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Jim's Lawn Care Etc
08-08-2002, 10:50 PM
I am a new lawn care business in town and am trying to compete for work with the other thousand companies in the same market. I have been charging hourly and trying to beat any deal that other companies offer. What should i be charging for my services? is 25 dollars an hour competative?

1MajorTom
08-08-2002, 11:05 PM
Only you will be able to figure this out. You can't run your business by basing your price off of what other companies are charging.

You need to base your price on how much it costs you to do business. What are your overhead expenses? You got to figure in equipment costs, truck costs, insurances, taxes and everything else that cost you to run your business. Then you have to ask yourself how much profit you want to make.

I also believe Florida pricing may differ from other parts of the country, so what we charge really won't be relevent to your business.

Southern Lawns
08-08-2002, 11:08 PM
That is a tough one to answer. You are the only one who knows what you need to make in order to make the numbers work. A lot depends on your overhead etc. A guess would be that $25 is too low. Although trying to beat everybodys deal in town may work for Wal-Mart you may want to set yourself apart by offering quality, dependable, REASONABLY priced services. That should take care of most of your competition right there! We like to hover in the high middle to upper price range. Our best customers realize, you get what you pay for. Works for us here. Just my .02

FrankenScagMachines
08-08-2002, 11:09 PM
Jodi's right, it varies by location. Around here, $25 is downright lowball-ish and I don't know how you could pay for your equipment that way and still make money unless you use 21's. Round here all people use is 48" walk behinds and 48"-60" ZTR's. 21" is rarely seen on a LCO's trailer. The going rate here seems to average at about $45/hour more or less.
Good luck,
Eric

Bluesteel
08-08-2002, 11:29 PM
Charging by the hour is a bad way to do business. Of course you need to determine a profitable rate, but working by the hour doesn't give you a performance incentive. Additionally, many "professional" people don't make $25/hr, so they'll be reluctant to pay more for a laboror doing a meanial task. This is a business; captialism is the rule of the game. Working by the hour is not the way to get the MOST profit. I'm willing to bet that as you grow, if you're good and dependable, your actual hourly rate will be so high, that you'll be very reluctant to tell your customers. Remember, that's your business rate, NOT your pay rate.

crazygator
08-08-2002, 11:35 PM
Jims Lawn Care,

Can I move down and work with you? I just love it there at Ft Walton Beach and especially Destin. I also like Navarre as well.

I do think you might be low on your pricing, but it all depends. You look into all your expenses and you can see where to be. Also you might want to try and see what other's charge there in the area. Maybe you see a guy doing work like you can do and that is the guy to ask. He might not tell you, but it wont hurt to ask.

KirbysLawn
08-09-2002, 12:38 AM
Jodi's post was very good.

I would forget the "beat any deal" way of thinking. You must figure out what you need and that is what you charge, period.

I saw 2 flyers this week, both say "we'll beat any competitors price", I think I'm going to get a few friends to call and say I quoted for $10 and let them beat the price, my buddies will get their lawn mowed really cheap.

Doc Pete
08-09-2002, 12:52 PM
Funny, I'm not really afraid of telling my pricing. Of course with lawn cutting an hourly price is an average, and I'll usually add $5 to the total price of the lawn for driving/loading time. And, we all know some jobs we make more on and some jobs we make a bit less.
Pete

KLMlawn
08-09-2002, 03:33 PM
Well Jim, all I can say is that my Mother used to live in Clearwater with about 4000 sq ft of lawn and a while back I know that the landscaper who was doing her place was charging about $50 a month for full service. I don't think I could afford to be in business down there at those rates, but that is what she was being charged. He was only on the property an average of 10 minutes and I remember that they had a Walker as the main machine. Took them no more than an hour to do 5 houses on the block ... all about 4 -5 K sq ft. It was a Mom & Pop type operation.
Up here in NY, I usually have no problem making $75 hr, often more, with a helper just mow/trim/blow residentials of about 1/4 acre. Average cut price of $30 and we can usually do about 3 an hour.

Rhett
08-09-2002, 07:01 PM
Hey Jim, I am in your shoes. Just getting started about 8 miles from you over in Destin. Lots of wierd calls, and sorting them out is almost worth the entertainment. Hear alot of people complaining about LCO's not showing up on time or not at all and have picked up a few accounts by actually showing up. As far as 25 an hour I believe I would starve too death. By the time you pay everything there would be nothing left over. Been spending alot of time doing gardening work for the well to do out in South Walton, but it seems to be paying off in a few, and I mean a few weekly lawn jobs. Unfortunately grass is not in vouge on the beach. Let me know where you are nd I will buy breakfast or a beer and we can comiserate together.

Good Luck

Rhett

Jim's Lawn Care Etc
08-09-2002, 07:25 PM
I would like to thank everyone for their advice and inputs. I agree with you get what you pay for. How long has everyone been in business???

Mr_Marc
08-09-2002, 11:37 PM
Congrats on your start up.
Research, Research, Research
Look at what your competition is doing than offer something better. A niche if you will. Also knowing your numbers is what is going to make you or break you.

Figure everything.

Based on a 20 day work month.

Cost of equipment / 20
Trailer / 20
Truck Payment / 20
Insurance / 20
Business Insurance / 20
Business Equipment / 20
Workers Comp / 20
Gas / 20
Oil / 20
Blades /20
Trimmer Line / 20
Advertising / 20
Cost of getting to the job / 20
And many other variables.

Knowing the operating cost before you put the key in the truck! Itís what saved me
You can offer something of a discount for multiple homes located next door to each other. Let your work speak for it self

Jim's Lawn Care Etc
08-11-2002, 07:31 PM
Rhett,

You can get in touch with me at 863-2334. I am usually home after 1630 every night. I am a Military Member also. Thanks for all the help. i would like to catch up with ya for a drink to commensurate.

Albemarle Lawn
08-11-2002, 08:57 PM
Then you gross 1000/ wk or $50K/ year.

THAT'S IF YOU WORK THAT MUCH. Don't forget drive time, repairs, shopping, etc etc etc.

So...say $35K since you won't be "on the job" that many hours.

That's before you buy equipment, truck, phone, insurance, repairs, or a drop of gas. See what I'm getting at....

I am never never below $60/hour on the job, and never below $100/hour with helper. That's with 2 ZTR's or ZTR + WB or any other combo including weed wackers.

The only time I'm below $60/hr is if its either a really big job or a job that does not require power equip.

AND I'M SLAMMED BUSY!!!! Stingy people don't get considered as customers. We do a fabulous job, but we need a budget to do it.

KB

TurfGuyTX
08-14-2002, 08:13 PM
A good way to gauge the competition is to get estimates. Call as many as you like to get an estimate at your place or a friends. I would stay away from trying to compete on price. Service is king. Good luck to you.

ceaman
08-14-2002, 08:46 PM
$60 hour is what I use to try to estimate jobs. I never reveal my hourly rate. I estimate everything in time and multiply it by $60.

Floridalandcare
08-14-2002, 10:12 PM
I normally like to work for no less than $85.00hr and most of the time it goes up from there. We dont bid accounts by the cut .I like to bid them by the size and amount of detail involved , more work = more $$$$$$$$$$