It’s Actually Illegal in One Town for Teens to Earn Money for Mowing Neighbors’ Lawns

Most neighborhoods are used to seeing kids offering to cut grass, shovel snow, or sell lemonade throughout the year. The benefits are mutual: kids make money while learning responsibility and entrepreneurship basics and grownups get help with chores.

But these activities aren’t welcome everywhere. Everyone, we know you’re used to hearing “What the?”-type news stories coming out of Florida, but things are gonna be switched up a bit today. An ordinance in Irmo, South Carolina essentially blocks teenagers from offering to do yard work for a fee.

They’re considered to be breaking the law if they peddle their lawn mowing services in exchange for money. Local news station WLTX reported that in the town’s code, Section 24 addresses the prohibition of such activities:

Peddling, soliciting and vending means the practice of entering or being upon any private residence; private property; public street; public place or vacant lot, or by traveling from place to place in the town by solicitors, peddlers, hawkers, itinerant merchants, and transient vendors, not having been requested or invited to do so by the owners or occupants, for the purpose of selling, offering for sale, or taking orders for or soliciting the sale of any goods, ware, merchandise, or other personal property, or for peddling or hawking the same, including sales by sample and the taking or soliciting of orders for future delivery of photographs, portraits, prints, pictures, magazines, clothing, fixtures, machines, appliances, and all other articles or things to be made, produced, combined or manufactured.”

This also applies to approaching people in their vehicles. Not only has this been brought up by local media, but also in an Irmo citizens’ Facebook group where residents are rallying for the rules to be changed. They support teens and other young people trying to provide services in the community – especially during the summer months when they’re off.

Based on the wording of the ordinance, the only exceptions to the rule are licensed business owners, schools, civic organizations, and non-profit groups. No door-to-door lemonade, brownie, or landscaping sales are to be had by neighborhood kids.

A couple of locals feel that the law is not only unfair to teens looking to earn money, but also to small business owners who are trying to make a few bucks. Why?

As a condition for an exemption, “Peddlers must be covered by a $500,000.00 liability insurance policy issued to their business or acquire itinerant vendor bonds in the amount of $2,500.00 for each peddler.”

The penalty for violating the law is a $500 fine and/or 30 days in jail. While local officials note that a formal complaint would have to be filed for the ordinance to be enforced, they’re unsure if anyone would take those steps. The possibility is a real one, however.

Several council members want to have the ordinance amended to allow young people to operate their side hustles during certain times of the year, but it is unclear if or when the issue will be up for a vote.

What do you think of this law? Were you aware these types of ordinances existed and could affect kids?