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shade tree landscaping
03-23-2009, 05:46 PM
I went this morning and did an estimate for weekly lawn care. The property was just about 1.5 acres, mostley flat and open, no fence, no pool, no swingsets ect. I bid $65 a week, which even at that I felt was a fair price, he sends me back an email saying he was looking to be more at $40 a week!!! I couldnt belive what I was reading! I replied telling him that there was no way I could do it for that low, and that he should check the references and insurance cert of anyone who says they can. Just had to vent, alot of people are expecting something for nothing these days!!!

SilverPeakServices
03-23-2009, 05:48 PM
I'm with you, $65 seems fair, but $40? No way. Sounds like he is price shopping. No legitimate LCO will do it for $40.00. Good luck!

david shumaker
03-23-2009, 05:49 PM
I get $40.00 for yards half that size or less. I think you were right.

CCC52
03-23-2009, 05:56 PM
I'd go around $65 myself.

Considering this "mostley flat and open, no fence, no pool, no swingsets ect." There's a large, rather unscrupulous outfit in my parts that would probably put their two man ZTR crew on there for $40-45...:rolleyes:

ALC-GregH
03-23-2009, 06:32 PM
I can't see how any company can put 2 guys on a job that size and even come close to breaking even?

CCC52
03-23-2009, 06:38 PM
I can't see how any company can put 2 guys on a job that size and even come close to breaking even?

No kidding! All I can say is they got one lawn I hated to mow and I've been there while they mowed (I managed to keep the landscape work). Amazing waste of resources, it's their only cut along that stretch. I actually tried to explain cutting peremiters so they'd stop grassing the mulched beds to death but I end up cleaning up after them...for a fee. My price was $70, there's was $45. The customer couldn't resist the yearly savings even though I consider their work sub-standard.

Name brand outfit, been around a good 20+ years too?:confused:

Think Green
03-23-2009, 07:23 PM
shadetree,
what is the cutting width on you machine's?
Fom what I am seeing on this site is speed-speed-speed and getting it done quickly.
Does this guy want it bagged, or just mow and go?

I bid em like that but try not to compromise quality. IF he doesn't want to pay 65.00 for top quality then give him mediocre quality for 50.00

" A man will always negotiate the price.......no matter what the price is!"
-Mark Twain

topsites
03-23-2009, 07:51 PM
I have to wonder here...
And I'm not calling anyone a liar, but because of the sheer number of these like threads...

How do you know it's 1.5 acres of lawn?
And, do you know the sq.ft'age of an acre?

grasschopperofchicago
03-23-2009, 07:57 PM
if you are talking a flat piece of ground with little or no obstacles, how long can that take you to cut?...maybe I am wrong, but with a 60inch ZT Dixie rated at 6.5 acres per hour, I would guess 20 minutes or so not seeing the property, but I have a 1.5 acre parcel with NO HOUSE on it, commercial land with nothing on it not one obstacle...I can cut it in 15 minutes charge is $50 no trim on it...blow up from street if I get any on there, which I usually don't

shade tree landscaping
03-23-2009, 07:58 PM
I run 42" walkers, I didnt mesure it to see if it was 1.5 acres, I eye balled it, It was def over 1 acre but under 2. <------ I know that comment is gonna make me hear alot of sh*t!! Point is though for 40, theres no way that anyone who is legit can turn a profit on that! Weather its a solo guy or someone with 5 72"ztrs out there!

THINKGREEN I don't do medicore work, its top quility or I dont do it! I'm not going to put my name and rep on something that is gonna look bad in the end!

topsites
03-23-2009, 08:16 PM
I run 42" walkers, I didnt mesure it to see if it was 1.5 acres, I eye balled it, It was def over 1 acre but under 2.

I am sorry I failed to see you're a senior member here, so this likely isn't your first season estimating LOL

Only thing I can think of, the season usually starts with the price shopping.
Even my regulars do it to me, but coming from them I don't mind it too much.

grasschopperofchicago
03-23-2009, 08:20 PM
sure you can turn profit, I do the 1.5 in 15 minutes, that is equal to $160 @ hour for me, so yes you can turn a profit, if it takes you an hour you aren't going to make much, but a lot of solos work on $35-40 per hour rate, don't know how or why, but I get $50 for the 1.5 I do, so that is equal to $200 @hour, I turn plenty of profit, and it's in my tight route so I can be 20 minutes into another cut within same hour...so it works out to about $75-85 for that hour...plenty of profit, if you have wrong equipment and it takes you an hour, then no...little or no money

mowerbrad
03-23-2009, 08:32 PM
You are using walkers which were not built for speed, but rather for high end mowing. So when you put a walker on a larger property, it will not out mow a larger ztr (like a dixie). So if this property takes someone with a dixie 20 minutes to mow, then they would be making $120/hour on this property. I can see how someone would be able to do it for $40 but that can't possibly include trimming.

grasschopperofchicago
03-23-2009, 08:37 PM
You are using walkers which were not built for speed, but rather for high end mowing. So when you put a walker on a larger property, it will not out mow a larger ztr (like a dixie). So if this property takes someone with a dixie 20 minutes to mow, then they would be making $120/hour on this property. I can see how someone would be able to do it for $40 but that can't possibly include trimming..
.
completely agree with you Brad, just like the guys thinking that $20 for a cut is a bad deal, but if you have the equipment to do three of those in a tight area and they are 15 minute cut and trims, then you are equating to $80 an hour, not how I like to do business, and I don't generally drop for less than $30 a cut, however, I have found some neighborhoods without fences, pretty straight and really easy quick cuts that I have been taking on, if I make $60.00 on the hour I am not happy, but it is profitable at that rate...

My parents yard when I was a kid took me an hour to cut, I wasn't getting paid, I had no ambition to do it, I had a push 21 inch mower that I had to keep unloading the catcher...I do that same yard today with a Mulch kit, run it weekly, turn it in 20 minutes now...with my equipment...it's a $30 yard for me if I were to charge

punt66
03-23-2009, 08:43 PM
sure you can turn profit, I do the 1.5 in 15 minutes, that is equal to $160 @ hour for me, so yes you can turn a profit, if it takes you an hour you aren't going to make much, but a lot of solos work on $35-40 per hour rate, don't know how or why, but I get $50 for the 1.5 I do, so that is equal to $200 @hour, I turn plenty of profit, and it's in my tight route so I can be 20 minutes into another cut within same hour...so it works out to about $75-85 for that hour...plenty of profit, if you have wrong equipment and it takes you an hour, then no...little or no money

I completely agree with you. I dont understand how it takes people so long to mow an acre. My home is on a 1.5 acre lot and its mowed and trimmed in under 20 min.

ALC-GregH
03-23-2009, 08:49 PM
I completely agree with you. I dont understand how it takes people so long to mow an acre. My home is on a 1.5 acre lot and its mowed and trimmed in under 20 min.

I must say, your good if you can cut, trim and blow your 1.5 acres in under 20min.

I do a 2 acre property in just over an hour and the controls are shoved all the way forward on most of the passes I make. It's hard to believe one can get that much done in under 20 minutes. Are you using a bat wing mower? Next you'll tell us you use a 21 push mower. :rolleyes:

punt66
03-23-2009, 08:55 PM
I must say, your good if you can cut, trim and blow your 1.5 acres in under 20min.

I do a 2 acre property in just over an hour and the controls are shoved all the way forward on most of the passes I make. It's hard to believe one can get that much done in under 20 minutes. Are you using a bat wing mower? Next you'll tell us you use a 21 push mower. :rolleyes:

You do know most ztr's are rated to mow at over 4.5 acres an hour right?

punt66
03-23-2009, 08:58 PM
Nope not a push.
http://www.lawnsite.com/picture.php?albumid=11&pictureid=96

grasschopperofchicago
03-23-2009, 09:03 PM
You do know most ztr's are rated to mow at over 4.5 acres an hour right?

only with Bat wings apparently, I have a Dixie 74 Xcal rated for 9.2 acres an hour with 80% user efficiency, it's on the site if you care to look batman!...not you punt!!---so if I can cut 9 in an hour full speed (which I don't run), wouldn't it sound feasible I could cut 1.5 in 15?...1/4 of the hour and 1/6 the rating?

ALC-GregH
03-23-2009, 09:08 PM
I sure do. My Scag is rated at 23 acres in a 8hr day or just under 3 acres an hour. Now that you posted a pic I can see how you can get done so quick. There ain't no 1.5 acres of grass there. Of course I can't see what's in the backyard but it looks as though it's possible.

punt66
03-23-2009, 09:13 PM
The pic just shows a portion of the lot. The lot is 1.6 acres.

Frontier-Lawn
03-23-2009, 09:41 PM
i bill $40 for just 10,000sf

lifetree
03-23-2009, 09:49 PM
... I replied telling him that there was no way I could do it for that low, and that he should check the references and insurance cert of anyone who says they can. ...

I would have done the same thing !!

I'm with you, $65 seems fair, but $40? No way. Sounds like he is price shopping. No legitimate LCO will do it for $40.00. Good luck!

I agree, you don't want someone who is just price shopping !!

... IF he doesn't want to pay 65.00 for top quality then give him mediocre quality for 50.00 ...

And that's why you shouldn't be in this business and why yu won't last very long ... because you're willing to do mediocre work !!

... THINKGREEN I don't do medicore work, its top quility or I dont do it ! I'm not going to put my name and rep on something that is gonna look bad in the end!

And that's why you're going to be in this business for a long time !!

jsf343
03-23-2009, 09:52 PM
i bill $40 for just 10,000sf

me too.
Ave. yard is 5000 to 8000 sq. ft. here, But the prices are a bit higher because the cost of living is higher.

As for the original yard, if it were up here I would definitely shoot for $65.00 $85.00, not sure what the range is down yonder.

81Bronk36
03-23-2009, 10:07 PM
Dang my biggest lawn is 1/2 acre and it takes me about 30- 35 mins to mow with my 48" WB. I dont go above 3rd gear cuz the way back is really bumpy and I like to stripe it real well in the front.

lawnworker
03-23-2009, 10:40 PM
God, each year this business just gets worse and worse!

Scagguy
03-24-2009, 12:19 AM
shadetree,
what is the cutting width on you machine's?
Fom what I am seeing on this site is speed-speed-speed and getting it done quickly.
Does this guy want it bagged, or just mow and go?

I bid em like that but try not to compromise quality. IF he doesn't want to pay 65.00 for top quality then give him mediocre quality for 50.00

" A man will always negotiate the price.......no matter what the price is!"
-Mark Twain


I disagree totally. If you aren't going to do it right, then walk away. Somebody will see you doing a half ass job on a lawn and think to themselves, "that looks like crap" and then tell 10 of their neighbors. That $50 will cost cost you $$$$ in future business.

grasschopperofchicago
03-24-2009, 11:15 AM
I disagree totally. If you aren't going to do it right, then walk away. Somebody will see you doing a half ass job on a lawn and think to themselves, "that looks like crap" and then tell 10 of their neighbors. That $50 will cost cost you $$$$ in future business.


Be a professional and do it for the $50.00 and make yourself an additional $1500 in income this season so you can get proper equipment, so you can avoid this thread next year!

willie19
03-24-2009, 06:28 PM
1.5 acres...I would charge no less than $120

punt66
03-24-2009, 06:34 PM
1.5 acres...I would charge no less than $120

hahaha :rolleyes:

willie19
03-24-2009, 06:36 PM
How do you mow a lawn and do a quality at a rate of 6 acres per hour. Have you ever mowed 6 acres of grass in one hour? Then load up your equipment and get out of there all in 60 minutes. NEVER. That lawn should be $100. They have to pay for the ride to their house, Right?

punt66
03-24-2009, 06:44 PM
How do you mow a lawn and do a quality at a rate of 6 acres per hour. Have you ever mowed 6 acres of grass in one hour? Then load up your equipment and get out of there all in 60 minutes. NEVER. That lawn should be $100. They have to pay for the ride to their house, Right?

wow at that rate i would do over $1600 a day just mowing solo. Where do you live????????

topsites
03-24-2009, 06:50 PM
Not pointing any fingers but I still feel like some might be thinking in terms of "small" acres lol

turfesthetics
03-24-2009, 06:51 PM
A good tool for measuring land lots is Google Earth, I use it to measure all my sites, it can be very accurate. Type the address in the search it will bring you right there, than use the measurement tool to outline the perimeter. Irregular shaped lots require a little geometry, but it beats going out and measuring yourself, and you donīt have to worry about obstacles.

punt66
03-24-2009, 06:54 PM
Not pointing any fingers but I still feel like some might be thinking in terms of "small" acres lol

Yea, the survey and plot plan must be in "small" acres.:rolleyes: Buy a z and watch how much more productive you can be.

punt66
03-24-2009, 06:55 PM
A good tool for measuring land lots is Google Earth, I use it to measure all my sites, it can be very accurate. Type the address in the search it will bring you right there, than use the measurement tool to outline the perimeter. Irregular shaped lots require a little geometry, but it beats going out and measuring yourself, and you donīt have to worry about obstacles.
i tried that. Couldnt see through the trees.

shade tree landscaping
03-25-2009, 09:53 AM
52k sq feet is what it mesured from using mesure anything from outerspace .com. 52k for forty bucks, I dont care what kind of equipment you have, you can keep that from me! Unprofitable!

Curb Appeal Lawn Care
03-25-2009, 10:53 AM
This customer is definitely not willing to pay for decent, quality work.

$65.00 for an 1.5 acre ( even an estimated 1.5 ) is a very fair price.

Who can do it for $40? Only someone who runs through it as fast as possible and doesn't give a damn about the quality.

If the "other guy" does it for $40, then the customer will come looking for you after he sees his lawn.

punt66
03-25-2009, 03:47 PM
52k sq feet is what it mesured from using mesure anything from outerspace .com. 52k for forty bucks, I dont care what kind of equipment you have, you can keep that from me! Unprofitable!

1 acre is 43560 sq ft. Is that his lot size or lawn only?

shade tree landscaping
03-25-2009, 04:14 PM
its an estimate from the website. My point is i dont see how anyone can pay taxes, insurance, gas, employees, and so on by doing a yard close to that size for 40! I dont care if all your equipment is paid off or not, solo or crew of 10 guys on the job, there is no posible way that you can break even let alone turn a profit! Maybe if you dont care of the finished result, personally I only do high quility work, will not put my name on anything but!

Thats what this whole thread was, and somehow got turned into is it really 1.5 acres? If you had the right equipment and so on! My point was that the low ballers are out and about, and truely low balling! Even at 65 I wouldn't have been making much, but its on my route, and was thinking that I could probally up sell him on more services and make my money someplace else on the yard!

punt66
03-25-2009, 04:23 PM
its an estimate from the website. My point is i dont see how anyone can pay taxes, insurance, gas, employees, and so on by doing a yard close to that size for 40! I dont care if all your equipment is paid off or not, solo or crew of 10 guys on the job, there is no posible way that you can break even let alone turn a profit! Maybe if you dont care of the finished result, personally I only do high quility work, will not put my name on anything but!

Thats what this whole thread was, and somehow got turned into is it really 1.5 acres? If you had the right equipment and so on! My point was that the low ballers are out and about, and truely low balling! Even at 65 I wouldn't have been making much, but its on my route, and was thinking that I could probally up sell him on more services and make my money someplace else on the yard!

My point was equipment makes a big difference. A 60" deck Z is rated at 6 acres an hour. Yes thats going all out but even if you mowed half that then its 3 an hour. I just dont see why it would take so long to mow an acre especally that its wide open. But i personally havent seen it. I have a 3 acre lot i do that open also and i do it in 1hr as a solo. Maybe its different grass types or something. But i do it. How do you cut grass in a high quality? I stripe, i trim, i blow, not much edging in New England and that might be a difference but i doubt it. I dont like lowballing either but to me it may be on the low average side its not lowballing.

yardatwork
03-25-2009, 05:29 PM
Hmmm...my yard is 1.6 acres, my house is about 1000 sq ft., I have a one car garage attached to the house and a driveway that is three car lengths wide, I have a two car garage/shop in my back yard and my yard has about 20 trees to cut around...I can mow it in about 40 minutes with a 48" Toro Z400.

$40 to mow that...on the lower end, but not something I'd steer away from. Economy sucks, people are looking for the cheapest. Go in there and knock it out of the park. Do it for $40, prove to him you're worth $65 and slowly increase the price by 5% over the next few years. With two guys...you could prob do that in about 30 minutes or less.

See if he'd go with $50 for this year. Since he told you the price he was wanting to spend, sounds to me like he wants to go with you or that he hasn't contacted other people.

DA Quality Lawn & YS
03-25-2009, 05:48 PM
shadetree,
what is the cutting width on you machine's?
Fom what I am seeing on this site is speed-speed-speed and getting it done quickly.
Does this guy want it bagged, or just mow and go?

I bid em like that but try not to compromise quality. IF he doesn't want to pay 65.00 for top quality then give him mediocre quality for 50.00

" A man will always negotiate the price.......no matter what the price is!"
-Mark Twain


I wouldn't go this route. Always bid everything as if your best quality job. For me, there is no 'I'll do a half job for less money'. If a potential new customer sees that, sianora.

LB1234
03-25-2009, 08:08 PM
I have a 2.01 acre lot with 53,500 sq.ft. mowable. I have a 60" 29DFI kawi SCAG that I cut with. Flat property, one smaller island in the front to mow around and one large one in the back. exactly 3 trees less than 18" in diameter to mow around with no low branches. Balls to the wall I can cut it in 30 minutes. By the time I get to the truck...which is parked in the middle of my property, not all the way out in the street...it takes me another 15-20 minutes to line trim...and there ain't much...its just all that darn walking across a little over an acre. Then it back to the truck to get the blower...that's ten minutes. Its easily an hour if done right. Keep in mind this is no windshield time. Even if its within route I can't see it done in under one man-hour...I dunno maybe but you'd be hauling some serious arse.


I agree Shade Tree. Local jersian in Hunterdon. $40 for that size property mowable is pretty low. Doable???? probablly, but not the markup that I want to see.

shade tree landscaping
03-25-2009, 09:57 PM
can def do it, just would be hard to break even.

LB1234, your not all that far so you can vouch for that being low in this areas market.

YARDATWORK, thats not how I operate, I'm not that desperate for work to where I would do 1st year at just breaking even if lucky, and then hope he stays with me as I increase price by 5% every year. Not a very good business plan!

PUNT66, I understand your point of larger equipment covering more area and being faster, but larger equipment is also more moeny to invest & make back, probally has a larger engine and is burning more gas, and then there are the costs of weather its a 21 inch push or a 72inch ZTR, employee cost, gas, insurance, and so on. High end mowing meaning every lawn is cut to a manicured finish all across the board. Cut, and second cut if nesscary, trimed, edged, blown both beds & hard surfaces. Not just a mow and go

punt66
03-26-2009, 06:01 AM
can def do it, just would be hard to break even.

LB1234, your not all that far so you can vouch for that being low in this areas market.

YARDATWORK, thats not how I operate, I'm not that desperate for work to where I would do 1st year at just breaking even if lucky, and then hope he stays with me as I increase price by 5% every year. Not a very good business plan!

PUNT66, I understand your point of larger equipment covering more area and being faster, but larger equipment is also more moeny to invest & make back, probally has a larger engine and is burning more gas, and then there are the costs of weather its a 21 inch push or a 72inch ZTR, employee cost, gas, insurance, and so on. High end mowing meaning every lawn is cut to a manicured finish all across the board. Cut, and second cut if nesscary, trimed, edged, blown both beds & hard surfaces. Not just a mow and go

Larger equipment is more productive and allows you to take on more work. Its not harder to make back. I wouldnt be in this business without it.

David Haggerty
03-26-2009, 10:24 AM
Some of us go for high productivity. Some do more detailed work. It sounds like this customer wants detailed work at the high productivity rate.

I'm probably as productive as anyone. $65 is about what I'd quote. I can mow 6 acres/hr. But by the time you go there, unload, etc. it'd be worth $65.

Just because the economy is in the toilet is no reason to bid jobs that will loose money. Because once you bid them low, they stay low forever.

grasschopperofchicago
03-26-2009, 10:48 AM
You cut 6 acre parcel for $65?...yikes!...

punt66
03-26-2009, 11:06 AM
You cut 6 acre parcel for $65?...yikes!...

No he is talking about the original posters lot.

punt66
03-26-2009, 11:08 AM
can def do it, just would be hard to break even.

LB1234, your not all that far so you can vouch for that being low in this areas market.

YARDATWORK, thats not how I operate, I'm not that desperate for work to where I would do 1st year at just breaking even if lucky, and then hope he stays with me as I increase price by 5% every year. Not a very good business plan!

PUNT66, I understand your point of larger equipment covering more area and being faster, but larger equipment is also more moeny to invest & make back, probally has a larger engine and is burning more gas, and then there are the costs of weather its a 21 inch push or a 72inch ZTR, employee cost, gas, insurance, and so on. High end mowing meaning every lawn is cut to a manicured finish all across the board. Cut, and second cut if nesscary, trimed, edged, blown both beds & hard surfaces. Not just a mow and go
what do you use for mowers?

cgaengineer
03-26-2009, 11:36 AM
I have a 2 acre property I cut on an as needed basis and since he is a friend I cut him a deal, but I normally would charge $120 per cut as it takes me about 2 hours just to cut.


Let me tell you about working for friends...he will wait until the lawn is 5 feet tall before he calls (Some friend)

Pietro
03-26-2009, 12:26 PM
He would have to make it worth my while. I would do it BUT he would have to do some work for me. If he could get me 3-4 of his neighbors lawns I would do it. This way youve got 5 houses in 1 stop. 200 gross. Youd be surprised how fast you can get em done. We have a 4 man crew that would tear it up. Our lowest prices homes are where we make our money. We have a small neighborhood on lockdown. The houses are like 1/4 acre with fenced in yards.....we charge 27.50 We have about 35 houses in the neighborhood, we get em done in 4 hours. Many people dont realize how much time they waste driving inbetween jobs/houses.

shade tree landscaping
03-26-2009, 04:10 PM
PIETRO if I could get 2 neighbors then it would def be worth my while, but stilll not at the 40. I agree with the doing numerous homes in a neighborhood, less driving and down time and all of that.

PUNT66 I run two 42inch walkers and a quick36 for small gates, but hardley ever comes out on the trailer

LB1234
03-26-2009, 09:50 PM
thats not how I operate, I'm not that desperate for work to where I would do 1st year at just breaking even if lucky, and then hope he stays with me as I increase price by 5% every year. Not a very good business plan!

Funny story. Get a call from one of my customers thats been with me since I started in 2000. He tells me FYI company ABC is handing out flyers for $10 cheaper a cut than you. I tell him its not really a concern of mine, I'm sorry but I can't go that low, I'm not making much on your lawn to begin with. He says, no thats not my point, I just wanted to make you aware that this guy is trying to undercut you but I think I know what his deal is. I said oh ya what's that...he says...he's going to get all the lawns this year and then constantly increase them over the next few years. I just chuckled and said you may be right. He wanted me to know he was faxing my contract over.

Customers sometimes don't get credit for being smart...