PDA

View Full Version : Care to share prices?


FrankenScagMachines
12-13-2002, 04:25 PM
Here is what I have....I will offer hedge trimming, overseeding, and maybe fertilizing. Possibly other things if requested. Any suggestions on prices for hedging, seeding, and fertilizing? My prices are largely based on time it will take me to do it. Example, I figured out (accurately) I can do a 10k sq ft. lawn mowed, trimmed, blowed, in 10 minutes with me and my brother using a 48" hydro w/b and sulky. Let me know what you think, thanks.
Eric
----------------------------------

Mowing under ½ acre – sq. ft. x .001 = price (4mph)

Mowing above ½ acre – sq. ft. x .0007 = price (5-6mph)

Trimming – linear ft. x .02 = price (50¢ per tree/pole, $1.25 small building, $2.49 large building) (2mph)

Blowing – linear ft. x .01 = price (3mph)

Edging initial edge – linear ft. x .2 = price

Edging maintained – linear ft. x .03 = price (1mph)

Mulch installation – $49.95 per cubic yard, each covers 100 sq. ft. at 3” deep

Mulch delivery - $34.95 first cubic yard, $29.95 each additional cubic yard (dumped on site)

Leaf mulching, light - .001 x sq ft = price per pass (4mph)

Leaf mulching, medium - .0015 x sq ft = price per pass (alittle slower)

Leaf removal, light - .002 x sq ft = price

Leaf removal, medium - .0025 x sq ft = price

Leaf removal, heavy - .003 x sq ft = price

Dethatching - .0035 x sq ft = price (using a tine dethatcher on mower and using a catcher)

Aerating - .0035 x sq ft = price (using a 36" tow behind aerator)

bubble boy
12-13-2002, 04:39 PM
honestly, i don't even know where to begin...

FrankenScagMachines
12-13-2002, 04:49 PM
C'mon guys!
If it makes it any easier, I'll put in the price per 10,000 sq ft. of lawn...

Mowing under ½ acre – $10/10k sq '

Mowing above ½ acre – $15.25/1/2 acre

Trimming – 100' = $2 (50¢ per tree/pole, $1.25 small building, $2.49 large building)

Blowing – 100 linear ft - $1 (around 4 sq ft per linear ft pass?)

Edging initial edge – 100' - $20 (might not charge this much but thats how long it takes)

Edging maintained – 100' - $3

Mulch installation – $49.95 per cubic yard, each covers 100 sq. ft. at 3” deep

Mulch delivery - $34.95 first cubic yard, $29.95 each additional cubic yard (dumped on your site)

Leaf mulching, light - $10 per pass @10k sq ft

Leaf mulching, medium - $15 per pass @ 10k sq ft

Leaf removal, light - $20 @ 10k sq ft

Leaf removal, medium - $25 @ 10k sq ft

Leaf removal, heavy - $30 @ 10k sq ft

Dethatching - $35 @ 10k sq ft

Aerating - $35 @ 10k sq ft


Of course the leaf removal price is just for like weekly, maintained removal.. cleanups are only per hour and I would say $85/hr two guys for that maybe.
Thanks

coonman
12-13-2002, 05:56 PM
I don't know where to begin either. We just walk the lawn and give a price. It seem's to work fine for us

FrankenScagMachines
12-13-2002, 05:57 PM
OK i see I made it too complicated for you guys......
your average city lawn might look like this:
10,000 square feet ($10 to mow)
A house ($2.50 to trim)
A mini barn ($1.25 to trim)
5 trees ($2.50 to trim)
125 linear feet of blowing drive and walk ($1.25 to blow)
______________________________________________
Total: $17.50 mow, trim, blow your average city lawn
X 4 lawns per hour @ 9-10 minutes each
______________________________________________
$70 per hour
X 15 hours per week work (my goal) = 60 lawns at 10k sq ft
______________________________________________
$1,050 per week
X 4 weeks per month
______________________________________________
$4,200 per month
X 8 months per year (not counting full price for leaves)
______________________________________________
$33,600 per year
- ?$?$? overhead
____________________
A good sum of money for only 480 hrs/year of work. This is with 2 guys, mowing only. Not too shabby? If the deal I'm working on (buying a business) works out, I'll only have about 7 hrs per week of work but I'd like to expand as much as possible. I would feel really comfortable at 15 hrs/week :D :cool:

Did this post put it in perspective?
Input desired! I want to know if my prices are about right?
Thanks,
Eric

bluemoon
12-13-2002, 06:02 PM
You are too cheap. I don't drop the gate for less than $25.00.

Turfdude
12-13-2002, 06:09 PM
Personally, I'd love to see anyone mow a 10,000 sq ft lawn w/ a 48 in 10 minutes. I'm always happy if a 2 man crew can do 4 lawns under 5000 sqft in an hour. W/ minimal travel time of course. Generally they can probably do 3 to slightly better than 3 an hour if they're small enough. You would not be able to mow 4 10,000 sq.ft residential lawns per hour w/ a 2 man crew and have them trimmed, edged & blown off to a respectable and acceptable level unless they were all together, or bagging was at a minimal. All of the guys in my area know that heavy growth in thespring would throw this out the window. But then again, I wouldn't touch a 10,000 sq ft lawn for $17.50 either. That figure would have to double at least, and and then some if there's any level of difficulty.

Bob

rodfather
12-13-2002, 06:13 PM
BushHogBoy

I have to admit I admire just about all of your posts. But the first couple here were kind of confusing (at the least) until the last.

I think too maybe you could (should) bump your rates up some. Granted we live in different areas where supply and demand are different. But we all want to make the ol mighty dollar. And as a true blue, red-blooded American, I'm a Capitalist at heart.

One last issue...I don't know what your overhead is?

bubble boy
12-13-2002, 06:36 PM
Originally posted by BushHogBoy
OK i see I made it too complicated for you guys......



make NO mistake i FULLY understood what you were saying in your first post.


good luck

FrankenScagMachines
12-13-2002, 06:37 PM
GOOD LORD!

Bluemoon, you have a problem with $70 per hour with 2 men??? I sure as hell don't!!

Bob,
Anytime you come up I'll do it for you. I guarantee that 2 guys can do 4 of these lawns (mow, trim, blow, no edging) having it looking respectable in an hour with travel time, at $17.50 each thats $70 an hour. I am not going to bag them, going to mulch them and they won't know the difference. Why discharge when you can mulch, it looks so much better, you don't make a big mess and you dont' have to worry about where you're throwing grass. On small lawns it does not slow me down either. Spring growth may be another deal I don't know for sure.

Rodfather,
Thank you, but I feel like $70/hr is a respectable almighty dollar!
This way I'm charging a very fair price ($1.75/minute), making a very nice sum and everyone's happy. Overhead, one employee at $10/hr to run trimmer and blower. Yes that's a nice wage but will eb worth it to me I think. My brother is a very strong worker who doesn't quit till the job's done. He's 19 y.o., 6' 2", 175lbs. just out of boot camp (National Guard) so he has a good work attitude and is strong and knows endurance. Equipment, (should be by spring anyway, have 2 cycle stuff and push mower) is probably going to be a '00 eXmark 48" Turf Tracer HP (hydro floating deck w/b) with mulch kit and Jungle Wheels sulky, '92 John Deere 38" crank deck w/b (6 spd gear drive, floating deck) with mulch kit and Jungle Wheels sulky, mid 90's Lawn Boy 21" steel deck push mower, '02 Stihl FS80 trimmer, '00 Kawasaki KRB400A backpack blower, '00 Echo SRM2400SB split boom unit with ext. hedge clippers and am going to get an edger for it, and '00 Echo HCR1500 hedge trimmer, '98 6.5'x12' open trailer, and (until a later date when I can update) a '92 Ford E350 12 passenger van (same as a F250 or F350 underneath) to tow it all with. If I get larger properties and see a need for a larger mower I may get a 60" ZTR within a couple years. Also I will get insurance, pay my taxes, license the business, etc.

Thanks,
Eric

FrankenScagMachines
12-13-2002, 06:50 PM
bubble boy, don't take it personally LOL

bubble boy
12-13-2002, 06:58 PM
i never do.

and if you and your bro can do 60 houses in 15 hours come up here i'll hire you for more than $33 000.

and do a search on hour vs. MAN HR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

McKeeLand
12-13-2002, 07:32 PM
Way to complicated! its cutting grass not rocket science. I get on average for a 10,000sqft lawn $35, 5,000sqft $25 and i willn't drop my gate for less than $20. and thats if the lawn is on my route. i willn't drive out my way for a $20 lawn, let someone else do it. my goal is a $1/min, per man. a 10,000 should take about 15min with to guys to mow, trim and blow. so thats 15x $2/min =$30. figure $35 to cover loading and unloading.

griffin16
12-13-2002, 07:34 PM
Sounds like you have a strong grasp on the numbers, I got a little dizzy reading your first post.
I did the same thing with fertz. pricing last year, i figured it out to the penny. I also got burned on a few customers quotes.
I feel the best way is to follow coonmans advice.
Walk the lawn and shoot from the hip.
In my area, $17.50 is CHEAP. min is $30.00 and most are $40-70 for mow, blow, and trim

coonman
12-13-2002, 07:43 PM
17.50 is way too low. We get 30 for the average 10k lawn and if it has lots of obstacles it will be 35. I think your making it more difficult than it needs to be by trying to calculate every inch and mph. Just my opinion though.

FrankenScagMachines
12-13-2002, 07:55 PM
The lawns we did this on (yea the owner of the biz and I) we actually did 4 in 45 minutes. They were all only a couple blocks from each other, but thats the way I like it. They might not have been a full 10k but they were close to it and we can run that eXmark faster than I see everyone else running them. I couldn't run it as fast as the owner but still faster than alot of guys I see. I don't know why they go that slow? It's not THAT hard. He can make alittle "blur" appear around him when he mows LOL... almost. It's a fast rig anyway.. When I was trimming, I put down the trimmer and picked up the blower while he was driving on the trailer and he finished up while I blew off the driveway. And I can trim pretty fast IMHO.. Even if I charged more than that and it took longer I'm still making the same per hour. Anyway, the numbers match and my calculations are not that far off. Here;
48"x4mph=192/140 (65-70% accuracy)=1.37 acres/hr x 43560 sq ft per acre=59,739.4 sq ft per hour/60 minutes=995.6 sq ft. per minute. Now, 10,000 sq ft / 995.6 sq ft per minute = 10 minutes per 10,000 sq ft. That 70% accuracy allows plenty for turns, overlaps, and obstacles. Numbers DON'T lie!
Eric

Acorn
12-13-2002, 07:55 PM
I don't even fart for less than $20:p

Art Stubbs handy 58
12-13-2002, 08:02 PM
You did not the post too difficult for us....

I think you make things too difficult for your self at times, I would really like to see a 10,000k lawn get mowed, blowed and trimmed
in 10 min. If you can do this I'll make deal with you, i'll pay you $18.50 a yard, and i can get all the work you can handle. Call for directions

If your getting that $$$ for a yard, we call that a scrub job around here... Like many have said, raise the rates and be competitive, this will help all of us, when we are out there making a living at this.... :D

AztlanLC
12-13-2002, 08:18 PM
If you think that in your fisrt year in business you going to get all of your customers near one to the other, good luck, also $35 per man hour using mowers and working that fast is plain cheap, also get a mower, insurance, truck and then you'll know why those prices are cheap, but if you want to atract the cheapest customers around go ahead just don't bother trying to steal our nice properties where we charge accordingly and have many extra work, because you're not ready.

I did have respect for your older posts and tought you had a nice going but lately you have changed your attitud.

cajuncutter
12-13-2002, 08:22 PM
This is almost as bad as the old ladies that demand a price over the phone. I just can not do it. To sum it up if I am not getting $25 or better a man hour then it is a waste of my time:sleeping:

JimLewis
12-13-2002, 08:56 PM
I honestly can't see where you say you can do 4 10K lawns per hour with two guys. But whatever. We are lucky to get 2-3 lawns an hour, and we do mostly 3000 sq. ft. lawns around here. Of course, we do more than mowing. Still, that price seems way cheap to me. For us, a standard lawn around here is 3000 sq. ft. and we charge about $35 a cut for those.

But if you can really do 4 of those per hour, that would be 40 in a 10 hour day. I'd be damn impressed. You should be able to make a KILLING at that rate. Have fun trying. I guess you don't need our help.

grassdaddy
12-13-2002, 09:14 PM
I've said it once today,a dollar a minute is about dead on !!!!

Shuter
12-13-2002, 09:38 PM
$17.50 is way to cheap. I have a min $25.00 per cut for anything less than 5000 sq ' . 5000 and larger price varies depending on size and layout.

SDlawndawg
12-13-2002, 09:46 PM
I agree with McKeeland and Grassdaddy. $60 per man hour. Easy to estimate going by the minute. When I started, I tried to price them according to sq.ft. There are too many factors like trees, type of grass, hills, and if the customer has a DOG! You have to factor in everything.

FrankenScagMachines
12-13-2002, 10:29 PM
Acorn - ROFLMAO

Art - These were lawns within a few blocks of each other, taking 9-10 minutes a peice. They might have been 7-10k range, but I can tell you we were going fast on them and it wasn't stressful at all, it's enjoyable to see who gets done first (not sacrificing quality mind you). As mentioned it was good timing. I didn't measure them but I'd say they're at least 7k sq ft. I know a thousand sq ft makes a big difference (around 1 minute). It's not my fault you guys can't keep up with me :D

Aztlan - I know they won't all be near but alot of them are already pretty close (in the biz I will be buying). I charge solo=$45/hr, 2 man=$65/hr for mowing. Alot of times I could make more than that if I estimate it correctly, but if you want a flat rate only, thats what you go by. It doesn't cost as much per hour to run the trimmer and blower as it does the mower and in the $45 that includes overhead so if I pay my helper $10/hr, then I am making $10/hr off of having him there working for me, get it?
I will have insurance next year and will get a truck as soon as I can afford to. Some of these properties do require extra work and I will have time to do it as well. Please explain how I "have changed my attitude"???? Not sure I understand what you mean? By reading your post it definately appears that you did not even read mine.

Cajun Cutter - I'm not making $25/hr??? I thought I specifically said that at this rate I could make $70 an hour with two men? Didn't I say that?? Huh? Huh??? Where did i mention $25/hr?

Grassdaddy, thats what I'm aiming for, at least.

I don't know why you're all knocking me because I have checked the numbers against realtime and it can work. $17.50 a yard may be lowballing but that don't make me a scrub, it just means I found a quicker better way to do it with less overhead maybe. Maybe same overhead I don't know what you guys using. I will have plenty of work and make plenty of money at this rate even after covering overhead. What is wrong with that? Am I REALLY missing something? Re read my posts if necessary and check the numbers, they work for me anyway. I may eventually raise the prices but for now this gets me plenty of good work (good wages per hour) and lets me grow quickly, later I may raise prices but this will definately work for me. Oh BTW, I just realized (was talking to someone) that the $17.50 was for around 5k lawns, the 10k lawns were around $20. I may adjust my prices some but I still think we can do a 10k lawn in around 12 minutes or so, 10 maybe even.

Later,
Eric

hoagie
12-13-2002, 11:24 PM
Not too much to add... others have said it well.

To not have a minimum stop fee of at least $25-$35 is rediculous. Why charge $10 or $15 less? Because you can do it faster?
:eek: Have the minimum and MAKE MORE MONEY!! Being able to do them fast will be the icing on the cake. $1/min PER MAN is (should be) baseline for everyone... the small cake accounts right next to each other are where you can really make a killing!

Be a smart business man, always compensate for the unknown... what happens when your brother takes off to do his own thing and your left tryin to find a good employee? Good luck. What if you have minor break downs (belts, blades, flats, ect) that need repair on site? Better to have the extra time than not. What if it rains for days or weeks and you are forced to cut in the rain? That extra time/money will make you feel better when things are taking 2x as long.

Everybody's not really knocking you bud... they are ALL giving you good advice. They have made the mistakes already!!!!! Trust me later on in the biz you will be glad if you listen.

Think about it... it's going to be much harder to raise prices later on... and thats exactly what you will have to do. You'll probably lose a few customers because of it also... they'll look for someone to do it just as cheap.

And then the vicious cycle starts all over again.

Envy Lawn Service
12-13-2002, 11:36 PM
Originally posted by BushHogBoy

Mowing under ½ acre – sq. ft. x .001 = price (4mph)

Mowing above ½ acre – sq. ft. x .0007 = price (5-6mph)



These numbers are the first place I'd start. I don't know the average fees for your area but...

Raise the under 1/2 acre # to .002

That puts you at $20 for 10,000 sq ft...This would be my minimum. I wouldn't get out of the truck for less than $20 on any lawn.

And the over 1/2 acre...I'm really afraid you'd be hurting on an acre mow for $30 ???? Ouch!!!

43,560 x .002= $87.12

Maybe you could grade down from that some. But I wouldn't do .0007.

I'd much rather be told I was too high and have an open slot for another job than be in it for dirt cheap loosing my you know what every time I cut.

I also think you would be hard pressed to do that many per hour day in and day out with loading traveling and unloading.

But his is just my opinion for what it's worth and I'm not trying to criticise you at all. I'm just putting some thoughts out there. Maybe you'd be out of work trying to charge $30 an acre in your area. I never just assume someone elses prices are too low and make them out to be a scrub.

Isn't there someone on here pretty close to BHB that could help him get in line price wise?

Soupy
12-14-2002, 12:08 AM
BushHogBoy, You evidently don't know your overhead. You mentioned that by charging an extra $20 for your helper you would be making $10 an hour off of him. That is just plain silly! Are you not going to pay his taxes, workmen's comp Etc. By the days end you are just giving him a percentage of your work. You might as well call him your partner.

Why are you offering your customers a discount for his labor in the first place. You really need to listen to the people that are in the business already, and stop trying to convince everyone that the new kid on the block has done his homework and knows something that we don't.

I could go on and on about what's wrong with your plan, But you obviously don't want to listen so I'm not even going to bother.

By the way I too agree that $60/hr is the way to go. I pledge that we all stick to this price and make it the industry standard.

Barkleymut
12-14-2002, 12:11 AM
No way you can do a QUALITY job on a 10K yard in 10 minutes. Unless you have no trees, perfectly square or rectangle with no back fence. So you are probably getting paid what you are worth. By the way do you ever have to refuel, load string on trimmer, drive from shop to customers, change or clean air filters, call customers, change blades, scrape the deck, lube mower, fix the flat on the trailer, eat lunch, drink water, apply more suntan lotion, etc. You will never be able to keep up that pace more than a month without something throwing a big kink into your plans. I thought the same way as you "I'm special, I can do it even though all these guys who have 50 times the experience tell me I can't". If it could be done we'd all be doing it with our rates and living on Luxury Lane. It's ok to dream but remember you have to wake up sometime.

Barker's Lawn Care
12-14-2002, 12:17 AM
:sleeping:
WALK IT AND PRICE IT

Envy Lawn Service
12-14-2002, 12:26 AM
Originally posted by Soupy .

By the way I too agree that $60/hr is the way to go. I pledge that we all stick to this price and make it the industry standard. [/B]

I too would like to see that!

Also if BHB used my formula and was somehow able to cut 3 little yards an hour (10,000 sq ft or less) he would earn $60 per hour total. Of course he would have his expenses and such to deduct. But he's still better off.

In some areas you may not be able to get $60 an hour. Especially depending on equipment and production per hour...

Sooners
12-14-2002, 12:29 AM
1. Do you guys that charge by the sq. ft include the house and driveway in that calculation? or is it grass only?

2. I wish I could charge $60.00/hr per person, but there's no way I could charge $300-$500 on some of my yards. My hat is off to you guys. Maybe I need to move to NJ.

Soupy
12-14-2002, 12:56 AM
Envy Lawn Service. I thought about that after I posted it. It's impossible for everyone to make $60/hr. My prices are based on using 60" Dixie. But we could have someone that is better at numbers then me come up with a price per sq ft. When using a 60" ZTR. Then we would all be in the ball park.

As soon as I get some dry weather I'll do some time trials. But I'm not a big numbers guy. When it comes to mowing I just bid it as I see it. I only do residential by the way. I used to have some property management groups years ago and have decided it's my residential customers I can always count on. I do measure for Aeration Etc. Next year I do plan on trying the numbers thing out though. So lets get this down.

Ok, I know I went into a ramble, Sorry :)

Soupy

Soupy
12-14-2002, 01:03 AM
Sooners, What equipment are you useing and what size lots are you mowing that would be $300-$500 if you charged by the hour.

If you are mowing lawns that take 6-8 hours to cut then I would give them a break too. But I stay away from those size lawns becasue it would not allow me to have as "many eggs in my basket". I know what it is like to lose a days work all in one shot and I don't want to be there again.

LAWNS AND MOWER
12-14-2002, 01:19 AM
Check out this web site.www.justlawns.com (justlawns.com) Wife is pretty hot too. Go to the FAQ section and check out the first question. Who's got time to measure??? Go to potential account for estimate, if it doesn't fall under my minimum, compare it to some of my other accounts and price it accordingly.

Soupy
12-14-2002, 01:28 AM
Lawns and mower, I bid them exactly like you do. But I do think if we had time to break down the sq ft/hour price we could get everyone in line with each other and have a standard. Just like Auto Mechanics have a book time. If some guys are faster then great, but if some guys are slower then that's to bad. But we need a standard.

LAWNS AND MOWER
12-14-2002, 01:35 AM
Faster vs slower, fine. Work faster, make more money. Work smarter,not harder. I firmly believe that quality,top notch service comes with a premium. My customers know I'm expensive, but they know what they are getting and it's worth it to them. Sure, prices could get in line if we all provided the same quality of work. Don't see it happening.

Simply Green
12-14-2002, 01:36 AM
BushHogBoy...............You confuse me.You post a thread asking people's advice which several have and then you just want to argue with everyone's replies?????Seems to me that if you don't want anyone's advice than don't ask for it.Are you looking for answers or only people that agree with you?What's that gonna accomplish?Not getting down on ya but sit back and look at some of your replies.You got it all down huh?I too think your pricing is too low.I don't touch anything under $25 because seems like it takes me more time to unloaded and load than it does too mow,just not worth my time.

Envy Lawn Service
12-14-2002, 01:37 AM
Soupy,

It would be nice if we could all somehow get in line on pricing cross the board. Pricing by the square foot is the closest we would come to that. But still it's hard. (example coming)

A lot of folks say walk it and price it. Not everyone has the gift of guestimating a lawn and coming out great though. I for one think it's pretty hard to come close to know what you need by any method other than doing it all once. (example coming)

Here is a link to a thread of mine that's good to use as an example. Go ahead and chime in over there too.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=37516

This site has 69,000 sq ft of turf. But it's broken up into 5 areas. Largest section being under 18,000 sq ft. A large portion of it is also spread around the perimeter which is over a mile around. I'll still probably use a sq ft method of pricing. but sites like these it's still hard to be sure you'll come out.

greenman
12-14-2002, 01:43 AM
Originally posted by BushHogBoy
GOOD LORD!

Bluemoon, you have a problem with $70 per hour with 2 men??? I sure as hell don't!!



That is $35 per man hour, not the same as $70 per hour. I think you are making your formulas too complicated. $17.50 to mow a lawn? No way! My cheapest lawns are $25, and that if they are 7,000 sq. ft. and under. Most of my lawns are 7,500 to 12,000 sq.ft. with 45 minutes tops for each one. <---These are residential prices. Most of mine are within 5 to 6 miles. I run a pretty tight route. For the ones that are further out, I make a day out of those.

Sooners
12-14-2002, 01:44 AM
Soupy, I have a 60" Lazer & 42" tractor.

I have a large church property that takes 10 man hours. No way I can charge the Lord $600. Lots of trimming & edging and mowing, watering, etc.

I also do one med. yard that's a lot of detail work. Lots of sidewalks, flowerbeds, etc. 6-7 manhours. Can't charge $300-$400. I get 3 other commercial properties from this owner which are much more profitable.

greenman
12-14-2002, 01:48 AM
Originally posted by Sooners
Soupy, I have a 60" Lazer & 42" tractor.

I have a large church property that takes 10 man hours. No way I can charge the Lord $600. Lots of trimming & edging and mowing, watering, etc.

I also do one med. yard that's a lot of detail work. Lots of sidewalks, flowerbeds, etc. 6-7 manhours. Can't charge $300-$400. I get 3 other commercial properties from this owner which are much more profitable.

I dont see why not!

Sooners
12-14-2002, 01:52 AM
Greenman, this is a small town rural community. No major complexes. One or two nice sub-divisions where most owners do their own. No major LCO's in town. Competition is very tough.

Soupy
12-14-2002, 01:55 AM
Lawns And Mower, I agree that Quality in the most important. But that would be your selling point. The guy with the best quality would land the most jobs. makeing the next guy up his quality.

I know see that I am dreaming :sleeping: Well it was a good dream while it lasted.

Soupy

greenman
12-14-2002, 02:00 AM
Actually, Sooners, I do see your point. I should not have said that. But you do try to get $1 per minute? I dont think anyone should be making under $.40 per minute, though.

bubble boy
12-14-2002, 02:05 AM
Originally posted by BushHogBoy


Am I REALLY missing something?

no at 15 you apparently have it all figured out, to the minute and sq. ft. no less:dizzy:

Sooners
12-14-2002, 02:05 AM
It appears to me that you guys making $60/hr on small yards are probably doing a lot of yards that take less than an hr., therefore more travel time, loading & unloading. I'm curious how it all comes out in the wash. What's a good avg. $/hr. at the end of the day?

Randy Scott
12-14-2002, 02:19 AM
No!

Sooners
12-14-2002, 02:19 AM
Greenman, I try for $1.25/1000 sq. ft. when I can get it. I agree with the $25 min., but I only have 1 that small. The larger the job, the less per hr I charge cause I'm not loading up and moving.

The biggest lawn operation around here is a group of Mennonites. One man take 3 of their women (long dresses & bonnets) with JD's and ZTR's and they work cheap. Hard to compete cause they gots lots more help where they come from if the need it.

The quality of job comes ahead of everything else for me. I may take longer than some of my competetion, But I,m not leaving til I"M satisfied.

McKeeLand
12-14-2002, 02:20 AM
Wow this has turned into a hot topic. $60/hr per man is a rate for the small lawns, 5,000sqft-10,000sqft, and this is the rate while i'm there cutting, not travel time. however most of these lawns are in the same devepoment.
now of course the bigger lawns the rate is more in the $40-50/hr range.
on a average day, 8hrs, i need to bring in at least $500-$600 for a two man crew or your not coming close to covering ur costs, let alone making a profit. you may be paying the bill now doing lawns for $17.50, but i promise you that in couple of years that willn't put gas in your truck to drive to your jobs.

greenman
12-14-2002, 02:22 AM
Originally posted by Sooners
It appears to me that you guys making $60/hr on small yards are probably doing a lot of yards that take less than an hr., therefore more travel time, loading & unloading. I'm curious how it all comes out in the wash. What's a good avg. $/hr. at the end of the day?

Here is one of my routes for one day. From the time I leave my house to back home is 8.66 hours, not counting breaks. This includes 8 lawns. Total for the day $340. Thats $39.26 per hour for the day. This is one of my most spread out routes, about 8 miles to the first one and ending up about 1/2 mile from home. These figures are cutting with a 36" Metro. Not too awful good ,but not too shabby either for that mower. That was my Thursday route from last season. Mondays and Tuesdays are the biggest days for me. Fridays and Saturdays are for whatever is left or extras.

Soupy
12-14-2002, 02:26 AM
Sooners, I keep my routs tight. Actually I focus all my properties on the west side of my town. My lawns are in the $30 average and I do about 2 an hour. and at the end of the day I normnally come out about $60 an hour. Next year I'm going to keep more accurate times and by the end of the year I'll know exactly what my avearge for the year was. Right now I know what I made for the year, but not by the hour.

Soupy

Sooners
12-14-2002, 02:36 AM
What the customers fail to understand is the expenses; income taxes, fuel, equipment, travel time, repair parts, maintenance, etc. it takes to operate. That $40 or $60 or whatever per hr. is not profit.

grassyfras
12-14-2002, 02:41 AM
Dude im 16 and in the same boat kind of. Can you even drive to these accounts or are u going to have your brother drive u around. Your expenses for your mowing equipment are going to be around 7K to 10K i bet. Your going to be spending alot of money on parts and gas. You may think it would only be a few bucks a week but the stuff really gets expensive, for me its around 10% for direct expenses a year. Thats not including my mower, trailer, trimmers, and stuff. So from your 35k a year minus your direct expenses(I dont really know the right term im to tired to think of it) 35k - 10k(mowing equipment) then minus a percentage like 10-20%, thats around 20k-25k then you say your going to pay your brother $10 an hour @ 15 hours a week=$150x30(or something)=4,500, so now your making 16k to 21k a year. BUT UNCLE SAM wants 30% of that so thats another 4500 about 12k. Now you have 12k to upgrade your equipment, pay yourself a salary, invest in your ROTH IRA for your retirment one day, buy your on the go meals with your money that always seem to be at least 5 bucks, and then buy something that makes you happy for your reward.

Maybe im crazy or just tired idk, but i think the problem that you have is going all out at once, and having an employee. You can make money in this business but at 15 its hard, you want to enjoy life, and you still have school and family and friends. You can't be hauling your butt everday doing 4 lawns an hour for at least 3 or 4 hours a day, you will be taking breaks and what not. When it rains it pours, nothing cut is dry in this service industry.

My advice to you would be just stay small, but get that hydro and charge more.

Remember its not the B#tch its how you deal with the Bi#ch

Darryl G
12-14-2002, 02:45 AM
My rates range from a penny a second to two cents a second depending on what I'm doing. You know what they say, every penny counts!

hoagie
12-14-2002, 02:52 AM
Sooners....

I only have 2 or 3 that take less than an hour, but if I figured out the hourly if would be $80 per, including drive time. ($40per@20min each, solo) $40 is my min for bagging (no exceptions).

My largest is around 67k sq/ft and @ $185 it takes me (usually) around 3hr, mow/bag/trim/edge/blow.

Always keep records of time spent (including bullsh*ting w/ client) and conditions every week.

hoagie
12-14-2002, 03:02 AM
Just to talk expenses...

Looking at my books, my total fuel bill for this year is just over $3000.

And I only mow 2.5 days a week.

Kingspointe
12-14-2002, 03:14 AM
this last season I started and seemed to have thought customers would of liked to see me price lower cause i was younger... well *($# that! Some lawns later in the season where hard to get out of the truck for because of my pricing, but those are all learning experiences so i'm fine with it. but now I have more expenses and charge acccordingly with any overhead included. I hope this will help me cause it sounds like it does you

JimLewis
12-14-2002, 03:16 AM
What is wrong with that? Am I REALLY missing something? Re read my posts if necessary and check the numbers, they work for me anyway. Yah, of course they work for you. But your prices are rediculously out of range for this industry. And there are specific reasons why it's not a good idea to stick with these numbers.

But before I get to those, let's figure out why your numbers don't add up to ours. One reason they "work for you" is because you can afford to live on very little. You don't have a mortgage. You don't have a car payment (or two). You don't have student loan payments. You don't have kids to feed, you don't have to buy $600 in groceries every month, you don't have to pay for family vacations, utilities, homeowners insurance, life insurance, babysitters, medical insurance, co-pays, medical bills, furniture, appliances, home repairs, carpet cleaners, christmas lights, etc. etc. etc.....

But just because you don't have all of these expenses NOW doesn't mean you should run you should charge less than your services are worth. In fact, BECAUSE you will have such expenses in the future (and there are WAY WAY MORE than what I mentioned) you should really start charging more NOW and SAVE it up so that you DON'T have things like College loans, credit card debt, car loans, etc.

You're missing the boat man. You should be charging more and banking it up so that you will have it easier later in life. Don't sit there and say, "I don't need to make that much." YES YOU DO! Life is freaking expensive, man! Start preparing for it now and you'll be way ahead of everyone else as you get older.

SWD
12-14-2002, 03:31 AM
Other than a couple of properties below 5K sq ft, I don't get less than $50 to drop, edge, trim, mow and blow.
Now, granted the properties are $700K + , however, I have a client base that knows me, my schedule and me.
When I say I will take care of a property, regardless, I do.
I also receive a minimum of $40 an hour if I am on site for landscape services such as hedge trimming or extra leaf removal.
Irrigation, due to the licensing, is $50 pr hour, due to go up after Jan 1, to about $60 pr hr minimum.
Pesticide apps, due to licensing, was $40, again after 1 Jan, going up to $50 pr hr + chemicals
Verticutting is $35 pr hr pr man, clean up included - but not me.
I handle all the detail work, such as grading, irrigation installs, spraying - etc.
I have never figured on a linear foot or other basis rhan what was mentioned. I don't SWAQ it, yet I also do not lose, either.

bobbygedd
12-14-2002, 10:48 AM
$33,000 per year, minus overhead? hmmm, i think my paperboy makes more than that

Acorn
12-14-2002, 10:51 AM
Bushogboy,

Why don't you charge the rates that everyone has outlined here and at the rate you work, do it by the job and not the hour. At the rate you seem to think you work, you won't be able to walk for all the cash in your pockets.

LAWNS AND MOWER
12-14-2002, 10:54 AM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
$33,000 per year, minus overhead? hmmm, i think my paperboy makes more than that
LOL Kids only 15. Give him credit for trying. Assume his expenses are $13,000, would you've been happy pulling in $20,000 when you were 15???

bobbygedd
12-14-2002, 11:26 AM
man, i made more than that selling......oops, cant say it. only 15? i didnt realize that . stay in school boy! and this time, pay attention!

Acorn
12-14-2002, 11:30 AM
His calculations seem to suggest he never has to load and unload or travel so I figure he's found a way for his sites to come to him. maybe his lawns can fly:angel:

Anyway,
Keep trying bushboy... I understand not wanting to listen to nay-sayers but nay-sayers are usually people not involved in the industry (i.e. family and friends) and have no experience. The guys on this site have all "been there done that" and are now just trying to help you to not make mistakes but if you don't want to listen...then keep your blinders on and don't ask.

Eirik
12-14-2002, 11:46 AM
WOW!
Like someone said earlier....."Those numbers made me dizzy....."
Our Job is about time....How long it takes you and your brother to do something. Not about each individual task being broken down to the finest variable. I worked for a guy like you...bought his business and now he has no business. He was so caught up in every penny, he lost sight of the people he was providing the service for and the whole reason he got in to the green Industry. I know we are all out here to make money...beleive me.
Know how much you are worth an hour ($30) Two guys ($60) AND WORK! Don't sit behind a desk crunching numbers or figuring out how to squeeze blood from a rock. People don't want to hear it's going to be 2 dollars and 16 and a half cents to trim that tree!!! In the time it took you to break down those numbers.... and explain your pricing "system" to the account, you could of or better yet...your brother could have wondered over to the tree and cut the freakin branches off. That way, next time, that same account will have you do an odd job that you actually can bill extra for. That is just my 2 cents....you are not going to go very far nickel and diming everyone, just a have a set rate and what is extra is just that.....

polecat63
12-14-2002, 12:02 PM
Hi Everyone! I'm new here but I wanted to wade in on this one. I did the same thing my first year in biz. Measured everything, timed it and made a little science project out of every proposal. What an incredible waste of time. Now I don't do anything for less than $25 and if I cant get a 32" mower through the back gate I ain't cuttin'. And at $17.50 a yard you can't be making much of a profit. If you are you will quickly see it disapear the first time you trash a mower or your truck. Trust me, it will happen sooner or later. Best of luck to you.

McKeeLand
12-14-2002, 01:23 PM
Ok guys, now that maybe we have gotten it through brush hog boys head that he is charging to little for his service, and i do say maybe. how do we suggest he goes about now rasing this rediculusly low price he was charging, to something more in line with the rest of the industry? And at the same time not loosing the customers he has becasue they think he is trying to rip them off.

Lawn Wizard
12-14-2002, 02:34 PM
BHB, I have in the past made the calculation down to the Nth degree just like you have done. And in my experience, there is no viable way to estimate each little aspect of a job and make it jive in reality.

If anything I would think that your market can bear more than $17.50 per lawn. So yes you have calculated that at the bare minimum you can do a lawn for $17.50 in 10 minutes, but the market is calling for that lawn to go for $25 so you would go with the $25 a lawn in my opinion.

Also once you add in workmans comp, taxes, maintenance, insurance, depreciation, etc. your going to be doing a whole lot of work and have very little money left over for yourself.

Experience is really the best teacher, all the calculations in the world dont really mean anything unless they are based in reality ( it all looks good on paper ;) ).

Keep at it and good luck

Darryl G
12-14-2002, 05:51 PM
BHB - Have you ever heard of the KISS principle?

How much do you charge your current customers for services and how much does the owner of the busniess you're buying charge? His customers and your current ones will expect a very similar pricing structure to what they're used to.

Randy Scott
12-14-2002, 07:42 PM
All of this discussion over a 15 year old boys pricing structure. You guys that bored or what? Like it or not, the people that hire a 15 year old boy will not be the same ones that hire me. Unfortunately, for BHB, he will not be able to pull similair amounts of revenue from customers as we would. Therefore, he can charge less and make as much probably. Do you think a customer is going to get estimates from 3 companies and have one of them a 15 year old boy and the others well established businesses of the community with years of service in that community. There is no comparison. If you think he's in competition with me, or someone at a level similair or higher, you're on crack.

I mean no disrespect to you BHB. I commend you on approaching this as professionally as possible and starting at a young age. That's what 90% of teens today are missing, a work ethic and desire to achieve. Also, if someone on here thinks a 15 year old boy that can't even legally drive a car should price his work as full-time legit companies do, you're wacked. This is apples to oranges.

Keep the desire BHB and price to what you need and are happy with. If you can make your system work, than do it. :)

Envy Lawn Service
12-14-2002, 08:07 PM
Originally posted by jimlewis
you should really start charging more NOW and SAVE it up so that you DON'T have things like College loans, credit card debt, car loans, etc.

You're missing the boat man. You should be charging more and banking it up so that you will have it easier later in life. Don't sit there and say, "I don't need to make that much." YES YOU DO! Life is freaking expensive, man! Start preparing for it now and you'll be way ahead of everyone else as you get older.

BHB,

Dang this is solid advise if I ever heard any!!! Getting an early start means a whole lot more than you think down the road. A man (my dad) gave me similar advise when I was young. I took that advise and ran with it. I never looked back and don't regret a thing. Sure I missed hangin' with my buddies and stuff. But now some of them are in their 30's and still don't have any kind of start in life.

how do we suggest he goes about now rasing this rediculusly low price he was charging, to something more in line with the rest of the industry? And at the same time not loosing the customers he has becasue they think he is trying to rip them off.

I think my idea posted earlier wasn't so bad. I don't think they would sqeal to much with an increase to atleast $20. Heck he could probably push for $25 and still retain most of them I'd say.

grassyfras,

I'll say it since no one else has. For a 16 year old kid, half asleep :sleeping:
You sound like you have a pretty level head on your shoulders.

FrankenScagMachines
12-14-2002, 09:12 PM
I was gone today so I couldn't reply to all this but there're too many to address each individually. So here's what I'll say:
1) I can legally drive a motor vehicle with my permit so long as there is a relative over 18 with me. That's my brother, employee. By the time he leaves for college in another town I will be able to drive with anyone in the vehicle and will hire someone else suitable for the job.
2) It won't have that high of a start up cost all in all, mower and accounts for $4k which is $2500 mower, $1500 for 17 accounts that rake in $400/week at about 10 hrs solo. I think with both of us we can cut it down to 7 hrs or so and then hopefully expand to have around 15 hrs of work a week if possible. I will have $1000 to start with and will take out a loan with my parents to co sign for around $3500 to cover the rest of the business and a few other small costs and have a small padding. The loan will be payed back quickly and the accounts will then make me money. I too think the prices could be raised somewhat but what I want to know is, how much could I raise them (percentage wise because they're not all 7k sq ft) without the customers squealing? I don't want to lose any of them that is for sure. I don't necessarily charge more than everyone else but right around their prices, but keep high high quality, but I want the prices inline so I can have a good profit and have a good price as my hooker. Then I can later raise them after I have gained the customer's confidence. I will gladly raise my prices! I just want to know what is fair??? I know I've been playing with numbers too much haha..
3) Envy, we can't get no stinkin' $86/acre or whatever you mentioned... LOL I'd get spit on for that. Example one 2 acre lawn I know of the previous company (using a 54"-60" Z I beleive) charged $45, or so the customer told me. I doubt the customer tweaked the number much because he owns a business and I know him enough to trust him but also I have asked LCO's around here and some said $30/acre and some said $60/acre so I guess if I got a 60" Ztr I could probably get closer to that but still thats low according to you guys. I know of a guy around here he and his dad mow together they have a 60" eXmark Turf Ranger and a 48" Lazer, I had heard (not from them but from a friend of mine who has known them since they were kids) that they are getting $40/hr but I know they are doing well financially, maybe my friend was confused, I hope so.
4) if you guys won't tell me any numbers, should I just try to eyeball it and add $5 to that and tell the customer that I will have to mow it once at that price and then see how long it takes and they'll have a more accurate price????? I've heard of doing it for free 1st time to see how long it takes and that sounds fine but I don't want alot of people price shopping that jump on that and then when they find out I'm going to charge them $30 for their 7k sq ft lawn, laugh at me and send me on my way, know what I mean? But it does sound like a good idea to do the free cut, except for that.

I am more than willing to raise my prices, but PLEASE PLEASE give me some idea as to what to raise them to? That was kind of my original question, what do you suggest, and you start bashing me for trying to have a point to start from.....:confused: :(

Thank you!
Eric

Evan528
12-14-2002, 09:50 PM
We have a 25 dollar minimum....thats even if the lawn is 500SQ ft. I think 25 dollars should be the bare minimum to park your truck and unload your machines. I started in this business when I was 9 years old...10 years later I know a whole lot more about running this business and being profitable. Please dont be stubborn and think that you have it all figure out before you have even started. 2 years from now if you are still doing this you will look back and laugh at how do did things, I promise you!

kris
12-14-2002, 10:02 PM
Originally posted by Randy Scott
All of this discussion over a 15 year old boys pricing structure.

Like it or not, the people that hire a 15 year old boy will not be the same ones that hire me.

This is apples to oranges.

Keep the desire BHB and price to what you need and are happy with. If you can make your system work, than do it. :)

I have to agree with Randy.

Jim ... you also gave him some great advise. Problem is at his age he will have a hard time getting going rate.

It's all about living and learning ... if you can pick up some pointers from guys that have made the mistakes before then you will be farther ahead.

Good luck to you.

Envy Lawn Service
12-14-2002, 10:18 PM
BHB,

First of all, I was not knocking you and I "thought" you would realize that. So you need to chill.

I said I thought you should charge .002 per sq ft. This way you would earn $20 for 10K, Anything below 10K would still be $20 each. Then I said an acre would be $87.12 and you could grade down from the .002 for the larger stuff. But not all the way down to .0007!!! I wouldn't charge $87 per acre, but $30 an acre??? Wouldn't that hurt a little??? And $45 for two acres by the other guy??? Hell he's cheaper than you!!! Come on!

Now, for the rest of it...
Did it every occur to you why this guy is selling? Think maybe he couldn't make a profit at what he charges?

Now, who cares how big the mower you use is? If you charge by the sq ft it doesn't matter. Do you think the customer cares if a given place takes an hour with a 36" and 20 minutes with a 72"? In a word, NO! All they care about is price. They could care less if it takes you all day as long as they don't have to do it.

So can you compete with the guy with a big Z? YES! You can charge the same as he does. It will just take you longer. Get your head on straight!

Now, for a small price increase...what's wrong with the $20 for 10K I proposed??? I don't think anyone is going to go into an uproar over $2.50 extra. Are there lawns that you charge way less than $17.50???

KenH
12-14-2002, 11:13 PM
I never understood how you guys who charge by the hour ever get ahead. I have, and always will, charge by the JOB. This way, the more effficient I can work, or the better equipment I have, will only benefit me, and not my customer. THIS is how you get ahead. I dont care if you set you flat rates at $80.00 per hour ....my problem with that is that is all you will get. You limit yourself by setting a ceiling.

Next year will be my 20th in business for myself. Charge by the job.

[say you base your rates on 45$ per man hour. You cut 1 lawn with a 32" in that hour, thinking that is great. Next year you pick up a 60" hydro and cut that lawn in 1/2 hour. Are you going to drop your price for that lawn to 22.50?? I think not.]

Envy Lawn Service
12-14-2002, 11:21 PM
Originally posted by KenH
I never understood how you guys who charge by the hour ever get ahead. I have, and always will, charge by the JOB. This way, the more effficient I can work, or the better equipment I have, will only benefit me

You limit yourself by setting a ceiling.

My exact point and way of thinking. By charging by the job, the only limit in earnings you have is the amount of production you can do.

Soupy
12-15-2002, 12:51 AM
I don't think you guys understand what we mean when we say we are getting x amount of money per hour. We aren't actually telling the customer this and then putting them on a clock.

We go to the property and estimate how long it will take (without mentioning this to the customer) then we give them a price. How much money you want for your time is going to be reflected by how fast your equipment can do the job. If you have a Big ZTR you might get $60-$80 an hour. If you have a small Walk Behind then you might only be makeing $40 an hour.

LAWNS AND MOWER
12-15-2002, 12:52 AM
I charge by the job on all mowing. Most of my extra work (mulching,hedgetrimming,etc..) is charged by the hour. Don't want to get :blob2: :blob2: :blob2:

KirbysLawn
12-15-2002, 01:20 AM
I got behind on reading this thread but the advice I saw the majority giving was you are charging way to low! I agree. First, I will say there is now way you can travel, mow, edge, trim, blow, load & go a 10k lawn in 10 minutes…no way. I have a 11k lawn with a 48" and a 60" Super Z and it takes MUCH longer tahn 10 minutes. Reminds me of a local LCO I asked to aerate a lawn for me (I was too busy) he asked how big, I said “it’s about 7k”, he said oh a half an acre…

Are you sure these are 10k or even 7k? The best advice was given by Jim Lewis; don’t know what to add to that. I have a minimum stop of $35 for most every lawn, I do 1 elderly ladies lawn for $25 but that’s it. Charging $17.50 for a 10K lawn is doing nothing but bringing down the local prices.

My advice…raise prices and do a local market study.

MTR
12-15-2002, 02:25 AM
:blob2:
BHB, I feel sorry for you to charge that low for lawn service, in my opinion, it's not worth doing it. You gonna use 48" TTHP to cut any lawn larger than 500 sf for less than $ 25.00? With that rate you'd better use a cheap push 21" from walmart or pawn shop or reel mower, I don't see how you gonna last long but good luck, sorry for your TTHP.

When I was very scrub-looking, mowing with 21" with my truck, no trailer, I went to cut neck to neck with big-name local LCO who ride Lazer Z on adjacent property, guessed what I charged the same price he charged $ 40.00 per cut even I used 21" Toro but I am proud of my work and quality, even it took me 40 min longer than him to do same size of lawn, with my set price throughout summer I was able to purchase with cash Exmark Metro, and I am really proud of, no holds.
You don't want to make yourself "cheap" looking, or practice like that and people will stampede you all the way, no respect for this kind of work. May be you want your standard to be like kids in the hood cutting lawn or high school car wash for less than $20, oh well, your business.
Evan 528 said very well that minimum is $ 25 to drop your ramp gate, doing the way Coonman do, walk the lawn and give the price, so simple as that.

Oh well, good luck on your journery and your business, I will not say anything else but wishing you the best of luck in your career.
later friend,

Brickman
12-15-2002, 03:57 AM
Way too cheap dude. You are leaving a lot of money on the table. For any thing under about 50K I was bidding at $.003 per sq. ft. And getting a lot of them. For a 10K lawn that was $30. And you got to have a minimum price or you will be getting screwed too. I started out with a min of $15. (I didn't know about LS then.) That went up every year, to $25 for a very small, 10 minute yard and for sprinkler repairs it was more than that.

If I were to ever get back into the biz I would be a lot higher than what I was before.

LAWNS AND MOWER
12-15-2002, 01:14 PM
BHB What are the average prices per cut of these accts you're buying? People might freak if you raise their prices right off the bat. Might be better off advertising to pick up the accts you need to get started. I would think twice about purchasing those accts if they are priced too low.

MikeLT1Z28
12-15-2002, 07:43 PM
here's a simple thing to say. ok, you can live on what you are charging now. fine. it's easier to have higher prices now that will fit your lifestyle later. that to me would be easier than telling your customers you are raising your prices because you aren't making enough.

FrankenScagMachines
12-15-2002, 07:51 PM
OK guys this is still too much to reply to at once but.....
Envy, his reasons for selling have nothing to do with the business but personal reasons, in near future will not have time to do it and wants to move, etc. so it isn't practical for him to keep it. It was a part time job meant for extra income and now he doesn't need it. I inquired about that reason myself though.

I don't exactly know the sq footage of these lawns, just that they're getting $17.50 for at least 4 of them the same size that take 10 minutes each with two guys. That's $70 per hour 2 man. The owner says he can do them in 15 minutes by himself even though I was working my butt off to keep up with him when I was trimming and blowing and I wasn't wasting no time either! But two can do them in 10 minutes. Another one takes maybe around 13 minutes or so (2 guys) and gets $20. There are 2 more right next to each other that take 25 minutes each 2 guys and I think they are priced at $30 each. That's $60 for 50 minutes no travel time. There are several other places, but I didn't get the prices of them and haven't seen them all yet (will before I buy it in spring though). I will try to raise the prices, I wasn't saying it's a bad idea, but everyone always says $1/minute and I guess I assumed that was for 2 guys not per 1 man. So I need to have a rate of $120/hour for 2 guys huh? As I asked before, how much do you think I might be able to raise the prices?

Envy, $30 an acre is all I can get in the middle class 'hoods, maybe more in upper class areas I don't know.

Thanks,
Eric

Envy Lawn Service
12-15-2002, 08:15 PM
Originally posted by BushHogBoy
OK guys this is still too much to reply to at once but.....
Envy, his reasons for selling have nothing to do with the business but personal reasons, in near future will not have time to do it and wants to move, etc. so it isn't practical for him to keep it. It was a part time job meant for extra income and now he doesn't need it. I inquired about that reason myself though.

Envy, $30 an acre is all I can get in the middle class 'hoods, maybe more in upper class areas I don't know.

Thanks,
Eric

It's good you had the foresite to ask. I'd check out and measure all these accounts before comitting to anything though. If you can't get more than $30 per acre, I'd diffinately stick to the small stuff where you can make more a sq. ft. and all those right together with no travel time is a big plus too. Atleast you can keep your margins up with the small lawns and have a better cash to machine wear ratio.

Wedge your way into those upper class areas as you go...

FrankenScagMachines
12-15-2002, 09:23 PM
Envy, thanks.
As I said I have been to some of them but will take a closer look at all of them before buying. I think only one of them is an acreage job the rest are smaller ones under 1/2 acre. They're not all within a few blocks but some of them are clustered. A couple of them are in a $500,000+ home neighborhood! They're, IMHO, the nicest looking lawns in that neighborhood too, so the best lawns in town. Not necessarily the ones that will get me the most work but look best (one day next year they'll grace Lawnsite and put you all to shame ;) . I've been thinking in the future if I expand enough, to get a 60" ZTR with a Flex Deck (Dixie Chopper or Hustler unless a Bladerunner dealer comes closer to me) and could then handle larger properties effeciently and maybe just do them solo since trimming and blowing takes a small amount of time compared to mow time. Also want some commercial jobs so a Z might save a bit of time there as well. That probably won't be until a couple years unless I really grow. My first priority is get a good truck. A 60" Z could be used on a few of the properties in the deal and one I have right now but the way I figure, it would take at least 12 acres in extra lawns (all 1 acre+ ) to pay for a 60" Z. Well thats something to think about ;)
Thanks,
Eric:angel:

gogetter
12-15-2002, 10:06 PM
BHB, you seem to be sticking to the idea that you will get these done in 10 minutes, and basing all your numbers off of that.

You NEED to take a stop watch with you and stop guessing at the times (like you guessed at the sizes of the lawns).

I think you'll be surprised how long they are ACTUALLY taking you from the time you get out of the truck to the time you get back in.

And besides travel time, what about the time spent sharpening blades, changing oil, cleaning filters, paperwork, going to dealer for parts, etc., etc. All non billable hours that you need to figure into your prices.

bubble boy
12-15-2002, 10:18 PM
Originally posted by BushHogBoy
(Dixie Chopper or Hustler unless a Bladerunner dealer comes closer to me)


the way I figure, it would take at least 12 acres in extra lawns (all 1 acre+ ) to pay for a 60" Z.

have you even driven a z? sat on one?

and might take a few more than 12 acres to pay for it.

Acorn
12-15-2002, 11:10 PM
what do you mean bubble boy...

I think 1 or 2 acre lawns is enough to justify buying a new Z

Really...think about it... it means that there will a hardly used z on the market within a year (or less). You could buy it from him at a fraction of the price of a new one. Watch it though... BHB doesn't account for any maintenance.:p

Haley Lawn Care
02-20-2003, 01:01 AM
You ned to charge at least 25.00 per lawn. And buy some software like quickbooks to do your bookwork and billing. Also buy quick clip to go with quick books. These programs will give you the exact info on dollars per hr or man hr and how much per hour per man it cost you to run the business. Even when I was solo my cost per hr was about 6.00. Then you got pay yourself after that. That dont include the insurance you are going to have to pay for employees plus taxes. So you could be paying anywhere from 10.00 to 20.00 per hour per employee. The engineer can really put it on paper but they cant do it in reality.


David

LAWNGODFATHER
02-20-2003, 02:10 AM
BEAUTIFUL

Ignorance is bliss.

What more to add than that.

LAWNGODFATHER
02-20-2003, 03:53 AM
I found your new name somewhere and it suits this thread well.

Boy of the Scrub Hog

LAWNGODFATHER
02-20-2003, 03:56 AM
Can't forget this.

Tomt
02-20-2003, 09:36 AM
When you pick-up leaves, do you charge the same if customer disposes , of you dispose of the leaves?:dizzy:

PR0 TURF
02-20-2003, 09:51 AM
Originally posted by Tomt
When you pick-up leaves, do you charge the same if customer disposes , of you dispose of the leaves?:dizzy:
No way...there is always a significant disposal fee. If we can leave the leaves on site (in the woods...we NEVER bag them) then that cuts down our time significantly. Theres no need to vacuum the leaves into the truck, and no need to take a trip to the dump & pay the disposal fees.

:blob2:

KerryB
02-20-2003, 10:12 AM
To start with I too think you are too low. I was too at first. But then I had an epiphany, Lawn Site. These guys helped me see the error of my ways.
I now have a $30.00 min. and yes I get $70.00 per acre.
Next I can see another problem. What is to keep all these accounts from dropping you like a hot potato after you pay this guy for them?
Another point to remember, one that you probably don't think about now because you are 15, But, the older you get the slower you get. Start now and learn to work smarter it will pay off in the long run. :cry:
I can still run with the best of em but I know I can't go 3 days without sleep like I did when I was 19.:blob4:
I price all of my work fairly, and if a customer will not pay the price I set for a job, well then I tell them to have a nice day and move on.

basic lawn
02-20-2003, 01:30 PM
Ok. 33K divided into 2 is 16.5K. TO me it sounds like quite an investment to get so little back. It is the metaphor of a person that works 1 hour a year and makes $100 for that one hour. When asked, he says he makes $100/hr. and believes he is rich.

Remember to include the costs of doing business in your overhead such as:

Liability Insurance cost
Initial Equipment and Trucks cost. Truck insurance
Gasoline cost/time to refuel. Oil.
/computer/billing time/ costs
Truck and machine Maintenance. cost and time
Equipment loading and unloading time.
Time talking to customers
Driving Time, trying to find parking time
Taxes
Sharpening blades
Rainy days/wet grass
Time answering phones
Advertising
Time providing estimates
Fees for dumping leaves
Sick time due to work related ailments.
Added time due to HILLS.

AND

Decrease in productivity for a two person crew
as time increases. Studies show that your productivity
for a 2-person landscaping crew decreases after about 6 hours significantly. So you won't be able to cut that same lawn as fast in the Pm as in the AM.

SR Landscaping
02-20-2003, 04:35 PM
Hi There. I'm kinda new at this as I just found this site today. When I first started out, I was all scientific about my estimates. Now I tend to shoot from the hip. Most of my clients want to be cut on Thursday or Friday. Thats fine with me, as those two days tend to be kinda pricey. Now that my route is pretty much full and good employee's are a rarity in my area. I charge an average of 45.00 an hr. Monday and Tuesday are Commercial account days. and Wendsday is my "Hack and Wack Day". That's the day I cram 25 lawns of Old Ladies who really can't afford much. And Cheap people who don't really care what their lawn looks like.
But I NEVER take a machine off my trailer for under 30.00.

ahah
02-20-2003, 05:39 PM
I sell time. There are no secret formulas. Bushhogboy, like I stated a few days ago, I am an hour north of you . If you truely want some help, and you need it, let me know.

Green430
02-20-2003, 07:50 PM
Originally posted by Turfdude
Personally, I'd love to see anyone mow a 10,000 sq ft lawn w/ a 48 in 10 minutes. I'm always happy if a 2 man crew can do 4 lawns under 5000 sqft in an hour. W/ minimal travel time of course. Generally they can probably do 3 to slightly better than 3 an hour if they're small enough. You would not be able to mow 4 10,000 sq.ft residential lawns per hour w/ a 2 man crew and have them trimmed, edged & blown off to a respectable and acceptable level unless they were all together, or bagging was at a minimal. All of the guys in my area know that heavy growth in thespring would throw this out the window. But then again, I wouldn't touch a 10,000 sq ft lawn for $17.50 either. That figure would have to double at least, and and then some if there's any level of difficulty.

Bob
Im with you 100%, if you can cut 10,000 sqft. in 10 minutes, I'll hire you and give you 17.50 per lawn, because I am charging 40-45. Look me up if your ever in the area. Could use some hard chargers like you.

Stihl036pro
02-22-2003, 10:23 PM
Yea, dont you guys love it when a old lady calls you up and says she needs her lawn cut and that its about the size of a postage stamp. Of course she wants a price over the phone. Then when you say that you will cut it for $25.00 you get there and its hadly a postage stamp. I learned my lesson a couple times before I started to smarten up. I will not touch a lawn for under $25.00. Unless its for a good friend. Its a waist off my time. And as for that foumul stuff I think its to much work unless you are a math wizard. KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID! :)

SR Landscaping
02-25-2003, 04:36 PM
The old lady who wants the price over the phone always starts with "The other Landscaper always cut it for 20.00, but 25.00 seems fair." Then you show up and it's about an Acre. Too add insult to injury, these same "Old Lady's" will call and complain every week, no matter how good a job you do! And the truth of the matter is: They have nothing better to do!!:dizzy:
And since they go to Church with your MOTHER IN LAW, and we are such good people:angel:

Guess what! I don't care anymore:angry: Hell with them! YEAH RIGHT!
OK, I feel better now

crawdad
02-25-2003, 05:14 PM
I had one a couple years ago, asked on the phone, "How much for an average yard?" Of course I wouldn't give a number. I got there to look at it, it was in the spring, most people had been cutting for a month or more, the place looked like it hadn't been cut since the middle of last summer. A previous tenant had a burn pile out back, nails, wire etc. Bottles and who knows what...even a hidden dog-chain, a personal favorite of mine....
This was no average yard.
Why do they ask this? To get you to commit to a price. Do not do it.
I didn't even give them a price after looking, told them the odds of getting a flat tire, or other damage, were too great, and I wouldn't mow it.
So, long story short, only you can make your prices, but never give them out without seeing and walking over the job. Never let somone else set your prices. You will make mistakes, and work a lot harder than you meant to for your money, but we all do that.
You are over-complicating it. You're thinking too hard. Walk the yard, say I'd mow it for fifty, I'd trim those hedges for a hundred dollars, and if they say no, walk away. They have a dollar figure in their head, You gotta do the same. They don't want to hear square footage, they want dollars.
Just my opinion, your mileage may vary.
Crawdad

Holloway Lawns
02-25-2003, 06:11 PM
My own lawn is 9000 sq ft and I would charge $35 to mow, trim, edge, and blow it. You do have a good numbers game there but raise the prices a bit. Ill pay you the 17.50 or so to come mow mine for me.;)

Clint
02-25-2003, 08:43 PM
Ahaha, good Lord BHB, take it easy your only 15.

I dont care how big the lawn is, you cant do anything that looks like a professional did it in 10 minutes regaurdless of how small it is. I bet if you got the stop watch out and raced your *** onto your trailer, take off your mowers, take off your blowers, take off your trimmers, and then put them all back on, it would take about 10 min. hahaha, you make me laugh

clint

FrankenScagMachines
02-25-2003, 09:15 PM
Originally posted by Clint
Ahaha, good Lord BHB, take it easy your only 15.

I dont care how big the lawn is, you cant do anything that looks like a professional did it in 10 minutes regaurdless of how small it is. I bet if you got the stop watch out and raced your *** onto your trailer, take off your mowers, take off your blowers, take off your trimmers, and then put them all back on, it would take about 10 min. hahaha, you make me laugh

clint

Yeah well up north here (Gods Country) we don't have 20 acre front yard with 40 acre back lots. I said 10 minute to mow trim and blow, didn't say anything about load/unload and drive time did I? It takes 3 minutes total to unload and load my mower and trimmer and blower from time I get out of vehicle to time I get back in, just unloading and loading at normal speed. 3 minutes per stop for that, then the price of mowing then the price I would charge for travel time. For my latest revisions, check the industry standard thread. I am still using basically the same formula but adding in drive and unload/load money. This is my market and I doubt you know it well enough to judge how much money I could charge or how long it would take. If you can charge more I am happy for you. Not all of us are as blessed. BTW I was kidding about the Gods country stuff. I have never been to Texas so I couldn't say any of that.
Eric

LAWNGODFATHER
02-26-2003, 12:07 AM
Originally posted by BushHogBoy
Here is what I have....I will offer hedge trimming, overseeding, and maybe fertilizing. Possibly other things if requested. Any suggestions on prices for hedging, seeding, and fertilizing? My prices are largely based on time it will take me to do it. Example, I figured out (accurately) I can do a 10k sq ft. lawn mowed, trimmed, blowed, in 10 minutes with me and my brother using a 48" hydro w/b and sulky. Let me know what you think, thanks.
Eric
----------------------------------

Mowing under ½ acre – sq. ft. x .001 = price (4mph)

Mowing above ½ acre – sq. ft. x .0007 = price (5-6mph)

Trimming – linear ft. x .02 = price (50¢ per tree/pole, $1.25 small building, $2.49 large building) (2mph)

Blowing – linear ft. x .01 = price (3mph)

Edging initial edge – linear ft. x .2 = price

Edging maintained – linear ft. x .03 = price (1mph)

Mulch installation – $49.95 per cubic yard, each covers 100 sq. ft. at 3” deep

Mulch delivery - $34.95 first cubic yard, $29.95 each additional cubic yard (dumped on site)

Leaf mulching, light - .001 x sq ft = price per pass (4mph)

Leaf mulching, medium - .0015 x sq ft = price per pass (alittle slower)

Leaf removal, light - .002 x sq ft = price

Leaf removal, medium - .0025 x sq ft = price

Leaf removal, heavy - .003 x sq ft = price

Dethatching - .0035 x sq ft = price (using a tine dethatcher on mower and using a catcher)

Aerating - .0035 x sq ft = price (using a 36" tow behind aerator)

Did anyone see where it said no travel time in this?

LAWNGODFATHER
02-26-2003, 12:08 AM
Originally posted by BushHogBoy
C'mon guys!
If it makes it any easier, I'll put in the price per 10,000 sq ft. of lawn...

Mowing under ½ acre – $10/10k sq '

Mowing above ½ acre – $15.25/1/2 acre

Trimming – 100' = $2 (50¢ per tree/pole, $1.25 small building, $2.49 large building)

Blowing – 100 linear ft - $1 (around 4 sq ft per linear ft pass?)

Edging initial edge – 100' - $20 (might not charge this much but thats how long it takes)

Edging maintained – 100' - $3

Mulch installation – $49.95 per cubic yard, each covers 100 sq. ft. at 3” deep

Mulch delivery - $34.95 first cubic yard, $29.95 each additional cubic yard (dumped on your site)

Leaf mulching, light - $10 per pass @10k sq ft

Leaf mulching, medium - $15 per pass @ 10k sq ft

Leaf removal, light - $20 @ 10k sq ft

Leaf removal, medium - $25 @ 10k sq ft

Leaf removal, heavy - $30 @ 10k sq ft

Dethatching - $35 @ 10k sq ft

Aerating - $35 @ 10k sq ft


Of course the leaf removal price is just for like weekly, maintained removal.. cleanups are only per hour and I would say $85/hr two guys for that maybe.
Thanks
What about this one.....?

LAWNGODFATHER
02-26-2003, 12:10 AM
Originally posted by BushHogBoy
OK i see I made it too complicated for you guys......
your average city lawn might look like this:
10,000 square feet ($10 to mow)
A house ($2.50 to trim)
A mini barn ($1.25 to trim)
5 trees ($2.50 to trim)
125 linear feet of blowing drive and walk ($1.25 to blow)
______________________________________________
Total: $17.50 mow, trim, blow your average city lawn
X 4 lawns per hour @ 9-10 minutes each
______________________________________________
$70 per hour
X 15 hours per week work (my goal) = 60 lawns at 10k sq ft
______________________________________________
$1,050 per week
X 4 weeks per month
______________________________________________
$4,200 per month
X 8 months per year (not counting full price for leaves)
______________________________________________
$33,600 per year
- ?$?$? overhead
____________________
A good sum of money for only 480 hrs/year of work. This is with 2 guys, mowing only. Not too shabby? If the deal I'm working on (buying a business) works out, I'll only have about 7 hrs per week of work but I'd like to expand as much as possible. I would feel really comfortable at 15 hrs/week :D :cool:

Did this post put it in perspective?
Input desired! I want to know if my prices are about right?
Thanks,
Eric

NO Still nothing about adding travel time....

Just so you know an acre is 43,560 sq/ft a half acre is right at 22,000 +/- sq/ft.

gslam88
02-26-2003, 01:10 AM
Ok,

However I am late in jumping on the band wagon here is my take... as others have said before... $70 an hour for 2 guys is $35 per hour... simple math here

your only working or should you say just cutting 15 hours per week.... repairs, maintenance, quoting new customers, billings, taxes, buying gas, picking up supplies...

your bottom line is 34k rounded up.... how about your expenses.... .


commercial insurance... $1,500 plus gas .... $2,500 on the conservative side.... maintenance .... $500 varies.... phone calls cost to return.... $300 ..... truck maintenance.. $250 if nothing breaks....
taxes.... (in ct have to pay 6% sales tax to state) $2,000...
and supplies... $500 maybe high side... so we have $7550....


which is 26, 450 or weekly /52 equals 508 a week.... based on the above guestimations......

so then what is it that you do not do.....(I also apologies if I missed anything)... do you not have insurance.... do you not pay sales taxes... (not ever state does... so if you do not... do not yell to loud...) do you not do maintenance ....


I also have not added cost of equipment... new used or what ever or any start up cost or replacement cost for this either ....


a 17.50 lawn is a great deal for us looking for a sub.... I have several places for you to stop... .I will give you $18 that way you use your trucks equipment and everything else...



so then also what do you do if your into the customer site for 15 minutes... do you rush so quickly to get back on schedule that you do a rotten job ... just to get back on schedule.....

Also do you really think that a business owner can only put in 7 hours a week in most business and have a quality drive successful business....

you have maybe been watching too many of those infomercials on TV......


just my .02 .... IMHO



Pete

Also please excuse my spelling… I am awful and thanks for spell checker…

LAWNGODFATHER
02-26-2003, 01:28 PM
Use 26 weeks max, to prepare for a drought and unforseen events.

$70 x 15 hours X 26 weeks = $27,300

-$10,920 for employee

$16,380

- 40% for other expences $6552

$9,828 sure different my way eh? This is more of reality numbers.

Now remember he is 15 and his "employee" is going to be "15" or so also, so don't plan on paying all the same taxes on a normal employee. "Exempt" comes to mind.

Also do you really think he is going to give him mom money for gas and repairs on the van, or even insurance money?

Now also keep in mind you will work 5+ extra hours plus a week for maintenance, minimum of 8 hours a week loadin up, gassing up etc... 5 hours a week billing and bookeeping. Damn 18 hours of unpaid time in there.

matitude
02-26-2003, 01:46 PM
BHB, I see were you are going with this and it seems that you have spent a great deal of time with your calculations. And in a perfect world those figures may be right and work for you. We currently run 22 lawn maintenance/garden maint. crews and I spend alot of my time "crunching numbers" to try to find the easiest and best way to bid jobs. Unfortunatly I have yet to find a two man crew that will be able to do a professional quality job as quickly as you stated. My advice to you is to take those figures that you have and add about 15% to them to cover unforseen breakdowns and to allow money for future growth.

FrankenScagMachines
02-26-2003, 02:27 PM
I'm not going to reply to LGF because that is just what he wanted, to start an arguement. But to answer matitude that is because they're getting paid per hour and I will be solo or with one helper who I'll make sure will work quickly. I think I'll just be solo this year. I will shoot for $60/hr with travel and unload/load time.

LAWNGODFATHER
02-26-2003, 02:37 PM
Start an argument hardly, you are marking rocket science out of mowing lawns.

Look at all you tried to do, then look at what the real world that I posted shows.

Also you are again "15", you know damn well and good, you're not going to give Mommy money for that van. Now that you brought it up I wasn't speaking to you in my last post.

I was with the quoted ones!!!!!!!!

bastalker
02-26-2003, 02:51 PM
Wow!!!what numbers! I wont drop my gate for less than $30.00, but its the area i live in. Thats way to much figurin....I could cut 2 yards by the time i figured all that up....plus the fact i am not that intelligent. I just give em a price, and dont figure anything...Works for me:drinkup:

DLCS
02-26-2003, 02:59 PM
BHB,

Just keep it simple for now. You will figure out your pricing structure as you get more established. I thought I had my numbers all together when I started but I found soon found out that I needed to make changes. We are not building rockets.:D

jamesday
03-10-2003, 10:58 PM
I"m with you bastalker...who the *$#*$ would drop their trailer for less than $30? Most of my lawns are around 3-4000sqft and I'm averaging $40 a mow, trim and blow. I'm even getting $250 to aerate a 3000 sqft lawn...

It's all about the approach. Last I checked this wasn't a charity organization...this work is hard and hot...if the homeowner wanted to do it themselves they wouldn't have called me. Everyone must understand that competition is just a scare tactic...price yourself right out of business...I prove that my extra cost is due to my extreme skill...and the fact they don't have to worry about it...whether I'm full of *#*$ or not is not under debate! haha

Soupy
03-11-2003, 10:10 AM
LGF, It seems like you assume a lot. How do you know if he is going to pay his mom gas money or pay his share of the insurance. I think you have some valid suggestions, but a lot of it seems to be nit picking just to belittle someone as much as possible.

Also there is no way he is going to spend an extra 18 hours doing maintenance, billing etc. starting out he will only spend a couple hours on those task because he won't have as much running time on the equipment to warrant all the maintenance, and he won't have many customers to bill. I keep my equipment loaded except for when I unload the mowers to change the blades and to grease them. this takes less then 5 hours a week. It only takes under 15 minutes to stop at the store in the morning to gas up and grab some gatorade. And I only spend a few hours a month billing 50 customers. So I don't think your figures are accurate for us solo guys. Maybe for your operation, but BHB will not come close to burning 18 hours a week on extra stuff when he only plans on cutting grass for 15 hours a week.

Just my couple of cents worth,
Soupy

LAWNGODFATHER
03-11-2003, 06:55 PM
My suggestions show that the times are not what they seem.

3 minutes is more like 20. Best way is to "write" it down. Then you can be sure, and within a minute in accuracy.

I think you got my point, maybe the only one too.

Do you see anywhere he ever posted he was going to give mommy money for gas or ins? The kid overthinks everything, Ummm how could he miss this one.