Sean starts his dream lawn maintenance business with the help of NEIS


Do you own a business with grass to maintain?

What if you had access to a perfectionist who took care of the physical face of your business?

What if this cost you less than the big franchise mowing companies – and provided you with an extremely professional result?

Well, that is what 45 year-old autistic man Sean Walker from the Hunter region wants to provide for businesses.

This dream has just become reality for Sean but it has not been an easy path and won’t be the end of the road as far as dreams go.

Reading the posts Sean shares on Facebook about his life with autism, it is obvious he hasn’t had an easy life.

Sean slipped through the cracks and wasn’t diagnosed as autistic until he was 41. He still struggles in many areas but he doesn’t let that stop him.

Sean may have had struggles but it’s not all doom and gloom.

He has an insouciant demeanour with a cheeky smile and sense of humour to match, “Life has never been better for me. I am married to a great woman, I have great kids, a great house and business that I love to work in. What more could a man want?” Sean said.

“I’m excited about looking after businesses in the Hunter the way I have looked after households in the Hunter and businesses on the Central Coast before that."

"I’m good at what I do and I’ve also had a lot of help with starting the new business my wife, the NDIS, the NEIS program and Hunter Futurepreneurs.”

Sean and his wife Lisa’s combined income meant that Sean does not qualify for a Disability Support Pension.

However, he can get support to suit his unique condition through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which he believes has been invaluable.

Sean is also a registered provider with the NDIS and helps other people with disability live better lives.

Sean started his new business with the help of the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS), a government funded program that helps job seekers set up and run their own small business.

According to Sean, NEIS was instrumental in helping him to start his own business.

This included guiding him through putting together a business plan, costing, analysis, business requirements, industry standards, workplace health and safety, insurance, marketing, advertising, market research, pricing, forecasting, risk management, financial planning and more.

The NEIS program has been delivered by APM Employment Services since February 2020. It was previously delivered by Konekt Employment.

From 1 July 2022, Self-Employment Assistance replaced the NEIS program.

Sean said that being autistic was a positive attribute in running a small business.

“I can’t help picking up every little detail and making sure edges are perfectly straight. No grass is out of place, paths are spotless and I do genuinely care that the lawn looks as good a humanly possible.

“I have had my difficulties and still do but there are many people like Franklin Delano Roosevelt who do good things even though they face adversity. And look what Einstein and Bill Gates did being on the autism spectrum, I only have to do a great job mowing lawns.”

Sean believes that his unique selling points are an excellent job, top-of-the range equipment, costing less than the big franchise mowing companies, 14 years of experience, that the owner of the business (himself) is on site for every job and that he is professional, reliable and trustworthy.

Sean says he would love to hire and train other autistics one day to mow lawns as well as he does and set up a charity to teach professionals about autism with advice from adults with autism like himself.