Mowing yards is a great way to earn extra money during the summer. But Arkansas City native Kevin Hansen has found a way to mow yards free of charge and still make money.
Hansen, who now owns a lawn service in Tulsa, Okla., searches for yards that are completely overgrown, mows them at no charge and creates videos that he posts on his YouTube channels. He makes money each time the video is viewed because of the advertising that plays before the video begins.
When asked why people would want to watch a video of a lawn being mowed, Hansen just laughed.
“It’s the transformational factor,” he said. “In our case we take on the craziest things we can find.”
Hansen makes significant money from his videos to cover business expenses, but he is not doing it all for his own benefit. Last week he came to Ark City to mow a yard and post a video with the income from that video going to help his sister-in-law Jaymee Hansen, who is battling Stage 4 cancer.
Hansen said that Jaymee, an Oxford resident, will be on chemotherapy for the rest of her life. Each treatment costs $700 and is an out-of-pocket expense for her.
“After we pay our taxes, everything goes to her,” he said. “What I would like to see for her is not having to worry about finances as she heals.”
During a phone interview Thursday, Jaymee said that her brother-in-law Kevin has an amazing heart and a beautiful soul.
“He’s like ‘I’ve got you sis, I’ll take care of this,’” she said. “Because I only have a 17 percent chance of survival.”
But she is not giving up. She said that there have been people with only a 5 percent chance who have survived.
“I have a higher chance than they do,” she said.
Jaymee said that anyone who watches Kevin’s videos will be able to see that he has a big heart and is not just in it for money.
“He’ll find places that are overgrown and mow the yard for free and sometimes he doesn’t even record it, he just does it,” she said.
Hansen said he spends a lot of his free time seeking out yards that are totally overgrown. Last week while he was here visiting his brother, he found an abandoned property in his old neighborhood on South Third Street, with a massively overgrown yard. He set up his camera, unloaded his large mower, and quickly cleaned it up.
He said the next-door neighbor was very appreciative.
“The neighbor actually came out and gave me a hug,” he said. “That was pretty cool — that was a first.”
Hansen said his video of that yard has already received 317,000 views. He receives an average of a half-cent per view. While that may not sound like very much, it adds up quickly.
“This past month we drove over 15 million views on our two channels,” he said. “It’s turned into something pretty awesome for us.”
Hansen also has a commercial lawn mowing business that maintains more than 60 lawns. He was recently asked by the City of Tulsa to serve as an abatement contractor and mow neglected lawns throughout the city, he said, but turned down the job after discovering the charges would be accessed to the owner and could result in the property being placed up for auction if they went unpaid.
“I didn’t like the thought of someone losing their home because I came and cut the property,” he said. “So it kind of evolved into me just helping people out.”
Hansen said that what began as a hobby has grown into something beyond his wildest expectations. His videos only brought in about $20 per month when he started posting them last year. He thought he might reach $100 per month, but didn’t expect it to take off like it has. The success allows him to continue helping people who need help with their yards.
“I look at it as when someone’s life is hectic, the lawn is kind of the first thing that starts showing — it gets out of hand real fast,” he said. “So if I see something like that, I’ll go knock on the door.”
Hansen said that all of the income generated by the Ark City video will be used to help his sister-in-law.
“We’re also trying to promote her Go Fund Me account as well,” he said.
Hansen said his videos can be viewed on YouTube at “The Boring Channel” or “Lawncare Juggernaut.”