About 6 weeks ago my kids were begging me to help them set up a lemonade stand in our driveway. In a moment of weakness I said yes. They rolled out my work bench to the end of the driveway, we made some homemade lemonade, fresh baked cookies and then they held up handmade signs advertising their goods. They also roped in some neighbor kids to help them.
In one hour they made $28! That is not bad for a 6 and a 9 year old. Day 2 they made $30 and Day 3 they made $32. Now that didn’t include expenses but I was astonished at how much they made and realized that this might be a great opportunity for my kids to make some money as well as learn some basics of owning a small business. On top of that, it was a great way to teach the spend, save, give principle (see tutorial for the spend, save, give jars here) on a larger level.
Realizing making cookies and lemonade each day was a lot of work FOR ME we presented our kids the idea of making sno-cones instead. We live kiddie corner to a rather busy street and we get loads of traffic and thought this would do well on hot summer days. I knew I could make the sno-cone syrups in bulk and keep bags of ice in our freezer, which would allow me some freedom to not be busy each day, other than grinding up the ice. Since there are no shaved ice stands in our town we figured it might be a novelty and do well. So we decided to go for it. We allowed the kids to take out a micro loan from us to purchase the basic supplies (sno-cone machine, syrup pumps, cups, spoons, sugar, ice and Kool-aid packets). In order to open up the business on day 1 it cost $133.37. The kids are paying their loan back $10 each day. (Currently they owe us $50 left).
Of course, I can’t do anything small, so I built them a large rolling snow cone stand. I know, I know, I have a problem. However, I have a ton of scrap wood and knew it wouldn’t cost much other than time to build. I also found a guy who gave me 4 weathered pallets and 3 weathered 2 x 4’s for free. The major cost was in the 4” heavy duty casters. However, with all the rolling back and forth the stand would do I knew I needed something heavy duty to handle the wear and tear. I had all the screws, 2 x 4’s, paint, nails, plywood and 1” x 3’s from another project. I am guessing if you had to buy everything from scratch this project wouldn’t be super cost effective. But if your kids are committed to the business you can always take the cost out of their earnings each day. However, I did not. I told them that if they commit to this then I would make them the stand and it would be my investment into their company. They agreed and were super excited!
So as mom was building their snow cone stand they were planning on what they were going to spend their money on, as well as what they were committed on saving to buy. I made each of the kids pick something that cost more money that they could save for. I know this might be silly to some, but I really want to teach my kids delayed gratification and that when you want something you have to save up for it. Kayla is currently saving for an Easy Bake Oven ($50) and Isaac is saving up for a plane ticket to go see grandma. So in addition to the money they get to spend, they are putting away a little money each day in their save jar in order to purchase those items. Eventually I want to also teach the kids saving for camps, college, emergencies, etc. But for now, saving for items they really want will be a great lesson to learn. In addition to that, each day when we divvy up the money, they also put money into the give jar. I am excited to see what things my kids decide to give to.
So far my kids have opened their stand about 8 times for an average hour and a half each time. That is about all they can stand before they are bored and want to go play. However, that is okay with me. My only rule is that if they open the stand they have to commit to one hour of it being opened. Oh and one more rule, no eating snow cones during business hours :-) I think that is the hardest rule for them so far.
Stay tuned to see the tutorial for the sno-cone stand.