PDA

View Full Version : Production #'s for 20K or bigger lawns


BeautifulBlooms
04-13-2008, 06:02 PM
I am having a hard time getting any of the large lawns I have been bidding on.

I specifically am concerned my production #'s that I use for lawns 20K or smaller just dont work when the lawns are much bigger.

I figure I can mow just about any property (within reason) that is 20K or less somewhere between 20-30 minutes. But say I have a 40K lawn with the second 20K part of the lawn pretty much just back and forth with minimal obstructions, minimal trimming, and minimal blowing I think my #'s just dont work. Can someone give me some guidance here.

I have a 52" Ferris IS 1500 and my typical production for that mower are between 680 - 1100 Sq. Ft. per minute. SO I am using 1100 as my production # for the outer areas or more wide open areas, but I havent gotten any properties greater than about 24K. I think my price just ends up too high.

Someone help em figure it out, because I would much rather be ont he larger properties than a bunch of the little ones!

hackitdown
04-13-2008, 09:31 PM
When you determine the amount of time you spend on a 20K lawn vs. a 40K lawn, you need to consider load/unload and travel.

Lets say a 20K lawn is 30 mins working on site...plus 15 minutes to load/unload and travel, giving you an actual time of 45 minutes. Maybe you price that at $45.

A 40K lawn will take less than 60 minutes. A big mower will be more productive (sq. ft. per minute) on a large lawn because you will probably be taking longer runs, providing fewer turns per sq. ft. But to keep it simple, let's say it takes 60 minutes on site...plus 15 mins to load and travel. So to be consistant with your 20K pricing, you would price it at $75.

So if you are just doubling the 20K fee ($45) to price a 40K lawn at $90, competitors may be coming in at $75 and getting the customer. If the competitor knows he can mow it in 50 minutes, they might price it at $65.

BeautifulBlooms
04-13-2008, 10:01 PM
I do my lawn pricing like this
Travel Fee $10 unless I have an existing customer inthe same neighborhood or if the property is more than 10 minutes from my previous customer ont he route
Load Fee $5 covers mowers and trimmer load and unload, refueling equipment etc
Mow Fee $x based on a range of 680 sq. ft. per minute to 1100 sq. ft. per minute based on my 52" Ferris and depending on technicaility of the lawn
Trim Fee $y usually around $10-15 can be higher for some properties if there are long fences
Blow Fee $z usually also around $10-15 but can be a lot higher for lots of paved areas or if I need to spread out a lot clippings in the lawn
Miscellaneous Fee $A this comes into play when i have a family with a lot of kids who leave stuff lying around, garbage pickup as needed (more on commercial properties) This fee is usually $0 but I have it on my bidding sheets I use when measuring a property in case there are certain circumstances that will keep me from mowing right off the trailer

I add all of these up and that is my total.

For last year again on lawns ranging from 8000-24000 I averaged about 800 sq. ft. per minute on my Z turn. The smaller technical properties were as low as 680, and my wide open mowing was up around 1100 sq. ft.

My blowing and trimming fee was usually around $10 each on average, the 24000 lawn was arund $15.

hackitdown
04-14-2008, 07:35 PM
From your response...
Travel Fee $10
Load Fee $5
Mow Fee $15 (?)
Trim Fee $10
Blow Fee $10

So it sounds like you have a $50 fee for a 10K sq/ft lawn. What are you charging for a 40K sq/ft lawn?

BeautifulBlooms
04-14-2008, 07:58 PM
A 10K lawn can range from $35-55 depending on trimming requirements and will take me anywhere from 35-60 minutes about including my travel and load times.

I have been quoting out about 75-110 for the 40K lawn depending on the property and havent gotten one back yet. I am not sure if I am just shooting too high or if they are just getting the lowballer to come in and give them a low mow fee. I would be glad to drop my pricing for mowing if I was guaranteed to get other work like mulch, weeding, shrub trimming, SCU, FCU but most of these people only requested mowing.

lifetree
04-14-2008, 09:29 PM
... I have been quoting out about 75-110 for the 40K lawn depending on the property and havent gotten one back yet. ...

I think an acre is about 56,000 sq. feet, isn't it ?? Another test of reasonability for your pricing is to evaluate it based on the total fee per acre mowed. Around here an acre would go for about $ 55-60 including trimming and blowing ... so I'd say you may be a little high !!

BeautifulBlooms
04-14-2008, 09:31 PM
an acre is 43560

hackitdown
04-14-2008, 09:39 PM
In my area, a 40K sq ft lawn would cost about $70 or $80. A 10K would be more like $40. Average lawns here are about 15 to 20K sq ft. My average fee is $45.

Why don't you call back some of those customers, and ask why they chose another company? At this point we are only guessing that it is a price problem.

lifetree
04-15-2008, 05:57 AM
an acre is 43560

Thanks for the correction !!

milkie62
04-21-2008, 02:13 AM
An acre is 208' x 208' ---- around 43000 sq ft

ALC-GregH
04-21-2008, 09:21 AM
do you really feel the customer should pay for you to drive to their home for YOU to mow it? I can't understand that at all. Price it based on time and that will cover anything you need to finish the job, as long as you bid it right. KISS.....

edgeman2003
04-21-2008, 12:30 PM
do you really feel the customer should pay for you to drive to their home for YOU to mow it? I can't understand that at all. Price it based on time and that will cover anything you need to finish the job, as long as you bid it right. KISS.....

Im in the hagerstown area, I charge $35.00 cut,trim and blow no matter how small the yard is 700sqft and lower. 750sqft and up starts @ $40 and up, is that a fare price for my area?

ALC-GregH
04-21-2008, 12:51 PM
I talked to a local business today about doing their lawn. It hasn't been cut yet so I thought I'll talk with the manager. As soon as I asked about maintaining the grass, he said he has someone already. I told him he must be sick or something, the grass is way to long now and he told me the guy likes to wait until it gets alittle longer. Well after that, I asked what he was charging, he said $35! I had looked it over good already and told him I would have charged $45 but would keep it edged and trimmed clean. It would have taken me 45-60 minutes to cut. The back of the property had a very small but steep bank that would require a push mower and on the top of the bank it had a row of 12 small bushes that are a foot or two from the back of the building that need trimmed around, the front was flat and open.

I also stopped a guy mowing a lawn and asked what he was charging them (playing a homeowner role) and he said $20!!!! After looking, it would only take me 10 minutes to do.
My point, having a set minimum price can hurt you as much as help. If you only take 10 minutes to cut the lawn and your done, $35 would be steep and you'd most likely not get the job. I hate to say it but I might have to resort to lowballing just to get some work. It will suck on my part as I'll be working for peanuts to get started after paying expenses. I guess you gotta start somewhere.

edgeman2003
04-21-2008, 01:23 PM
I talked to a local business today about doing their lawn. It hasn't been cut yet so I thought I'll talk with the manager. As soon as I asked about maintaining the grass, he said he has someone already. I told him he must be sick or something, the grass is way to long now and he told me the guy likes to wait until it gets alittle longer. Well after that, I asked what he was charging, he said $35! I had looked it over good already and told him I would have charged $45 but would keep it edged and trimmed clean. It would have taken me 45-60 minutes to cut. The back of the property had a very small but steep bank that would require a push mower and on the top of the bank it had a row of 12 small bushes that are a foot or two from the back of the building that need trimmed around, the front was flat and open.

I also stopped a guy mowing a lawn and asked what he was charging them (playing a homeowner role) and he said $20!!!! After looking, it would only take me 10 minutes to do.
My point, having a set minimum price can hurt you as much as help. If you only take 10 minutes to cut the lawn and your done, $35 would be steep and you'd most likely not get the job. I hate to say it but I might have to resort to lowballing just to get some work. It will suck on my part as I'll be working for peanuts to get started after paying expenses. I guess you gotta start somewhere.

To me $35 seems low already, when I used to do car audio stuff my prices were double everyone else prices. People still came to me because they knew I was the best at what I did. They know at car shows, thats the difference between first and second place.

BeautifulBlooms
04-21-2008, 07:21 PM
You are darn right I charge for my travel time, they don't see the breakdown of the pricing all they see is a per cut fee. If I didn't charge for my travel time my hourly rate would be much higher, but either way I will recover the cost to send myself to someones property. I only have 10 lawn accounts and they are spread out a little bit. 6 are very central the other 4 are out a ways (15-20 minutes away). If someone wants me to service their lawn they will be paying for my time to get there. Most of my customers are already existing customers from the landscape maintenance and they know our quality and thats why they pay what they do.

I am not trying to be a lowballer who makes zero-little money, no matter what I do I will be making money. I am a professional landscaper who also mows lawns as an add-on service to my customers. I will bid a lawn mowing job to a new person who wants nothing else, but they will be paying a touch more for me to do it, but in the end I think if they gave me a shot they would see the value in hiring me. I understand that I may not get all the mowing jobs I have proposed and that is fine with me, but I would like to figure out why I am not getting the larger accounts.

So far my pricing has been very comparable to what other people charge for the lots that have 10K-20K sq. ft. of turf. But I havent gotten any of the bids I have sent out with 30-40K sq. ft. of turf. Maybe I should just drop $20 off the fee I come up with and see how I perform on those properties. That will certainly teach me how long those properties will actually take me.

Az Gardener
04-21-2008, 09:42 PM
If there are lots of up sells at the homes, flowers etc I would be doing what you can to get your foot in the door gain there confidence. Then if you need to raise the price on the lawn if you have done a good job they will keep you.