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coxslawncare
08-29-2005, 12:13 AM
I took on a residential account the other day about 3 acres to cut. I told the guy Id do the first cut for 85. I know i need to get more and he told me if i have to go up on price then its ok. It took me and my helper 2.5 hours to cut. I think i could do it in 4 by myself and I cut solo most times. takes me 4.5 gallons of fuel between the trucks and mowers to do this. He's callin me Monday mornin to see what I see. Also he has about 100 yards of mulch to install in spring at 45-50 a yard(my cost is 16.75 plus need to find someone to deliver it) so I can make up some on that in the spring but dont want to have to rely on that to be profitable

MMLawn
08-29-2005, 12:16 AM
Hard to say without knowing what kind of equipment you are using and the lay out of the land...trimming amount, etc.

Also with that much mulch I'd pay the tad extra and just have it blown in, you'll still make nice money without the work.

coxslawncare
08-29-2005, 12:21 AM
Havent been able to find anyone that blows mulch around here but im sure there is. 2 acres nice sodded at the beginning of the year. 1 acres around the edge of a field thick tall grass, only wants that cut every other cut and only cutting once a month. I use a toro timecutter z 42 inch cut not commercial i know but better than the murray I had and looking into a large walk behind for next year. Also use a 21 inch JD JS 63 c push mower for trimming up. Very little trimming, took me about 20 minutes to weedeat everything and blow the drive way(about 200 yards of driveway)

waffletown20
08-29-2005, 01:09 AM
Once you practice you should be down to 3 hours. It depends if it's bumpy. Keep the estimate even though it's low because then you won't get complaints plus your a shoe in for the mulch.

Cutter LLC
08-29-2005, 01:12 AM
Well I was going to say 40 an hour on your z which would be about 150-160 but cutting every two weeks to a month is a different story. You gotta think about wear and tear on your mower with that tall grass and not being fully commercial is not gonna help. New blades, belts, bearings, and spindles are not gonna come cheap. You need at least 225 IMO. Not sure if this ol boy is gonna go for that unless you explain it to him fully and even then.......

QualityLawnCare4u
08-29-2005, 01:25 AM
Their is no way you can continue to do this for 85 bucks! Even a cheap area like mine would be at least 150-160. I had one the same size that I did once a month for 225 but I lost it to a kid who would do it for 50 this past month. You say it took 4.5 gallons of gas, that is about 11 bucks at todays price (going up tomorrow) that leaves you 74 bucks for you and your equipment plus your helper. However its your decision and you know what you need to make but I promise this want get it. You would be better off cutting small yards for 15-20 apiece that averaged about 15 minutes apiece. In my area when you get past 50 bucks I don't care if the yard is 1/4 acres or 4 acres you have reached the threshold of pain. That is why I try to target the small/medium, no more than a hour apiece yards here.

coxslawncare
08-29-2005, 02:05 AM
he knows its going to go up and because of the mulch i want to try to keep this. when i bought the mower i got the 4 year waranty and made sure it would cover commercial use, so if anythign goes wrong other than belts or blades i feel pretty ok. dont always have a helper go with me just happened to this past time. Looking to buy a walk behind this winter at least 52 inch deck which would help alot on the area around the field. I was thinking of telling him 110-120 every 2 weeks. I think not having to cut aroudn the field but once a month and it will average out.I cut the field for this guy before with the old murray took 4.5 hours and got 200 and this guy only owns a 21 push mower and had been cutting it with that( around the house 2 times a month and around the field once a month. I know he doenst want to do it

topsites
08-29-2005, 02:15 AM
Their is no way you can continue to do this for 85 bucks! Even a cheap area like mine would be at least 150-160. I had one the same size that I did once a month for 225 but I lost it to a kid who would do it for 50 this past month. You say it took 4.5 gallons of gas, that is about 11 bucks at todays price (going up tomorrow) that leaves you 74 bucks for you and your equipment plus your helper. However its your decision and you know what you need to make but I promise this want get it. You would be better off cutting small yards for 15-20 apiece that averaged about 15 minutes apiece. In my area when you get past 50 bucks I don't care if the yard is 1/4 acres or 4 acres you have reached the threshold of pain. That is why I try to target the small/medium, no more than a hour apiece yards here.

I'm with you on the NO-go-$85 but 3 acres @50/acre...?

I get 55/acre for ONE acre so it might be 50/acre for 2 so be nice lets go 45/acre for 3 = 135

Now charging 135 when it's going at 85 right now, that is likely not going to happen even with the nicest customer. Far as the mulch, if you have a 6x12 trailer you can load 4 yards at a time and pay yourself the $35 delivery fee so long it is 12 yards or LESS you'll come out about even AND you can put the trailer where YOU want it rather than having a big pile dumped wherever the truck driver feels like dumping it. Last but not least, I *NEVER* spread someone else's mulch because to be quite blunt, a 7-yard pile looks the same as an 8-yard pile so who is going to know if the customer ordered 10 yards or 12? At least that's been my whole issue with it, of course if YOU'RE ordering the mulch to be delivered then that might be ok.

So let's see...

I'd say if this is your first year ask the guy to increase to 100/cut and do this RIGHT AWAY then that way you can use it to build experience (education is not free so the $35 difference 'pays' for this) and the extra $15 over 3 hours of work you will notice the extra money helps alleviate the stress you're feeling at 85. Again ask for the increase ASAP because I had a similar situation a year ago and I waited on asking for the increase and like 2 months AFTER the guy SAID he wouldn't mind paying more I tried to ask for it and it was too late lol so ask for it asap.

Still, I did a 2-acre lot all of my 2nd year (took anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours solo) for 50 bucks/pop and it hurt but it was also a $200/month account and one balances and compromises the good and the bad, that guy spent over $1,500 with me that 2nd year and it did help even thou today I wouldn't do it.

topsites
08-29-2005, 02:36 AM
he knows its going to go up and because of the mulch i want to try to keep this. when i bought the mower i got the 4 year waranty and made sure it would cover commercial use, so if anythign goes wrong other than belts or blades i feel pretty ok. Looking to buy a walk behind this winter at least 52 inch deck which would help alot on the area around the field. I was thinking of telling him 110-120 every 2 weeks. I think not having to cut aroudn the field but once a month and it will average out.

ok if you can get 115 then do that, I think that would be ok.

Far as the fuel, see if lowering the throttle a little bit helps, try this:
- Turn the throttle to full where mower is running WOT.
- Now SLOWLY back off the throttle and listen to the engine: You want to KEEP the rpm's at MAX while lowering the throttle, once the engine drops speed, you've gone too far. Usually you can lower the throttle 5 or 10% before the engine drops speed, doing this in the long run saves me a fair amount of fuel.

In the truck, take it easier on the gas, here's tricks to max out mpg:
- Learn where your foot needs to be for certain speed limits. So when accelerating from a dead stop say in a 45mph zone, step on the pedal JUST enough to DO 45mph and let the engine work its way there gradually - It will take MINUTES to get there but it increases MPG by 10-20%.
- Allow the truck to speed UP downhill and slow DOWN uphill by keeping as steady a pressure on the pedal as possible. Say in a 45mph zone, let her get up to 50-52mph going down and 38-40mph going uphill.
- When you know you need to stop let OFF the gas WAY early. Lets use the 45mph zone as an example when you see an intersection it looks like you have to stop, the idea is to COAST down to like 25mph before you even have to step on brakes. Doing this:
- Saves wear and tear on brakes and tires, I get at least 50k miles out of my brakepads and my tires last a LOT longer as well.
- Half the time you won't even HAVE to stop at the light because it turns green while you're coasting down so now you can mosey on through and THIS saves a TON of fuel.
- Saves fuel because brakes shave off speed which took fuel to build.
Same goes for when you know you'll have to turn: Put your turn signal on early and coast on down - there are times when I don't have to use the brakes to get into the turn so long I got enough coast, however you can't do it in heavy traffic lol.

Drive it like it's an 18-wheeler or like an old lady - I used to think old people must be kinda dumb for doing it when I was young, now that I'm older I figured out older people are actually very SMART.

coxslawncare
08-29-2005, 02:42 AM
yeah i talked to the guy before he left he told me if I had to go up he's easy to get along with so it sounds like he expects a raise in price. He told me he was gonna give me a call monday mornin and see what i thought. I am pretty sure he will be fine at 100 I told him i'd do it at 85 the first time to see how long it will take.This is my first year and as far as the mulch goes my neighbor owns a big dump truck and could get some help from him on delivery. Ive had a real hard time finding small yards. My smallest one takes me 30 min to cut. Everything I've been offered so far has been at least one acre

nobagger
08-29-2005, 06:48 AM
yeah i talked to the guy before he left he told me if I had to go up he's easy to get along with so it sounds like he expects a raise in price. He told me he was gonna give me a call monday mornin and see what i thought. I am pretty sure he will be fine at 100 I told him i'd do it at 85 the first time to see how long it will take.This is my first year and as far as the mulch goes my neighbor owns a big dump truck and could get some help from him on delivery. Ive had a real hard time finding small yards. My smallest one takes me 30 min to cut. Everything I've been offered so far has been at least one acre
Just explain to him you ran some figures and there is no way that you could do this job for less that the $115 or whatever it is and unfortunatly you have to raise it to $xyz dollars or other wise your loosing money.
As far as mulch, 100 yards of mulch would take you a very very long time to spread by your self. That should be over a 6k job around here. Your gonna need a lot of help, even on a 3 acre property this is quite a bit of mulch or is it a bigger property with 3 acres just to mow?

Richard Martin
08-29-2005, 07:29 AM
The guy was cutting 3 acres of grass with a 21" push mower? I have 2-1/2 acres and there is no way I would even attempt to cut it with a 21.

I'll be honest with you. Trying to cut 3 acres with a Toro Timecutter is an exercise in frustration. That mower was never intended to cut that much grass week in and week out. While I've never used one I have seen them being used and sat on them at the dealer. I'd rather have spent my money on a high quality riding mower.

If it were me I would simply tell the guy that I can't cut it. There is such a thing as biting off more than you can chew and I think you got yourself a big piece here. It's an every two week cut (monthly of the 3rd acre) and that will be very hard on that Timecutter. If you insist on cutting it then you should shoot for $45 or an absolute minimum $40 an hour. If you go any lower than that you won't make much more money than if you were working at the local grocery store by the time you deduct expenses like gas, oil, blades, belts, office expenses (tax prep, billing etc.), equipment replacement (that Timecutter will need replacing soon), truck repairs, insurance etc.

At you current $85 you're bringing in a whopping $17 an hour before expenses and taxes. It costs me more than that just to cut grass.

coxslawncare
08-29-2005, 08:09 AM
thanks for all the replies. i think i am going to go ahead and tell him 115 for the rest of the year. See if I can leave myself open to go up next year. really the timecutter for me has had no problem cuttin whatever ive thrown at it and l like i said hopefully soon I'll have a commercial walkbehind I would use around the field. Thanks for all the replies last night guys and i'll let you know what happens

hoyboy
08-29-2005, 08:23 AM
If there's one thing I've learned in this business, its make your money NOW. Don't work for someone who promises a pot of gold down the road. Most of the time, they're lying. Calmly explain to them that you need $xxx to make a professional looking job and allow you to stay in business, and that if you get the "pot of gold" job that you will give him the same professionalism. Apologize now for giving him a lowball price and explain to him you didn't realize how long it would take. Show him the math, and that you need $x per hour to stay in business. If he's as honest as you make him out to be, then he won't have a problem with it. But don't take the risk of losing money now with the hope of getting a big job later...trust me, I'll save you a lot of grief if you listen to that one bit of advice.

jtrice11
08-29-2005, 11:47 AM
I told the guy Id do the first cut for 85.

I feel for ya, but I wouldn't make that same mistake again (what you quoted above).

befnme
08-29-2005, 04:50 PM
he knows its going to go up and because of the mulch i want to try to keep this. when i bought the mower i got the 4 year waranty and made sure it would cover commercial use, so if anythign goes wrong other than belts or blades i feel pretty ok. dont always have a helper go with me just happened to this past time. Looking to buy a walk behind this winter at least 52 inch deck which would help alot on the area around the field. I was thinking of telling him 110-120 every 2 weeks. I think not having to cut aroudn the field but once a month and it will average out.I cut the field for this guy before with the old murray took 4.5 hours and got 200 and this guy only owns a 21 push mower and had been cutting it with that( around the house 2 times a month and around the field once a month. I know he doenst want to do it


most of the time if you buy homeowner grade and tell em you are using it for commercial use the waranty goes down to 90 days or so.get it in writing that they know its for comm use and that they agree to cover it for 4 years.that will c.y.a.

coxslawncare
08-29-2005, 10:03 PM
wasnt able to get in touch with him today so dont kwnow where its gonna go. i still feel like its low for just me but i am gonna tell him 125 and see what he says. not going any lower. if i have a helper with me i come out a little better cuz helpers dont make what i make an hour. I was hoping to get this taken care of today

QualityLawnCare4u
08-30-2005, 12:19 AM
I'm with you on the NO-go-$85 but 3 acres @50/acre...?

I get 55/acre for ONE acre so it might be 50/acre for 2 so be nice lets go 45/acre for 3 = 135

Now charging 135 when it's going at 85 right now, that is likely not going to happen even with the nicest customer. Far as the mulch, if you have a 6x12 trailer you can load 4 yards at a time and pay yourself the $35 delivery fee so long it is 12 yards or LESS you'll come out about even AND you can put the trailer where YOU want it rather than having a big pile dumped wherever the truck driver feels like dumping it. Last but not least, I *NEVER* spread someone else's mulch because to be quite blunt, a 7-yard pile looks the same as an 8-yard pile so who is going to know if the customer ordered 10 yards or 12? At least that's been my whole issue with it, of course if YOU'RE ordering the mulch to be delivered then that might be ok.

So let's see...

I'd say if this is your first year ask the guy to increase to 100/cut and do this RIGHT AWAY then that way you can use it to build experience (education is not free so the $35 difference 'pays' for this) and the extra $15 over 3 hours of work you will notice the extra money helps alleviate the stress you're feeling at 85. Again ask for the increase ASAP because I had a similar situation a year ago and I waited on asking for the increase and like 2 months AFTER the guy SAID he wouldn't mind paying more I tried to ask for it and it was too late lol so ask for it asap.

Still, I did a 2-acre lot all of my 2nd year (took anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours solo) for 50 bucks/pop and it hurt but it was also a $200/month account and one balances and compromises the good and the bad, that guy spent over $1,500 with me that 2nd year and it did help even thou today I wouldn't do it.

Topsite, that was 50 for ALL 3 acres, not per acre! Including a lot of weedeating and blowing off a driveway you could land a jet on. This client is one of the richest in Blackshear also. Owns propery all over the country and travels all the time. Cheap SOB is what he is!

olderthandirt
08-30-2005, 12:44 AM
The guy was cutting 3 acres of grass with a 21" push mower? I have 2-1/2 acres and there is no way I would even attempt to cut it with a 21.

If it were me I would simply tell the guy that I can't cut it. There is such a thing as biting off more than you can chew and I think you got yourself a big piece here.

Some good advice in these quotes
You can make more money doing 4 -1/4 lawns than 1- 3 acres and it would take less time with a 21"

slugo
09-03-2005, 03:23 AM
:alien: I do a business yard about that size im charging 275.00 a month dont short change yourself just to get a landscape job that only pays once every year or so