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grassgirl4
06-13-2007, 03:34 PM
Hi!! This is my very first post...exciting!! :)

This is my third year in business. I am submitting an estimate today for weekly mowing/trimming on a sizable private residence. The job will take a good portion of the day, so I will not be traveling around from site to site guzzling gas and racking up down time. I certainly don't want to underprice myself, as the work I do is top-quality - which I pride myself in (plus I don't want to be a low-baller)!! However, I don't want to overshoot the quote and lose it altogether. I know what the 'big boys' around here charge per man hour, but my question is do they charge the full per-man-hour rate for each hour they are on the property, or do they discount each hour some since they aren't losing time and gas money traveling around?

I had always figured the full per-man-hour rate, but then I saw a post here a few days ago saying that if you're working a property all day, then you discount some (i.e. from $40/man hour to $35).

Opinions?

Thanks!!

pbdlandscaping
06-13-2007, 03:45 PM
well if it's a yearly estimate I would take a shot in the dark and guess the time it would take you, then put a price on what you think your time is worth for that time, then crunch equipment fuel numbers and so on...then mess with the numbers to figure out a good reasonable price that you think you can make good money on and still win the bidding war. also $35/ man-hour is very competitive in my area, actually lower than most but no considered low balling. best of luck

Wet1
06-13-2007, 03:58 PM
I make sure I'm getting paid $60+/hr on all my mowing jobs, this includes travel time. But keep in mind, your location might warrant more or less per hr.

Also keep in mind that very large jobs can be difficult to accurately estimate the amount of time it's going to take you. I'd see if I could workout a discounted one time rate which you both think is fair and see how long it takes you... Or, time whoever is doing the property now. Use this info for a much more accurate quote. Nothing worse than getting the job and realizing you grossly under bit it!

Good luck Grassgirl! :)

fiveoboy01
06-13-2007, 05:55 PM
Depends on the size of the property.

When you say "sizeable part of the day", what's that mean? What's the size of the property? Lots of trimming, or just a little? Hilly? There are a lot of things that factor into price besides size and how long your truck stays parked.

grassgirl4
06-13-2007, 07:16 PM
As for the particulars of the property, I know in total there are about 9 acres; however, some of that is left natural/uncut. The terrain, for the most part, is relatively flat, but there is some slopage here and there, along with a pond that will have to be delt with with my string trimmer and either my WB or the 21" (due to slope). As for trimming, there is quite a bit, as the owner planted a bunch of trees all over the place. He currently mowes it himself with a Ferris ZTR and says it takes him 4-5 hours - mowing only...no trimming. I figured that with all the trimming and dealing with the slopy area around the pond, the entire job would take me around 8-8.5 hours (working alone).

He only wants the trimming and pond done bi-weekly, so I figured $220 for the weeks I just mow (5.5 hrs @ $40/hr) and $340 for the mow/trim weeks (8.5 hrs @ $40/hr).

More opinions? Everyone's voice is greatly appreciated!!

Petr51488
06-13-2007, 08:13 PM
What size mower do you have?

grassgirl4
06-13-2007, 11:09 PM
60" Exmark Lazer Z, Quick 36 (en route), 21" Honda HRX217HXA, Echo handhelds

Petr51488
06-13-2007, 11:28 PM
I'm pretty sure 9 acres can be done in 3 hours or less. I mow my 7 acres in pennsylvania in about 2.5 hours with a deere 52'' tractor

johnnywill08
06-17-2007, 04:22 PM
i've found smaller lawns to be WAY more profitable... hard to get $100 for a single cut but i can easily mow 3 $35 lawns in an hour...

MOturkey
06-17-2007, 04:52 PM
I mow one property that is exactly 2 acres. Several trees which are a bit of a pain due to low haninging branches. Average time with my 50 inch was 1 1/2 hours, with my 60, I trimmed 10 minutes off, or 1 1/3 hours, so roughly 40 minutes per acre. The yard is level, but rough, as are most of the yards around here. I doubt I average over 5-6 mph on the Z most of the time. Hope this helps. Trimming time is much harder to figure, as properties vary so much, but it is much less expensive, relatively speaking, to do, if you are operating solo.

I read posts on here all the time about guys mowing 3 acres an hour, etc, but in the real world, or at least the real world around here, it just doesn't happen that way. Now, if I were young, and didn't care how much I get jostled around, maybe I could mow some wide open and post some of those times myself. :)

Oldtimer
06-17-2007, 07:13 PM
If you knew what it really costs per hour to operate your business then you would never have to ask these questions. Everything you buy is priced according to it's cost and if you write a business plan for your business then you will know your cost of operation and bid accordingly.

I realize a lot of people in business will aggressively avoid writing a business plan and bid without knowing what their profit margin will be.


Oldtimer

grassgirl4
06-17-2007, 07:16 PM
MOturkey,

I agree with you on your 'real world' comment!! On numerous occasions (be it with my business or otherwise) I have guaged (wishfully) how long something will take me, knowing full-well that that is 'perfect-world' scenario. When push comes to shove and 'real world' kicks in, the original estimate tends to go out the window!! That is why, anymore, I try to plan conservatively, adding in some cushion. You have to be careful, though, as more cushion equals higher price for the customer...it's a tricky balancing act!! I want to be fair, but I also want to be properly compensated for my high-quality work!! Not only that, but this is a service - a service that the customer either can't do, doesn't want to do, or doesn't have the time to do. I can't help their life situation. I CAN help them with their yard...but it has its price...

As for 3 acres/hour, I could possible see doing that if the terrain was flat and had very few obstacles to go around. However, it has been my experience that the faster you try and buzz through, the cut quality suffers. Either there is not enough time for the grass to properly stand up and be uniformly cut (hence tall straglers), or your speed is so great that the mower gets to bouncing (leaving some spots high and some low...uneven cut). In addition, I have noticed that at higher speeds (when the mower starts to go bumpity-bump), it is harder to maintain straight lines...and if there's one thing that bugs me, it's crappy stripes!! They look un-professional!!

Thanks for the insight!!

prizeprop
06-17-2007, 07:27 PM
Is $340 a good days work for you?- expenses.If so go for it.

grassgirl4
06-17-2007, 09:29 PM
It is a good day's work for me right now. Obviously I could do it in a shorter amount of time if I had a helper and thus, be able to do more jobs that day (and make more $); however, I don't have the volume at this point to justify/warrant hiring someone...not to mention they're probably not going to want to work piecemeal at just one day a week. So...until I have the volume, I have no choice but to be content with $340.

johnnywill08
06-18-2007, 08:30 AM
MOturkey,

I agree with you on your 'real world' comment!! On numerous occasions (be it with my business or otherwise) I have guaged (wishfully) how long something will take me, knowing full-well that that is 'perfect-world' scenario. When push comes to shove and 'real world' kicks in, the original estimate tends to go out the window!! That is why, anymore, I try to plan conservatively, adding in some cushion. You have to be careful, though, as more cushion equals higher price for the customer...it's a tricky balancing act!! I want to be fair, but I also want to be properly compensated for my high-quality work!! Not only that, but this is a service - a service that the customer either can't do, doesn't want to do, or doesn't have the time to do. I can't help their life situation. I CAN help them with their yard...but it has its price...



well put......

Rob.C
06-18-2007, 11:21 AM
I dont know your area but 9 acres for $220.00 no way I would, I would charge 532.62 to cut, 184.04 to trim and $191.67 to bag total = 908.33 if its a all day job if its 3hrs, at least in the ball park of $685-$725. it will probaly be no bagging I assume, another Idea is to make it a packaged deal or something in those lines, another factor is, is this a weekly cut how high of a cut, 9 acres should take no more than 2 1/2 hrs but it depends on how streched out it is. I have a property that is 4 acres but is spread out all over and taked 6 hrs I get 992.00 for every thing but bagging< I make damn sure I get my hourly fee 95-115 hr, dont charge always by square feet, I have a price list to give bids over the phone wich I rarely do but I tell them prices can vary depending on how the property is layed out. dont go low go high and have something to work with a lot of people on here might not agree with that price but I get those prices anyone can..u havev to be aggressive this makes u top money I made 58,000 first year, I took the approach above and made 134,000, choice is yours best of luck to u (Carman's Custom Lawn-Scape):weightlifter: