WELLSBORO – Wyatt Bedell began his business with a used push mower and a love for cutting lawns. Five years later, he has 50 clients, a collection of lawn care equipment, one employee and plans to continue growing his business.
Wyatt, 17, moved to Wellsboro from North Carolina with his parents, Kim and Sonya, in April 2012.
“I decided I was going to start mowing lawns because I love mowing,” he said.
He printed fliers, knocked on doors and passed out the materials. Within two weeks, Wyatt, then 12-years-old, received seven calls from potential customers. He mowed each yard about once a week, most of them in mobile home parks, using his parent’s side-discharge push lawn mower.
The next year, he did the same thing: printed fliers, passed them around and soon had 10 clients. He also purchased his first equipment, a string trimmer, which was an improvement over the prior year, said Wyatt.
The third year, the young entrepreneur picked up another client and a leaf blower.
That fall, Wyatt, who is a student with Commonwealth Charter Academy, took the “Entrepreneurship” class with business teacher Lisa Malsberger.
“We start off with basically getting the students starting to think about becoming an entrepreneur,” said Malsberger.
Using a combination of live online lessons, independent study and hands-on workshops, the students come up with an idea and learn to create a business plan, do accounts, legal issues, breakdown of responsibilities, marketing, pricing, advertising and growing their business.
“We go through every part, from beginning to end, on how to start your own business,” said Malsberger.
One of the workshops is a “Shark Tank”-like field trip where students present a business idea, plan or product to judges and get feedback on how to develop the idea.
The fourth summer, Wyatt applies what he learned to grow his business, make more money and buy additional equipment.
“I had different things I wanted to be able to purchase. I wanted to get in snowboarding and I also had set an hourly rate in mind I wanted to work up to,” he said.
With 16 clients, he was able to quote prices more accurately and generated enough revenue to purchased his own push mower.
This past summer, his fifth, Wyatt again set new goals: have 25 clients, purchase a motorcycle (he now has two), a trailer and a zero-turn commercial lawn mower. He served up to 35 clients, but averaged 33 clients for the season. He purchased the motorcycle, trailer and lawn mower and also hired his first employee, his brother.
Malsberger isn’t surprised that Wyatt successfully applied those lessons he learned in class. His skills and knowledge give him options whether he chooses a career or college, she said.
“He’s an independent learner, very motivated,” Malsberger said. “I’m really proud of Wyatt that he was able to start that business and I look forward to seeing it continue to grow.”
Wyatt is already setting goals for 2018. His marketing class will help him target the audience to meet his goal of securing 50 clients and continuing to have a job for his brother.
“Next year I’m hoping to purchase a truck for lawn care. I’m using a small SUV and I’d really like to be able to have a truck and a bigger trailer. Also, I’d like to be able to get a walk-behind mower,” said Wyatt.
As for his future plans, he’s unsure but is pondering becoming a landscape architect.
For information or to talk with Wyatt about a quote for the 2018 season, call 570-439-7409. Look for his signs and his social media sites are under development