Gardendale, a small town near Birmingham, Alabama, decided to make the time-honored tradition of teenagers mowing lawns during summer for extra cash significantly less lucrative by requiring those doing the work to have a business license. Local officials have demanded that local teens show their city-issued license before cutting a neighbor’s grass, and some have been threatened by professional landscapers.
The requirement is set by a city ordinance that states all business conducted for pay within the city limits requires a license, which costs $110 to obtain. In Gardendale, the average cost of having a teen mow your lawn is $20 to $30, meaning they would need to cut approximately five lawns just to recoup the cost of the license.
Elton Campbell, a resident of the city, has a granddaughter that cuts grass in the neighborhood. Speaking about the issues, he said, “She charges one lady $20, and another lady $30, and another girl $40 besides what we pay her.”
Alainna Parris, a student, consider mowing lawns a great summer gig, saying she was “just helping out and raising money for admissions and trips.”
Now, cutting grass has become more of a hassle for Parris. “One of the men that cuts several yards made a remark to one of our neighbors that if he saw her cutting grass again that he was going to call Gardendale because she didn’t have a business license.”
As reported by ABC 33 40, Stan Hogeland, the mayor of Gardendale, stated that pursuing teens without a license isn’t a priority. “I would love to have something on our books that gave a more favorable response to that student out there cutting grass,” said Hogeland.
He went on to indicate a “temporary license” could be on the horizon that would specifically target these teenagers, as he did not want to discourage them from making money.