The Student News Site of Mount Vernon High School

The Mustang Moon

The Student News Site of Mount Vernon High School

The Mustang Moon

The Student News Site of Mount Vernon High School

The Mustang Moon

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The Small Business Industry Takes Over Mount Vernon High School

Tyler Quam
Tyler shows off his lawn care setup.

Students from Mount Vernon High School are normalizing becoming business owners in the landscaping and lawncare industry. This business model is thriving at the moment as spring is here and summer is right around the corner. Today we Dive into what it’s actually like to own and operate a business while balancing the life of a high school student. 

Tyler Quam, at 18, is the proud owner of Quam Property Care, a lawn care, landscaping, and property cleanup business that he started as a freshman in high school as a 15-year-old. After graduating high school halfway through his senior year in December of 2023, he had time to grow and expand his business which allowed him to begin doing snow removal services. Quam started his own business because he liked the idea of being his own boss, setting his own hours, and bringing in more money than the average job would allow him to. These exact reasons kept him going through even the toughest of times when building his business from the ground up. 

There are many pros and cons to the business Quam runs as a teenager, but there are some that stand above the rest. “I enjoy the work I do because it is satisfying to see results quickly in projects I start,” said Quam. But not all of his work is something to be desired as one of the main cons of running a business is keeping track of expenses and getting everything set up for taxes. Along with that, starting his business was one of the most important but difficult and stressful aspects of getting his business going because he had to build up a name for himself as little to nobody actually knew who he was throughout the towns of Mount Vernon and Lisbon. Quam mentioned that advertising was no easy task explaining how he has passed out somewhere near 3000 flyers since 2021 which takes a lot of time and effort especially when you aren’t making any money doing so. 

An early challenge of Quam’s was working before he had a driver’s license, but his way around this was to have his dad help him out by having him haul around his equipment on the weekends. This would bring new challenges as he could only work on the weekends, and he needed to get all of his clients’ houses done within the two day time period of the weekend, or else they would be waiting until the next which put a bad look on Quam’s business. “The perks in my opinion are well worth the stress and headaches, because the harder you work the more you get to see your business grow and translate into money in your pocket,” Quam reasoned. He also enjoys not having to worry about someone bossing him around, and he enjoys working with the friends of his that he employs. 

When Quam first started his business as a freshman, his partner was Jake Hale, who is now a senior sharing his own landscaping business with Asher Eichhorn (MVHS ‘23). Since Quam parted ways with his former partner Hale, he has one friend in particular who has helped him consistently throughout the mowing season, Clay Simpson. Simpson, a freshman, became friends with Quam through mutual friends because they shared similar interests in activities such as dirt biking and snowmobiling in their free time. This made it much easier for Quam to hire his first employee because not only would he have someone to talk to while working, but they were also close friends, which is why Quam hired his first employee ever in the summer of 2022. This was a game changer for Quam because he could get through many more clients in a smaller amount of time making it easier for Quam and better for his clients. 

On a typical mowing day, Simpson’s job was to take care of trimming around the edges of the lawn while Quam would mow the yard, and once they finished mowing and trimming he would then go back and blow off the leftover grass from all the pavement and rock gardens to make the house much more presentable and professional looking, leaving the client happy. On top of that Simpson also helps Quam with his snow removal by shoveling the walkways and shoveling the snow away from the garage door so that Quam can come through with his snowblower to clear the driveway. “I enjoy having Clay as a helper because it is much easier to work with a friend than work by yourself, especially when it speeds up the process of whatever job we are working on at the time by a lot,” Quam said. 

One piece of advice Quam shared was that if you are trying to start a business yourself, just do it and commit to it. You should make goals, and write down baby steps that will help you achieve your long-term goal of doing what truly makes you happy. He explained that there are days that are going to be difficult, days where you want to quit entirely, and there are probably going to be people who doubt you and make fun of you. Not only that but it may not seem worth it at times, but in the end, if you are doing what makes you happy and will pay the bills, who cares what other people think and say about you because most of them were probably just jealous that they didn’t think of it first. 

Hale, Quam’s former partner, is also finding success with a new business of his own.  Hale is a co-owner and operator of Bandana Hill Farm and Landscape, a landscaping business located in Ely Iowa, specializing in land formation, decorative landscaping, building retaining walls, and draining systems. A few months after starting his first business with Quam as a 15-year-old,  the two weren’t compatible so they decided to split up and follow their own path and see where their businesses took them. Hale continued to mow lawns for two more years until early in the spring of 2023 when he was asked to help with a landscaping project with his friend Asher Eichorn (MVHS ‘23). After taking Eichorn up on this job opportunity, he found a passion for the work and found landscaping to be much more desirable than mowing lawns. On top of that, he also grossed more income, and he enjoyed the thought of finally working with a friend again. Eichorn and Hale continued to work together and eventually later on merged as co-owners to work together to this day, and Hale left the mowing scene altogether. 

Hale is now thriving as an 18-year-old entrepreneur working a job that he finds enjoyment in while also allowing him to make a living. “I enjoy certain aspects of my work such as the creativity. It allows you to brainstorm an idea and then bring it to life,” Hale said. He also stated that he loves the reward you get from starting a project from scratch and watching it progress over the next couple of days of working on it, saying, “It’s a very rewarding feeling starting and finishing each project.” Asher Eichorn, co-owner of Bandana Hill Farm and Landscape, stated that Hale’s job is to deal with a lot of the behind-the-scenes work for free quotes and planning while also helping with the actual projects.

Not all of Hale’s job is fun and games though, as some of the work he does is very stressful and tiring. Along with working such a job brings some cons such as working in the heat and moving heavy materials like wheelbarrows full of rock, dirt, mulch, or retaining wall bricks. “I didn’t have to start the landscaping business, but I’d say the hardest part about starting the mowing business with Quam was putting yourself out there and trying to find work and clients because you can go knocking door to door and handing out flyers but nothing guarantees that you will get job offers,” he said. He explained that they would spend days and weekends handing out flyers with little success and switching over to advertising on Facebook is a lot better once you can show your work because you will reach a much wider audience that way. Some advice Hale gave for solo entrepreneurs trying to make a name for themselves was, that you need to start by creating a plan, picking a service you want to offer and then mastering that service, and committing to that plan. “The biggest piece of advice that I could give is to just start what you want to do because even if you are unsure about some aspects of your work, you will learn on your way.” 

Asher Eichorn Landscapes for a homeowner.

Overall the students from Mount Vernon High School are living their best lives following their passions and pursuing their dreams of being business owners. They strongly recommend that you follow your dreams and take chances at starting your own business using skills that you are good at or have mastered because it will bring you happiness and a lot of freedom from choosing your hours and doing something you enjoy.

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