View Full Version : Another estimating question

11-13-2009, 09:38 PM
Do people price by the sq ft? Obviously there are many variables that effect a flat price but is this a reasonable way to bid? If so, what are people charging per sq ft?

11-13-2009, 09:40 PM
Per square foot of what?

Laying tile, my old boss would charge between $50 to $150 depending the material and job size.

11-13-2009, 09:42 PM
Well obviously I am talking lawn care being this is a lawn care site. I will clarify next time.

11-13-2009, 09:47 PM
Grass cutting?
Shrub trimming?
River Rock?
New bed installation?

I figured you were talking about lawn care, but there are many different aspects to lawn care. Different materials and services will cost a different amount per square foot. But you already know that. Square foot can be an effective way of bidding. But it's hard for me to give you a price if I don't know the material or service.

11-13-2009, 09:49 PM
Mowing, trimming and blowing. Weekly service

11-13-2009, 10:01 PM
Square footage is relative to time. Obviously, the more area, the longer you have to be there. Say you can do an acre in about in hour. That's not unreasonable, unless you either have a 3 72" ZTR's or 25 plant beds to edge. Either way, around here, you can charge between $60-$100 per acre, given different variables. Say you have 1.2 acres of land with .2 acres unmowable. You charge $75, based on the customer, drive time, ease of service, etc. One acre is 46K something square feet. 75/46k = $.00163/square foot. So, basically 1 cent per square foot.

Big C
11-13-2009, 11:21 PM
Here's how I do it: $1 per 1000 sqft + $25 (trip charge) + any varibles= price
So a 45k sqft lawn with a normal amount of trimming/edgeing/blowing would kinda look like this: $45+25=$70

I use this as a guide but it is subject to a lot of variables as a previous poster stated.

11-14-2009, 06:53 AM
I would rather figure my estimated time and be done with it.

11-14-2009, 10:09 AM
i posted on this subject in another thread too.

Pricing by the sqft is difficult. You need to actually break things down into different categories: mowing, trimming, edging, and blowing. Each property will be different. Some might have 500 linear feet of trimming some might have 5000.

The way I would do it is: measure everything turf area, all trimming areas, alld edging, and sidewalk sq feet.

So lets say you have 5000 sq feet of turf, 300 ft of trimming, 100ft of edging, and 6000sq feet of blowing.

These numbers are just thrown together: $2.5/k mowing, $.03trimming/edging, .17 blowing.

That would come out to $12.50 mowing, $12 trimming and edging, and $1blowing That comes out to about 25$ which is right for that size lawn.

Break that down and its $5 per 1k sq feet. Well what happens when you get into a 44k property at $5 per 1k that comes to $220 which is more than somone will pay for 1 acre.

So what you need to do is figure it like i said but have price categories similar to what I have for aerating and fert. More sq feet the lower the price goes. I would change it probably about every 5k sqft. or so

11-14-2009, 10:05 PM
Keep records of sizes and then do time studys for each job...after a year or two you'll have your own formula and can come pretty close each time...then as time goes on just adjust the jobs that dont make enough and leave the high profits jobs alone and send those Christmas cards :)

11-14-2009, 11:43 PM
we find it easier to base it by 1000 sqft and wet can do services that go from 1.75 to 10. per 1000 sqft we have based lawn mowing by 1k for 10 years now and have no problems with it . it dosnt need broke down to trimming and blowing just get all extras completed in the mowing period . which is no problem to us

11-15-2009, 12:41 AM
Im going to assume the 1.75 is for the higher sqft and the 10 is for the lower? That would make sense to, to do it like that. I was just thinking in terms of being the most efficient and down to the T, but if you were to do it the way I said and your way, we would both probably come up with the same prices.

but i dont price per k i do time. Maybe soon I may switch but I am fine with my current way.

11-15-2009, 02:34 AM
we started using grounds keeper program and everything was computed by the 1000
as far as being most ef. and down to the T not being ugly but . how long will it take to put in all those different calculations? even then when everything is inputted correctly , then what there is no basis to determin if it was correct to begin with or
if it was correct then all it will show you is the irregularities between jobs and still nothing will be consistant from week to week . we have been there many times .

i wish everyone luck at pricing because the more complicated you make it the less effecient it becomes . heck the true only way we found any winning edge was to basis a flat rate and every week the price could be up or down from the last service . no set price no average price simply this is your bill 1 week it cost $50 next week it cost 65 to bad !!!!

11-15-2009, 08:08 AM
If I'm bidding a walmart I drive around and figure time. 1hr edging, 2 mowing, 1 line triming, 2 blowing, and 2 detail. thats 8 man hours. It would take 2-3 hours just measuring a property like that and your bidding. If you dont get the bid that time ads up. I do the same on a resi. I've yet to take longer on a maint job and in most cases cn be out in far less time once the roundups down and every thing is tight

11-15-2009, 08:49 AM
ok except we wouldnt measure the whole property . we would measure each unit ( measurable section) as a whole and give the bid
basicly we measure front to back and left to right on a resid. and give the bid as a whole no measuring the edging and each little spot of grass just 2 measurments is it

we do lot size per 1000k not a 1/4 acre with 5 k of grass ...so 5 k it is a 10.9k lot and it cost 10.9k as far as the detail work i pay my guys to complete it all within the mow time so it is completed when the mowers hit the truck

11-15-2009, 08:52 AM
if wally sit on 10 acres around it would measure the length and width of the front ,back and sides so 8 measurments on it should do it all if an island is on property measure a mid size one and average tehm out and in 15 mins i go to new estimate .

11-15-2009, 10:04 PM
You don't charge by the sq. ft. You charge for your manhours. You measure the site, plug in your production ratios, calculate the needed manhours, plug in your manhour rate. Remember, you're in the business of selling manhours...as many of them as you can sell! Here's a link that will help you calculate your manhour rate if you haven't done it already.

Let me know if you need any more help.



11-15-2009, 10:15 PM
g21 i chare per 1000k not man hours if it as man hours we would be 100's per hour
all we look at is the k's it takes a 2 or 3 men less then 2 min to complete 1 k over the average day so if i figured the $$$by hour it would be a bad thing if the only took 1 min instead of 2 i just lost money baseing it on man hours because i just took 1/2 cut in pay .

11-15-2009, 10:17 PM
now without knowing the k's we cut how does this set with you by the hour rate profit $ 840.00 or 4560.00 per hour gross now if we based it on man hour and every one cut faster today then oh no there it all goes .

11-16-2009, 07:12 AM
I understand what your doing but I dont think it would be as simple as 4 or 8 meas. The walmart down the road would need at least 12 places measured due to completly diffrent size and shaped pieces of turf. Then at least 3 or 4 diff size islands. Now you also have to blow the whole parking lot which takes longer than mowing and weed eating put together. I also dont see how the turf size has anything to do with detail. I've got some properties that require 30min of mowing and 1hr of detail. Then other properties that look nice but your not accounting for the extra 2hr it takes to mow around the cypress knees.

I'm not saying your wrong, just not how I do it. I will say that the walmart I bid at 8 man hr. I can knock it out in 4. if I start early before the lot is full. If your loosing money with man hr. bids your not bidding enough hr. It would take anyone else 8 manhr to complete. I have my production down and I know this going in so I dont have to bid less because I'm faster.

11-21-2009, 01:44 PM
CK it is truly simpler then that if you want to know .we can do an estimate overall in just mins without leaving the office . try google earth or go i lawns for a simple 1.50 you can get square footage quit easly either way we have used google earth for about 6 years i guess. tried go i lawns last week .

11-21-2009, 01:45 PM
who bids less because they are faster faster makes more money here

11-21-2009, 07:16 PM
No that might work there. It gives you sqft on GE? I dont think it's complicated just not how I've always done it. But if your out there with a wheel then it aint so easy as 4 and go. On alot of places that would be all thats needed but many it would not.

11-21-2009, 08:52 PM
i hope you know i am not calling you out on anything just making convo. the best thing about the wheel is the twisting or the lovely pot hole while walking it off messing up the numbers if someone wanted to know how smooth a lawn was all he would have to do is take off running and the wheel will tell all

11-22-2009, 07:45 AM
I know brother. Same with you. I'm not picking just talking. When it comes down to it your way may be better, it's just not something I've ever seen done.

Pot hole, shoot sometimes my gears just stick. Nothing like walking back 100ft to start over

11-22-2009, 10:35 AM
I do calculate by Sq Ft. I use $0.0012, that number is inline for the prices where i'm at.

43,560 sq.ft. x $0.0012 = $52.27
$52.27 X 0.09% (sales tax) = $4.70
$4.70 + $52.27 = $56.97 round up to $57 and that is what I would charge for one acre.

11-22-2009, 12:57 PM
1.75acre 77 k /1000 sqft x 1.25 per k = 96.25 round to $100 avg.$ 57 per acre
43.5k /1000 sqft x 1.50 per k = 65.25
3 k /1000 sqft x10.oo per k = 30.00
that is how ours breaks down overall as a whole

11-22-2009, 01:25 PM
Try this; Charge about .01 cent per square foot at about 4000 SF of turf, and around .00972 at 6000 SF, this includes mow, blow with perhaps some adjustment for edging depending on how many linear feet you have to do. It has to be balanced with the time it takes to edge.

11-22-2009, 01:44 PM
NICE......man j/k

11-22-2009, 01:50 PM
if those are your prices you got it going on out there.now out of curiosity how long is it taking you to complete a 6 k property???? we would require the crew to move on after 6 mins of mowing and in that 6 mins another guy trims and edges and blows another may work in the beds for a landscape maintenance charge .

11-25-2009, 04:16 PM
You need to go out and mow with your mower and if you have more than one size mow with each size. Mow for a hour and measure the sqft. that will give you how much you can mow per hour. Do the same thing with your weedeater and edger. You may have to do a few lawns maybe five of different sizes and then just add all your sqft. together and divide by how many you have this will give you an average. Measure everything when you are going to give an estimate take your actual sqft. of the job divide by your average and you have the time it roughly should take you. As far as a per dollar amount that you will have to determine on your own.

example:lawn sqft. 43560
weedeat 860 linear ft.
edging 562 linear ft.
blowing usually guess lets say .08 min.
travel depends on how many guys usually 2 and the last job was
.08 min. away so thats 2 men x.08 min.= .16 min.

blowing .08

total 1.55hrs.

11-25-2009, 06:43 PM
The more i read the more i get confused with these formulas. The only formula where i can make money is if i combine two of them and charge a little more than a .01 per 1000sgft and then add a $25 drive fee and such. Lets say i have a 1200sqft lawn and if i use the above method i would make .01*1200sqft=$12.00+$25=$37.00 for a 1000sqft lawn. Does this sound about right or no? The land is all flat and very easy to cut

11-26-2009, 08:02 AM
The more i read the more i get confused with these formulas. The only formula where i can make money is if i combine two of them and charge a little more than a .01 per 1000sgft and then add a $25 drive fee and such. Lets say i have a 1200sqft lawn and if i use the above method i would make .01*1200sqft=$12.00+$25=$37.00 for a 1000sqft lawn. Does this sound about right or no? The land is all flat and very easy to cut

If you make $37 for 1000 sq I would mow that yard as much as I could.
$37 = about 28,500 Sqft

Remember 1 acre is 43,560 sqft

11-26-2009, 08:48 AM
37 for a 20x50 lot does seem high but If you can get it thats great.

11-26-2009, 11:03 AM
So if that price seems high then what do you suggest?
Posted via Mobile Device

11-26-2009, 01:17 PM
For a 20x50 flat lot I would charge $25, but that is the least I will unload my trailer for.

11-26-2009, 10:18 PM
I'm not sugesting anything. In my market you would be poor. In your market that might be cheap.So if that price seems high then what do you suggest?
Posted via Mobile Device

11-26-2009, 10:20 PM
20x50 and your talking just grass here. Whats that 10min work. I would charge 25 as well and thats only cause I'm not dropping the gate for less.

11-26-2009, 11:20 PM
I feel the same way about nothing less than 25but the sad thing is that around where i live there are houses like that especially businesses around here because they are on small lots and then there are parking lots so that makes the grass area even smaller. Do you guys have a way to figure it out?

11-27-2009, 07:48 AM
I dont do the sqft bids these guy's are talking about. I just figure time for every thing. To me a 20x50 lot aint worth 25 but I wont work for less. Thats if it's just turf anyways.

11-27-2009, 06:09 PM
bigirish320 depending on the average lawns in an area this is what we begain the basis on if the average lawn is say 20k and i know i can get in and out in 10 mins i coulds go for 30. then i devide it out to get $ 1.50 but if your arerage lawn is 5 k and it goes for $25k it comes to $5.00 per k then you stick to that price over all