There is something magical about the sound of a well honed scythe blade sliding across the grass. That scything is infinitely better for both the environment and the land itself is an added bonus. Many people are drawn to this, one of the skills of the “old ways,” but scything is a true skilled trade and not many people can do it themselves. This is where you can come in, by offering your services as a hired scythe.
Lands managed by scything tend to improve in health over time. Scything is also ideal for places where machinery can’t get, such as in wet areas or steep hills. Because of its nearly nonexistent environmental impact, scything is appealing to the environmentally conscious among us, so you’ll probably find more demand for a hired scythe near urban areas.
Niche markets without a lot of supply are perfect money makers if you find the right area and marketing. A hired scythe could draw demand from all around once word gets out. You aren’t likely to have a lot of competition, either.
Initial Investment Cost
Scythe outfits are not very expensive. We bought ours for about $240 including shipping from Scythe Supply. The outfit has everything you need to use and maintain your scythe. You may want to buy a good pair of gloves, but your total investment will range from under $300 to $500 or so, depending on where you get your scythe and what upgrades you choose.
Service businesses require no land. You will need a safe place to store your scythe, out of the weather and where no one can get cut – they are extremely sharp! Your peening jig is about the size of a firewood log and will need safe indoor storage as well.
Hired scythe services are only utilized when there is growing vegetation. There is also a learning curve, so if you’ve never scythed before, expect to work at it for a summer before offering your services to anyone else. Assuming you’re in the right season and have the skills available, you can begin working immediately.
Daily Time Requirements
Because this is a service business, the time you spend as a hired scythe depends on the work you are able to line up. Overall, I would expect a yearly average of daily time to be 1-4 hours.
There is little overhead in being a hired scythe, so your profit potential depends primarily on how much work you can secure and what you charge. Your rate can be per hour or per job, but expect to charge somewhere in the range of $20-$50 per hour, adjusted for your specific location.
There is not likely to be a huge demand for a hired scythe, but in pockets around the country there are people who place high value on environmentally friendly practices and you could very well make a good income in the right area. Advertise your services locally in the paper, on local Facebook groups, Craigslist and by word of mouth. Going to local farming events, markets and other gatherings of like minded people will definitely help you generate the connections to build a clientele.
Being a skilled scythe operator can lead into other, potentially more lucrative income ideas, such as offering scythe sharpening services, scythe repair or even scythe classes.