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View Full Version : How to figure out the market price for your area?


Pitbullawns
02-28-2009, 03:44 PM
How do you guys figure out what people are making off lawns in your area? I don't trust the customers because I have heard ludicrous prices from some people (some of which I have discussed in other threads around here). Calling other companies to get quotes seems dishonest. So how do you go about figuring out what is reasonable to charge in your area?

ed2hess
02-28-2009, 08:09 PM
Have a friend call and get an estimate or your grandma. Or simply believe what you hear raise it $5 or $10 and see if you get any jobs.

LB1234
03-01-2009, 12:05 PM
How do you guys figure out what people are making off lawns in your area? I don't trust the customers because I have heard ludicrous prices from some people (some of which I have discussed in other threads around here). Calling other companies to get quotes seems dishonest. So how do you go about figuring out what is reasonable to charge in your area?

Figure out what you need to charge to stay afloat and then price in your profit. If you are landing jobs left and right you are too low, if you aren't landing any jobs chances are you may be overpriced. You'll find the happy medium.

supercuts
03-01-2009, 12:23 PM
it sucks but its how you learn when your new...to get estimates. the honest way is to simply ask somepeople/friends you know what they pay. or while doing estimates simply ask, do you mind me asking what you have been paying? i have a $35 min but its different in each area. even then i make exceptions for elderly and exceptionally small lawns

TGM
03-01-2009, 12:45 PM
i now try to get $70hr, but in the mowing business you have compete a lot more than the landscaping side of things.

don't work for cheap or you'll go bankrupt...i came close last year:hammerhead:

ambersLawnmowing
03-01-2009, 06:42 PM
i now try to get $70hr, but in the mowing business you have compete a lot more than the landscaping side of things.

don't work for cheap or you'll go bankrupt...i came close last year:hammerhead:

WOW $70 an hour? that is unheard of around here. We only get $50-60 in the winter, plowing snow. I am lucky to bid jobs at $50 in the summer. Guess it depends on where you live. There are guys by me that charge $30 an hour. and i come in at $45-$50 but i edge and trim and make it look nice but people just dont get why i am so much higher then the other guy? It is because your lawn looks great when i am done and looks like sin when they are done..

My father always said.... you pay more for quality. That applies to every thing in life.

turf&snow98
03-01-2009, 08:16 PM
60-70 hr sounds fair.

Southernlandscape343
03-01-2009, 09:37 PM
50-60 an hour? Is this for a crew or just by yourself?

TGM
03-02-2009, 08:41 AM
i'm a solo operation. i was working for $40-50/hr, but i hard time keeping money in my bank account. i'm trying to go after commercials and the high end residentials more this year. in my area, there are a lot of rich people so $70/hr for cleanups, landscaping, etc is a good price for high quality work (a 4 hour cleanup would cost $240, etc). my old boss was at $100/hr and he got it...i just need his customers.


a whole lot of working for nothing still leaves you with nothing. so now my theory is charge for my work or don't work at all, stick with a part time job.

as far as the mowing, i shoot for $70/hr, but it's very hard in the lower end neighborhoods. in the high end neighborhoods who DO want quality, it's easier. a 45 min mow/trim/edge/blow with a walker is $50. i hate doing quick cuts for cheap though in the end you may make the same profit. every lawn and garden bed gets edged with a trimmer...only takes another 5 mins and makes you stand out from the rest. and i don't freak out anymore if i do go 5 mins over since i'm trying to promote quality instead of quality.



...i dunno:dancing:

Tommy Boy
03-02-2009, 08:47 AM
Time spent on average yard is 25 minutes, crew of 2, the crew will do 2 yards per hour, and we price that at $45.00 minimum so they bill about $90.00 per hour. This allows 10 minutes for equipment repair, driving, breaks, paperwork.

Works well for us

Pitbullawns
04-21-2009, 04:42 PM
So far I have found I have underbid myself in a few places already this year! It's a learning experience I guess.

Hell on Blades
04-21-2009, 04:50 PM
I purposely underbid some work and overbid others. For example, I don't like tree (climbing) work. I'll do it -- for $70+ per hour. On the other hand, I do like to build decks / fences / etc, so I'll do those for around $40 per man hour.

Mowing is a mixed bag -- I'm still in the boat where every weekly account is critical, so I tend to be $5 low on every bid. Where I'm at, it's hard to tell if they can afoord you by the size of the house and yard. So I normally chicken out and go low. {You may all chastize me now!}.... I average $40 per yard on a yard that takes me 35-45min. I pay my help by the yard (see below) with a bonus for harder work and a paycut if I have to go back over it.

Song Bird
04-21-2009, 11:47 PM
You have asked the one million dollar question. This year it seems every where we turn we are under bid on big jobs we really wanted and even small jobs. It seems what are to us low prices just enought to hardly make a profit are not low enough.
We have based our prices on the size of the job area to be mowed, how much trimming, if we have to always haul away the grass, how many things we have to mow around and how flat or hilly it is. Most of the standard yard sizes in the towns we mow in are 1/2 acre and under in size those yards are $25.00 per mowing. That is the or should I say was the going rate last year. Now if the area is under a 1/4 acre we will drop the price to $15.00 but no less than $10.00 will we ever do a job of any kind. It the lot is say 3/4 of an acre $35 - 45 per mow and an acre lot is $50.00.
But like I said we have new people mowing this year at cut throat rates. One offered a town $8.00 an hour to mow and he has to provide the equipment, fuel, insurance and more. It blew my husband, the gye that did the same job last year and I out of the water. The gye that did the job last year said he could not do it that cheep. We do not know what he charge them but we know it was more than $8.00 per hour.
Good luck on figuring it all out.

TheC-Master
04-22-2009, 12:10 AM
Wow those are some cheap prices regardless, I'd focus on good clients and selling quality at that point.

TGM
04-22-2009, 09:44 PM
wow, i feel bad with you guys dealing with $8/hr self employed. you would literally make more money at mcdonalds:hammerhead::hammerhead: and if you were set up as a professional landscaper, you would LITERALLY be paying someone to work for them at $8/hr.

like above, focus on quality at a reasonable price and people will come back to you.

greenviewlandscaper
04-24-2009, 12:55 AM
ive been in business for a month in a half and have already got twelve yards charging 40 a hour and subbing in a material fee most yards at 10 dollars a vistit for things like round up and fert and it is working well for me 70 an hour is out rageous up here I know of 3 major companies in my area both charging 40 and one at 50 so he says but one thing I never do is tell a customer my hourly rate when they call and ask that question I tell them I bid by yard meaning how much mowing trimming hedging or is it an easy yard or a hard yard and thats been working well for me another thing I do is never tell them a price on site even if you already know what you want to charge them get their email go home break it down send them an estimate that looks professional and go into detail what you will be doing and for how much then the customer knows why you charge what you do and you have time to think about things and so do they ive always got this scared feeling that some day I am going to do a bid and they are going to say ohhhhhh my god you charge that much if I were ever to charge 70 an hour I would never get yards no matter how good my work was cause its just not worth especially when you could always call joe shmoe with his crastsman mow and tanaka weed wacker and hand held blower to do it for 20 an hour when you got the knowledge, the experience, and the equipment then you deserve to make 40 to 50 an hour and if the yard is up to the customers standards then they will never complain.

Sweet Tater
04-24-2009, 09:10 PM
How do you guys figure out what people are making off lawns in your area? I don't trust the customers because I have heard ludicrous prices from some people (some of which I have discussed in other threads around here). Calling other companies to get quotes seems dishonest. So how do you go about figuring out what is reasonable to charge in your area?

have you made friends woth other company owners? Just ask them, I know 3 in my area and all 3 plus me will share that kind of info with each other. It sure helps keeping the price fairly stable in our area.

ed2hess
04-24-2009, 09:55 PM
ive been in business for a month in a half and have already got twelve yards charging 40 a hour and subbing in a material fee most yards at 10 dollars a vistit for things like round up and fert and it is working well for me 70 an hour is out rageous up here I know of 3 major companies in my area both charging 40 and one at 50 so he says but one thing I never do is tell a customer my hourly rate when they call and ask that question I tell them I bid by yard meaning how much mowing trimming hedging or is it an easy yard or a hard yard and thats been working well for me another thing I do is never tell them a price on site even if you already know what you want to charge them get their email go home break it down send them an estimate that looks professional and go into detail what you will be doing and for how much then the customer knows why you charge what you do and you have time to think about things and so do they ive always got this scared feeling that some day I am going to do a bid and they are going to say ohhhhhh my god you charge that much if I were ever to charge 70 an hour I would never get yards no matter how good my work was cause its just not worth especially when you could always call joe shmoe with his crastsman mow and tanaka weed wacker and hand held blower to do it for 20 an hour when you got the knowledge, the experience, and the equipment then you deserve to make 40 to 50 an hour and if the yard is up to the customers standards then they will never complain.

I don't know much about using periods but I think this could use a few somewhere. I don't understand the part about "deserve to make 40 or
50 and hour". I guess I don't deserve that amount for some reason.

slawn
04-24-2009, 10:44 PM
Here's how to figure the market rate in my area right now. Figure what the job is worth to you, then divide in half. :hammerhead: I've lost probably 80% of my bids this year. My pricing is the same as last year, and last year I got around 50% of the jobs I bid.

Rcgm
04-24-2009, 11:23 PM
So far I have found I have underbid myself in a few places already this year! It's a learning experience I guess.

Yes it is a learning experience. Just do a good job even though you underbid it. Hopefully you will get a referal from it. I have been doing this for 16 years and when someone calls me for a mowing bid in a subdivision I am not already in I under bid that lawn to get it. It gets me in that sub division then when people see how good it looks I get referals and raise my price. Has worked for me for years.


Brad

topsites
04-25-2009, 01:18 AM
Wow those are some cheap prices regardless, I'd focus on good clients and selling quality at that point.

That's what I'm doing, once you've got some regulars they're usually first in line to get discounts, that at least keeps them happy.
And so it does boil down a little bit to whom I want to work for, some anyhow.

lawnpro724
04-25-2009, 02:14 AM
Oh why not just jump ahead of everyone else and just do it for FREE. Prices keep going lower and lower every year so be a leader, mow for free. Were not supposed to make a profit, just ask around your area. Everyone wants us to bring our $10,000 Zs our $1,200 21" and our $3,500 walkbehinds oh and lets not forget the trimmers and blowers and mow there lawn because we like to mow and we don't want to make any money because we don't want to have any kind of life.

slawn
04-25-2009, 06:40 PM
Oh why not just jump ahead of everyone else and just do it for FREE. Prices keep going lower and lower every year so be a leader, mow for free. Were not supposed to make a profit, just ask around your area. Everyone wants us to bring our $10,000 Zs our $1,200 21" and our $3,500 walkbehinds oh and lets not forget the trimmers and blowers and mow there lawn because we like to mow and we don't want to make any money because we don't want to have any kind of life.


Why don't we just pay them to let us mow their yard. Some would still fuss and complain!

premierlawnlakeland
05-01-2009, 03:48 PM
WOW $70 an hour? that is unheard of around here. We only get $50-60 in the winter, plowing snow. I am lucky to bid jobs at $50 in the summer. Guess it depends on where you live. There are guys by me that charge $30 an hour. and i come in at $45-$50 but i edge and trim and make it look nice but people just dont get why i am so much higher then the other guy? It is because your lawn looks great when i am done and looks like sin when they are done..

My father always said.... you pay more for quality. That applies to every thing in life.

Your father is right about quality, the problem no a days is the cutomers don't care about quality it's all about how cheap!

TGM
05-03-2009, 10:17 PM
obviously areas around the country are going to have different mindsets.

mine is.. i charge $70/hr performing quality work. i take care of my customers and try to go above and beyond their expectations. i conduct myself in a professional manner (dress, attitude, work ethic) and have professional (and nice looking) equipment. so if a customer doesn't want to pay my labor rate, if they nickle and dime me to death, if they are bad payers, if they think they can chew me down on MY prices, then they can go find another cheap landscaper down the road. in my neck of the woods there are people willing to pay good $ for work, however, mowing is much harder to get the prices.

a mower and landscaper are two different things, though you can be both (like me).

so as far as the deserve comment before and the PM i got.. why don't i deserve $70/hr? if you want to be cheap, and act cheap, then maybe you don't "deserve" good pay http://www.newenglandturbodieselpower.com/Forums/images/smilies/dunno.gif If you can make $50/hr and you're happy, then great! Unfortunately in my area, unless i'm straight out at $50/hr, i'm having a hard time making money with driving time, fuel, maintenance, taxes, etc.

TheC-Master
05-04-2009, 05:28 AM
That's what I'm doing, once you've got some regulars they're usually first in line to get discounts, that at least keeps them happy.
And so it does boil down a little bit to whom I want to work for, some anyhow.

Well I got some that like to save more and others who don't. I had a Hispanic guy come up to me and was willing to pay AND he got me two other yards. He and his brother like to pay extra when you do a good job. Then you got some who like to save. I got guy who injured his foot and I made 80 bucks off of him, he loves his yard, but he wanted some stuff in there which I gave to him.

I wish I had a ton more of client A, but you don't get those as often, best to REALLY keep them happy.

Economy Landscaping
05-05-2009, 07:44 AM
I been trying to get a good price (50-65)... But almost everyone i talk to are telling me they are paying 35 or other people have been coming up to them and said they can do it for 35. These are mostly .5 acre yards. Dont you guys think is low? I was paying 45 before i went in the business. Gonna need some help trying to bump my price up. cuz at 35... that's not gonna do much with only a few yards to cut. I dont mine doing 100 yards at 35 all in the same location... but when you are driving 20 to 30 mins between jobs it sucks big monkey balls!

Pitbullawns
05-05-2009, 09:14 PM
I have had yet another person tell me they are paying $25 for their lawn (and the guy stopped coming...hmm wonder why). These are lawns that would take me 1-1.5 hours to do and I would normally think are $40 - $50 lawns. Ouch!

IntegrityGuy
05-05-2009, 09:59 PM
A customer told me he wanted his yard to start being bagged... I said okay thats an extra 10$ a cut. He said no way, I thought it would still be the same... I said nope sorry. He gets belligerent and tells me his next door neighbors kid can cut bag trim and blow for 25$... I said, Well then it looks like you found your new lawn guy and hung up...

I should have told him to go to hell.

Song Bird
05-05-2009, 11:14 PM
Not to be happy but I am glad to see other's are having trouble with being undercut in price.
We have been undercut in our prices left and right by "newbies" that want to make some money. I give them credit for wanting to work because they have lost their job, but I can not see how they can make it work for the prices they are charging.
We do live in NE Iowa where town size are very small. Lots are under a fourth of an acre and we normaly charge $25.00. Now some would say we are cheep for $25.00 but in our area that is or should I say was the going rate. Now it is less.
My husband feels that most of these "cheeper" mowers will "go away" after a year or less because he feels they can not make it up keeping insurance, equipment, paying for fuel and more.
We struggled last year starting up and really in the end did not even break even. With a loan to get us started we knew things would be tight. Well in the end we did not make much at all once the taxes were done. But that is normal for first year. This year with being undercut we are thinking hard, very hard about hanging up our mowing shoes. We currently only have offically one mowing job for the season. All the others we were under cut on and lost that we had last year. We put in lots of new bids this year only to be undercut everytime. We did get one right and were in a three way tie but lost in the end for reason's we do not know why other than maybe the one that one droped his price who knows. We were alowed to write an essay telling them why we deserved the job over the other two but we never knew who they were so that was hard. We gave it our best effort but lost in the end.
I guess in the end if people want to "pay less" then let them hire the cheeper one. But do not come crawling back to me to clean up the mess. We had a gye try that last year he called us for a bid we gave it to him he said well I can get someone cheeper so we said ok. He called two weeks later and wanted us to mow it. I said NO sorry. We had heard this gye had stiffed other's who mowed money so that was a BIG Red FLAG and a NO! He called me for off and on for over a month before he gave up calling.
So I guess we hang in there and so does everyone else trying to do the job right and for a price they can make some money at. Which our prices do make us money for the area we are in. So do not knock me for my prices and I will not knock you.
Hang in there good luck and may in the end the best one's get the job, in the end.

George D
05-06-2009, 11:30 AM
A customer told me he wanted his yard to start being bagged... I said okay thats an extra 10$ a cut. He said no way, I thought it would still be the same... I said nope sorry. He gets belligerent and tells me his next door neighbors kid can cut bag trim and blow for 25$... I said, Well then it looks like you found your new lawn guy and hung up...

I should have told him to go to hell.



Good for you!I tell alot of people this,i wont waste my time i'm not evilbay no auctions here the "bid" was given up front....

my friend has donald trump pic he sends via email telling his customers they're fired

Pitbullawns
05-11-2009, 07:42 AM
Aw, Songbird, I would never knock you for your prices. I just think for the quality of work you have described that you guys do, you are worth a lot more! You were a big help to me when I asked about dethatching awhile back.

This year is tough, but I have already beat what I did last year by this time (by a lot) so I am hopeful.

I really try hard to be fair and reasonable. I work hard when someone hires me. I give discounts to my senior citizen clients (especially my nice ones), without telling them or anything, it's just in the bill. So it just chaps my hide, when people try to nickle and dime me down from what I already think is a fair/competitive rate. If it's so easy to mow, do your damn lawn yourself, or get some kid to do it.