over six figures gross. Las year I grossed $106,000 with my music business.

Wow, 6 making 6 figures as a working musician, that is going to be a revelation to people. And yet, you say, try NOT to be a musician! Why?
If you can do anything else, anything else in the world to make a living and be happy then do that because music is that hard. But if you have to do something with music, then be ready to work every day, master your instruments. Be humble. But always promote yourself.

Well, Rebecca De La Torre, singer, songwriter, pianist and musician who actually makes money at it, it’s been my pleasure to promote you a little bit. And thank you for sharing your knowledge with my listeners on Easy Money! And folks, I will link you to Rebecca’s website, her You Tube Channel and so on, where you can hear more of her music. Just go to EasyMoneyShow.com/58 for those links.

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EPISODE 57 ~ MAKE MORE: Make FIVE figures reselling goods online!

We’ve talked before on the Easy Money about how it’s possible to make money by buying used goods cheap and then reselling them online. But you probably never imagined you could make 5 figures doing that? It’s true and it’s our featured “make more” segment of this podcast.
My guest is Glen Zubia, a master reseller and host of Hustler Hacks on You Tube. Welcome to Easy Money, Glen!

Glen, explain the financial position you were in when you got out of college and how that prompted you to look around for creative ways to make money.
I was at about $23,000 in school loans with my car and credit cards. For credit cards I had paid for books. All that together ended up being a little over $50,000. I graduated in Dec 2009. I got a full time job and I started off at the bottom and I figured off quickly I didn’t know how to pay off the loans and make a living and eventually get a house. I didn’t see it happening with how much I was making.

I know you were scraping to make just the minimum payments on your loans. How did you get the idea to buy stuff at garage sales and discount stores and then sell it online?
I contacted one of my friends and said have you been going to garage sales because I would see them Sat morning. So I said let’s get up at 5AM and start going and see what happens. I started off with things I somewhat knew like sneakers and video games and that is what I recommend. Start with what you know. We hit up as many garage sales as we possibly could. Getting up at 5AM. We would map them out and look on Craigslist.

This business wasn’t always easy or intuitive. Talk about some of the hard times early on.
Time management was hard in the beginning. You are so drained from work 8 to 5 at a full time job I thought how will I do this. I stayed up late listing things. But that was what I had to do to put in the work. I made minor mistakes in the beginning. I didn’t know shipping details. Things I thought wouldn’t cost much ended up being more. I spent low in the beginning though with low risk high reward.

There was sort of a turning point when you knew the business would work. Talk about your “Disney moment.”
Over time we stayed consistent with it and then sometimes you get a really special find. For me it was some Disney statues that used to be in Disney stores. The Dumbo one sold for $1800. Mickey Mouse for $1200. Those big heavy finds happen every now and then but most of the time it is consistent.

One key is when you know something has value but the seller doesn’t realize, right? You really scored with some hats because of that.
Garage sale wise a few years ago a lady was selling a bunch of sports team Snap Back Hats. They were a vintage throwback thing that came back as a fashion fad. They were re-selling for $40 to $50 each. Lady sold for $1 each. I bought 5 to test out and they sold very quickly for $40 each. So we went back to her house to ask if she had any more. She had had a store that didn’t work out so she had boxes and boxes full of these hats. We bought all of them from her. I think we ended up spending $250 a box for 4 boxes. Over time we sold every hat. On Craigslist, Ebay etc. We ended up making $10,000 from just those hats.

Some of these products you yourself knew were valuable, but you also do your homework, right?
Having a Smart phone, you can look at things while you are shopping. I use the Amazon Seller app to scan items and compare prices while in the store. You can scan bar codes to see the current rate on Amazon so I started using that. “We spent time on Ebay to see what was selling. We noticed Coach purses were selling well so we would sell those. Same with vintage video games or brand new box toys. A lot of it came from researching on Ebay.

And eventually you graduated from just hitting garage sales to other sources, right?
I look for deals wherever I can find them, including at thrift stores, pawnshops and garage sales. But these days I also shop a lot at Ross, Marshalls, Burlington, Tuesday Morning and T.J. Maxx.  Of those three stores, I visit Ross most frequently. I go three to four times a week — hitting several locations — because you never know when new merchandise will arrive.

Jeez, this sounds like a full time job! Is it your main gig these days, or do you have a quote unquote “real” job?
I still consider this a side hustle, but I knew it was time to quit my full time job as a graphic designer when this side hustle made more money than that other job. Now I help my family business which gives me flexible hours, so that I can spend about 20 to 30 hours a week on this side job.

Well, now that we’re talking money, tell us how much you made as a reseller in the first couple of years and what happened to that debt of yours?
When I really started getting serious about re-selling, it took me 2 to 3 years to pay off the $50,000 in debt. After eliminating student loans, my car payment and my credit card debt in less than five years, I got married and bought a house. Now my new goal is to pay my house in less than 10 years. That keeps me going. Right now I am doing well with that. Without re-selling I don’t think I would have paid the debt and been able to put down such a good down payment and have money to reinvest and for savings. I never thought I would get to that point.

Wow! So how much are you able to make per month as a reseller?
When I first started I was just trying to make an extra $1500 a month because I was working full time at the university. At this point now after several years doing it across several platforms I am consistently at $7,000-$8,000 a month.trying to get $12,000 to $15,000 a month profit.

Well, now you’ve got people’s attention. Let’s give listeners some advice if they want to try this themselves. I’ll state your tip and you explain it. You suggest people start by selling their own stuff. Why?
If just starting out, instead of spending money, get rid of things in your own house. When you don’t have much, it’s a good place to start. Start slow and go with low cost.

Second, you say, buy things you know.
I suggest that beginners focus on what they know. While I buy many things, I have always been interested in sneakers, so my knowledge about shoes helps me determine whether to pick up something or pass on it.  For example, once I bought a pair of Air Jordan shoes for $49.99 at Ross and sold them for $350 on eBay.

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EPISODE 56 ~ MAKE MORE: How Job Hopping Can Increase Your Income

Did you know that you can make more money just by switching jobs? Many thanks to Business Insider where I first saw this research. The conventional wisdom has always been that it’s a bad idea to move from one firm to another too often because it makes you look flaky. BUT a study showed that people who stay put for too long end up making less money than people who switch fairly frequently.

The researchers delved into the data and found that job switchers make about 1 percent more per year than those who stay the course. That does not sound like an impressive statistic, but picture it spread out over years and years. Thanks to higher re-set points every time you change employers, that 1% a year could add up to hundreds of thousands more by the end of your career. It’s particularly helpful to snag big salary hikes in your 20s and 30s because statistics show our incomes level off in our 40s, so you want that money to level off at a high level.

Bottom line: people who job hop a bit have more bargaining power when negotiating with a new employer than people asking for raises at their current job. Oh, and a positive trend the researchers noted: employees are going for it, quitting their jobs and taking new ones at pre-recession levels now. Woohoo! Sounds like freedom and flexibility to me!

Wage growth chart for job hopping: www.businessinsider.com/earn-more-money-switching-jobs-2017-7

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EPISODE 55 ~ MAKE MORE: Get Paid to Test the Newest Video Games

Video game testers play the game looking for errors. Whey they find one, they have to reproduce it to show it wasn’t just a one time fluke. Then they fill out a form reporting the bug and submit it.
How much money can you make playing video games? $10 to $100 an hour depending who hires you. There are even full-time quality control pros who make about $55,000 a year —more if they’re experienced. That’s right, if you test lots and lots of video games, people will pay you even bigger money to test more of them!
So… which video game companies hire people to play and test their games? Here’s a list: Nintendo; Rockstar Games creator of Grand Theft Auto; Blizzard, which makes World of Warcraft and others; Big Fish Games, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Epic Games, Gearbox Software and the list goes on.
Some of these companies hire through the big job sites like Indeed, GlassDoor and LinkedIn. Just use the search term “Game Tester Jobs.” Others actually have their own job pages on their websites or hire through employment agencies that have internet listings. I will link you to those from EasyMoneyShow.com/55.

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EPISODE 54 ~ MAKE MORE: Another Man’s Trash is Your Treasure: How to Make Money Dumpster Diving

You could make six figures a year …as a dumpster diver! It sounds crazy —but it’s not— and it’s our featured “make more” segment of this podcast. The secret is choosing the right dumpsters and we’re going to tell you how to do that.
My guest is Matt Malone who stumbled across the buried treasure in dumpsters by accident and now makes big bucks selling his finds. Welcome to Easy Money, Matt.

In “real life” you’re an internet security guru. Explain how that led you to dumpster diving.
An old boss assigned me to dig through a company’s trash to show them how much sensitive information I could gather about their operation. While I was digging up their confidential information, I came across all sorts of nice —sometimes brand new— stuff that had been thrown away.

What kinds of dumpsters do you target primarily?
Mostly retailers’ dumpsters, but also apartment complexes near colleges and dumpsters inside storage facilities.

Describe some of the biggest finds you’ve come across in dumpsters?
Building materials, brand-new stereos, GPS devices, cameras, flatscreen TVs, power tools, HEPA filters, vacuums, power tools, furniture, carpeting, industrial machines, assorted electronics. Some of them need a little work, but many are brand new, in the box.

How do you convert this trash into cash?
I started by holding yard sales, but then realized I needed to go online to sell the big ticket items.

OK, Matt: The question everybody’s been waiting for: how much money do you make per year from dumpster diving?
$100,000 or so.

And you estimate you could make even more if quit your day job and did this full time?
Yes, I once did the math and I could bring in $600,000 year if I did this full time —WITH a month’s vacation every year.

Well, hearing that, some listeners are going to want to try this for themselves. So let’s give them some tips. I’ll state the tip and you explain it, alright? First, talk about the proper gear a dumpster diver needs.
Headlamp, gloves, boots, magnetized flashlight you can attach to the inside of the dumpster.

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EPISODE 53~ MAKE MORE: Solar Panels Not Only Save You Money But Can Make You Money

Solar panels can now pay for themselves in as little as five years, depending where you live. I will link you to an article of mine that helps you figure out if you live in a good location for solar panels. If you do, you won’t need much, if any, power from your electric utility. And, in fact, that mammoth utility might even buy power from little old you!
First question to ask: Does my state have net metering? This is government speak for any state where if you generate more electricity than you need, the power company will buy it back from you. This can be a nice little money maker for you. And fortunately, it’s pretty common. 38 states and the District of Columbia offer net metering. I will give you the link to Look up whether yours is one of them.
Second key question: is my state a SREC state? SREC stands for Solar Renewable Energy Certificate. About 30 states plus the District of Columbia mandate that electric utilities must generate part of their power from renewable sources like —bingo— solar. And yes, power companies will pay you to help them do this. For every 1000 kilowatt hours of solar power you generate, you earn one SREC. Your utility will buy that credit from you —for as much as $480 in some areas. The value of these SRECs varies dramatically from one state to another, and DC where I live, is one of the most generous, but I can tell you that my neighbor Mark makes about $2500 a year by selling these solar credits back to our local power company. Nice!
I promised you SEVERAL links as part of this “make more” segment and I will have those for you at EasyMoneyShow.com/53.

Good locations for Solar panels: www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/considering-getting-solar-panels-here-are-the-right-questions-to-ask/2018/03/09/3190c71a-20c0-11e8-94da-ebf9d112159c_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f0b735ccd311

Net metering policies in your state: www.ncsl.org/research/energy/net-metering-policy-overview-and-state-legislative-updates.aspx

Solar renewable energy certificates: www.energysage.com/solar/cost-benefit/srecs-solar-renewable-energy-certificates/

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EPISODE 52 ~ MAKE MORE: How Lawn Care Apps Can Make You More Money!

How did you get the idea to mow lawns and do other landscaping work through GreenPal?
I did maintenance work for 17 or 18 years. I did lawn care when I was younger and then I started doing it on the side Worked first few years through Craigslist and word of mouth.. I wanted to be outside and honestly I was getting tired of punching a clock. I decided I wanted to do it full time.
Bryan – the founder of GreenPal was with Peachtree lawn care, which I knew of. I didn’t know him personally but he was all around. His company was very large. Just this year I found GreenPal and when I found out he started it I knew he was successful.

Explain what GreenPal is.
The days of knocking on doors are gone. People want a simple app and to have it done. I jumped on board. I thought if you don’t you will get left behind. It has been blossoming ever since.

You were already mowing lawns. What did it take to get started on GreenPal?
Was harder at first. I bid what I charge and I wasn’t getting anything but I didn’t have any reviews or ratings. I had to underbid in the beginning to get started. I started doing that and now I have 30 to 35 5 star reviews. One person said doesn’t give 5 stars but mostly I have all 5 star reviews which really helps. Now I can bid my normal price. A lot of them I bid on jobs and won the bids. Some of them just contact me through the app though by account.

One of the biggest benefits is introductions to clients, right? At this point, how many direct clients do you have and how many do you have through GreenPal?
My direct clients are 40-50. And through Greenpal, last time I checked was about 121 clients.

You also do some landscaping through Greenpal. Is that a nice change of pace?
Hedge trimming, cutting small trees down, mulch jobs, planting plants..

Did you quit your regular job? Is this your entire living now?
In the off season I help my father in law flip houses.

What’s your favorite part about mowing lawns and doing landscaping through GreenPal?
I enjoy being outside. I have the best office you can find out there! Outside! I love that I can get up in the morning and I can have a cup of coffee before I start but I know what I want to get done. I am so much happier! I am happy just to be outside.

You also have more freedom and flexibility for your family, right?
I am able to spend time with my kids. If I want to go have lunch with kids at the school or spend time with them, I know what I have to do. I may try to get everything done so I can spend all day Friday with them. It is very meaningful. When you are punching a clock you can’t leave and you miss out on a lot. I have 2 step kids and 2 of my own – one is 2 and oldest is 22. We have a granddaughter born in December.

And now, the question people have been waiting for me to ask: What kind of money can you make doing yard work through GreenPal?
They could make as much money as their heart desires as long as they get out and go for it. You can make a living at it. You can make 6 figures. Easily! A hundred grand! 200 grand!

Has the money made a difference in your life?
Lots of things. You can start saving for things. A lot of families want to go on vacations but sometimes it’s hard when you get strapped down with bills. I am able to go out. We are taking the kids to Disney for a surprise this year. They have no clue. We knew what we needed so I went out and made it from mowing. We are leaving in 3 weeks – end of June. We will be there for 4th of July. My 2 year old will be so shocked. He loves Mickey Mouse.

You’ve got some tips for other people who might want to try this. I’m going to name the tip and you explain it, OK? First, you say invest in a commercial mower. Why?
You can start off with anything but if you are doing several lawns a day, get a commercial lawn mower. They are built better to withstand things. This is my 3rd season with mine. I bought mid-grade commercial – not even top of the line. You can spend $20,000 on mowers and there are times I wonder what that would be like. But that is where the wife steps in and says, let’s think about this. Take care of your equipment. I clean it once a month and keep the blades sharp.

What about pricing your services. How can people be strategic?
I have made some mistakes as far as learning the whole bidding process. Sometimes I bid too low and have to learn from that. I have done work for people and they say this looks amazing are you sure this is what I owe you. Some offer to pay extra but I just charge what I charge. Pricing jobs can be tricky. In the beginning I undercut my normal prices to get business and good reviews. That helped me get started.

There are lots of people doing lawncare. What do you suggest people do to stand out?
I pay attention to detail. One of the lawns I take care of. I saw a bigger company mowing a yard and the guy went around the soccer ball and kept mowing. I would have picked up the ball and taken it and put it on the porch but that guy just mowed around it. I wouldn’t do that and my customers know that. I pick up trash if it is in the yard. I pay attention to detail and do the best I can.

And finally, what would you say to those who would love to make a change like you did, but have to overcome their fear of change?
It is very scary when you step outside a job you are used to and not knowing if you will make it and can support your family. But stick with it. You think how can there be that much grass out there but there is.

The Uber of Lawn and Garden care app:


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