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noahb195
10-23-2011, 12:15 PM
Alright ill admit it, im a newbie.
How do you estimate how much money it is per month to do a lawn? I know size, time, and other factors come into play. But how do you know? And also if i was to bid on commercial property and other companies have already have put there bids in how will i out do them and get the propertt
;)

j-ville native
10-23-2011, 12:25 PM
you answered your own questions

MOturkey
10-23-2011, 01:27 PM
Everyone, and I do mean everyone, who goes into this business faces the same issues when they start out. Some have just been doing it so long they tend to forget that, and most everyone looks for some kind of "magic" formula to use so the won't cheat themselves, or the client. In reality, there isn't one. In all likelihood, you will work too cheaply when you first start out, most do, because of the fear of having no business at all. Eventually, you will come to realize it is better to have no business, than to lose money on the business you do have.

Some may laugh at this, but see if you can find a guy or two in the lawn business in your area that are willing to talk to you and give you some advice. No one is going to give you all the answers, or help you become a competitor, but if you tell them you are new to the business and don't want to step on toes, many will help. Tell them you want to be competitive in your pricing, but avoid being a lowballer, so need to know what kind of price range the lawns in your area are in.

noahb195
10-23-2011, 05:00 PM
Everyone, and I do mean everyone, who goes into this business faces the same issues when they start out. Some have just been doing it so long they tend to forget that, and most everyone looks for some kind of "magic" formula to use so the won't cheat themselves, or the client. In reality, there isn't one. In all likelihood, you will work too cheaply when you first start out, most do, because of the fear of having no business at all. Eventually, you will come to realize it is better to have no business, than to lose money on the business you do have.

Some may laugh at this, but see if you can find a guy or two in the lawn business in your area that are willing to talk to you and give you some advice. No one is going to give you all the answers, or help you become a competitor, but if you tell them you are new to the business and don't want to step on toes, many will help. Tell them you want to be competitive in your pricing, but avoid being a lowballer, so need to know what kind of price range the lawns in your area are in.


How do you go about estimating?

MarkintheGarden
10-25-2011, 02:49 AM
Time!
You have to know or guess how long a lawn will take, and then you have to know or guess how much you need and want to be paid for the time.
There are also the costs and expenses and you have to account for that as well.

If you search the topics you will find lots of discussions and explanations about estimating, but eventually you will have to estimate the time so you can calculate the cost.

One thing I wish I had learned to do before I learned how to estimate lawns is tell the customer that you will mow their lawn the first time for a certain amount, and after you mow it and find out how long it takes, you might need to adjust the price accordingly.

Ijustwantausername
10-30-2011, 05:12 PM
How do you go about estimating?

While their are 100 different variables to factor in, the most important are time, gas, time it takes to get to the property, etc.

For instance, I would mow an average lawn slightly cheaper if I could do it with my Zero turn vs. my 21" push behind mower just to get the job. Like moturkey said, you will do it too cheaply for a while until you get the hang of things, that's just the way it is. Why don't you volunteer to mow your friends lawn and see how long it takes, how much gas it took and what you would've been satisfied with making.

Patriot Services
10-30-2011, 05:14 PM
Accept the fact you will underestimate a few and be sorry. You will also lose a few to overestimating. Don't beat yourself up about it. Learn and press on.
Posted via Mobile Device

32vld
10-30-2011, 06:19 PM
Alright ill admit it, im a newbie.
How do you estimate how much money it is per month to do a lawn? I know size, time, and other factors come into play. But how do you know? And also if i was to bid on commercial property and other companies have already have put there bids in how will i out do them and get the propertt
;)

Remember bidding is not like going to an auction. You are not trying to beat anyone.

You have your costs, your desired profit. Do bid less then you would normally charge it will only get you a job that you'll regret having because the profit that you wanted will not be there.

You will win bids when you can work more efficien then the competition and your equipment is better suited to do the job then the competiton's quipment as well.

FDJ
10-30-2011, 11:59 PM
Like many other members have said here and I have to agree, Bidding low will get you nowhere, but down.
But that is not your question.
Only experience will help you dial in correctly.
What I'd suggest you is, since you are beginning it sounds, time yourself mowing a strip about 100' long (make it 2 passes so you can count in the turn),
Now time yourself trimming those 100' again, than edging...
When you get to someone's house have those figures in your head, and multiply that amount of time by the amount of passes, trimming, edging you'll do.
That way you will have an approximate time of "mow" multiply that for your hourly rate and done.
Prices are different everywhere in the country, here the average lawn (1/4 acre lots, don't forget that the house, driveway, sidewalk, flower beds... are within the lot and it is not all lawn) is about $37 and is done in about 10 mins by a crew of 3 men.
Don't forget that if houses are far apart you'll have a lot of travel time.
Expenses such as, gas, insurance (car, equipment, company..), car/equipment usage, employee wages, taxes... Should all be considered.

Ideally you should have between 18 to 25 lawns/day (depending on their sizes).
To find your expenses:
Start out by adding all your monthly expenses/bills, such the ones I mentioned before, plus mortgage/rent, food, car payments... Multiply it by 12 (months in a year) and divide it by the amount of days you work in a year (here we lose 3 months of the year due to weather) 20 (days/month) * 9 (months that we work) = 180
So:
12*monthly expenses/180=workday expense
Think of it, how many lawns will you have to cut per day to meet your financial needs, and then some and at what price?
Again each and every location has their costs/prices... it is hard but if you follow these simple formulas your learning curve will be much faster

diamondhedgelandscaping
11-03-2011, 05:58 PM
Some may laugh at this, but see if you can find a guy or two in the lawn business in your area that are willing to talk to you and give you some advice. No one is going to give you all the answers, or help you become a competitor, but if you tell them you are new to the business and don't want to step on toes, many will help. Tell them you want to be competitive in your pricing, but avoid being a lowballer, so need to know what kind of price range the lawns in your area are in.

I agree, as a new guy my first year, Mr. 30 years in business Lanager didnt really consider me even competition. He was a real decent guy, helped me out, and 5 years later, i try to do the same by sub contracting work out to new guys who need it. Pick a guy who sells mulch and plants at a decent price, and maybe buy your supplies off him, and take it from there, you can learn tons by just small talk.

Glenn Lawn Care
11-03-2011, 08:05 PM
If you were to call another LCO and ask advice on estimating, you will get laughed at. I had an old friend ask me the same thing last year and I you will have to find out for youself like every other LCO.
Maybe I'm wrong but I wouldn't suggest this!
Posted via Mobile Device

diamondhedgelandscaping
11-04-2011, 02:03 AM
If you were to call another LCO and ask advice on estimating, you will get laughed at. I had an old friend ask me the same thing last year and I you will have to find out for youself like every other LCO.
Maybe I'm wrong but I wouldn't suggest this!
Posted via Mobile Device

Well that's you, most guys i work around would and were more than happy to help me in their own small way, but in 10 minutes talking to you, i'd have learned all your secrets w/out you even knowing it. And why is this guy an "old friend?" Not sure about you, but in this business you need friends, infact the same guy i said lent me his hydroseeder for nothing a few years ago, and we've traded work ever since. I'm still a nOOb in his eyes but i offer huge jobs for him that i cant handle or have time for, in return he gives me smaller jobs he cant handle and that my guys can get done quickly without him having to say "i can get to it next week/month" So i WOULD suggest, if they laugh like some asses, move on and chalk that guy up as a prick and laugh as you take work off him anyways cause he's the way he is, and you're a half decent person who treats ppl with respect regardless of "nOOb" status.

P and B Landscaping, Inc.
11-04-2011, 05:36 AM
Lawn cut prices vary by alot depending on your area, try asking your friends and family if they know anyone who pays for weekly mowing and have them ask.

ralph02813
11-04-2011, 08:34 AM
@fdg following your model, which seems more than resonable, how much would you pay that 3 man crew that takes 10 minutes to cut a quarter acre?

FDJ
11-05-2011, 01:54 PM
@fdg following your model, which seems more than resonable, how much would you pay that 3 man crew that takes 10 minutes to cut a quarter acre?
Are you asking how much I pay hrly?
My guys hourly rate is between $10 and $14, it all depends on the skill level, ability to drive (with a tailer and be careful... I guess responsible driving is a better word), how long you've been with the company, anyways that is for lawn mowing.

Don't forget that they might take 5 to 20 minutes to get to the next house... plus loading and unloading equipment.... The act of mowing is something different than getting the job done.

ralph02813
11-05-2011, 03:00 PM
@fdj so I guess what I really want to know is how you figure how much you want these 3 guys to produce in revenue say if they all get $15 and hour - what do you expect them to put in the pot now that they have collectively take $45 for one hour of time and there are 8 hours in a day.

FDJ
11-06-2011, 12:56 AM
@fdj so I guess what I really want to know is how you figure how much you want these 3 guys to produce in revenue say if they all get $15 and hour - what do you expect them to put in the pot now that they have collectively take $45 for one hour of time and there are 8 hours in a day.

I guess you'll pick out my entire business this way... but I have figured out that I cannot have a healthy business if I am not making at least $35/hr (for each employee) but I always aim a bit higher. IN another words my customers pay at least $35/hr/man.

And to be completely honest, lawn mowing is just bread and butter, for me at least, it is an steady income that isn't all that well paid, at least in our area due to market saturation.

My income relies on clean ups, installs... the general "landscaping" idea.
But tree removal really takes in at the top on profit to expenses ratio.

I figure that the more skills a job requires the better it pays, and the more experience you have the more profitable you can make your business be.

ralph02813
11-06-2011, 05:09 AM
@FDJ Thanks so much it is much clearer now. I only have one very very part time guy who helps me with everything but lawns I am almost at a full house for the number of customers I have, in RI if it grows I can touch it, everything else is off base - without a contractor license. I have avoided chemicals - but I see the need to get my persticide permit and I will do that this year, I don't want to do other hard scaping so not having a license allows me to say "I am not licensed to do so".

noahb195
12-28-2011, 10:50 PM
Wow great advice guys!
Posted via Mobile Device

BESSY12
01-02-2012, 09:29 PM
When I started out (officially) in May, I did so through a government program called the summer company program, and in said program, we had business professionals come and talk with us, mentor us, and give us some advice along the way. I will never forget what the first speaker said to us. He walked into the room and said "I don't know what you are charging, but I know it's not enough."

basically, have two numbers in mind:

have a price, and have a backup price. your backup price is a bargaining chip. like a card player, know when to get out, have some leaniance but don't cheap yourself out.