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1PRO
06-18-2006, 10:01 AM
I think the lawn care industry as a whole is not charging the correct rates in order to grow and manage their business properly.I think that all lco's should charge a minium hourly rate world wide regardless of size or location...i mean look at the automotive industry the hourly rate is between $60.00 to $75.00 dollars an hour period dealerships are higher as technology and the cost of operating continue to rise we do not.I know that you are always going to have someone getting into the business which is good but if there is a firm hourly rate across the industry then i think it would only depend on how the company trains and maintains labor etc.This i think would stop alot of stress for everyone.

Also i beleive that all lco's should get the same rebates on equitment, supplies and trucks as the big companies do and form a local group to commit to improveing our buying power.

PRO-LAWN, INC

Jpocket
06-18-2006, 10:24 AM
your right about the rates...after growing by 50% this year i have realizede that most of my rates are about 20% less than what they should be.

bigjeeping
06-18-2006, 10:31 AM
amen. keep preaching brother. but you're preaching to the choir :usflag:

1PRO
06-18-2006, 10:35 AM
Yeah i know but it needs to happen :hammerhead:

ALarsh
06-18-2006, 10:52 AM
It will never happen. In fact the BIGGER companies here charge cheaper rates than the smaller ones. The small companies (1-3 trucks) here have a hard time making it work with the big companies (6-20 trucks).

Sandgropher
06-18-2006, 10:53 AM
The basic rate is around $60 per hour here, with the better rounds $75-$85 per hour. :)

The worlds biggest lawnmowing franchase jims mowing charge a lot more than the average here.

BSDeality
06-18-2006, 10:53 AM
it never will happen in this industry. period. Why? the cost to get into lawncare is minimal, people concieve it as "easy work". there are enough lawnboys to choose from, so you have to either go the high-end quality/detail work or go with volume- average quality and price. unfortunately the prices for quality don't raise as fast as the market expenses do because of the reasons mentioned before. This industry is flawed on many levels and the problems get worse every year because of the low-cost buy in that is so attractive to many people.

1PRO
06-18-2006, 11:08 AM
it never will happen in this industry. period. Why? the cost to get into lawncare is minimal, people concieve it as "easy work". there are enough lawnboys to choose from, so you have to either go the high-end quality/detail work or go with volume- average quality and price. unfortunately the prices for quality don't raise as fast as the market expenses do because of the reasons mentioned before. This industry is flawed on many levels and the problems get worse every year because of the low-cost buy in that is so attractive to many people.

I under stand but people need to have an industry labor rate and it will happen if people charge a least the going rate not under cut just to get work when some one starts out all they think about is under cut the price untill they can't compete which causes a company to stay under the standard labor rates to compete but if you work the business the business will grow as far as the bigger companys they treat and pay their labor under $10.00 an hour but have so much work they dont care how it gets done just keep the hours down.

lawnmaniac883
06-18-2006, 11:13 AM
People will pay 60-75/hour for a mechanic to repair their car because they dont know how.
Most people will not pay LCO's 60-75/hour to have their grass cut and leaves raked. PERIOD.

1PRO
06-18-2006, 11:16 AM
People will pay 60-75/hour for a mechanic to repair their car because they dont know how.
Most people will not pay LCO's 60-75/hour to have their grass cut and leaves raked. PERIOD.
The thread was started to get in put not negative remarks help improve our business not knock it back down.. what do you think the going rate should be maybe $30.00 or higher?

Raven386
06-18-2006, 11:19 AM
i charge $45 per hour residential $55/commercial $35/ senior discount. thats for 2 people including myself.

rodfather
06-18-2006, 11:26 AM
i charge $45 per hour residential $55/commercial $35/ senior discount. thats for 2 people including myself.

$17.50 - $27.50 per man hour? You're kidding I hope.

CutInEdge Lawn Care
06-18-2006, 11:33 AM
I think the lawn care industry as a whole is not charging the correct rates in order to grow and manage their business properly.I think that all lco's should charge a minium hourly rate world wide regardless of size or location...i mean look at the automotive industry the hourly rate is between $60.00 to $75.00 dollars an hour period dealerships are higher as technology and the cost of operating continue to rise we do not.I know that you are always going to have someone getting into the business which is good but if there is a firm hourly rate across the industry then i think it would only depend on how the company trains and maintains labor etc.This i think would stop alot of stress for everyone.

Also i beleive that all lco's should get the same rebates on equitment, supplies and trucks as the big companies do and form a local group to commit to improveing our buying power.

PRO-LAWN, INC

I am asuming by these blanket comments that you have not taken an Eng 101 class?
"I think the lawn care industry as a whole is not charging the correct rates in order to grow and manage their business properly.I think that all lco's should charge a minium hourly rate world wide regardless of size or location..."

Would you base your price on a 21" mower. Using a 21" mower on a 7500 sq ft yrd (my yrd) is going to take aprx 45min to mow,edge,trim,blow. Now with my Z-Cat 36" I can do all that in 22min. So do we base all yrds on a 21" mower??? So what happens when you hire an employee and now you have two 21" mowers on the yrd. Are you going to charge less even though the standard is??? The solo with only one 21" is now complaining about you bringing the prices down because he cant compete with you. So devise a plan that we can all read and say well maybe he is onto something. I have no probs with the pricing around here. To each his own. Good Luck

D and H Seasonal Services
06-18-2006, 11:38 AM
The thread was started to get in put not negative remarks help improve our business not knock it back down.. what do you think the going rate should be maybe $30.00 or higher?
My absolute minimum to drop my gate is $35.00. I am new to the biz this year and I am being lowballed all the time. I do not know how these guy's will make it. From what I hear, it is $45.00 to $50.00 per acre in my area. But you have some LCO's doing it for $30.00 to $32.00 per acre. Makes it real tough to support my 3 1/2 year old and 7 month old.

1PRO
06-18-2006, 11:41 AM
I am asuming by these blanket comments that you have not taken an Eng 101 class?
"I think the lawn care industry as a whole is not charging the correct rates in order to grow and manage their business properly.I think that all lco's should charge a minium hourly rate world wide regardless of size or location..."

Would you base your price on a 21" mower. Using a 21" mower on a 7500 sq ft yrd (my yrd) is going to take aprx 45min to mow,edge,trim,blow. Now with my Z-Cat 36" I can do all that in 22min. So do we base all yrds on a 21" mower??? So what happens when you hire an employee and now you have two 21" mowers on the yrd. Are you going to charge less even though the standard is??? The solo with only one 21" is now complaining about you bringing the prices down because he cant compete with you. So devise a plan that we can all read and say well maybe he is onto something. I have no probs with the pricing around here. To each his own. Good Luck

Again the thread was started to draw positive attenion as far as the size of mower that you choose to use go back to what i said how a company trains and maintains.

Raven386
06-18-2006, 11:43 AM
i pay my buddy $10 per hour. its hard getting much more than that around here... theres too many kids w/ daddys car and a push mower willing to do it for 10$ an hour.

D and H Seasonal Services
06-18-2006, 11:44 AM
Yeah i know but it needs to happen :hammerhead:
1Pro - Just wanted to say that I do agree and there should be a minimum but it would need to be location specific

1PRO
06-18-2006, 11:44 AM
My absolute minimum to drop my gate is $35.00. I am new to the biz this year and I am being lowballed all the time. I do not know how these guy's will make it. From what I hear, it is $45.00 to $50.00 per acre in my area. But you have some LCO's doing it for $30.00 to $32.00 per acre. Makes it real tough to support my 3 1/2 year old and 7 month old.
good post the rates are the same here $50.00 an acre

1PRO
06-18-2006, 11:48 AM
1Pro - Just wanted to say that I do agree and there should be a minimum but it would need to be location specific

Thanks for the quote yes the standard labor rate based off your current market.

D and H Seasonal Services
06-18-2006, 11:51 AM
I have one customer I cut hie 1/3 acre and I get $35.00 and I am finished in less then 15 minutes and that is unload, cut, trim, blow and load. Then another 2.5 acre I only get $85.00 for because of a lowballer. I am solo being my first year out with 15 weekly cuts and slowly growing.

rodfather
06-18-2006, 11:51 AM
Way too many variables to have standardized labor rates...will never happen IMO. Market specific? Maybe.

BSDeality
06-18-2006, 12:30 PM
i pay my buddy $10 per hour. its hard getting much more than that around here... theres too many kids w/ daddys car and a push mower willing to do it for 10$ an hour.where is "around here" CT?

The other problem with this industry is when the low price guys go out of business the homeowners only remember one thing, the price.

J&R Landscaping
06-18-2006, 12:32 PM
Around me (metro NE Philly) the going rate is between $58.00-75.00 for small or average sized companies. Larger companies are about $100+ an hour.

My Uncle lives in Norristown Pa (about 25 miles NE of me) and the going rate up there is between $46-64 per hour. Gas prices are the same if not higher but the cost of homes up his way is about 18-25% lower than around me.

A general going rate will never happen. Its market specific and sometimes neighboorhood speciific!

Precision
06-18-2006, 08:55 PM
a general rate will never make it for too many reasons to count. But that isn't the issue.

What is, is the idiots that think gross is net. And that will never change unless there is some kind of barrier to entry and that will never happen because even if there was some law, there would be no enforcement.

Quite simply, dumb people will always be in this industry and you either have to out efficient them or out quality them (or both) and leave the scrub clients for the scrub mowers.

lawnmaniac883
06-18-2006, 09:24 PM
The thread was started to get in put not negative remarks help improve our business not knock it back down.. what do you think the going rate should be maybe $30.00 or higher?


Yes, ok but input comes as positive AND negative. Understand this, A) People will not pay unskilled laborers 75 dollars flat rate per hour. Good god man, just because you operate a business doesnt mean you will make 15 times what a burger flipper makes. B) A "industry wide" flat rate will never happen mainly because not all LCO's are members of lawnsite and will not read this specific thread. Not saying the going rate should be 30.00 because it will change nationwide. After your expenses, etc you need to be making atleast 30.00 net per hour.

DuraCutter
06-18-2006, 09:49 PM
I've read all the posts and have to say it runs the full spectrum.

To be organized like say dentists or doctors with set rates takes education, membership in the organization and a full understanding by all members on the costs of doing business. In school, dentists and doctors fully understand the overhead of running such a business.

Now let's think of the 18 year old with a mower.... :dizzy: One might be smart as a whip, and the other may be a 2 watt bulb. It's all about barrier to entry as one poster said. There is barely any barrier. Anyone with any credit can buy any mower... from a 21" to a 72" Toro.. with all the bells and whistles.

If you want to become a doctor, get ready to go to school for 10 to 15 years post secondary... mowing... overnight :cry:

So, personally, I accept this, I bid on the large senior sites that want a better job, and where the barrier to entry is actuallly personal skills talking to the older folks and fending off the constant harassment without flinching. That is the market I do. Other than that, I do stucco, cement, painting and landscape work. For example, today we worked on a stucco job. I had 2 helpers for 7 hrs. Had the same helpers 5 hours yesterday. Tomorrow, 1 helper for 4 to 5 hrs. The work pays $3,600.00. Cost of material is $300 and labor is $435. That includes gas, overhead etc... for 3 days work. Not full days at that. Anyways, profit falls around 3 grand, take or leave a few hundred for incidentals. That leaves the company with 17 hrs of work and 3 grand.. works out to about $176/hr. + or - 10%

So I accept lawncare will provide me with some decent work, but maybe only 10% of it. I do lawncare for projects that let me do their snow... that's my hook. Also, I'll do work like stucco, paint, landscape for my lawncare clients.
If they don't give me extra work, next season... I won't talk to them.

I accept this because it won't change no matter how bloody my head becomes from bagging it on the wall... :laugh:

lawns4less
06-18-2006, 10:50 PM
What you all need to realize as I did along time ago. When you do a service for someone, there only paying 10% of what you ask for your service. The other 90% is YOU!!!! If you have a clean truck, and nice equipment, not expensive, nice...there is a diff. and are clean a presentable when you approach. Then handle yourself in a professional mannor, keep true to your word and stay honest. These are the things people buy, not an hourly rate and do you know why.....PERCEPTION. If they percieve you as a smart, hard working LCO who will give them there moneys worth and then some.... then you do, even if its only in there eyes. Thats why word of mouth is so important.

My advice to you is put more effort into educating your customers on what you can do for them and there $$$ and there perception of you will be stronger than that of the guy who just happen to stop and give a 5 or 10 dollar better price.

topsites
06-19-2006, 12:45 AM
Yeah i know but it needs to happen :hammerhead:

This is a good attitude to have, I practice it a lot myself, always push prices up.

A lot of times I see gross evidence of what you speak of with the prices going DOWN and when that happens, I think to myself it is time to set a trend and be the price leader for some time. It is one thing to keep prices the SAME, you can always refuse to raise prices just so long you never lower them.

I developed some tricks over time:
- Talk about 'Standard Industry rates for our kind of work runs $60 / hour' and plop this little phrase into conversation where it fits.

- If things get super busy or you got a time waster estimate on your hands, you can always quote super high prices for your amusement.

- Act like your stuff is better than everybody else's (well, maybe it is), thus it costs more. If this bit isn't working for you, go buy a new piece of equipment that's just super badazz, then try again. If it still doesn't work, do a lot of work on your equipment to make it much, much better.

- If at anytime you're not convinced or you lose faith in high prices, go ahead and lowball really bad, at least 50% off your regular rates, and do this until you are again convinced that your originally high price was better.

- If you're laughing at any of the above, learn to do this with a straight face.

Pro-Scapes
06-19-2006, 01:38 AM
I think the lawn care industry as a whole is not charging the correct rates in order to grow and manage their business properly.I think that all lco's should charge a minimum hourly rate world wide regardless of size or location...i mean look at the automotive industry the hourly rate is between $60.00 to $75.00 dollars an hour period dealerships are higher as technology and the cost of operating continue to rise we do not.I know that you are always going to have someone getting into the business which is good but if there is a firm hourly rate across the industry then i think it would only depend on how the company trains and maintains labor etc.This i think would stop alot of stress for everyone.

Also i believe that all lco's should get the same rebates on equipment, supplies and trucks as the big companies do and form a local group to commit to improving our buying power.

PRO-LAWN, INC

wishful thinking. I really agree with you ... I haven't read all the replies so if this is repeated forgive me.

Anyone with the physical capabilities can push a lawn mower. Yes some do a better job than others and some do crappy work but most anyone can do it.. Not everyone has 20k plus in tools to repair their car or the knowledge to do more than put gas in it. It takes specialized training and equipment(so does proper lawn care!).

If you look at the auto repair industry you will notice in areas where there is a shop on every corner they all advertise something really cheap.... brakes... oil changes something. Lure the customer in in hopes of the up sell. I'm not saying run out and start giving away your mowing in order to get the up sells but how many of you are actually trying to up sell your accts. We have found this very profitable. Not just mulch and such but there is other things you can do that will set you apart. Annual color ..aeration...dethatching...borders etc... I find taking 2 min to talk to clients that are home or using my news letter included in invoices are a great way to communicate these ideas and up sells. Don't just ask em if you can put a border in or something but ask them how they are doing and let them know you just did such and such work at Joe blows house and it came out looking great. Mention that very same border you just did would look great in their yard.

Now if your a lawn guy only be sure your clients know they are getting a turf care professional! up sell to chemical apps (sub out if needed) and dethatching or any number of other services. I have found offering maint clients a small discount like 10% on additional services to be a very good selling point.

I try to up sell mine from a per mow price to a full service everything (within reason) included monthly price. I do this in a few ways. One of which I found is this. IN the fall the labor on mulch is included. You only pay the materials cost. This sold us a 369 buck a month maint agreement. We make 1 visit per month most months. In spring it took us 8 hours. Now its taking us about 4 to 5 hours with 2 guys. Fall it will take approx 10 hours and winter it takes about 2 hours solo.

Advantage. I got income I can count on. Advantage to client they know up front what their basic maint plan will run them. All we do here is the beds and they add work as needed. I offer them 10% off any additional work and so far they have spent an additional 1700 with us. They are now in the works of considering the high end lighting proposal we have given them.

pay per mow works sometimes but what happens when someone wont sign a contract and then a drought comes and they wanna skip 3 cuts. Whats that do to your income?? Alot of this is how you present yourself to your clients.

I do agree with the original topic. As a whole we need to work together to raise respect for our industry. But as long as we have hacks out there we will run into clients like these.

Any idiot can push a mower. Set yourselves apart from this. I found a 19 year old with a new 52 inch scag walk behind his daddy bought him. I told him I may need his help on some upcoming accts and asked him how much (this is all just out of curiosity) would he charge me to work for me if he brought his mower with for 8 hours. He said 65 bucks! I took some time to educate him on overhead and how to educate himself and set himself apart from the competition. We are always going to have lowballers. You as a professional need to set yourself apart from the lower priced guy if your service is really that much better.

Bottom line. Show that client your worth more. Its defiantly hard when you got 20 bottom feeders running around cutting lawns for 20 bucks. Keep your trucks clean and lettered. Workers professional looking and find clients that appreciate your work. Educate the lowballers in your area. I have stopped numerous times to offer them a bottle of water and talk to them. I'm sure it barley puts a dent in it and sure they might be out of business next year but there will always be lower priced guys in this industry.

Sorry for the long post. That took 3 hurricane punches :)

Pro-Scapes
06-19-2006, 01:48 AM
I have one customer I cut hie 1/3 acre and I get $35.00 and I am finished in less then 15 minutes and that is unload, cut, trim, blow and load. Then another 2.5 acre I only get $85.00 for because of a lowballer. I am solo being my first year out with 15 weekly cuts and slowly growing.

Because of a lowballer ? does that mean you let the other guy set your price and you beat his low ball price? so this would make you a what ????

only one I do that cheap is our church. 3 acres for 85. God gets a discount

D and H Seasonal Services
06-19-2006, 10:05 AM
Because of a lowballer ? does that mean you let the other guy set your price and you beat his low ball price? so this would make you a what ????

only one I do that cheap is our church. 3 acres for 85. God gets a discount
I did not beat his price nor match it. His was $65.00 and I knew the customer would not pay the $125.00 I would have charged.Being that, I am new to the biz this year and need the clientel. Because they are getting a reduced rate, they are giving me other work such as, mulch, and fall and spring leaf clean-up at my normal rate for that type of work. I have also gotten more customers from them.

AintNoFun
06-19-2006, 10:09 AM
the only thing that would improve the residential maintenance aspect of the industry is licensing..

Sandgropher
06-19-2006, 10:32 AM
A good LCO and a good customer will always find each other. :usflag:

topsites
06-19-2006, 10:38 AM
My absolute minimum to drop my gate is 35.00. I am new to the biz this year and I am being lowballed all the time. I do not know how these guy's will make it. From what I hear, it is $45.00 to $50.00 per acre in my area. But you have some LCO's doing it for $30.00 to $32.00 per acre. Makes it real tough to support my 3 1/2 year old and 7 month old.

The first year is always the hardest, I'm in my 5th year and I catch challenges that daunt me even today but I just keep going with a persistence that I gained after years of them taking advantage of me.

The problem with low-balling / bending over backwards is I consistently find the customer is not capable of taking a small discount or a little free extra and leaving it at that. Rather than leaving well enough alone, I find that over 90 percent of the time, every single time I give only just an inch because I'm trying not to be a complete jerk, they then proceed to take at least a foot away from me.
After this happened enough times, I got tired of it all.
So, standard industry rate: $60 / hour, $35 minimum.

I mean, you got to put your foot down or it never ends...
You either set the standards, or you don't.
But someone has to lead, someone has to set said standards...
That someone might as well be you.

topsites
06-19-2006, 10:43 AM
good post the rates are the same here $50.00 an acre

No sir, I get 60 / acre in the same city, 85 for 1.5 acres.
See what I mean, I'm setting this standard because my prices are what they are, and take it or leave it.
I used to think I had to get most people (or at least half) to say yes.
I find today if 9 out of 10 say no, that's good enough for me.

p.s.: Saving your winter money first thing (priority one) helps TONS with this take it or leave it attitude.
I have my winter money and a little on top, so I don't care who they call, it's going to be over 100 degrees real soon.
I'm hearing it already, plop plop plop <- It's the sound of green Lco's dropping like flies.

topsites
06-19-2006, 10:52 AM
where is "around here" CT?

The other problem with this industry is when the low price guys go out of business the homeowners only remember one thing, the price.

That, I agree, is a big problem and it frustrates me to find folks out there thinking our kind of work can be bought for 15-20 / hour (some think 10-15 / hour), then you get the oddball who acts like he's sooo understanding and he knows what it's like and then acts like he's doing you a BIG favor right as he blabs off that he's more than willing to pay the $30 / hour we so deserve to get.

Lco pricing Education lesson 101:
Standard Industry rate: $60 / hour minimum (hey, did the price go up? Well I dunno, but it ain't going down.)
Mimimum charge: $35 (did you know $40 just crossed my mind? Yes, it really did, just now)

Lco pricing education lesson 201:
When you run into a lowball customer (I can sense a lowballer when I catch myself going down in price as I'm thinking), double whatever is on your mind and don't be afraid to double again, and again after that if need be: Every time you catch yourself coming down in the price inside your mind, double the figure. If in the end you quote TOO high, no problem because they were likely going to say no anyhow.

Here's how I see things: I got nothing left to lose, they're all going to say no, so just quote whatever (but high), doesn't matter.
In the odd event someone should surprise you with a yes, at least you'll get paid!
As a bonus, you're spreading tons of free pricing education (which are disguised as free estimates).

MarcSmith
06-19-2006, 10:54 AM
Whats the Firm hourly rate for electricians? Whats the firm hourly rate for Plumbers? What the firm hourly rate for Auto Mechanics...Whats the firm hourly rate for Mcdonalds Employee's. Whats the firm hourly rate for landscape laborers looking for a job....You cannot answer these questions as the answers are different for every company. When doing siding on my house the prices varied from 8K to 30K :dizzy:, my driveway repave had a 3K swing in price, My furnace was a 5K swing in price....One dealer wanted $50 to unlock my Gm radio....another was free.....

If you really want to go this route you need to set up labor standards, like the auto shops have a book which outlines fixed time frames for doing certain jobs. Like changing an alternator for a 1982 elcamino by the book takes 1.5 hours...if you can do it in less time, you still charge 1.5 hours...

So 10K sqfeet of turf might take 15 minutes to mow with a 36" machine.
edging 300 linear feet might be 8 minutes.
Blowing 4Ksqft of driveway and sidewalk might be 8 minutes...

But even then, there is too much variation in the jobs to be accurate. Heck and 82' elcamino with a 305 in albequerque is the same as an 82 elcamino with a 305 in duluth....But 10k of grass in florida is a lot different than 10K of grass in PA.....heck 10K of grass in south FL is different than 10K of grass in North West Florida...


IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE COMPANY....... Does it really cost the dealer any more than jiffy lube to do an oil change? Not really. Its the dealers decision to have the high overhead to have to pay....So why should Jiffy Lube be "guaranteed" a higher profit for having lower overhead.....


So let just unionize the whole freaking job market....BTw I believe Price Fixing is somewhat illegal....

More licensing is not the answer....enforcement is though.....

jwscroll
06-19-2006, 10:58 AM
This year I had an out of town company come into my county and cut the prices for all my county contracts in half. They were awarded to that company and I had to lay off 4 employees. How do I compete with that? I agree about the area specific prices, but how do you hold lowball LCOs accountable for price slashing?

MarcSmith
06-19-2006, 11:18 AM
nothing you can do about except laugh when they don't get the contract renwed the follwing year since they will be lowballed by someone else....

Just like nothing can be done a bout "dollar general Stores" or Walmart slashing prices.....

You just have to remind your clients that in a lot of cases you get what you pay for....do they wany ground chuck, a filet, or some were in between....

and gov jobs they want ground chuck....

lawnworker
06-20-2006, 09:23 AM
High end work will equal high end pay, even in this rough industry. Knowing what shrubs go where and why is just one example of a reason company A can charge more then B who buys his shrubs from the fruit stand and his mowers from yard sales.

To many other variables for standardized rates.

Precision
06-20-2006, 05:29 PM
This year I had an out of town company come into my county and cut the prices for all my county contracts in half. They were awarded to that company and I had to lay off 4 employees. How do I compete with that? I agree about the area specific prices, but how do you hold lowball LCOs accountable for price slashing?
Not trying to sound cruel, but welcome to reality. If you chase jobs that lowballers chase that is what you are gonna get. Every fool in town wants those "premium" city, county, state jobs. I stay as far away from them as possible. I see what the contracts get awarded at. Usually about 25% below the cost of labor.

HOA's are usually the same. I bid on one a few weeks ago. bid by request mind you. I bid about $5900 monthly,a buddy of mine bid about $6100 ( we spoke about it after the bids were in). A buddy of his bid it at $6200 or so. Two other bidders put in at $4400 and $5400. Obviously the $4400 guy got the job.

Now the job is EOW cutting and roadside garbage collection on 4.5 acres that includes 1300 sq ft of retention pond edge. Weekly mowing (april - Nov) and EOW (Nov - Mar) of 117 Nicer trailers on contiguous lots (85 on .15 acre) the rest on .23 acres. Each has a driveway to be edged and the entire roadway needs edged weekly. all buildings and obstacles to be line trimmed. 85 cabbage palms to be trimmed once annually. also a shuffle board court area and the "rec" room area to mow and trim and a 1 acre grass parking area with concrete curb stops to trim around (about 50). And some other nitpicky things. Most importantly about 25% of the residential mowing must be done with a 21" mower due to obstacles or layout of buildings.


Now everyone is fairly close except the one guy who underbid the last years contract by almost $700 per month. :dizzy: :dizzy: I am sure he didn't know, but considering the price of gas one would hope to see prices going up not DOWN.

I am not upset that I didn't get the job. that is how it goes. But having evereyone in the race except one genius, well that gets annoying. But hey, he will lose his butt and not bid next year.

jwscroll
06-20-2006, 08:00 PM
I agree that by bidding on lowball cotracts you invite this sort of thing, I thought I was cutting the price as low as it could be cut and still get the job done. I guess I was wrong.

Thirdpete
06-20-2006, 08:49 PM
it wont work because if everyone is charging 30/hr, some genius can charge 29 and scoop up extra business. thus it begins.

Precision
06-20-2006, 10:10 PM
I agree that by bidding on lowball cotracts you invite this sort of thing, I thought I was cutting the price as low as it could be cut and still get the job done. I guess I was wrong.

You were probably cutting it as low as could reasonably be expected and still make money. Problem is some people only count gross and not net.

"I made $400,000 last year" meaning they grossed $400,000 but actually spent $410,000 and don't have any idea.

That and a really crummy labor pool are our biggest issues. I would settle for being able to get good workers, the other one is never gonna get fixed.

One of Three
06-20-2006, 10:24 PM
Quite simply, dumb people will always be in this industry and you either have to out efficient them or out quality them (or both) and leave the scrub clients for the scrub mowers.

I agree. Well Put.

JJLandscapes
06-20-2006, 10:32 PM
I think the lawn care industry as a whole is not charging the correct rates in order to grow and manage their business properly.I think that all lco's should charge a minium hourly rate world wide regardless of size or location...i mean look at the automotive industry the hourly rate is between $60.00 to $75.00 dollars an hour period dealerships are higher as technology and the cost of operating continue to rise we do not.I know that you are always going to have someone getting into the business which is good but if there is a firm hourly rate across the industry then i think it would only depend on how the company trains and maintains labor etc.This i think would stop alot of stress for everyone.

Also i beleive that all lco's should get the same rebates on equitment, supplies and trucks as the big companies do and form a local group to commit to improveing our buying power.

PRO-LAWN, INC



all industries are the same there are mechanics working from home ( lowballing illegal landscapers) ... mechanics working solo charging less than a gas station... national chains like meineke


same type of people in landscaping industry and there kind of is a going rate of $60 most people go by.... mechanic shops have rent , equipment, 10x higher insurance... alot more overhead


Only 2 ways you are going to survive in this idsutry is either going with tons of cheap maintenance routes(justmowit style even though there prices are up now) .... or get into high price landscape construction,hardscaping, ponds..

i myself am going for the low rate maintenance as of now. you can call it lowballing if you would like i charge a couple dollars cheaper than every other LCO but most days are in the $50-60 range per hour and some days im making $100 an hour cutting grass with minimal equipment

If you cant make money in this business make a career change or move to a better area

BSDeality
06-20-2006, 10:38 PM
you're not making $100 with "minimal equipment" what pulls that? truck. what does that pull? trailer. whats on the trailer? trimmer, blower, gas cans, fuel, oil, edger (?), Z, wb, 21" push mower. that is a lot of OH right there, not "minimal equipment"

JJLandscapes
06-20-2006, 11:01 PM
you're not making $100 with "minimal equipment" what pulls that? truck. what does that pull? trailer. whats on the trailer? trimmer, blower, gas cans, fuel, oil, edger (?), Z, wb, 21" push mower. that is a lot of OH right there, not "minimal equipment"


97 gmc jimmy pulling a 7x12 ... 1 redmax 7001 ,1 echo srm 260, $80-100 a week total on gas 1 21" residential lawnboy , $20 a week on bags

if you checked the dictionary for minimal equipment thats what you would see along with my setup picture

compared to 95% of lcos with a f550 3-4 mowers 1 or 2 21's 3 wackers , 3-4 blowers

Everything is paid off completely and was bought for dirt cheap and my overhead is as low as it can humanly get i have spares of most but keep at them at home

so yes im using minimal equipment and yes my company is making $100 an hour quite often during the week..... this is why im always in shock on how people can complain about not making money in this field

I love NY from all the crying on this board i guess my area is just that good to work in :dancing:

J&R Landscaping
06-21-2006, 10:02 PM
it wont work because if everyone is charging 30/hr, some genius can charge 29 and scoop up extra business. thus it begins.

Not to start an argument, but is charging $1 less per hour really lowballing? I could see if he was 5 or more under but I don't think $1 is low-balling. The difference could just be slight difference in overhead, new truck vs older truck.
Just my $0.02

ALarsh
06-21-2006, 11:28 PM
Not to start an argument, but is charging $1 less per hour really lowballing? I could see if he was 5 or more under but I don't think $1 is low-balling. The difference could just be slight difference in overhead, new truck vs older truck.
Just my $0.02
You missed the point...

1 guy starts out at $30 per hour, next guy goes to $29, next guy goes to $28, next guy goes to $27 and the following goes to $26. Follow the chain and then you end up with $10 per hour.

MarcSmith
06-22-2006, 06:49 AM
You just have to deal with Low baller. Do you think the stores are pissed at Walmart they are the kings of lowballing IMO. Absolutely..do they run out an tell walmart to chnage teir business practice. NO...They just let em be... If a low baller is content to makeing minimum wage, why shoudl we try to to convince him otherwise....Is he bringing the entire market down. NO....Will you loose a few price shoppers, yeah probably. but so what...if they are price shoppers msot liky they nickle and dime you, copmlain about price increases and fuel charges, Let em go...

With your business its your reputation on the line every time you step foot on someone property....The only thing you leave behind is an invoice and job well done. If they are only copmlaining about the invoice, then you've done all you can do to keep the customer.

Precision
06-22-2006, 05:04 PM
You just have to deal with Low baller. Do you think the stores are pissed at Walmart they are the kings of lowballing IMO. Absolutely..do they run out an tell walmart to chnage teir business practice. NO...They just let em be... If a low baller is content to makeing minimum wage, why shoudl we try to to convince him otherwise....Is he bringing the entire market down. NO....Will you loose a few price shoppers, yeah probably. but so what...if they are price shoppers msot liky they nickle and dime you, copmlain about price increases and fuel charges, Let em go...

With your business its your reputation on the line every time you step foot on someone property....The only thing you leave behind is an invoice and job well done. If they are only copmlaining about the invoice, then you've done all you can do to keep the customer.


Very good post.

MarcSmith
06-22-2006, 08:43 PM
Very good post.

Man I gotta start using the spell checker... it looks like a 6 year old was typing....:hammerhead:

Precision
06-22-2006, 09:17 PM
Man I gotta start using the spell checker... it looks like a 6 year old was typing....:hammerhead:


yeah, but misspellings are unimportant as long as the advice is good.

TMT
06-22-2006, 09:55 PM
Going rate. That depends on the job. I do not mow a lawn, not matter how small for less then $35.00 that is my base rate. I bill out at an average of $87.00 per hour. I am trying to get to $100.00

J&R Landscaping
06-22-2006, 10:33 PM
You missed the point...

1 guy starts out at $30 per hour, next guy goes to $29, next guy goes to $28, next guy goes to $27 and the following goes to $26. Follow the chain and then you end up with $10 per hour.

I understand that but with todays economy, the line has to be drawn somewhere and I would think itwould be before it got to $20. With the prices today, you'd be wasting money to charge less!

Precision
06-24-2006, 03:49 PM
I understand that but with todays economy, the line has to be drawn somewhere and I would think itwould be before it got to $20. With the prices today, you'd be wasting money to charge less!
you would want to believe that. Unfortunately it isn't true. From large commercial accts to granny in the trailer, Some fool will compete only on price even if it means doing it below cost.

Its real easy to do when you have no idea what your costs are.

I bid on a HOA upscale retirement trailer park. 117 units. ranging from .13 to .23 acre plus a 4.5 acre turf area surrounding a 1 acre water retention area and 80 some odd palms to be trimmed, sprayed for crack weeds and a few other things.

winning bid $9.41 per unit per week.

Sure that comes out to be $4400 a month or 52,800 a year.
but the next lowest bid was $5100 a month or 61,200
and the rest of us were right around $6000 a month or 72,000 per year.

Last years winner who refused to bid because he lost money at $5100. This years winner KNEW that and bid $4400 anyway.

Rumor has it he is trying to underbid everything so he can get a high voume looking business and sell it out to TGCL. Seems he did that once already in South Florida. Well at least he has a plan.

Adamma Landscape Group
06-24-2006, 07:08 PM
1PRO
This is a very good idea. But it will never happen. This summer in our development some 14 year old kids hang flyers all over town advertising that they charge $15 a mow regardless of the size of lawn. They ask the homeowners why they should hire LCO when they can do they same stuff LCO do.
Their tear off went like crazy and a lot of homeowners hired them.

Flex-Deck
06-24-2006, 07:48 PM
The basic rate is around $60 per hour here, with the better rounds $75-$85 per hour. :)

The worlds biggest lawnmowing franchase jims mowing charge a lot more than the average here.


Are you telling me that if you buy a 21 Inch craftsman push mower, you can go out and charge $60 per hr????? _ If you can do that - I am selling my big mowers and coming to your area. HOW can you make a statement like "The basic rate is around $60 per hr. here???????) Your area can not be any different than around here. The jobs get bid by the acre, then you figure out what equipment you need to make money. !!!!!!!!!!!

drmiller100
06-24-2006, 10:21 PM
i'd go broke if i cut back to under 100 per hour.

kids with push muowers are great for my business. pretty fun to show up next to one of them, spend 4 minutes, adn blow out.

CutInEdge Lawn Care
06-24-2006, 10:54 PM
Man I gotta start using the spell checker... it looks like a 6 year old was typing....:hammerhead:

WHAT?? Your not 6 years old? Marc as you stated about the difference from south to north FL. As you know you dont even have to go that far. Go just one block over and have a 10K lot of nice st. aug then go to 4 houses down and have 10k of TG/CL st. aug (twice weekly) or better yet dont know how long you have been gone but the new fad here in central FL is Bahia. Yes, I said bahia. I would rather mow a corn field than bahia. The problem with bahia is not that it is a weed, but that the customers that have bahia let it grow in height like a wheat field. Now there is nothin better than driving thru KS watching the wheat wave in the wind. But when it waves under the mower and comes out the side still poking u in the butt I have problems. Now you being from FL you are familiar with the septic tanks and drain fields being mostly in the front yrd. The whole yrd will grow 6 to 8 inches in 7 days and over the septic it's 2 1/2 feet tall in seven days.

Likestomow
06-25-2006, 09:04 AM
I think the lawn care industry as a whole is not charging the correct rates in order to grow and manage their business properly.I think that all lco's should charge a minium hourly rate world wide regardless of size or location...i mean look at the automotive industry the hourly rate is between $60.00 to $75.00 dollars an hour period dealerships are higher as technology and the cost of operating continue to rise we do not.I know that you are always going to have someone getting into the business which is good but if there is a firm hourly rate across the industry then i think it would only depend on how the company trains and maintains labor etc.This i think would stop alot of stress for everyone...PRO-LAWN, INC

I strongly urge you to take an Economics I class at your local community college. It will definitly change the way you think on this subject and reduce your frustration.

topsites
06-25-2006, 09:16 AM
I strongly urge you to take an Economics I class at your local community college. It will definitly change the way you think on this subject and reduce your frustration.

How about 'business pwnership 101,' do they offer this?

After all, who sets the rates in your business?
You or them?
That's what the problem appears to be, if you're frustrated with the rates you are collecting because it's the most they're willing to pay, then it seems you are unable to charge a higher rate not because this rate does not exist, but because you're either not willing or not able to quote it. Time to start quoting high, at least as high as the middle of the range you're willing to work for, but really higher wouldn't hurt.

Here's 'pwnership 101' in a nutshell:
Quote a high price, do it with all your estimates all of the time and realize 9 out of 10 will say no, do not be afraid of this.
Keep doing it, keep quoting what you need to get paid, and I guarantee things will improve.
Yes it really hurts at first, but you're better off in the long run.

MarcSmith
06-25-2006, 01:49 PM
cut--youmean theose green humps about 3-4' tall in front of the homes are not the natural landscape...say it aint so....:) it always fun when it rains.

all of my contracts were yearly with amortized monthly payments. Ilove bahia. in drought no cut. in winter no cut....but man with the sandy soil and tough blades of grass it was murder on the mower blades...I tried to set most of my bahai up on the same day, usually the last day before the blades got changed....

Precision
06-25-2006, 01:58 PM
cut--youmean theose green humps about 3-4' tall in front of the homes are not the natural landscape...say it aint so....:) it always fun when it rains.

all of my contracts were yearly with amortized monthly payments. Ilove bahia. in drought no cut. in winter no cut....but man with the sandy soil and tough blades of grass it was murder on the mower blades...I tried to set most of my bahai up on the same day, usually the last day before the blades got changed....


I don't mind bahia for the same reasons. but on days where I am doing acreage of bahia, I definately have to change blades on the PM 260. Dull blades and bahia means slowing way down and still leaving partially cut seed heads.

For me I know to make sure I have SHARP blades for the bahia.

guven
06-25-2006, 04:13 PM
Going rate. That depends on the job. I do not mow a lawn, not matter how small for less then $35.00 that is my base rate. I bill out at an average of $87.00 per hour. I am trying to get to $100.00
You mean , you are making average $87.00, solo or with helper, let say if you work two helper and yourself are you trying to make $300.00 an hour, it is really good money.how do you do that?