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turf&snow98
03-03-2010, 10:33 PM
Please look at the 2 houses in the picture and tell me what you would charge for them individually. The top house is easy, flat, little sidewalk. The lower one is on a corner so has lots of sidewalk to trim, has a fenced in pool that needs a 21" mower to cut around. I feel like my pricing isn't right on these 2. I mow once per week, trim and blow every time, bag when its excessivley long. :)

<a href="http://s995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/bretlerch001/?action=view&current=gd2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/bretlerch001/gd2.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

turf&snow98
03-03-2010, 10:38 PM
<a href="http://s995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/bretlerch001/?action=view&current=gd2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/bretlerch001/gd2.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

JayD
03-03-2010, 10:44 PM
Please look at the 2 houses in the picture and tell me what you would charge for them individually. The top house is easy, flat, little sidewalk. The lower one is on a corner so has lots of sidewalk to trim, has a fenced in pool that needs a 21" mower to cut around. I feel like my pricing isn't right on these 2. I mow once per week, trim and blow every time, bag when its excessivley long. :)

<a href="http://s995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/bretlerch001/?action=view&current=gd2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/bretlerch001/gd2.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

I cant see them.....

turf&snow98
03-03-2010, 10:45 PM
yeah i just figured that out.... when i went to edit the post it said i can't do it because i took longer than 10 minutes.

ALC-GregH
03-03-2010, 10:46 PM
Price check in isle 5....
Why don't you tell us what your charging?
http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/bretlerch001/gd2.jpg
http://s995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/bretlerch001/?action=view&current=gd2.jpg

turf&snow98
03-03-2010, 10:50 PM
27 each plus tax

turf&snow98
03-03-2010, 10:51 PM
thanks for gettting that image up by the way.

Vogel-Landscaping
03-03-2010, 10:53 PM
i charge 35 min. for any property. but i cant really compare from the pic how big they are. if you had a sq footage that would give me some insight.

turf&snow98
03-03-2010, 10:58 PM
I was thinking im getting a little on the low side lately, i think they are around 100x75' Lots ??? so maybe 7000-9000 sq ft or something like that

Darryl G
03-03-2010, 11:00 PM
Top one 40ish, botton one I'd pass...I hate pool areas and 21s. But if I had to, probably 50ish.

ALC-GregH
03-03-2010, 11:05 PM
What's your fastest time to knock them out? How long does it take to do them?

Vogel-Landscaping
03-03-2010, 11:08 PM
Top one 40ish, botton one I'd pass...I hate pool areas and 21s. But if I had to, probably 50ish.

according to the sq footage he just said i agree with the 40ish and i would prob also pass on the 21. i normally wont take a lawn i cant do with my commercial mowers which are all either 36, 52, or 60s. If i cant get my 36 standars in the back forget it!!

fireman9
03-03-2010, 11:21 PM
I too agree top one about $40-45 bottom one with pool at least $50. How long does it take to do each one? More Trimming= More money . I hate trimming. I'll do ten big lawns cheap before one small one with lots of trim and boobie traps like pools and water gardens.Yuck! I do carry a 21" push but it doesn't see the light of day very often.

Vogel-Landscaping
03-03-2010, 11:43 PM
see and its difficult to help other people price because i run 3-4 men on a crew. so like if your solo doing that you have to look at time for trimming blowing(on corner lot) etc. me when i price if im sending 4 guys out on a truck there are 2 guys cutting and 1 guy gets out and edges with a stick edger and one starts weed wacking. When the guy is done edging he weed wacks. so i dont have to kill people when there is more trimming because i have the machines and the man power pulling up to a house. if you are doing that corner lot with pool and multiple fences that need weed wacking you have to consider the time there. if you have a good grip on how much time it would take you to do that and know what your worth an hour go from there. but then again i dont know how many guys you roll with your equipt etc.

Darryl G
03-03-2010, 11:58 PM
Yah, but you gotta add all the BSing and phone calls with the GF and milking it when the boss isn't looking time with a crew that size that :p Maybe not your guys, but I see that all the time. Working solo I can outwork a hired crew of 2 or 3 on fall cleanups because of all their downtime and farting around.

turf&snow98
03-04-2010, 02:45 AM
I am thinking maybe i am way low after reading a few of those comments. The absolute fastest i can knock out the top one by myself is 20 minutes, the one with the pool 35 minutes by myself, thats really busting my butt though, if the grass is long / wet its considerably longer.

turf&snow98
03-04-2010, 02:56 AM
trying to load this picture one more time, not sure what i did wrong.
179505

ALC-GregH
03-04-2010, 08:44 AM
I don't understand how you've been doing this 12 years and still don't know how to price a mow, trim and blow. After my first year. I knew I was low on some and adjusted the prices the following season. I still have them as customers. Your prices are lowballer prices.

JCLawn and more
03-04-2010, 08:50 AM
if you double than you might lose them. If you already do them, then you know how long it takes. Just figure how much you want per hour.

turf&snow98
03-04-2010, 08:56 AM
Well i dont want to lowball, I believe in giving a fair price for quality work, orginally when i quoted it i figured 60.00 hr, 27+27=54, and i can do them in 54 minutes usually, the one with the pool takes longer to trim then i estimated. I am definitly going to raise their prices for 2010 after this post.

Darryl G
03-04-2010, 09:10 AM
I try to go by the dollar per minute rule for my maximum on-site time for a property. So a $45 minute job gets a mamixum of 45 minutes of my time. That way, for a day of mowing, with windshield and load/unload time, I can end up in the $45 to $50 per hour range for my average rate for the day. I give each of my accounts a time allotment and make the property look the best I can in that amount of time. Of course, if my alloted time runs out and there's still grass on the walk and the driveway, I'm not gonna just pack up and leave.

fireman9
03-04-2010, 09:17 AM
I try to do the $1.00/min thing and it normally works ok for me..But I do work alone and have to hustle, no hour long lunches here and the phone stays on the dash of the truck. No interruptions while on a job...unless I'm there doing something big(IE...over and hour) The only saving grace I may see that you have is there across the street from one another...NO DRIVE TIME !!! that's worth something in my book, Neighbors also talk form time to time, so I wouldn't go crazy pricing them too differently. Instead try to get the whole neighborhood! If you can set up shop in one location, you'll save on loading and unloading times and drive time. I've have taken over a entire neighborhoods this way and IT was due to fair pricing quality workmanship and good neighbors.

lalorslawncare
03-04-2010, 09:27 AM
Ive had situations like this from time to time. Properties like these are a dream. If you dont have any other work in the same area take what you would normally charge and take 10% off for being nieghbors. Let the customer know that you are doing this and tell them you will knock anouther 5% off for every neighbor that they refer and you sign up. I have 6 houses on the same street and same side of street this way. 185 bucks and it takes 1.5 hours. a few more of these and Ill start working only 4 days a week

fireman9
03-04-2010, 09:28 AM
Ive had situations like this from time to time. Properties like these are a dream. If you dont have any other work in the same area take what you would normally charge and take 10% off for being nieghbors. Let the customer know that you are doing this and tell them you will knock anouther 5% off for every neighbor that they refer and you sign up. I have 6 houses on the same street and same side of street this way. 185 bucks and it takes 1.5 hours. a few more of these and Ill start working only 4 days a week

My point Exactly!:drinkup:

mcw615
03-04-2010, 09:33 AM
price check in isle 5....


bahahahahaha

JayD
03-04-2010, 09:35 AM
I try to do the $1.00/min thing and it normally works ok for me..But I do work alone and have to hustle, no hour long lunches here and the phone stays on the dash of the truck. No interruptions while on a job...unless I'm there doing something big(IE...over and hour) The only saving grace I may see that you have is there across the street from one another...NO DRIVE TIME !!! that's worth something in my book, Neighbors also talk form time to time, so I wouldn't go crazy pricing them too differently. Instead try to get the whole neighborhood! If you can set up shop in one location, you'll save on loading and unloading times and drive time. I've have taken over a entire neighborhoods this way and IT was due to fair pricing quality workmanship and good neighbors.

I was wondering when someone would bring that up about having two together.....that's changes things a little in my book too. He needs to maybe push it up just a very little at a time and at the same time do like you said and try very hard to win a few more right there. He will make more in the long run because of less drive time. That's the problem I had when I first started, I was desperate and took anything anywhere and was driving to much. In fact, I had more driving time then actual mowing time...Oh how we learn....

mcw615
03-04-2010, 09:38 AM
I too agree top one about $40-45 bottom one with pool at least $50. How long does it take to do each one? More Trimming= More money . I hate trimming. I'll do ten big lawns cheap before one small one with lots of trim and boobie traps like pools and water gardens.Yuck! I do carry a 21" push but it doesn't see the light of day very often.

It's guys like you in my town that keep us busy. Customers get tired of having people only mow their lawn because they are lazy to trim. Quality work does take more time, and the customer knows that which means higher invoice. YOU PAY FOR WHAT YOU GET. If your charging to do everything 100% but you are only giving them half because you don't like trimming, shame.. but thanks for the business. Do a good job, it will pay off everytime, and by cutting corners like trimming you are spending more time on the road rushing to the next account, spend more time on the account and do everything the way it needs to be done and charge them for it. But you run your business the way you want to, I will do mine my way...

mcw615
03-04-2010, 09:48 AM
Okay, you first need to learn about how to run a business then apply it to your particular business. Know your costs, overhead, and PLANNED profit. We charge to show up, usually $12-$15 for anything up to $75 and $25 to show up for any medium/large account, I know I have to charge $62.00 an hour per man on the job, no matter what equipment is being used. We car about quality. We have accounts that other services were charging $40 to fly through it with a 60"Z and would scalp the bumpy back lawn all up. We got it at $65 for using the 21" on the back lawn. I explain we price lawns by time, not size and using the 21" mower takes longer. Most people don't have a problem with it when their lawn has been torn all into pieces.

Darryl G
03-04-2010, 09:49 AM
It's guys like you in my town that keep us busy. Customers get tired of having people only mow their lawn because they are lazy to trim. Quality work does take more time, and the customer knows that which means higher invoice. YOU PAY FOR WHAT YOU GET. If your charging to do everything 100% but you are only giving them half because you don't like trimming, shame.. but thanks for the business. Do a good job, it will pay off everytime, and by cutting corners like trimming you are spending more time on the road rushing to the next account, spend more time on the account and do everything the way it needs to be done and charge them for it. But you run your business the way you want to, I will do mine my way...

Little harsh there. He didn't say he wouldn't trim, he said it would be more because of the trimming.

fireman9
03-04-2010, 09:53 AM
It's guys like you in my town that keep us busy. Customers get tired of having people only mow their lawn because they are lazy to trim. Quality work does take more time, and the customer knows that which means higher invoice. YOU PAY FOR WHAT YOU GET. If your charging to do everything 100% but you are only giving them half because you don't like trimming, shame.. but thanks for the business. Do a good job, it will pay off everytime, and by cutting corners like trimming you are spending more time on the road rushing to the next account, spend more time on the account and do everything the way it needs to be done and charge them for it. But you run your business the way you want to, I will do mine my way...

Don't get me wrong, I trim everything every time and on days when I do have my part-timer with me I STILL do all the trim because I haven't found someone that can do it to my standards. I just find it mind numbing and relatively boring.

fireman9
03-04-2010, 10:06 AM
How many times have you had the wind shift while trimming around a pool area and blow fresh clippings exactly where you didn't want them? Pools and water gardens ARE booby traps and should be treated as such. They take more time and care to work around, hence I will charge a little more and explain it the customer. Most don't have any problem and appreciate the extra care...
Given the choice I'd still prefer to mow wide-open flat range any day.

Darryl G
03-04-2010, 10:12 AM
Yah, not that I'm lazy, but I'd rather have my buns sitting on my Z. I can make more money on it. If i'm behind a 21 inch mower and my Z is sitting on the trailer, my income suffers. Same thing with snow removal. I don't like getting out of the truck. I can make hundreds of dollars/hour plowing and much much less operatiing a snow blower or shovel. I think it's natural to want to use the most profitable tool in your toolbox whenever you can.

mcw615
03-04-2010, 10:22 AM
Yah, not that I'm lazy, but I'd rather have my buns sitting on my Z. I can make more money on it. If i'm behind a 21 inch mower and my Z is sitting on the trailer, my income suffers. Same thing with snow removal. I don't like getting out of the truck. I can make hundreds of dollars/hour plowing and much much less operatiing a snow blower or shovel. I think it's natural to want to use the most profitable tool in your toolbox whenever you can.

If you sell by time not size then the 21" mowers will make you more money on back lawns or whatever small areas, plus it looks better on the smaller lawns and were making more money. I have to charge $63/hr per man whether he is on a Z, trimmer, blower, or 21" mower. Remember, your selling your labor hours, I like when a prospect says they really want there front lawn done with the small mower because I know I am selling more labor hours. I couldn't emphasize enough, price by time and equipment you and the client agree you will use, not just size. If I priced a lawn at $55, it would probably break down like this.... $15 to show. $15 mow with Z, $20 trim, $5 blow. If the mowing was to be done with a 21" mower the mowing price would be at however long it would take to get it done with a 21" mower at $63/hr. SELL YOUR LABOR HOURS NOT THE SIZE OF THE LAWN. I agree sitting on the Z is much easier work, but if I have an opportunity to use a piece of equipment that is going to take longer and I am going to get paid for it, you know damn right I will use it.

Darryl G
03-04-2010, 10:36 AM
Yes I agree but the problem is that anyone can use a 21 inch mower and most customers are not willing to pay $60 per hour to have me operate it when there are guys willing to do it for $25/hour. And honestly, I work solo and I want to enjoy my work, it's not all about money to me. If the job is a royal pain in the a$$, I really don't want it. Money only goes so far in changing my mood, lol.

fireman9
03-04-2010, 10:40 AM
If you sell by time not size then the 21" mowers will make you more money on back lawns or whatever small areas, plus it looks better on the smaller lawns and were making more money. I have to charge $63/hr per man whether he is on a Z, trimmer, blower, or 21" mower. Remember, your selling your labor hours, I like when a prospect says they really want there front lawn done with the small mower because I know I am selling more labor hours. I couldn't emphasize enough, price by time and equipment you and the client agree you will use, not just size. If I priced a lawn at $55, it would probably break down like this.... $15 to show. $15 mow with Z, $20 trim, $5 blow. If the mowing was to be done with a 21" mower the mowing price would be at however long it would take to get it done with a 21" mower at $63/hr. SELL YOUR LABOR HOURS NOT THE SIZE OF THE LAWN. I agree sitting on the Z is much easier work, but if I have an opportunity to use a piece of equipment that is going to take longer and I am going to get paid for it, you know damn right I will use it.

OK, so I'm going to shoot myself in the foot, Your right, Price by the hour. The checkerboard pattern laid down with the 21"push can look nice in the yard.
I have some smaller yards with lots of trim and bushes and offer other services while there, trimming hedges etc... I even have one that I'll take the ladies trash out to the curb for her. If I see the the mail or paper is in the mail box and their home while trimming, I'll bring that to the door while I'm there too.
Peoplie like being treated special and often extras like this will bring money, customers or referals.

mcw615
03-04-2010, 11:07 AM
Depending on the client you are dealing with they may go with the redneck guy with the residential style Troy Bilt mower that doesn't cut worth a crap and pay him cheap to simply cut the grass. The Troy Bilt can not even touch half the quality cut the Toro Commercial models produce, and the quality difference is seen. Our Toro dealer is in the top 10 of the US and we are the only ones who buy the commercial 21", most services will buy the cheap $600-$700 'Trim Mower Model'. You pay for what you get. I also agree, they are not always the most enjoyable piece of equipment, but it is the passion to deliver the best service that no one else is willing to offer.

Darryl G
03-04-2010, 12:21 PM
I would do things differently if I had crews working for me. I would just get the job and send them out on it instead of turning down 2/3 of them and cherry picking the ones I like. But as a solo op, I can only do so many jobs, so I try to fill my schedule with properties I enjoy servicing. Ones with a butt load of trimming and gates and a pool and doggy poop aren't among them. But if I can get the job at a premium price, then ya, sure I'll do it. My misery can be bought to a degree.

EJD Lawnpride
03-04-2010, 12:23 PM
I'd be at $35 and $41 for those houses.

FourTrees
03-04-2010, 12:43 PM
27 each plus tax

Yes, a bit low. But don't go overboard on price increases.

Top one 40ish, botton one I'd pass...I hate pool areas and 21s. But if I had to, probably 50ish.

I too agree top one about $40-45 bottom one with pool at least $50. How long does it take to do each one? More Trimming= More money . I hate trimming. I'll do ten big lawns cheap before one small one with lots of trim and boobie traps like pools and water gardens.Yuck! I do carry a 21" push but it doesn't see the light of day very often.

I am thinking maybe i am way low after reading a few of those comments. The absolute fastest i can knock out the top one by myself is 20 minutes, the one with the pool 35 minutes by myself, thats really busting my butt though, if the grass is long / wet its considerably longer.

I quoted the other guys because I don't think you are way low based on your times here.

Solo guy and you can do it in 20 min and you are at $27. I'd say try and get them to $30-$35. Nothing wrong with $30 here.

In good conditions you can get the bottom one in 35. So maybe 40 min average on the year, adjusting so you cut it when it is not so wet (is it rainy conditions the problem or they water on day you cut and you are there too early in the morning?) If its sprinkler you can adjust. So get them to $35-$40 for bottom one.

Remember just because you may pull out a 21" it does not matter if the total cutting time is still within "say the $1 per minute range." The most effective tool is the one that gets the job done. A 21" is just as effective as 60" in different circumstances. A trimmer is more effective on a 5' by 5' foot patch than a 60", sometimes you just have to adapt.

So my observation would be that you can average ONE STOP being there for one hour. You are currently charging $54 for that ONE ONE HOUR STOP
.

Maybe a bit low but not extremely low. With my rates, going of your solo times I'd say you could get them to $65-$80 total for ONE STOP.

I'd recommend talking with them and getting them to maybe $30 for top and $35 for bottom.

This way you are keeping good accounts at a decent rate, based upon your actual times. With 0 travel time between.

OR

You could say to the customer, that the lawnsite guys who have never cut the yards say you are way low; so you are raising their rates to $40 and $50 respectively. Then you can sit back and watch as the both cancel and you now will be making $0 at ONE STOP and you will have an hour of free time.

I'd recommend talking with them and getting them to maybe $30 for top and $35 for bottom. You could try a $15-$20 dollar jump and see them cancel.



Now the trick is that you may be low on some. Well, just apply this knowledge to all future accounts. Bring them all in at a $30-$35 dollar minimum depending on area and average property size.

Evaluate and adjust accounts you currently have bringing the closer in line with your new pricing structure. Just remember $10-$20 dollar price jumps on an average lawn AIN'T gonna fly.

Again apologize for my lengthy wordy post, but BASED on your actual times; I did not see you as being WAY low. A bit low yes, but not worth drastic changes.

Good Luck.

PS if you've already discussed price this year then I'd bite the bullet and not change it on them now. Nothing like a guy going back on his word. They'd probably just dump you later anyways because you just showed them they can't trust you.

Darryl G
03-04-2010, 12:47 PM
Keep in mind the times he gave are for his BEST times on the properties.

FourTrees
03-04-2010, 01:07 PM
Keep in mind the times he gave are for his BEST times on the properties.

Agreed.


But if best time on top one is 20 min then average time has got 30 min unless work is really inconsistent. So 30 min = $30 dollars he is $3 short.

ON bottom one I asked if he could adjust for those problems. Now on the bottom he said currently $27, I guess I was looking at it as how he is low. I'd say maybe I was a bit nice when I said get them to $35-$40. Just cuzz there is no way now that I could see him getting it to a $50 minimum.

As I said, maybe a bit low but not extremely low. With my rates, going of your solo times I'd say you could get them to $65-$80 total for ONE STOP.

Now this is based upon them being low already as current clients. Were I to show up and estimate (mind you I am going off his times and pics):

I'd say $30 for the top one and $45 for the bottom one. $75 were I can average an hour and 15 minutes. For one stop seem right in line. If he can get them to $65 without losing them then they are worth keeping. Eventually couple of years he can get them to $75-$80.

I just didn't want him to think a fast price increase was what was needed.

I just figured he was trying to get in line with others on his future pricing.

Based upon my area overgrown and wet are only about a month or two on the year so they are the lesser point of my average times.

brucec32
03-04-2010, 02:00 PM
I'd guess you're looking at 25 min AVERAGE for the top lawn and 40 min AVERAGE for the PITA pool house with the typical ztr/wb/21" setup. These are experienced owner/operator times, not numbskull new employee of the week times.

Assuming you can drop the ramp and always do them on the same visit, you could knock off a LITTLE from the price for that, but if you continually hand all your efficiency savings back to your customers, you will not make a good living. You want jobs together so YOU make more, not so customers get a good deal. Keep in mind you're losing some rest time between jobs as well. But mostly remember that if one account drops you, the other is not going to want to pay $5/visit more because of that. You'll wind up losing both if you try that.

The top lawn is easy. They are low trimming/edging time, sit on the ZTR stuff. The other looks to be the opposite. Just the time required to pull a second mower and get it to the back to start mowing adds up. The pool pitfalls are well known and you should definitely charge for that as well.

I'd charge $32 and $44. Knock $2/ea off if you really think they're price sensitive and you need the work. But I might just pass on the pool house. Never was big on doing those.

At $27 you're leaving about $600 a season on the table from just one stop! You are making money, just not enough. And I will say that from feedback I get I am certainly not "expensive" here for mowing. So I doubt I'm overpricing it.

A lot of guys compare what they can earn doing this to a prior low level job somewhere making $12/hour or whatever and think they're doing ok. But you really need to compensate yourself for taking the chances, being the boss, and doing hard physical work at a good pace all day, as well as the seasonal nature of the job. You're also assumedly an upright person doing the work, not some mess of a person someone pulled from a labor pool or street corner that could be phoning their friends to tell them when the owner is gone. That's worth more to most homeowners.

Receptionists at corporations make $30K plus with full benefits. You're more "skilled" and harder working than that. If you worry about the knuckleheads mowing lawns for $20, you will wind up with a lot less money. Let them have their rental homes and cheapskates.

JCLawn and more
03-04-2010, 08:27 PM
I don't know. He said he can do them in a hour. I would be happy with $60 a hour. I personally would charge 30 and 35 in my area. Even 35 and 45 would not horrible. That's $80 a hour. Try to put yourself in there shoes. If I was the homeowner, what would I be willing to pay?