I have known Ben’s family for many years and recently I heard about the business that he started this summer. When I learned the details I knew that I wanted to interview Ben asap for TeensGotCents! Ben is 15 years old and going into the 10th grade this year. He likes to play airsoft and is training in an Israeli martial art called Krav Maga. He and his dad worked together to come up with a business plan when Ben saw a need in his community. Ben is just another teen entrepreneur who has built a successful business. It’s such a fascinating story and I love how Ben saw an opportunity, took some initiative, and now has a thriving business!
Me: How did you get the idea to start your own business?
Ben: My Dad and I talked about how the base of mailboxes get chewed up by weed trimmers. Most in our neighborhood have been damaged and are rotted. We came up with a solution for a fair price. We went to Home Depot looking for possible ideas to solve the problem and came on bent steel flashing.
Me: When did you start? What is the name of your business?
Ben: We started On May 14. My business is Mailbox Post Shield.
Me: Can you tell me exactly what you do to install the shield at a customer’s house?
Step 1. I make a shallow dig around the base of the mailbox, to loosen up the grass around the bottom.
Step 2. I place 2 sheets of 2-3-7 galvanized steel sheets around the bottom of the mailbox, about 1-1/2 inches deep.
Step 3. I nail the sheets in with galvanized nails.
Step 4. Repeat 4 times
Me: How do you get customers?
Ben: I get my customers from my flyers and by word of mouth.
Me: What do you say to someone if you go to their door to ask them if they would like for you to install the Mail Box Post Shield on their mailbox?
Ben: I do not ask the customer by going to their door. Once they have called me (the number is on my flyer) I schedule an appointment. At their home, I usually say “Hi I’m Ben from the Mailbox Post Shield” after they respond, I finish by saying, “I’ll let you know when I’m finished, It’ll take about 5 minutes”.
Me: What do you wear while you are out working?
Ben: I wear my normal clothes, with gloves to protect my fingers from the sharp corners of the steel sheets.
Me: How many people have hired you? Do you know how many you installed this summer?
Ben: I have had 93 jobs done, with a few people hiring me to do neighbors, parents, or other houses done for them as well.
Me: That’s amazing! Can you give me a general break down of time spent versus what you earned and compare it to a minimum wage part time job?
Ben: Cost of flyers and metal and nails is about $2.00 per shield. I charge $12, so my profit is $10 per shield. It’s hard to compare it to minimum wage jobs because not factored into my time is the hours my dad and I spent driving delivering flyers to 1500 homes.
Me: Are you going to continue throughout the school year with your business?
Ben: I have not put out anymore flyers this summer, (I have done my whole neighborhood of 1500 homes), but if someone calls me, I’ll do the job for them.
Me: What advice do you have for other teens who would like to go into business for themselves? Why do you think that you have been so successful with your business this summer?
Ben: I’d say to be creative, find a product that other people need, and find a fair price for the product. My dad has told me several times that in order to make money you need to spend money. I was worried when we first started because he lent me almost $100 for the flyers and materials. He told me that I needed to spend that in order to let people know about my product. If it was going to be a success, then I would make back that money and more. So far I have made about $1000 profit.
I think that God has blessed my business, and that my product solved a problem that people were willing to pay me to solve for them.
Me: I might want to talk to you about franchising Ben! What a great idea and you have made some real money! Congratulations on your success!
The potential for teens to earn money by starting their own business is really unlimited. Look around and see what need you can fill in your neighborhood, ask for help to set up a business plan if needed, and get started!