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Lawnut101
05-01-2010, 10:41 AM
How did you guys do this year? I was trying to bid at $60/hr, but I didn't get any work. I know guys that have lots of work, but they bid around $35-40/hr. I guess I am gonna have to lower my rates next season. I only picked up one small residential lawn this year, and that's because I work with the reality company that has it. Otherwise I lost all my bids. I don't think there is much hope in the mowing market right now. How did your bidding experience go?

rjh4758
05-01-2010, 02:13 PM
I did real well biding this year. I was shooting for $50 an hour (solo- low overhead)and got all but one bid. Maybe I was low for my area this year, don't know. I figured with the economy I would need to come down a bit to pick up new business and it worked.

jnrogers
05-01-2010, 07:46 PM
I am $50 hour for mowing. If I do tractor work I charge $60hr. I charge a little more for the tractor because it is heavier and uses more fuel to tow it. My minimum charge is $30 for either. Its been a little slower here too, more people trying to get by with bi-weekly than normal.

milkie62
05-01-2010, 11:31 PM
My minimum is $30 also.I bid 1 lawn for $45 but did not get it.I shoot for $45-$50/hr.I am only part-time so my overhead is lower also.I do not need any benefits since my regular job covers them.
So far I am doing GREAT this year.Last year was another story though.I have quit advertising already since I am more than maxed out.The picture ad did wonders vs just a small ad in the classifieds.Already getting word of mouth work.

MJS
05-01-2010, 11:36 PM
Anything less than $70 an hour is too low for me.

You're always better off bidding a little higher and mowing 20 lawns for $30/each rather than the same 20+10 more lawns @$20/each.

topsites
05-02-2010, 01:13 AM
According to your own post you could have been bidding 35-40 and had work.

Kennedy Landscaping
05-02-2010, 01:23 AM
Around here someone would laugh if you told them 50 bucks an hour. The rate here is in the $20-35 area. I normally charge $25 per hour. Got two apartment complexes this season, two gas stations, a duplex, an electrical wholesale warehouse, and have a lead on bidding three cemeteries. Everything just exploded this season it seems like. I hate charging the low hourly wages, but anything higher and people shy away. Like I said, even 40 bucks and people would laugh at you. So the $25 rule around here is pretty common. I'm planning to try and slowly work it higher though.

SangerLawn
05-02-2010, 01:34 AM
I am in total shock this year on how the bidding is going. We didn’t loose any commercial work from last year and didn’t want to grow anymore since I don’t have anymore crew leaders…..BUT…I had several companies tell me people where coming in there offering to do the work for less then half of what I do. One of the properties I charge over $300 a week. They showed me an estimate from someone that said they would do it for $70 a week (no joke)…..we all laughed and the company stayed with us :)

rjh4758
05-02-2010, 07:51 AM
Around here someone would laugh if you told them 50 bucks an hour. The rate here is in the $20-35 area. I normally charge $25 per hour. Got two apartment complexes this season, two gas stations, a duplex, an electrical wholesale warehouse, and have a lead on bidding three cemeteries. Everything just exploded this season it seems like. I hate charging the low hourly wages, but anything higher and people shy away. Like I said, even 40 bucks and people would laugh at you. So the $25 rule around here is pretty common. I'm planning to try and slowly work it higher though.

So a 20 minute lawn is $10? If I could only make $30 an hour it would just my overhead, and leave nothing for future growth, equpment replacement or me after uncle Sam gets his cut. Well maybe a few bucks but I would make more flipping burgers at that rate.

ajslands
05-02-2010, 07:53 AM
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Posted via Mobile Device

Lawnut101
05-02-2010, 06:49 PM
So a 20 minute lawn is $10? If I could only make $30 an hour it would just my overhead, and leave nothing for future growth, equpment replacement or me after uncle Sam gets his cut. Well maybe a few bucks but I would make more flipping burgers at that rate.

Same with me. My break even is about $25. Not worth it at that rate.

Lawnut101
05-02-2010, 06:51 PM
Anything less than $70 an hour is too low for me.

You're always better off bidding a little higher and mowing 20 lawns for $30/each rather than the same 20+10 more lawns @$20/each.

That's kinda what I figured. But I think I am gonn have to lower it a bit, or just keep it the same and see what I can get. People are out there doing it for real cheap this year.

ed2hess
05-02-2010, 07:34 PM
Same with me. My break even is about $25. Not worth it at that rate.

Might want to take a look at your expense side....a solo should be able to go a lot lower than that.

ShooterK2
05-02-2010, 08:02 PM
Around here I find that, if I bid in the $35 - $40 per hour range, I do fairly well. A couple of my accounts make me a little more than that, but they are the exception, not the rule.
Posted via Mobile Device

rain man
05-02-2010, 08:34 PM
Same with me. My break even is about $25. Not worth it at that rate.

Agreed. Take away mower replacement/repair, taxes, insurance (if you're smart), wearing out that shiney truck, gas powered hand tools, blades, air filters, oil filters, trimmer line, edger blades, tires, truck repair from heavy usage, brakes for truck, oil, a liscense, advertising of some sort, people who don't pay, a trailer to pull everything, and so on and so forth.

And yet, many each year are loosing money and don't know it.

ashgrove landscaping
05-02-2010, 09:30 PM
So far so good at $50-$60/hr. in super rural farm country and it keeps gettin better. As for lawnfreak, that s way too bad for you. I hope you are just telling people that and actually getting the going rate. Otherwise your just a lowballer. I understand that people are in shock at a $50/hr. wage but that s why you bid the job and don't say how fast you can complete the job. I am sure you know this already but $25/ hr. is a wicked lowballer move!

milkie62
05-02-2010, 10:26 PM
$25/hr is way too low.There is noway even a part-timer should be working that low.Think about it---you are going to mow and trim a lawn for 25 bucks for an hours work.My zero turn is close to 2 gallons per hr.Gas yesterday is $3/gal,so for an hr you are down to 19 bucks an hr.Now gas for the trimmer,gas for your truck and you are working for $11/hr.You are way better off just working around your house for that kind of money.

olaf valle
05-02-2010, 10:39 PM
around here someone would laugh if you told them 50 bucks an hour. The rate here is in the $20-35 area. I normally charge $25 per hour. Got two apartment complexes this season, two gas stations, a duplex, an electrical wholesale warehouse, and have a lead on bidding three cemeteries. Everything just exploded this season it seems like. I hate charging the low hourly wages, but anything higher and people shy away. Like i said, even 40 bucks and people would laugh at you. So the $25 rule around here is pretty common. I'm planning to try and slowly work it higher though.

lol no wonder he is getting all this work.

Lawnut101
05-03-2010, 01:39 AM
Might want to take a look at your expense side....a solo should be able to go a lot lower than that.

Well, I am not a solo operation. I think my expenses are about as low as I can get them for my area. My accountant seems to think that is a normal expense.

deere615
05-04-2010, 11:49 PM
Mowing bids have been bad for me this year I haven't got many lawns. And got underbid on alot I did last year. I aim for the 40-50 per hr I feel thats not enough though but I can barely win lawns at that...

Richard Martin
05-05-2010, 05:18 AM
Might want to take a look at your expense side....a solo should be able to go a lot lower than that.

I agree. My pre tax cost per hour is so low that most members here think I'm crazy. I average $39 an hour on bidding. I am charging just as much as my market will bear.

Lawnut101
05-05-2010, 10:48 AM
Mowing bids have been bad for me this year I haven't got many lawns. And got underbid on alot I did last year. I aim for the 40-50 per hr I feel thats not enough though but I can barely win lawns at that...

I think a lot of other guys around here are in the same boat as me and you. Guess I gotta lower my price next year.

Mwatson
05-05-2010, 11:01 AM
How did you guys do this year? I was trying to bid at $60/hr, but I didn't get any work. I don't think there is much hope in the mowing market right now.

What do you mean there isn't much hope? The season has only just started and you're giving up already?? There are MILLIONS of yards out there to do. Maybe you need to lower your prices slightly if you intend to get any work. If you can't compete...take a seat. LOL. Good luck to you.

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
05-05-2010, 03:12 PM
people are ridiculously cheap around here. i aim for $50/hour minimum. ive had to settle with a quite a few at 40-45/hour. sux after u pay taxes....but try to get paid in cash and you will do alright.lol

obxseaside
05-05-2010, 05:51 PM
Hey Richard i was out your way not long ago i took a firefighter class at pitt community college there were a lot of guys from the ayden vfd there.

clydebusa
05-05-2010, 06:09 PM
Around here I find that, if I bid in the $35 - $40 per hour range, I do fairly well. A couple of my accounts make me a little more than that, but they are the exception, not the rule.
Posted via Mobile Device

Same here in Tulsa, If I make 50 an hour it is because I am running.

Richard Martin
05-05-2010, 07:00 PM
Hey Richard i was out your way not long ago i took a firefighter class at pitt community college there were a lot of guys from the ayden vfd there.

Yeah uh.... There is most certainly something to be said for having paid members at the firehouse. They have paid firefighters at Winterville, which is further away from my area. The guys from Winterville are always on the scene about 5 minutes before Ayden. My area is supposed to be served by Ayden.

Charles
05-05-2010, 07:34 PM
I agree. My pre tax cost per hour is so low that most members here think I'm crazy. I average $39 an hour on bidding. I am charging just as much as my market will bear.

Really? That would be terrible for a "legit" solo operator like me. No way I could make it charging that. I run a tight ship and get every penny out of the equipment. I don't look at it like you are. I cut cost to make more profit and not to cut prices. I think my charges are reasonable for a legitimate business. Many(not all) people seem to expect to get charged what many are posting here. They know everything is going up. They know what they get charged for others services and products are much higher than lawn care. I am just talking solo here

Grits
05-05-2010, 07:39 PM
I have raised my prices for new work and have landed about 75%. I am at the point of deciding to add another truck or stop taking new customers. It's a good place to be....yet stressful.
Also, April sales are up 15% from last year....things are getting better every day.

81Bronk36
05-06-2010, 12:33 AM
I probably average about 50-55 an hour, but I have one job that I make about 110-115! Thats pretty good!

GreenmanCT
05-06-2010, 06:16 AM
i try to get $100/ hour, i can do it most the time if i have my good worker with me. i think its pretty easy to do. 3 - $35 lawns can easily be knocked out in less then an hour.

Richard Martin
05-06-2010, 01:09 PM
I don't look at it like you are. I cut cost to make more profit and not to cut prices

I don't keep my costs low to cut prices. Although I do know my costs my pricing and costs are 2 different items. I charge just as much as I think I can get. If I landed every job I bid on then I'd know that I'm too low. I don't land every bid. I land under 50%. So far this year it's been 40%.

My efficiency is just a function of my personality and how I've evolved over the years. I decided many, many moons ago to set me route up so I only had to make right turns. Long before I heard that UPS also does that. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that it's easier to get out into one lane of traffic than 2. I buy my gas along my route. No extra miles. I don't go out collecting money. No extra miles. Follow the Owner's Manual on equipment. No unnecessary oil and filters changes. It just goes on and on.

Richard Martin
05-06-2010, 01:44 PM
Really? That would be terrible for a "legit" solo operator like me.

Just what is it that you are trying to insinuate here? That you think in some way, shape, fashion or form that I'm not a legit business?

You're just like everybody else here at Lawnsite. You fixate on that DOLLAR PER HOUR.

And what kind of solo legit operator are you? Do you somehow think that you're "average". And if so, how did you come to that conclusion?

Also, did you ever stop to think that there might be a reason I don't get as much per hour? I know the reason. It's not that I don't charge enough. It's that I'm not as fast as some other operators out there. I'm not 30 years old anymore. I have health problems including arthritis in my hip that necessates me sitting down every 15 minutes to get rid of the pain. I also don't do just a "good enough" job. I get each and every lawn as good as I possibly can, each and every time. It takes time.

You could take my same jobs and have a speedy guy do them I have no doubt that he could get them done in 1/2 the time. And he would double the money per hour on the same exact job and at the same exact rate. Would the customers notice? Some will, some won't.

And if I had a full schedule I might worry about starting to weed out the lower payers. I've done it before. Back in my 2000/2001 season. That's when I ditched my Gravely 50" and bought my first Dixie. I was able to get the job done quicker so I was able to start getting rid of the jobs that were further away and lower paying. Although my customer count actually went down as did my GROSS income my net income (balance sheet) actually increased because of the higher efficiency of the Dixie and a full schedule. I went from 40 customers a week in 2000 to 32 customers a week in 2001. I worked less hours but made more money.

Charles
05-06-2010, 02:49 PM
Just what is it that you are trying to insinuate here? That you think in some way, shape, fashion or form that I'm not a legit business?

You're just like everybody else here at Lawnsite. You fixate on that DOLLAR PER HOUR.

And what kind of solo legit operator are you? Do you somehow think that you're "average". And if so, how did you come to that conclusion?

Also, did you ever stop to think that there might be a reason I don't get as much per hour? I know the reason. It's not that I don't charge enough. It's that I'm not as fast as some other operators out there. I'm not 30 years old anymore. I have health problems including arthritis in my hip that necessates me sitting down every 15 minutes to get rid of the pain. I also don't do just a "good enough" job. I get each and every lawn as good as I possibly can, each and every time. It takes time.

You could take my same jobs and have a speedy guy do them I have no doubt that he could get them done in 1/2 the time. And he would double the money per hour on the same exact job and at the same exact rate. Would the customers notice? Some will, some won't.

And if I had a full schedule I might worry about starting to weed out the lower payers. I've done it before. Back in my 2000/2001 season. That's when I ditched my Gravely 50" and bought my first Dixie. I was able to get the job done quicker so I was able to start getting rid of the jobs that were further away and lower paying. Although my customer count actually went down as did my GROSS income my net income (balance sheet) actually increased because of the higher efficiency of the Dixie and a full schedule. I went from 40 customers a week in 2000 to 32 customers a week in 2001. I worked less hours but made more money.

No, I wasn't trying to insinuate anything. I was talking about legit solo vs legit crew type lcos doing volume. I know you are legit

milkie62
05-08-2010, 09:03 AM
It sort of boils down to "the $$$ per hour".I just bid a lawn at $45.I figured it would take 35 minutes.Lost it to someone who bid $40.I could have done it for $40 but I figured in an extra $5 for gas in case gas goes up.

milkie62
05-08-2010, 09:10 AM
I have a really good bid here I just gave a lady: A cut up yard,not kept up ,weeds,small piles of dirt left from a pool install.Just as much trimming as mowing.Only good thing is on the same road as another customer.I give her a price of $40.She said she already got a price of $30.I told her she should jump at that price.But then she said she thought $30 was a bit high.I just started to explain pricing to her and said you really should be doing it yourself since you want someone to do it for free.

terrapro
05-08-2010, 09:24 AM
Some of you guys are mowing for less than $0.50 per minute? Why don't you just work for someone else for $8-10per hour? Seriously, not trying to be mean or rude. You would make more and have less stress. :)

milkie62
05-08-2010, 11:57 PM
Back in summer of 2008 gas in my area was $4.55/gal. I had bid a lawn for 2009 for $90 and got it.Come spring of 2009 the lady calls me and asks if it is going to be less since gas was cheaper.I told her I bid it according to my rate and not really by the price of gas.I am still doing it 2 yrs later.But there are alot of trees to hand mow around.1 hr to trim and 1 hr to ztr mow.

Lawnut101
05-09-2010, 12:27 AM
Some of you guys are mowing for less than $0.50 per minute? Why don't you just work for someone else for $8-10per hour? Seriously, not trying to be mean or rude. You would make more and have less stress. :)

That's kinda what I have been thinking. I want to get as much as I can per hour, without working my equipment to the max for a cheaper rate. I have a lot of landscaping work, so I will just keep doing that until people start accepting my mowing bids. Still, I may have to lower the prices a little.

Landscraper1
05-09-2010, 11:23 AM
Around here someone would laugh if you told them 50 bucks an hour. The rate here is in the $20-35 area. I normally charge $25 per hour. Got two apartment complexes this season, two gas stations, a duplex, an electrical wholesale warehouse, and have a lead on bidding three cemeteries. Everything just exploded this season it seems like. I hate charging the low hourly wages, but anything higher and people shy away. Like I said, even 40 bucks and people would laugh at you. So the $25 rule around here is pretty common. I'm planning to try and slowly work it higher though.

How can you make it on $25 an hour? Even if you're a solo operator, it makes no sense. You have expenses. Gas, Insurance, Equipment, Travel time to jobs, Equip. maintenance, Taxes and your Pay. All of that and the stress of running the business, for WHAT? You might as well work for another company for $12 hr. and just worry about packing a lunch for the day.:rolleyes:
The way I see it, if you can't get more than $45 an hour, you might as well pack it in. Anyone can get more customers at your prices. It's called "Low Balling". You should be in business to make money, not to just be in business, for the sake of having your OWN business.:nono:
This is why the landscape industry is becoming less profitable year after year.

4seasonslandscapingPlus
05-09-2010, 02:43 PM
Really depends on the area that you are doing the bidding. Typically about 35/hr will work with residential because they do not have as much money as commercial clients. Obviously commercial can be a higher.

AOD
05-09-2010, 04:51 PM
Around here $35-$40 an hour is about tops, unless it's a big commercial account. A lot of people will just send their kid or whoever out with a crappy push mower if you try to give them a higher price. Even the Dennys here does this, and the owner's kids cut it like crap.

I am going to bid a couple here in a bit, for the same guy, one about an acre and one thats tiny, I am thinking $50 a cut or $400 for the whole summer if he pays up front.

Camo Lawn
05-11-2010, 12:28 AM
I try to bid "the yard" and the hourly rate seems to be around $50 to $60 an hour. I Profile the bid a little too! Area, type of yard, type of car, etc etc you make a little more on some and a little less on others but you cant look at each job individually you have to look at the end of the year. This is what works for me anyway.

AllSeasonServices
05-11-2010, 02:19 AM
If we are going to compare, lets compare apples to apples. For maintenance I make between 28 (lowest account) and 50 per hr. I am a brand new company, my primary mower is a new Toro 36" belt drive mower. I need to compete with the guys cutting with 61" Z riders. So I must do estimates based on production ratios of a larger machine. Most clients dont care if your using a 21"trim mower, or a 72" Z Rider unless your running over there perennials to get into the back yard. And yes there are alot of low ballers out there, I understand this, just dont label me one based on one number. Mid season provided I can justify the purchase, I plan on buying a Toro Grandstand 52".( The machine I based my production ratios off of.) When I do this some of my accounts will stay the same hourly rate due to the fact that ill still use the 36" walk behind because it is the proper machine for the job, and I bid those accordingly. However my $26 per hr account will become approximately $55 per hr. In fact all my accounts will balance out to between $50 and $60 per hr. Also my profit margins are fairly nice right now based on maintenance, im paying off a $2700 machine. When my hourly rate goes up so will my costs. The grandstand is an $8800 machine and requires more preventative maintenance. So will I really make more based on the same amount of work. NO. I will simply accomplish the same work faster, increasing my hourly rate but also increasing my overhead %. Getting the work done faster will simply allow me to take on more, which if bid correctly will lower my overhead % and make me more money.
A low baller is someone who bids lower than the industry standard for the same work performed. The way it was explained to me is: Contractor "A" has a pickup with a plow and competitively bids a lot at $400 assuming it will take him 4 hrs to complete.=$100 per hr.
Contractor "B" has a wheel loader with a 20' pusher, he bids the same job at $200 assuming it will take him 1 hr to complete.=$200 per hr. Who is the low baller.

Landscraper1
05-11-2010, 07:45 AM
Contractor B is the "low baller". Thier are many factors to consider in a sinario like this. First of all a Wheel loader with a 20ft pusher is probably worth 10 times, the pickup and plow. If financed, how much bigger payment is it each month. Also any Joe can use a pickup. To have a license to operate a loader, the operator would get paid much more than a plow driver. There is more to consider. So,the difference in price should not be so drastic.

For example, I purchased a BB302 last year, to do all of my mulching jobs. A customer came to me and asked if my price, would be lower now, that I had a machine to do the job much quicker. I asked him, do you think I would spend close to $50,000 on this machine, to save you money or was it, for me to make more money? He laughed and said that I was a good business man.

Lawnut101
05-12-2010, 01:12 AM
Contractor B is the "low baller". Thier are many factors to consider in a sinario like this. First of all a Wheel loader with a 20ft pusher is probably worth 10 times, the pickup and plow. If financed, how much bigger payment is it each month. Also any Joe can use a pickup. To have a license to operate a loader, the operator would get paid much more than a plow driver. There is more to consider. So,the difference in price should not be so drastic.

For example, I purchased a BB302 last year, to do all of my mulching jobs. A customer came to me and asked if my price, would be lower now, that I had a machine to do the job much quicker. I asked him, do you think I would spend close to $50,000 on this machine, to save you money or was it, for me to make more money? He laughed and said that I was a good business man.

It all comes down to productivity and effeciency. Having equipment do the work for you cuts down the time, which increases your hourly rate. It also cuts down on manual labor.

Lawnut101
05-12-2010, 01:13 AM
I have picked up a few mowing jobs since I posted this. They are just residentials, but each one helps. I can get a pretty decent rate for doing those, so that's a good thing.