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By: Josiah Robinson
Teens in Gardendale, Alabama must obtain a business license to cut grass for cash this summer.
According to ABC 33/40, the licensure requirement is a result of pressure from officials and other lawn services. The required business license is $110, a significant entry cost for teens.
Mowing lawns to make some green is the first venture into business for many children. That option is becoming less viable in for teens in Gardendale, though. Licensure requirements price small businesses out of the market. This eliminates competition and favors the bigger companies that can afford the increasing startup and maintenance costs.
Alex Brown, a Gardendale resident, started a lawn care service at 13 and maintains it to this day. He is incredibly disappointed at the measure. He expressed his frustrations to The Libertarian Republic, saying that the licensure requirement is “greedy and it is a slap in the face to people like me who want to work.”
Mayor Stan Hogeland stressed the importance of licensure for businesses within the city limits. He told ABC 33/40 that tracking down children making extra money this summer is not a priority, though.
“I would love to have something on our books that gave a more favorable response to that student out there cutting grass. And see if there’s maybe a temporary license during the summer months that targets teenagers,” Mayor Hogeland continued.
The mayor doesn’t want the licensure requirement to discourage teens from making money. However, it’s hard to see how adding another entry barrier for budding entrepreneurs will be beneficial.
Operating a small summer business can give teens valuable skills in money management, financial literacy, and responsibility. Unfortunately, the City of Gardendale is barring teens from these benefits by insisting upon licensure.