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MOturkey
10-24-2011, 10:33 AM
There is another active thread on here right now debating equipment choice for larger acreages and people always want to know exactly how quickly you can mow an acre with this mower vs that mower, but, in reality, how much is time itself really worth?

I mow a pretty good sized shopping center. On a good day, I can mow it in about 90 minutes, and trim in 30 minutes or under. On a bad day, there is so much trash that picking it up takes almost as long as it does to trim. Every time it is trashy, I catch myself grumbling about how long it is taking, and how big a PITA it is, but the last time I mowed, I got to thinking about that, and realized that the paycheck is the same either way. The mowing itself doesn't take any longer, so I don't put any more hours on the machine, or burn any more gasoline. The extra time spent picking up the trash is basically just that, time. Sure, it is a little work, but the exercise is probably good for me, I just don't like doing it.

I realize this principle doesn't apply to those with employees, then, the costs go on based on the time involved, but for solo operators, how much is your time actually worth? Debates rage on how much to charge per hour, and in many cases, the target rate and the actual rate are often different. But, does it really make any difference if, at the end of the day, you have turned what you consider to be a reasonable profit?

If you stop and think about it, your time is only more valuable if you are so busy that you must turn down work because there simply aren't enough hours in the day. If, however, you are like me, and don't mow every day and still have enough time to stop at Sonic for a burger, then it actually isn't worth much, from a monetary standpoint. I think a lot of solo operators would be much happier if they concentrated more on the bottom line, and less on the time spent getting there.

hackitdown
10-24-2011, 12:06 PM
If you stop and think about it, your time is only more valuable if you are so busy that you must turn down work because there simply aren't enough hours in the day. If, however, you are like me, and don't mow every day and still have enough time to stop at Sonic for a burger, then it actually isn't worth much, from a monetary standpoint.

You make an excellent point. When the schedule is full, and you pass on profitable work because you are doing freebies for somebody, or you are washing a mower, or surfing LawnSite, there is a cost. They call it "opportunity cost".

fastlane
10-24-2011, 12:27 PM
I understand your point. But sometimes I would rather do ''nothing'' with my time then spend it working for free.

32vld
10-24-2011, 01:20 PM
"I mow a pretty good sized shopping center. On a good day, I can mow it in about 90 minutes, and trim in 30 minutes or under. On a bad day, there is so much trash that picking it up takes almost as long as it does to trim. Every time it is trashy, I catch myself grumbling about how long it is taking, and how big a PITA it is, but the last time I mowed, I got to thinking about that, and realized that the paycheck is the same either way. The mowing itself doesn't take any longer, so I don't put any more hours on the machine, or burn any more gasoline. The extra time spent picking up the trash is basically just that, time. Sure, it is a little work, but the exercise is probably good for me, I just don't like doing it."

You are confusing doing what you like with what you don't like. Mow vs liter. And that you are getting paid by the job not the hour.

"I realize this principle doesn't apply to those with employees, then, the costs go on based on the time involved, but for solo operators, how much is your time actually worth? Debates rage on how much to charge per hour, and in many cases, the target rate and the actual rate are often different. But, does it really make any difference if, at the end of the day, you have turned what you consider to be a reasonable profit?"

No you don't realize it's the same whether you or employees. Cost is cost. Thing is when you come up short you accept lower profits, employees expect the get their same wage.

What you charge per hour is based on your costs and the range of local rates. If it costs you $100 to mow a lawn and regional pricing is $100 you made no profit and if regional price is $70 you lost $30. Now if your competitors cost is $80 and they get $100 they made $20. If your cost is $60 then you made $40 profit.

So it's just not your costs alone determining profit and what to charge.

"If you stop and think about it, your time is only more valuable if you are so busy that you must turn down work because there simply aren't enough hours in the day. If, however, you are like me, and don't mow every day and still have enough time to stop at Sonic for a burger, then it actually isn't worth much, from a monetary standpoint. I think a lot of solo operators would be much happier if they concentrated more on the bottom line, and less on the time spent getting there."

Pricing is tricky. You charge to low people will think you must do low quality. You charge too high people will not being willing to pay.

Thing is when at 100% capacity time to adjust rates up. Not go crazy but if you raise every one 5%.

You were making $50,000 yr tell everyone next year +5% increase, you lose 5% of your costumers. 25 customers bring in $2000 each.

You lose 1.25 customers, loss at old rate
-1 customer = $48,000
-2 customer = $46,000

23 customers charged 5% more 2,100 ea = $48,300
24 customers = $50,400

So depending on actual numbers and how many customers you retain you can increase profits with less customers.

Thing is even if you lost some you cleaned out the low profit ones, made room for higher profit ones.

However what our time is worth and valued is not always the same thing. Because we have room for more accounts does not mean we need to lowball in desperation to get more business.

cimkill
10-24-2011, 01:21 PM
I have been trying to figure this out since i started. I am still under 2 years in the buisness, and just realized after reading a thread on here that I was loosing money. I wasnt depreciating my machines nor figuring out true man hours. Since figuring it out I increased my rates on all new clients buy 70%. I am still getting new buisness but am getting much better returns. I went straight from never doing this to a 3 man sometimes 4 man crew. Its easier to loose money with employees than going solo for sure. No matter what you do I believe time is $$. Family time is priceless. Mind you where im located labour is cheap! It makes more sense for me to pay guys, and use my time in sales and marketing.

gebby
10-24-2011, 06:38 PM
I too do shopping area's. Yes the trash some weeks makes you sick. In those area's, I just bag it. Yes it is more work but still quicker than picking everything up. Yes I charge extra for it. Yes I bag it every week no matter what.

Your question is, "WHAT IS TIME WORTH?" To me it is the time spent that it takes to get the job done whether I do it or if an employee does it. It is still time. Now I price evrything just like an employee will be doing it. Employees are not free so why would I be ?

To many my time is worth nothing to nobody but me. But as I age and realize I have less and less time evryday, it becomes more valuable. To me my time is priceless but, to a customer it's right around 60.00 per hour and more if I am able to get.

Your time spent just picking up trash is gone forever. Yes the pay is all the same I know but, it is also time lost that you could be doing other things. If you are happy with your situation that's all that matters because it's your time. What is your time worth to you?

GMLC
10-24-2011, 06:51 PM
Its better to work smarter not harder. I would never bid on a property to break even or loose money just to add an account. You have to bid at your acceptable profit margin for the equipment you own. Its up to the prospective client to choose who the right person is for the job. If you ever look at a bid sheet you will see bids crazy high and crazy low. Part of your bid has to be based on how much time your going to be at that property, if you dont, you are wasting time that could be used at another property that is profitable. There is only so much time in the day and it all needs to be profitable. On a side note you have to have the right equipment for the job or figuring profit vs time is going to be a nightmare. Another words if your equipment is to small for the job there isnt enough wiggle room to make a profit and have an acceptable bid.

weeze
10-24-2011, 11:12 PM
i will pick up a few pieces of trash but i'm not a garbage man so to speak...if it's a trashy place then i dont' even bother picking it up...i just cut it up with the mower and keep going...i'm not gonna spend 30min picking up trash unless they pay me extra for that job.

bohiaa
10-25-2011, 01:17 AM
Remember Guys:

If your time is worth 60.00 Per hour, then by all means dont pick up trash. hire someone to do it for you, and you can pay him 10.00 per hour. this would increase your total profif.

deligate all you can, this will increase you too. If you can. Read autobiagraphys. these people will inform you on how to become more powerfull in money.

I sometimes see many post here about large areas/small areas.

It's ALL your PROFET. JUST because it's larger doesn't mean you make more money.
your base RATE SHOULD STAY THE SAME.

You time will ONLY BE WORTH XXX.XX and YES it stops there.....

take this challenge.
Write down your down time..... KEEP TRACK OF IT.

NOW track all your customers. and what your REALLY MAKING for a day then each day.
then add them up for a week.
and keep doing this.

you will have a total. this will show you what your REALLY MAKING.
and from this it will show you where you made mistakes in bidding.
and from this you can adjust your prices accordelgly.......

It's A SHOCKER to learn that the big appartment complex you have bene doing is really costing you money.....

Best of luck to all.

weeze
10-25-2011, 01:27 AM
Remember Guys:

If your time is worth 60.00 Per hour, then by all means dont pick up trash. hire someone to do it for you, and you can pay him 10.00 per hour. this would increase your total profif.

deligate all you can, this will increase you too. If you can. Read autobiagraphys. these people will inform you on how to become more powerfull in money.

I sometimes see many post here about large areas/small areas.

It's ALL your PROFET. JUST because it's larger doesn't mean you make more money.
your base RATE SHOULD STAY THE SAME.

You time will ONLY BE WORTH XXX.XX and YES it stops there.....

take this challenge.
Write down your down time..... KEEP TRACK OF IT.

NOW track all your customers. and what your REALLY MAKING for a day then each day.
then add them up for a week.
and keep doing this.

you will have a total. this will show you what your REALLY MAKING.
and from this it will show you where you made mistakes in bidding.
and from this you can adjust your prices accordelgly.......

It's A SHOCKER to learn that the big appartment complex you have bene doing is really costing you money.....

Best of luck to all.

this is very true...i find i make more money the smaller the property is...for instance i have a yard that takes 30min and they pay me $40...another pays $50 but takes 1 hour....i'm making more money per hour on the smaller yard.

djagusch
10-25-2011, 11:09 AM
this is very true...i find i make more money the smaller the property is...for instance i have a yard that takes 30min and they pay me $40...another pays $50 but takes 1 hour....i'm making more money per hour on the smaller yard.

This is true to a point. But drive time can affect your costs which could make it incorrect. I would rather sit at one property for $180 for 3 hours than hit 5 properties that take 30min at $40 a pop. Why? because with drive time it will take more than 3 hrs for the $200 and it will cost more to complete them. Trucking costs more than mowing and is unpaid time.

weeze
10-25-2011, 02:20 PM
This is true to a point. But drive time can affect your costs which could make it incorrect. I would rather sit at one property for $180 for 3 hours than hit 5 properties that take 30min at $40 a pop. Why? because with drive time it will take more than 3 hrs for the $200 and it will cost more to complete them. Trucking costs more than mowing and is unpaid time.

i always cut yards in the same area each day...some right across the street from each other...i never drive more than 5 miles from yard to yard...most of the time it's less than that...that's where the small yard money makes more sense...if you have to drive 20miles to get from yard to yard then no you aren't gonna make any money lol...i could do 5 $40 yards in less than 3 hrs and make the $200...it all depends on the layout of your properties...but you gotta look at the potential...have a goal and shoot for it.....you could work 6hrs a day and make $400 a day...not a bad living for a solo operation...it will take time to get there yeah cuz yards aren't always in the right location...i have bigger properties i cut...one is 3 acres and i make $150 and it takes 3hrs...by the end of that yard i'm like glad that is over whew...and i'm tired out.....but when i do smaller yards it's super easy and it's like i didn't even do any work...in and out and i'm not tired at all...i'd gladly trade my bigger yards to a larger company with a crew of workers in exchange for smaller yards any day....it's less work and you make more money for it if you plan your route correctly.

32vld
10-25-2011, 05:57 PM
This is true to a point. But drive time can affect your costs which could make it incorrect. I would rather sit at one property for $180 for 3 hours than hit 5 properties that take 30min at $40 a pop. Why? because with drive time it will take more than 3 hrs for the $200 and it will cost more to complete them. Trucking costs more than mowing and is unpaid time.

Drive time is over used, over rated, over everything.

Unless one is low balling to get work distance should not be that big of a factor when you are not booked to capacity. Say it would add an extra 1/2 there and 1/2 hour back on that days route. You spend an hour there mowing and get $60.

Some fast thinking Einstein will say 1 hr travel + 1 hr work = 2 hr and you would be paid for only hr labor.

I say he made $60.

$60 more then he would of made sitting home.

It cost him an extra $4 for gas to get there.

He's seen in a new area which gives the opportunity to get more customers there.

People don't get to choose whether their next customer will be one large plot or three small plots close or spread out.

You need to take what will comes along as long as your not losing money.

Once established, booked close to capacity then as any business owner you can be more selective.

As to wanting large customers over small customers. Remember this, the LCO that charges $60 hour, that has 5 large, spends 8 hr each day, he loses 1 cust he lost $480 or 1/5 of his sales.

The guy that has 40 small customers, loses 1 cust, he lost $60 or 1/40 of his sales.

djagusch
10-25-2011, 09:36 PM
Drive time is over used, over rated, over everything.

Unless one is low balling to get work distance should not be that big of a factor when you are not booked to capacity. Say it would add an extra 1/2 there and 1/2 hour back on that days route. You spend an hour there mowing and get $60.

Some fast thinking Einstein will say 1 hr travel + 1 hr work = 2 hr and you would be paid for only hr labor.

I say he made $60.

$60 more then he would of made sitting home.

It cost him an extra $4 for gas to get there.

He's seen in a new area which gives the opportunity to get more customers there.

People don't get to choose whether their next customer will be one large plot or three small plots close or spread out.

You need to take what will comes along as long as your not losing money.

Once established, booked close to capacity then as any business owner you can be more selective.

As to wanting large customers over small customers. Remember this, the LCO that charges $60 hour, that has 5 large, spends 8 hr each day, he loses 1 cust he lost $480 or 1/5 of his sales.

The guy that has 40 small customers, loses 1 cust, he lost $60 or 1/40 of his sales.



Well we are little different in the biz cycle. I'm at 4 12 hr days, 2 days with a helper and the other day with 2 helpers for mowing. I leave one day open for hedges, fert, weed control, and odd jobs.

So drive time costs me money with fuel and employee's compensation. Your 1/2 hr drive time example would cost me about $24 round trip (1/2hr=30 miles x 2= 60 miles @10mpg=6 gal@$4/gal=$24). That does not account for wear and tear on your vehicle either. Add a helper costing $13/hr after taxes, work comp, etc. The trip cost $37 to gain $60 in sales which has its own cost to it's own. Mower costs $12/hr to run (yes it does). So now I'm down to $11 for the job or $5.50/hr for me, McD's pays more.

Does it have potential? Sure, but if your are full and thinking of adding more crews you need to think is the potential going to be profitable. With multi guys on site doing a 30 min job in 10 min adds 3 guys loading/unloading and hoping in the truck to the next stop. Going to larger sites (hoa's, commerical's, etc) with less stops makes more billable hrs with less windshield time.

For the customer retention I understand if you lose a big account it hurts more than a single smal one. I have low turnover on accounts. It seems I find more profitable accounts each year (probably by learning from the past). If you learn to sell and follow up in this biz you will always have plenty of work.

By the way what vehicle can you drive and haul mowers for an hr and only cost $4 in gas?

djagusch
10-25-2011, 09:44 PM
i always cut yards in the same area each day...some right across the street from each other...i never drive more than 5 miles from yard to yard...most of the time it's less than that...that's where the small yard money makes more sense...if you have to drive 20miles to get from yard to yard then no you aren't gonna make any money lol...i could do 5 $40 yards in less than 3 hrs and make the $200...it all depends on the layout of your properties...but you gotta look at the potential...have a goal and shoot for it.....you could work 6hrs a day and make $400 a day...not a bad living for a solo operation...it will take time to get there yeah cuz yards aren't always in the right location...i have bigger properties i cut...one is 3 acres and i make $150 and it takes 3hrs...by the end of that yard i'm like glad that is over whew...and i'm tired out.....but when i do smaller yards it's super easy and it's like i didn't even do any work...in and out and i'm not tired at all...i'd gladly trade my bigger yards to a larger company with a crew of workers in exchange for smaller yards any day....it's less work and you make more money for it if you plan your route correctly.

I got some park at one place and hit 4 yards also. But I also run with another person or 2 most days which make the smaller yards less profitable. It depends on the market etc. Also I target more commerical and HOA's as I don't mind being at a place for a couple hrs. It seems like these places are more profitable in my area.

32vld
10-25-2011, 10:12 PM
Well we are little different in the biz cycle. I'm at 4 12 hr days, 2 days with a helper and the other day with 2 helpers for mowing. I leave one day open for hedges, fert, weed control, and odd jobs.

So drive time costs me money with fuel and employee's compensation. Your 1/2 hr drive time example would cost me about $24 round trip (1/2hr=30 miles x 2= 60 miles @10mpg=6 gal@$4/gal=$24). That does not account for wear and tear on your vehicle either. Add a helper costing $13/hr after taxes, work comp, etc. The trip cost $37 to gain $60 in sales which has its own cost to it's own. Mower costs $12/hr to run (yes it does). So now I'm down to $11 for the job or $5.50/hr for me, McD's pays more.

Does it have potential? Sure, but if your are full and thinking of adding more crews you need to think is the potential going to be profitable. With multi guys on site doing a 30 min job in 10 min adds 3 guys loading/unloading and hoping in the truck to the next stop. Going to larger sites (hoa's, commerical's, etc) with less stops makes more billable hrs with less windshield time.

For the customer retention I understand if you lose a big account it hurts more than a single smal one. I have low turnover on accounts. It seems I find more profitable accounts each year (probably by learning from the past). If you learn to sell and follow up in this biz you will always have plenty of work.

By the way what vehicle can you drive and haul mowers for an hr and only cost $4 in gas?

You seem to not notice what I said in bold letters. Also you took the trouble to point out how you would lose money. Did you not read about what I said about losing money.

Please read and comprehend what I write before you quote me.

Also not everyone drives a 3/4 with a 454 with a 4.10 rear pulling a 18'+ closed trailer loaded with 5,000 lbs of equipment.

djagusch
10-25-2011, 10:26 PM
You seem to not notice what I said in bold letters. Also you took the trouble to point out how you would lose money. Did you not read about what I said about losing money.

Please read and comprehend what I write before you quote me.

Also not everyone drives a 3/4 with a 454 with a 4.10 rear pulling a 18'+ closed trailer loaded with 5,000 lbs of equipment.



I read what you wrote. I think you are underestimating the cost of driving a vehicle a 1/2 hr, solo, unbooked, or not. So telling one it is ok as long as you are not losing money is ok advice but one needs to also know if they are losing money.

Not everyone knows how to figure if they are losing money or not so I posted the example. I have been told and have told I'd rather not make money sitting on a couch rather than go out, work hard, and not make money.

05 or 09 Chev 3/4 ton's with 6.0 gas will get 10 mpg 12ft open trailer or 22ft open trailers. Need that size to plow during the winter. Most in my area drive 3/4 ton's or larger. Since you are in NY I would think plowing would be a good way to increase customer retention and make more per customer.

weeze
10-26-2011, 02:33 AM
i drive 4 cyl toyota i get alot higher than 10mpg pulling a trailer lol...probably get 18mpg or more average pulling the trailer loaded...just saying it can be done...i get 22mpg average with no trailer attached.

djagusch
10-26-2011, 10:21 AM
i drive 4 cyl toyota i get alot higher than 10mpg pulling a trailer lol...probably get 18mpg or more average pulling the trailer loaded...just saying it can be done...i get 22mpg average with no trailer attached.

You can drive for 1hr on $4 of gas? Your numbers dont make that happen. A prirus is the only vehicle I know of, your talking 60 miles on $4 of gas. Even at 30mph your talking 30 miles, you still would spend more in your toyota. And you said "probably" what do you get? Do you check monthly or at fill ups? We are still not accounting for wear and tear. I'm saying it can't be done with a mowing truck.
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MOturkey
10-26-2011, 11:04 AM
You can drive for 1hr on $4 of gas? Your numbers dont make that happen. A prirus is the only vehicle I know of, your talking 60 miles on $4 of gas. Even at 30mph your talking 30 miles, you still would spend more in your toyota. And you said "probably" what do you get? Do you check monthly or at fill ups? We are still not accounting for wear and tear. I'm saying it can't be done with a mowing truck.
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I'm sure there are figures available somewhere, but I'm guessing that the average full-size pickup costs around $1 per mile, IF you figure in all maintenance costs and depreciation. Same principle with a Z. If you only use maintenance and fuel in your calculations, they aren't very expensive to run, but if you add in depreciation, insurance, and inflation, the hourly figure jumps way up.

djagusch
10-26-2011, 11:07 AM
I'm sure there are figures available somewhere, but I'm guessing that the average full-size pickup costs around $1 per mile, IF you figure in all maintenance costs and depreciation. Same principle with a Z. If you only use maintenance and fuel in your calculations, they aren't very expensive to run, but if you add in depreciation, insurance, and inflation, the hourly figure jumps way up.
On the mileage number I'm about there in figures also. He stated $4 in gas, that is what I'm questioning. I don't see driving an hr for $4 in gas.
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Snyder's Lawn Inc
10-26-2011, 11:36 AM
I check my driving time one week 3 man crew
You be amazed how much time you burn in a truck
6 days 55 hrs
Totally of time in the truck=7 hrs
Longest time is Lunch 30mins each day
One thing I do now cut down time in the truck I make sure everything has fuel before we leave for day And I tighten the Rt. up and if we need more fuel I make sure on the Rt. We mow a gas station one guy will fill up stuff as others are working

32vld
10-26-2011, 04:48 PM
Not every body pulls trailers at 60 mph on open highways for an hour at a time. To assume that every LCO will cover
60 miles in an hour is less accurate then my $4.00.

I'm on local loads at 35 mph with my foot off the gas as soon as I see a red light up ahead.

djagusch
10-26-2011, 11:33 PM
Not every body pulls trailers at 60 mph on open highways for an hour at a time. To assume that every LCO will cover
60 miles in an hour is less accurate then my $4.00.

I'm on local loads at 35 mph with my foot off the gas as soon as I see a red light up ahead.

So just for giggles as you want to be right it seems. As a percent 35mph/60mph is 58%. My 6 gallons of gas compared to your 1 gallon is 600% off. Who's more accurate?

Oh by the way have you checked your "about" mpg lately?

We can go on and on if you need to.

Snyder's Lawn Inc
10-26-2011, 11:52 PM
So just for giggles as you want to be right it seems. As a percent 35mph/60mph is 58%. My 6 gallons of gas compared to your 1 gallon is 600% off. Who's more accurate?

Oh by the way have you checked your "about" mpg lately?

We can go on and on if you need to.

I think he must live where there is no stop lights
i drive a F350 5.4 5 speed with 373 and pull 22 ft GN Im lucky to get 8-10 mpg

MOturkey
10-27-2011, 10:50 AM
I drive a plain-Jane 2008 Dodge half-ton with a V-6, and pulling my 16 ft trailer and two Z-s, it only gets around 10 mpg. I say "around", because I've only checked it a couple of times when pulling the trailer 100% of the time. As for the cost per hour, sure, everyone will have different driving conditions, but lets not forget, boys and girls, that stop-and-go traffic generally burns more fuel than highway. So, unless you drive 25 on the expressway, I think you are going to use more than $4 worth of fuel.

32vld
10-27-2011, 12:53 PM
So I was a little over optinistic. So I'll up it to $8. But I don't pull a big trailer. 4x8 loaded with a 42", 20", blower, trimmer.

Thing is if you are not booked full and you are far away from reaching that goal, you can do a customer that is out of your area that will pay enough to make a profit. Then do it. One your leaving money on the table if you don't. Total profits is what helps to expand.

Then being in that area can lead to getting more customers there or between there and your normal area which lowers the cost of driving.

And when you pick up enough customers in your prefered area you can always drop them.

It's not about being right wrong, black or white. It's about whether you can turn a profit. But to just base it on the distance alone is not looking at the whole equation.

Say there was an rich area 2 hours from my house. If I already had three days of local work every week, and the estate owner wanted me to go there one day each week and he had 8 hours of work every time. I could use another days work. So I would have to leave my house 6 am, arrive 8 am start work till 4 pm, get home 6 pm.

Now a lot of people shoot for $60 hr, well if this customer was to pay me that I would make $480 for the day. I'd take that job.

I wouldn't take that job if it was a 1 hour job. But if one were trying to move closer to that and break into that area then it could be worth it for the exposure.

djagusch
10-27-2011, 10:13 PM
So I was a little over optinistic. So I'll up it to $8. But I don't pull a big trailer. 4x8 loaded with a 42", 20", blower, trimmer.

Thing is if you are not booked full and you are far away from reaching that goal, you can do a customer that is out of your area that will pay enough to make a profit. Then do it. One your leaving money on the table if you don't. Total profits is what helps to expand.

Then being in that area can lead to getting more customers there or between there and your normal area which lowers the cost of driving.

And when you pick up enough customers in your prefered area you can always drop them.

It's not about being right wrong, black or white. It's about whether you can turn a profit. But to just base it on the distance alone is not looking at the whole equation.

Say there was an rich area 2 hours from my house. If I already had three days of local work every week, and the estate owner wanted me to go there one day each week and he had 8 hours of work every time. I could use another days work. So I would have to leave my house 6 am, arrive 8 am start work till 4 pm, get home 6 pm.

Now a lot of people shoot for $60 hr, well if this customer was to pay me that I would make $480 for the day. I'd take that job.

I wouldn't take that job if it was a 1 hour job. But if one were trying to move closer to that and break into that area then it could be worth it for the exposure.

4 hr drive time equals lets say 240 miles or $96 in gas. If you run your equipment for 8 hrs that is another $96 in mower costs ($12/hr).

So $480 - $186 = $294/12hrs = $24.50/hr with out any truck costs besides gas, no overhead (advertising, cell phone, computer, accountant), no taxes, etc.

If you just look at your trucking cost at $1/mile your $240 + $96= $336 - $480= $144/12= $12/hr - overhead/taxes/etc

You just multiplied your numbers to a full days worth of work trying to make us agree it is worth it.

We are really trying to help you.

Know your costs. Value your time.

yardguy28
10-27-2011, 10:21 PM
There is another active thread on here right now debating equipment choice for larger acreages and people always want to know exactly how quickly you can mow an acre with this mower vs that mower, but, in reality, how much is time itself really worth?

I mow a pretty good sized shopping center. On a good day, I can mow it in about 90 minutes, and trim in 30 minutes or under. On a bad day, there is so much trash that picking it up takes almost as long as it does to trim. Every time it is trashy, I catch myself grumbling about how long it is taking, and how big a PITA it is, but the last time I mowed, I got to thinking about that, and realized that the paycheck is the same either way. The mowing itself doesn't take any longer, so I don't put any more hours on the machine, or burn any more gasoline. The extra time spent picking up the trash is basically just that, time. Sure, it is a little work, but the exercise is probably good for me, I just don't like doing it.

I realize this principle doesn't apply to those with employees, then, the costs go on based on the time involved, but for solo operators, how much is your time actually worth? Debates rage on how much to charge per hour, and in many cases, the target rate and the actual rate are often different. But, does it really make any difference if, at the end of the day, you have turned what you consider to be a reasonable profit?

If you stop and think about it, your time is only more valuable if you are so busy that you must turn down work because there simply aren't enough hours in the day. If, however, you are like me, and don't mow every day and still have enough time to stop at Sonic for a burger, then it actually isn't worth much, from a monetary standpoint. I think a lot of solo operators would be much happier if they concentrated more on the bottom line, and less on the time spent getting there.

man this is the second thread i've found this week with someone who seems to think along the same lines as i do.

i have ALWAYS felt this way from the day i started my business.

my prices are set for what I (and i alone) think is a reasonable profit. not what joe's lawn care down the street is charging or chucks cuts is charging.

if i'm making what i want and need from the bottom line i'm happy and consider myself running a successful business. doesn't matter how much more i "could" be making based off of the market or what some one elses thinks.

weeze
10-27-2011, 10:30 PM
On the mileage number I'm about there in figures also. He stated $4 in gas, that is what I'm questioning. I don't see driving an hr for $4 in gas.
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not everyone uses a gas guzzler v8 truck...i have a 4cyl...i get 26mpg hwy and 18mpg city...22mpg average....when hauling a 5x10 trailer with ztr on it i still get about 18mpg average...so if i drive 1 hour (60miles) it's gonna take a little over 3 gallons of gas which times $3.50 a gallon is close to $11.00 for an hour of driving...so i don't think anyone can drive for an hour using $4.oo of gas lol...especially someone with a v8 and hauling a big trailer.

weeze
10-27-2011, 10:35 PM
You can drive for 1hr on $4 of gas? Your numbers dont make that happen. A prirus is the only vehicle I know of, your talking 60 miles on $4 of gas. Even at 30mph your talking 30 miles, you still would spend more in your toyota. And you said "probably" what do you get? Do you check monthly or at fill ups? We are still not accounting for wear and tear. I'm saying it can't be done with a mowing truck.
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no i didn't mean i could go an hour on $4 of gas lol....but i do get better than the average full size v8 truck...alot better...almost twice as much mpg...but i don't have as much to haul either...it's all about being efficeint as you can be.

djagusch
10-27-2011, 10:40 PM
not everyone uses a gas guzzler v8 truck...i have a 4cyl...i get 26mpg hwy and 18mpg city...22mpg average....when hauling a 5x10 trailer with ztr on it i still get about 18mpg average...so if i drive 1 hour (60miles) it's gonna take a little over 3 gallons of gas which times $3.50 a gallon is close to $11.00 for an hour of driving...so i don't think anyone can drive for an hour using $4.oo of gas lol...especially someone with a v8 and hauling a big trailer.

I'm not the one saying $4 in an hr.

weeze
10-27-2011, 10:42 PM
I'm not the one saying $4 in an hr.

yeah i know...i just went back and read what the other guy wrote more closely...i missed that part lol.

32vld
10-28-2011, 01:06 AM
4 hr drive time equals lets say 240 miles or $96 in gas. If you run your equipment for 8 hrs that is another $96 in mower costs ($12/hr).

So $480 - $186 = $294/12hrs = $24.50/hr with out any truck costs besides gas, no overhead (advertising, cell phone, computer, accountant), no taxes, etc.

If you just look at your trucking cost at $1/mile your $240 + $96= $336 - $480= $144/12= $12/hr - overhead/taxes/etc

You just multiplied your numbers to a full days worth of work trying to make us agree it is worth it.

We are really trying to help you.

Know your costs. Value your time.


Again you make false assumptions. Not everyone drives 60 mph on interstates.

There is rich area not that far from where I live that's from 45 to 70 miles away, many estates, Southampton to Montauk. I have made this trip by car many times in 1 hr 15 min. 1 hr 30 min pulling a camper going to a state camp ground 70 miles away. Up to 2 hr with hoilday traffic. Being I go slow when I pull my landscape trailer, never being able to guarantee that I never will not hit traffic I figured in that at the worst 2 hr drive time. So for up to 4 gallons each way that can be up $64 gas.

$480 - 64 = $416 for one days work.

As to figuring in gas to run the equipment that doesn't matter because you would still be using the same amount of gas whether local or not.

What matters is again are you booked solid or you need the work.

If you need the work better to gross that $480 when the only extra cost is $64.

So your saying better to stay home, needing more sales, and sit on ones sofa and not gross an extra $480 because your costs go up an extra $64?

32vld
10-28-2011, 02:25 PM
Still think it's better to stay home?

djagusch
10-28-2011, 10:30 PM
Still think it's better to stay home?

I think you need to figure your costs, plain and simple. That is the point.

If you think your cost is $64 for the trip you are grossly underestimating your costs.

A person can gross $480 for a day in your example. Your net is nowhere near $416.

If your mower/trimmer/trailer/truck is paid for it still costs to run and replace after you wear it out. It may not come out of your pocket that day but it will. That day you will complain that a mower mfg charges too much for a mower and won't have the cash banked for it either.

It doesn't matter if you have nothing to do or a full schedule you still need to value your time. If you have openings then that is time to market your core area, explore add on sales to current customers, and learn more about your costs. This is productive compared to running around wearing out equipment and thinking you are making money.

djagusch
10-28-2011, 10:37 PM
Since I'm not getting through to you come back in 5 years and tell me how your plan worked out for you.

32vld
10-29-2011, 04:51 PM
“I think you need to figure your costs, plain and simple. That is the point.
If you think your cost is $64 for the trip you are grossly underestimating your costs.
A person can gross $480 for a day in your example. Your net is nowhere near $416.”

I own every free and clear. Work solo.

“If your mower/trimmer/trailer/truck is paid for it still costs to run and replace after you wear it out.”

Thing is I’m not going to spend $100 a day on gas to run my equipment or other materials. So $316 is a lot more then $0 sitting home.

“It may not come out of your pocket that day but it will. That day you will complain that a mower mfg charges too much for a mower and won't have the cash banked for it either.”

Well if I had work there 50 weeks a year I would drive an extra 7,000 miles.
This 50 weeks of work would net $15,800.

One year a new trailer and commercial mower just paid for cash. Or two years I can buy a new truck cash.

“It doesn't matter if you have nothing to do or a full schedule you still need to value your time. If you have openings then that is time to market your core area, explore add on sales to current customers, and learn more about your costs. This is productive compared to running around wearing out equipment and thinking you are making money”


8 hours local work is better then 8 hours that take extra drive time.

So your still saying $0 is better then $316 net?

You say just get more local work. Easier said then done.

8 hours work has just as much wear and tear when it's local.

If time is valued why are you advocating wasting it sitting on a couch.

Every choice is not black and white. I made up a scenario that would make money for me even when I would have to go way out of my area.

That's what makes the decision to take any job is there going to be enough money to be made.