John Neil Stanback of Columbus has seen his fair share of yard work.
The Mississippi State University sophomore said he has mowed yards since age 13, but this summer, he decided to turn the occasional lawn job into a steady, one-man yard and landscaping business.
Stanback mows, weed eats, mulches and maintains bushes, using much of his own equipment for the various jobs. The 19-year-old said he also cleaned two pools this year and does whatever people need around their homes.
“I’ve been mowing yards since around eighth grade, but this summer is when I actually started doing it every day and making sure I had work lined up,” Stanback said.
Stanback primarily works in his neighborhood, around Elm Lake in Columbus, but he has occasionally traveled to Aberdeen to “work clearing trails and cutting fields” on his dad’s property. He said he completes various yard tasks for eight or nine steady customers in his neighborhood.
“I know them just from being neighbors, but I also work for a couple of my dad’s friends,” Stanback said of his patrons.
Other than one encounter with poison ivy while clearing vines, Stanback described his jobs as “pretty normal.”
He typically works Monday through Friday during his summer “vacation.” Stanback said he has tried to beat the heat by working in the morning, but his enrollment in a summer course at MSU during July often pushes his work to afternoon.
Stanback appreciates the learning experiences his work offers.
“I’ve learned principles of dedication and hard work, that if you do a really good job, it usually pays off,” he said. “It’s given me a lot of experience doing work for people and communicating with them.”
Stanback said he decided to tackle yard work as a summer job so he could be his own boss.
“I could be my own boss and decide what jobs I would work,” Stanback said. “It’s good money. Everybody’s got jobs they need done, and they pay well for it.”
The business administration major said he is saving most of his earnings this summer to have spending money during the school year. He is also using a portion of his income to pay his fraternity dues.
Stanback said his favorite part of his work is knowing he’s helped his neighbors.
“It’s rewarding when you start on a job for somebody and it looks pretty bad, but by the time you get done, it looks good,” Stanback said. “And you know they couldn’t have done that without you.”
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