View Full Version : by the hour or by the acre

12-13-2002, 12:29 PM
I was wondering if most of you charge by the hour for mowing or charge by the acre? I am currently charging one set price for acre including mowing, blowing, and trimming. What do you guys think is more accurate.

Jon Walker
cutting edge lawn and landscape

12-13-2002, 01:40 PM
i like to give estimates by the hour, but that is just personal preference. i think we get a more accurate quote this way.

12-13-2002, 02:00 PM
I don't how big ur average lawn is, but by the sq.ft. seems more practical than by the acre. i personaly never cut a lawn by the hr unless it is a one time thing, even then I usually give them a "guesstimate".
Cutting grass by the hour gives you no option to hustle and make more money that day. plus if you get more equipment or more help you have to change your hourly rate and customers hate hearing that their rate is going up, no matter how much you tell them your new mower will cut their lawn in half the time the old one did.

scott's turf
12-13-2002, 03:35 PM
In my head I charge by the hour. I know what we have to make per hour to meet expenses and still have a decent profit left over. The size of the property is only one aspect. It may take less time to cut an acre property that a two acre property depending on the lay of the land. A quick stroll around the property and I can usually give a price that will make us between $50-$70 per hour. Of course occasional you get burned but that has more to do with the growth rate of the grass the a miscalculation of mowing area.

mdb landscaping
12-13-2002, 03:39 PM
I do exactly what scotts turf does. I know how much i want to make an hour, and then i figure out how long the property will take me and give the customer the price per cut.

12-13-2002, 03:51 PM
I shoot for a dollar a minuet

12-13-2002, 04:31 PM
I also bid a dollar a minute.Some of my larger accounts i can't do that good,but all my small ones i can.When the grass is flying i do good,i try not to get into some of the extras, such as weeding flowerbeds.It seems more lucrative for me to keep the grass flying.

12-13-2002, 05:21 PM
I bid all properties by "sq.ft." for mowing, "linear ft" for trim, edge, and backpack work.

Its important to keep track of how long each service you perform takes so you will know what your hrly production rates are going to be.

Once I have this down then its simply a matter of adding in a degree of difficulty (1-3) to set your price. If I calculate a wide open field as a "d.o.d. of 1", then I would calculate ateep hillside areas, heavily populated areas, or areas that have many obsatcles to slow you down while cutting as as "d.o.d. of 3".

12-13-2002, 06:02 PM

If you go by the hour, how can you go wrong?

12-13-2002, 07:50 PM
Its not brain surgery, scotts turf has it figured out

12-13-2002, 08:34 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by rodfather

I have found with most customers they get scared when you quote an hourly rate. Lets say a lady has a small set of shrubs and she demands an hourly rate and you give in. You tell her it will cost $50/hr with a 1 hr minimum. They seem to freak out and say "Oh my gosh!! I can not afford that!!"

You can take the same lady and give her a price of $100 bucks and do the job in 35 to 45 minutes and they will pay with a smile. GO FIGURE!!!

12-14-2002, 01:04 AM
I bid by the square foot. I have a formula that I use to bid by the square ft. for mowing, linear ft for trimming and edging that brings me to almost $1 per minute. I am talking maintenance, of course, and not leaves, either, leaves are by the hour.

12-14-2002, 01:16 AM
greenman, what size/kind of mower are you useing? Can you share your numbers with us so we can all be in the ball park as for as what the industry standard should be.


12-14-2002, 01:31 AM
My numbers will or may not be right for anyone else, because my formulas are to where I factor in my operating costs also. I can and might ,however, post some formulas that do not factor in equipment costs and such. They are just straight formulas. As far as them being $1 per minute, all depends on productivity of equipment. How long does it take you (one person) to do a 10,000 sq. ft. lawn w/ minimal trimming/edging (around house, a few trees, fence, edging short driveway and curbside)? 30 min? 35 min?

12-14-2002, 01:46 AM
greenamn, I understand that some people would be faster then others. That is why I asked what equipment to get your 60/hr formula. I have this question going on a couple of threads right now. But what I would like to know is what formulas guys useing a 60" ZTR are useing. so we can come up with an average. I'm probably only dreaming though. There is pobably more to it then just takeing a few formulas and trying to come up with the average.

I don't know my speeds, but I'm going to make it a goal to find out. I bid by how long I think it will take me by compareing the lawn to other lawns I cut. Sometimes I end up makeing $70 and sometimes $50. I would like to narrow this down a little better. Then theres times I might make $120/hr on a hedge trim that I thought was going to take 2 hours. I like those and don't what to change my method of chargeing on this.

The only true formula I use right now is $12.5/1000sq on Aeration and double that if I'm overseeding at the same time. I use a 48" tow behind.


12-14-2002, 01:55 AM
If you are not ultimately figuring charges by time, you are not going to be around very long, or you are going to have to jump from sucker to sucker to make a buck.

Pricing by area? Sure, measure everything, but then you have to correct for difficulty. And the difficulty factor is a time adjustment. You charge more because it takes longer. I will measure a new lawn to compare it to like sized lawns. But I am looking for the time it will take, so I can give a price fair to me and prospective customer.

Price it for what you can get? Isn't that how gypsies operate?

Time is the ultimate test in any business, and to make proper income on each job, you must charge for the time (and equipment) on that job.

12-14-2002, 01:57 AM
Originally posted by Soupy

The only true formula I use right now is $12.5/1000sq on Aeration and double that if I'm overseeding at the same time. I use a 48" tow behind.


$12.5 per 1K is very good for just aeration. I get (and its hard to get it sometimes, because of TGCL) $10/1K.

I dont have a 60". I have a 36" Metro. Also, been using a 42" Walker.

12-14-2002, 02:03 AM
GroundKprs. I agree with you. I have come to the conclusion that I was just dreaming that we could some how come up with an accurate amount of lawn that should be cut to make that 60/hr standard. I'm going to keep biding the way I am now. But sometimes I screw myself. It all balances out though, because some times I do better. You would think after 11 years I would know better.


12-14-2002, 02:36 AM
Usually I take alook at how long it will take to mow it about, guessing on acre's or less than it along with the amount of time it takes to weedwack and blow. I mostly go on the acre by estimating time it takes. But might look into doing lawns by the square footage, better referance I bet. But im in the learning stages. :)

Randy Scott
12-14-2002, 02:39 AM
Originally posted by mklawnman
But im in the learning stages. :)

Learning stages, yeah right. Don't let this guy fool you, he's pounding out huge apartment complexes for big dollars!

What up Matt?

12-14-2002, 01:44 PM
Well im not "pounding out" appartment complex's yet Randy ;)
I only do one big one and a small piece at another site. Like i said Im in the LEARNING Stages :D

What up Randy