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View Full Version : you paid them how much for 89,000 sf.


Schlepie
06-19-2001, 11:37 PM
I was called by a customer whose shrubs I trimmed yesterday. Her yard person hadn't shown up and the grass was at least 6" high or more. She has about 88,000 sf of grass to mow. The property is riverfront and on a slight incline. Parts have a serious incline. She called to tell me her mower person and helper showed up today to mow. Helper did bottom half and he did the top half. She said they left for a while and came back later to get his money and told her they just had too many accounts and could not continue her yard. He couldn't take on any large accounts. She wants me to give her a bid and I asked her bluntly what the other guys were charging her. She said "well they have mowed my yard for 3 years now, every 2 weeks during the season and I paid them $75.00". Is there something wrong with this picture or should I slap myself for even wanting to give a bid and move along.
I have a price of about $200 in mind including trim and cleanup.
Anyone else?

LoneStarLawn
06-19-2001, 11:40 PM
Tell the reason he left was that he probably finally figured out that he was not making money on the property. I would just give her the bid..but I wouldn't expect her to accept it...obviously.

Hey your in New Braunfels...COOL..

Currier
06-19-2001, 11:55 PM
Several years ago I mowed a property for $25.00 I was buying a new mower and thought it would go fast. Turned out to be a HUGE loser. It took me forever to mow but I stuck with it. The next year they dropped me after I raised my price. I do other lawns in that neighborhood and last month they called and wanted me to give a bid. After re-walking the property I told them to "sit down as I didn't want to cause a heart attack...I have raised my prices since I last mowed for you:)"

I gave them a seriously higher bid, one that made it very worth my time and I figured there was no way they would go for it. They did and now we are both happy.

Do not try to get this lawn based on coming close to former cutters price. Do your own bid, maybe even raise it a little and submit. They may never go for it OR they might. Use this as the opportunity that it is. Really no down side for you. Roll the dice:)

KirbysLawn
06-20-2001, 01:00 AM
Well, $35 an acre may not be bad if mowed weekly and is maintained. Only you know that, but it would be weekly, not bi-weekly.

awm
06-20-2001, 08:43 AM
125. if not for the incline an bath waiting at the bottum.
that kicks it to about two for me two.

CMerLand
06-20-2001, 09:06 AM
I love new clients that call for estimates like this. I'll ask them why they are getting rid of their last lawn service and they will say something like, "Oh they never show up regularly, dont weedeat around everything, and forget to blow off my back patio, and they never return my phone calls. So can you cut my lawn for what I was paying them."

After I giggle to myself, I say sure, "But to do it that price I'll never show up regularly, not weedeat everything, forget to blow off the back patio and never return your phone calls."

Usually they will get the point, and understand why our price will be higher then the last guys and then we just have to prove it to them with good service.

CMerLand

gogetter
06-20-2001, 10:23 AM
Well, $35 an acre may not be bad if mowed weekly and is maintained]


Wow!! I think I'll stick to my 5-6K sq.ft. lawns for $30 a pop.
$35 an acre? Is that really a going rate in your area?
If there's any guys here from the eastern PA. area, please tell me that's not the going rate around here! I was thinking I'd like to get some larger lawns next season, but not if that's what they're paying.
Kirby, how long would it take you to do an acre lawn (assuming few obstacles)?

JLC
06-20-2001, 10:46 AM
The price really depends on the property and the equipment you use. If it is pretty straight forward average trimming, smooth lawn, accessible to a 60 inch mower, 89,000 square feet could be done quite fast. However if a 48 walk is all that is available it will take longer, thus a higher price. It comes down to time spent. Time spent will be different for different pieces of equipment.

KirbysLawn
06-20-2001, 10:55 AM
Originally posted by gotgetter
$35 an acre? Is that really a going rate in your area?

It all depends on the lawn. I usually get $40 for half acre lawns, I do 2 larger lawns that are just under 2 acres each and I get $75 a mow. If the lawn is open and has little trimming I should be done in an hour.

I did a post a while back about a guy here mowing 2 lawns, one was 10 acres and the other 7 acres, for $10 and acre, some here thought that was a good price.:confused: I guess it all depends on how fast it can be done.

CMerLand
06-20-2001, 11:40 AM
JLC,

Not to pick on you but in your reply, you stated that with a "48 inch mower it will take longer, thus a higher price".

My question to you is WHY with a ztr should the price not be just as high? This thought process is the biggest impediment to prices increasing for lawn mowing services over the 15 years Ive been doing it.

Yes, ZTRs are faster I know, I have one Walker and about to buy a Toro Z. But they cost two to three times as much to buy, operating costs are higher per hour, maintenance costs and parts are higher then the few things that can go down on a walkbehind. On top of that you generally have your best guy operating it which increases the cost per hour to run it.

Why give your investment money in this ZTR back to your customer as an artificial price discount? Most guys go from a walkbehind to a ZTR and dont think of lowering their price for existing customers, however when they go out and bid new work knowing how quick they can work with the ZTR they lower their prices without even realizing it. So over time they will have clients with 5-10k lawns paying $ 25 or $ 30.00 per cut (the cuts they started with) and 25-30k lawns charging $40.00 or maybe $45.00 per cut.

Im not saying that you should be charging 3 to 5 times more for the cut but dont give your investment dollars away. Nothing will make you see my point faster then the time your ZTR goes down for a week and you have to go back to cutting your route with all walkbehinds again. Your original lawns your still making your 30 bucks an hour, but those larger lawns your lucky if your earning half that.

GoGetter, keep on doing those 5-6 k lawns they are by far our most profitable lawns to cut as you can bang them out in 20 minutes and have three of them done earning you 90 bucks per hour. Bigger properties dont always translate to more dollars per minute cutting.

Anyone want to disagree with me???

CMerLand

JLC
06-20-2001, 04:16 PM
Cmerland,

There are so many variables to be considered on each lawn. I agree that on smaller properties the difference in time spent operating between a walk and ride are negligible to the point that the walkbehind would be more attractive to my bottom line to use. Depending on what model (hydro, belt, etc) they should cost about half of what it costs to operate a rider per hour. However, I would not quote 89,000, assuming what I did in my previous post, with a 48" walk when I can quote it with a 60" ride for a better price. My competition will, and they will get the job and do a decent job. I could never be competitive on big lawns if I quoted a 48 walk price regardless of what equipment I actually used on it. If you know your costs of operation you know that there is a point where a rider becomes cheaper to quote with than a walkbehind. I will make what I need to with the cheaper price and get the job too. I'm not a lowballer, and I don't get every job I bid and that's fine, but I know my costs and if I'm going do "hog out" open lots with a rider I'm going to quote it like that, not with a 48 inch walk that is not as efficient in these large areas.

cos
06-20-2001, 04:35 PM
Some lawns are best left alone. In those type of deals, someone is a winner and someone is a loser. I can probably tell you who the loser is too.

Turfcouncil
06-20-2001, 05:17 PM
Wow a 89k sq ft. lawn
That is HUGE in these parts of the desert
I have some that are 400Sq ft.
I can't even think about pricing per acre
that would take a long time with my 21"s
Each lawn has characteristics that make it uniqe and priced accordingly:blob3:

Vandora Lawn & Landscape
06-20-2001, 05:40 PM
I've found that when I bid a lawn, I prefer not to know the previous post. I know my costs. I know how long it will take me to cut lawn. That is how I price them. I don't care what anyone else is charging. I charge what gives me a fair profit for my time. I don't have trouble getting accounts.

WILSON BROS.
06-20-2001, 06:00 PM
Nearly all we do is large accounts. We have 2 or 3 at the most under 90,00 Sq ft. When I first started I was one of those guys who didn't charge near enough for the types and sizes of properties I was mowing. I however have learned in the past couple of years how to bid. (correctly) 200 is not an unreasonable price. We have 5 in one block that are roughly 130,000 each. We do the for about half that. But no water hazzards, and minimal trimming. Got the call today the guy across the street wants his done that makes six. 2 guys half a day and over 700.00 I think that makes good sense. I would rather mow 5 a week and do a good job, while making good money than do 500 for the same price. just a thought.

leeslawncare
06-20-2001, 06:44 PM
Not to get off your job but this may help .I just got a contract for 16200sq lawn in a hi end (250k to 400k) hood an i priced it for 55.00 every 10 to14.it is a simple lawn well landscaped .i hope that was a good price? an good luck with yours

Foz
06-20-2001, 06:46 PM
If I wanted it, with average trimming and blowing, I would bis for $180, but I know guys that would bid it for $100 also, personnaly I would rather do less lawns and make more $ per lawn & price them so that both the customer & I am happy.:D

accuratelawn
06-20-2001, 08:03 PM
I just got a lawn at about 85,000 sq ft. I bid $90 per cut, and was $5 less than the guy who had it. It takes less than an hour with two guys 60" Z and 52" walk.

kutnkru
06-20-2001, 08:30 PM
I think that quite often there are many unforeseen variables in how LCOs price their properties.

There are strength in numbers because if you lock up a neighborhood odds are good that its yours for the season!!! Then again some people are just looking for the lowest price.

I have bid acreage lots from $28/acre to $155/acre. It all depends on the Degree of Difficulty involved with the lawn and if you are hungry or rapeing the market when bidding because your plate is full.

Kris