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View Full Version : Turned Down 3 Acre Mowing Job


echeandia
04-09-2007, 04:07 PM
Got a call this morning from a guy who has a 3 acre lot. I have a 48" Exmark Turf Tracer with a Sulky. I told the guy on the phone that the job was too big for me. Would you have turned down this job?

ncls
04-09-2007, 04:29 PM
Depends if I had a full route or not. When I was starting out, I'd take anything.

dcondon
04-09-2007, 04:32 PM
I sure would have gone and looked at it and if he liked your price why wold you turn it down:confused: Most people would be jumping on that!!!

paul vroom
04-09-2007, 04:51 PM
Live and learn. Next time check it out, you might be able to get away with subing the job out.

lawnpro724
04-09-2007, 05:03 PM
Why would you turn it down, sure it might take you a while with a 48" walkbehind but if he agreed to your price in time you could have gotten another mower to get it done faster. You should have been able to get it done in about 2 hours depending on trimming.

lpwhandyman
04-09-2007, 05:26 PM
A big job is only small jobs put together in one convenient place. For the right price, why not?

GreenN'Clean
04-09-2007, 05:30 PM
I would have went and looked at it and made it worth my while to cut it...

Horsepower Lawns
04-09-2007, 07:07 PM
I did 3 acres with a 36in. It took some time, but I got it done.

topsites
04-09-2007, 08:21 PM
I can't say for sure, I turned down a 35 cubic yard mulch job this morning, but more so because the customer informed me on the phone that it was this much mulch needed to be spread (translation: they ordered the mulch from someone else then try and get some dumbazz Lco to spread it = customer trying to save a dollar = the mulch place didn't give them no discount = they expect I will, since nobody else has, and won't pay more).

Either way, it would've took me 3-4 days, maybe more, I have a problem when it's not my mulch, there's no telling if it's really 35 cu.yds. or not, and then half the time a lot of the mulch has to go 100-200 feet distances one way away, not to mention I didn't estimate it so there's no telling how thick it needs to be spread and basically since it's their plan it puts me at their mercy, so it takes forever and regardless of what I charge, I get took.
Meanwhile, it cuts me out of the delivery fee, and it may not be much, but that's the cake part of the job dangit. So what am I left with, $25 / cu.yd. to spread it is like pulling teeth, I'd really like to get paid per barrow load (so as to make sure I don't get took), but most of these cheapos are thinking $18 - $20 / cu.yd. so...

And the same with 3 acres, if it's too much, it drags bad, the 48" is good for 1/4 acre to an acre, and you can just about start to feel the drag when you're dealing with one acre, of course anything beyond is pure drag lol.

I'd do 3 acres for $130 with my 48 proline w/ velke, but it would take 140 - 150 minutes straight cutting... Then, spend another 30-45 minutes trimming, easy 3-4 hours, roughly 35-40 per hour but it is a constant pay, no truck time and all 1-stop shopping, it does actually add out to good money. Way I used to do it is cut it in sections, a 3 acre lot likely would be like 6-8 or 10 squares somekinda way put together, do one square at a time, it's mentally easier than tackling the entire ball of wax. You just split it up in your mind, and cut out squares or rectangles and work on those and eventually you get 1/2 way through and a little further and half a day later you're done lol. You know, two of these, one in the am and one in the pm = $260, two stops and no more, I could deal with it, kinda.

I would've took it back when, and likely today also, but then grass cutting's my favorite of it all :)
Maybe you should've took my mulch job and I did the 3 acres?

David C.
04-09-2007, 08:31 PM
Got a call this morning from a guy who has a 3 acre lot. I have a 48" Exmark Turf Tracer with a Sulky. I told the guy on the phone that the job was too big for me. Would you have turned down this job?

I took a 6 acre church ---- mowed every sq. inch with my Snapper 52" ZTR---it isn't much bigger than your 48"-------secret to it is---keep your machine runnin'----don't stop for nothin'---keep moving---don't goof off---don't stop unless you absolutely have to---as in---"I got ta go behind this buildin' and drain my bladder!!!!"----but even then---keep your machine idling----don't stop!!! You'll be through in a little while that way!!!

mini14
04-09-2007, 08:35 PM
3 acre open lot no prob. takes me 40 minutes with my z-master, machines dont cost u money, they make u money, in time u will realize this. finance everything...

echeandia
04-09-2007, 08:35 PM
I tried to call the guy back but the phone number on my caller ID turns out to be the PBX number for the place he works at. So I can't find him. Oh well.

I did get another call late for another 3 acre lot that I am going to look at, because of what you guys have said. I'm meeting the guy next Tuesday. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks.

fiveoboy01
04-09-2007, 09:45 PM
Good luck. With a 48" it will take a little time for that acreage, but not that long. If it's wide open I'd think you could do an acre in around 30 minutes or so, if you can mow at full stick and have a sulky so you're not running the whole time.

Dirt Digger2
04-09-2007, 10:02 PM
if you wanna get big you gotta take bigger jobs...right?

corey4671
04-09-2007, 10:10 PM
Good luck. With a 48" it will take a little time for that acreage, but not that long. If it's wide open I'd think you could do an acre in around 30 minutes or so, if you can mow at full stick and have a sulky so you're not running the whole time.

3 acres in 30 minutes with a 48? no way. I have an acre lot wide open mowing that takes me all of 25 minutes to mow wide open with my 60"

Bueller
04-09-2007, 10:17 PM
You should at least look at these jobs, a 3 acre lot means very little. Take a 3 acre lot and subtract area of the house, driveway, a couple of beds... you see where I am going. You could be down to half the mowing very easily.

Prestige-Lawncare
04-09-2007, 10:30 PM
3 acres in 30 minutes with a 48? no way. I have an acre lot wide open mowing that takes me all of 25 minutes to mow wide open with my 60"

I think if you re-read his post ... he said 1 acre in 30 minutes ... therefore 3 acres would be around 90 minutes.

fiveoboy01
04-09-2007, 10:40 PM
3 acres in 30 minutes with a 48? no way. I have an acre lot wide open mowing that takes me all of 25 minutes to mow wide open with my 60"

Put your glasses on, and re-read my post...

corey4671
04-09-2007, 11:11 PM
please accept my apologies five 0 boy. pollen has my contacts all fogged up. Does make a little more sense now!

robbo521
04-09-2007, 11:22 PM
i cut for 2 different people and there yards are 3acre.one takes me 2.5 hrs to cut,trim and blow.yard has a lot of trees and beds and a ditch all down the road.the other one takes me 3 hrs because it is so ruff and its just all over the place.they both pay great,and these two have almost paid my JD 48'' ztrack off.will i go bigger,you bet i will because i love the big yards.i have two for next year that are total 14acres,wide open and very little trim and blow.before my 48" i used a 42" rider for 9 acres.

Prestige-Lawncare
04-09-2007, 11:26 PM
... machines don't cost u money, they make u money ...

I like this thinking ... how true it is. I've always had the mentality that you have to have the proper tools to do the job. No tools ... no jobs. No jobs ... no money!

xtrim
04-09-2007, 11:32 PM
The amount of time that you can save from loading and unloading equipment, locking and unlocking equipment, gas from one property to another, the number of invoices that need to be sent... I rather do 1 big job than have many small ones

fiveoboy01
04-10-2007, 02:17 AM
please accept my apologies five 0 boy. pollen has my contacts all fogged up. Does make a little more sense now!


No problem:)

Midwest Lawn Services
04-10-2007, 04:00 AM
A three acre job should take you about 2.5-3 hours depending on trimming. I agree with some of the others, one 3 acre client is the same as 6 0.5 acre clients, only there is no travel time involved. Shoot him a competitive price and bid the job next time!!:hammerhead:

Roger
04-10-2007, 06:25 AM
... I agree with some of the others, one 3 acre client is the same as 6 0.5 acre clients, only there is no travel time involved. ...

From my experiences, this assessment is not my finding. And, others have shared my viewpoint as well.

Another post earlier stated something like, "... you are not going to get bigger unless you take the bigger jobs ..."

Pricing is usually not proportional to property size. Many others have stated the same thing. In other words, taking the example above, taking the price of one 0.5 acre lot, times six, against the price of one three acre lot -- doesn't fit. Oh yes, there is no travel time. But, the total revenue doesn't match.

My best $/hr jobs are the smaller ones (10K sq ft). This same assessment has been stated here before. In my case, I could make much more total money on many 10K sq ft lots. I only need a hand mower -- forget the w/b, ZTR, etc and the associated expense. I only have two of these at the moment.

I would expect 3 acre lots can be good profit, IF you have the right equipment to do them, and can justify the equipment for many other similar sized properties.

At one time, I had a 3 acre lot, mowing with a 36" w/b and sulky (I think somebody else above stated the same situation). After one season, I dropped that customer because I could find three 25K sq ft properties, do mow in about the same time, but much more money. I was young to the business and was looking for any kind of work when I took the 3 acre property (it took me 3 hours).

Bigger properties look very attractive, but the question remains: Are these jobs profitable for you and your setup?

Duekster
04-10-2007, 06:32 AM
I can't say for sure, I turned down a 35 cubic yard mulch job this morning, but more so because the customer informed me on the phone that it was this much mulch needed to be spread (translation: they ordered the mulch from someone else then try and get some dumbazz Lco to spread it = customer trying to save a dollar = the mulch place didn't give them no discount = they expect I will, since nobody else has, and won't pay more).

Either way, it would've took me 3-4 days, maybe more, I have a problem when it's not my mulch, there's no telling if it's really 35 cu.yds. or not, and then half the time a lot of the mulch has to go 100-200 feet distances one way away, not to mention I didn't estimate it so there's no telling how thick it needs to be spread and basically since it's their plan it puts me at their mercy, so it takes forever and regardless of what I charge, I get took.
Meanwhile, it cuts me out of the delivery fee, and it may not be much, but that's the cake part of the job dangit. So what am I left with, $25 / cu.yd. to spread it is like pulling teeth, I'd really like to get paid per barrow load (so as to make sure I don't get took), but most of these cheapos are thinking $18 - $20 / cu.yd. so...

And the same with 3 acres, if it's too much, it drags bad, the 48" is good for 1/4 acre to an acre, and you can just about start to feel the drag when you're dealing with one acre, of course anything beyond is pure drag lol.

I'd do 3 acres for $130 with my 48 proline w/ velke, but it would take 140 - 150 minutes straight cutting... Then, spend another 30-45 minutes trimming, easy 3-4 hours, roughly 35-40 per hour but it is a constant pay, no truck time and all 1-stop shopping, it does actually add out to good money. Way I used to do it is cut it in sections, a 3 acre lot likely would be like 6-8 or 10 squares somekinda way put together, do one square at a time, it's mentally easier than tackling the entire ball of wax. You just split it up in your mind, and cut out squares or rectangles and work on those and eventually you get 1/2 way through and a little further and half a day later you're done lol. You know, two of these, one in the am and one in the pm = $260, two stops and no more, I could deal with it, kinda.

I would've took it back when, and likely today also, but then grass cutting's my favorite of it all :)
Maybe you should've took my mulch job and I did the 3 acres?


Why not shoot them a Labor rate and tell them that industry standards are aproximately 1 yard per hour but other factors include......


So you can shoot them a rate on the phone and if still interested you go meet face to face.

Duekster
04-10-2007, 06:34 AM
From my experiences, this assessment is not my finding. And, others have shared my viewpoint as well.

Another post earlier stated something like, "... you are not going to get bigger unless you take the bigger jobs ..."

Pricing is usually not proportional to property size. Many others have stated the same thing. In other words, taking the example above, taking the price of one 0.5 acre lot, times six, against the price of one three acre lot -- doesn't fit. Oh yes, there is no travel time. But, the total revenue doesn't match.

My best $/hr jobs are the smaller ones (10K sq ft). This same assessment has been stated here before. In my case, I could make much more total money on many 10K sq ft lots. I only need a hand mower -- forget the w/b, ZTR, etc and the associated expense. I only have two of these at the moment.

I would expect 3 acre lots can be good profit, IF you have the right equipment to do them, and can justify the equipment for many other similar sized properties.

At one time, I had a 3 acre lot, mowing with a 36" w/b and sulky (I think somebody else above stated the same situation). After one season, I dropped that customer because I could find three 25K sq ft properties, do mow in about the same time, but much more money. I was young to the business and was looking for any kind of work when I took the 3 acre property (it took me 3 hours).

Bigger properties look very attractive, but the question remains: Are these jobs profitable for you and your setup?


Bigger jobs often require more home work. Some times you have more open lawn and less line trimming as a ratio. Often there is less blowing too.

bigmudder77
04-10-2007, 08:29 AM
call that guy back up and tell him you just upgraded and you can make him an offer now dont wait any longer

bigmudder77
04-10-2007, 08:33 AM
i mow 3 acres just for my house takes me about 3 hours to mow and trim with a 48in but i also have a bad id say 1/3 arce that is nothing but bumps and i take my older cub 44in through that but thats also just mowing trimming takes longer cause we have lots of pasture and have to trim under all the dam boards cause we havnt stocked back up on cows for the summer yet. best way to get crappy areas mowed put some cows out there.

1cooltreeguy
04-10-2007, 08:33 AM
call that guy back up and tell him you just upgraded and you can make him an offer now dont wait any longer

Ditto - Do not wait.:usflag:

topsites
04-10-2007, 09:17 AM
Yeah, I would try quoting $140'ish for 3 acres.

No, it's not the same as 6 .5 acre lots in total revenue, but after you figure all the cost of truck time, it does add out decent.
The Wb consumes far less fuel than the truck (and costs less per hour), and you get paid the entire time vs. having to load / unload and drive back-forth.

Why not shoot them a Labor rate and tell them that industry standards are aproximately 1 yard per hour but other factors include......

So you can shoot them a rate on the phone and if still interested you go meet face to face.

Real simple: I don't spread other ppl's mulch.
In short, it works along the same principles as not using customer provided equipment.

echeandia
04-10-2007, 09:52 AM
call that guy back up and tell him you just upgraded and you can make him an offer now dont wait any longer

I tried the number again and got the guy. I am going to look at the lot today.

bigmudder77
04-10-2007, 09:59 AM
good i wish i had people calling me around here.

i quoted a guy $175 to mow trim edge and blow 3 acres (he had a long driveway and it was all paved and he wanted it all edged every time)

guy told me i was trying to stick him he said he had never had any one tell him over $100 he was looking more for like $50 for the 3 acres every week

it would cost me around $100 in fuel and ins. and other parts every week blades are not cheap. and gas at 2.80 thats not cheap and my ins. for truck at $1000 a year for libility and my $10,000 coverage on every thing on my trailer and the $2 million libility for the company thats around $700 a year

i wouldnt go less than $150 unless its all flat and there isnt any thing to trim or mow around then id do it for $100

echeandia
04-10-2007, 10:49 PM
Well I went and looked at the property today. It is actually 3 1/2 acres. There is a creek running through it. I have to ask the guy if he want the creek shoreline trimmed. I don't think he will based on the looks of it, He also has an area that has a turkey wire fence. It is a dog run. I'm guessing that the fence is 200 linear feet and he'll want it trimmed from both sides. There are also three areas where there are large trees that have dropped a bunch of branches. He said he will pick the branches up but who knows. If he doesn't then I have to pick them up before mowing those areas. There is also a post and rail fence that runs along one side of the property. That fence is a good 400 feet long. I'm thinking I will tell him $200 per week. What do you think?

d&rlawncare
04-10-2007, 11:12 PM
Well I went and looked at the property today. It is actually 3 1/2 acres. There is a creek running through it. I have to ask the guy if he want the creek shoreline trimmed. I don't think he will based on the looks of it, He also has an area that has a turkey wire fence. It is a dog run. I'm guessing that the fence is 200 linear feet and he'll want it trimmed from both sides. There are also three areas where there are large trees that have dropped a bunch of branches. He said he will pick the branches up but who knows. If he doesn't then I have to pick them up before mowing those areas. There is also a post and rail fence that runs along one side of the property. That fence is a good 400 feet long. I'm thinking I will tell him $200 per week. What do you think?

One question...How many hours will this take you?

topsites
04-10-2007, 11:12 PM
Here's what I would do: Get your price for a standard cut and trim (without the bs) and figure out how much extra for the 1st time bs. I mean, how long will it take, 20-30 minutes longer, an hour, two? You have to know, so 20-30 bucks more, 50?
idk, whatever you figure, k.

So then...
Tell him the first figure on a regular basis, but the first time would be $extra.

I did this 1-2 weeks ago, smallish lot but quite a bit of grass and leaves (thou it had been cleaned before, still it was messy).
It was really worth more but I was stupid, so I quoted $30 regular but first time $40...
Bit of hemming and hawing (yup it was still high geez) but customer said ok.
Well, then it worked out, I got my 40 (should've been 50-60) but I also got a regular customer out of it so it's cool.

I had another one just like it, should've been 55-60 but I got 50 out of it 1st time, now it's 40 regular (1/2 acre lot).
So it does work, you might lose 5-10 bucks but don't lowball with that in mind, I think it happens automatic so price accordingly lol.

I think 140-175 regular for 3.5 tops, but that's me in virginia...

Another way is quote first time only, and then time yourself.
This should give you an idea of what it will take next time, keeping in mind next time it will take less time.
Explain this to the customer, and that you would have a better idea for a regular price by the time the 1st service is done.

Midwest Lawn Services
04-12-2007, 06:09 PM
From my experiences, this assessment is not my finding. And, others have shared my viewpoint as well.

Another post earlier stated something like, "... you are not going to get bigger unless you take the bigger jobs ..."

Pricing is usually not proportional to property size. Many others have stated the same thing. In other words, taking the example above, taking the price of one 0.5 acre lot, times six, against the price of one three acre lot -- doesn't fit. Oh yes, there is no travel time. But, the total revenue doesn't match.

My best $/hr jobs are the smaller ones (10K sq ft). This same assessment has been stated here before. In my case, I could make much more total money on many 10K sq ft lots. I only need a hand mower -- forget the w/b, ZTR, etc and the associated expense. I only have two of these at the moment.

I would expect 3 acre lots can be good profit, IF you have the right equipment to do them, and can justify the equipment for many other similar sized properties.

At one time, I had a 3 acre lot, mowing with a 36" w/b and sulky (I think somebody else above stated the same situation). After one season, I dropped that customer because I could find three 25K sq ft properties, do mow in about the same time, but much more money. I was young to the business and was looking for any kind of work when I took the 3 acre property (it took me 3 hours).

Bigger properties look very attractive, but the question remains: Are these jobs profitable for you and your setup?

You are right, the revenues do not match, but most of us in this business make no money starring through a windshield! Just something to think about.:)