View Full Version : So, what's the per man hour goal????

12-16-2002, 10:15 PM
Due to some confusion in an earlier post.....I'm still left hanging as to what's a good price per man hour? Doing small town lots and doing larger 1 acre+ lawns. That way I can base prices off of productivity.

LakeSide Lawn and Landscape
12-16-2002, 10:26 PM
I work alone but i try and get $30.00 per hour,although i do have some that take an hour and i get $50.just depends i guess.hope this helps.

12-16-2002, 10:26 PM
a dollar a minute-30.00 min.:blob4:

12-16-2002, 10:33 PM
do you want something off of the top of our head or would you like to give us some numbers to work with. for starters: how much do you pay for your equipment and gas, trucks and gas, electricity, water, insurance, property taxes, privlage tax, unemployment tax, trailer, tires, blades, plugs, trimmer line, trimmer, air filters, oil, and probably a few other things. oh yeah I forgot. you need to make something for yourself.

in otherwords, if you got very few of the above to deal with, then probably $8-10 an hour would be good. lots of grown adults don't really make that.

but if you got plenty of the above, at $30-50 bucks an hour you still may not be making a killing even though the numbers sound good.

and I am not trying to give you a short answer. your question is legit but only you know what you are willing to work for.

I really don't have formal training in how to figure a decent living wage as some here might. I just know I am gonna get every last nickel I can get out of a days work. and it aint usually easy to do.


12-17-2002, 12:42 AM
To base price off productivity try calculating your mowing costs at 650 sf/min (39m/sf hr). See if that helps you or not.

12-17-2002, 03:21 AM
well figure your costs per hour first. Mine are approx. $35/ hr but yours will be a little diferent. You need to include everything in this. Vehichle, mowers, trimmers, blowers, labor including workmans comp and taxes, driving time, loading/unloading time, phone bill, advertising, gas etc. EVERYTHING! Then just add what you need/want to make. Theres what you charge an hour. Pretty simple....

12-17-2002, 06:10 AM
I am charging $32 an hour for mowing and cleanups, Landscaping where materials are delivered i get $42 an hour.

12-17-2002, 10:02 AM
$65...and there better be a real good reason for me to go less.

12-17-2002, 10:12 AM
your hourly rate should be different from jo to job etc. there are many aspects into this. lets say on this one job there is dog poop all over the place, wouldnt you want to be making more an hour then on a nice clean lawn? the lawn can be the exact same and take the same amount of time but wouldnt you want to be makeing more? you must also look into your expenses etc etc etc etc

12-17-2002, 10:45 AM
you asked by the hour so I replied by the hour. but I don't know why I didn't provide the following:

but I never work by the hour! I work by the job and therefore my time rarely ever goes for less than $30-40/hr.

most frequently its' $50-70 for what ever I do.


scott's turf
12-17-2002, 10:53 AM
The hourly rate has to match the equipment that you have. I try to think of it as the job being worth $60/hr for the co. that can do the job the most efficiently. So for instance if I use a 52" ztr on a lawn and do it for $30 in 30 min and feel the job can not be completed much faster with any other equipment than I think that is a fair price. You couldn't expect to earn $60/hr mowing a 20 acre property with a 52 inch mower. And a 72" mower on a small contoured property may result in more trimming which would off set the mowing time decrease. Now if someone requests that you use a 21" when you could be using a 52" that is a different story. Hope this makes sense.

12-17-2002, 12:19 PM
Originally posted by vipermanz
I am charging $32 an hour for mowing and cleanups, Landscaping where materials are delivered i get $42 an hour.

How much do you set aside per hour for your equipment?? Say you have an $8000.00 mower with 1000 hours on it. You know that mower so far, without reapirs and gas, has cost you $8.00 per hour. So now, instead of making 32 per hour, you are only making $24.00 per hour. This does not include your truck, trailer, gas and other equipment. I bet if you crunched the numbers, you are realistically somewhere around 17-18 per hour. That is not too good for running your own bsuiness. You should charge 32 per hour for YOURSELF and 10-15 per hour for your EQUIPMENT and expenses. This is more realistic.

12-17-2002, 12:26 PM
Originally posted by rodfather
$65...and there better be a real good reason for me to go less.
Mowing mom's yard??????

12-17-2002, 12:49 PM
Originally posted by LAWNS AND MOWER
Mowing mom's yard??????

$75+!!! J/K, mom gets a discount.

12-17-2002, 01:08 PM
Your sooo kind!!!!

PS My 600th post!!!!!!!!! Only 400 more to go:D :D

12-17-2002, 01:27 PM
Ok try this: if my equipment would be a '00 eXmark 48" TTHP with sulky, and a '92 JD 38" crank deck gear drive w/b with sulky (for gated yards or really small areas) and a 21" LawnBoy where even the JD won't go (raised areas, etc). Stihl trimmer, Kawasaki BP blower. Wanting to save for a late 90's 1 ton dump and get a 16' trailer maybe if I think I need it. I would be working alot of town lawns and basically 2 acres and smaller props. Commercial and residential. Add 1 employee at $10/hr wages.

LB Landscaping
12-17-2002, 01:35 PM
Depends on what I'm doing.
Mowing I figure at about a buck a minute or $60 an hour.
For clean-ups, leaves, etc. I get $45 an hour plus dump fee's if needed. I also add time for the dump run.

12-17-2002, 03:26 PM
Bushhog, it works like this. You payed $5000 for the piece of equiptment, and you figure you pay 200 a year in maintnance, 500 in gas and anything else (of course you have to figure out the real numbers yourself). Now say you figure you want to depreciate your mower over 2 years, so you add up all of the expenses over the 2 years divided by hours used. This will all depend on your numbers. If you mow one yard a day then the cost per hour will be alot higher compared to mowing 8 hours a day every day.

grass chaser
12-17-2002, 04:08 PM
I price by the job, if you have been doing this for any amount of time you should be able to look at a property and know how long it will take. You should however have a minimum charge no matter what. I will not drop the gate on the trailer for less than $30.00. On an average I charge $60.00 an hour. If you do not have a software program for your billing you may want to purchase one that does your billing and also tracks productivity and proffitalbilty. You can also do this by tracking how long each job takes( take price charged divided by hours worked) and there is you answer to how much you are charging.

Shadetree Ltd
12-17-2002, 04:34 PM

Our labour starts at $30 an hour, that does not include ANY overhead. I qoute each job individually, not by the hour. The $30 does not even put a tool in their hand. It covers their wage and my labour burden only. I then add my overhead and expenses, job materials, capitol recovery, projected replacements costs, profit etc. to each hour. The labour rates jump as the level of experience required increases.


12-17-2002, 04:50 PM
I try to make 60/hr.

12-17-2002, 05:04 PM
I base mowing prices on the size of the job, $25.00 min.
Labor for extra jobs other than mowing (and triming and blowing) I base $25.00 per hour charged on the whole hour. Meaning 1 hour and 5 minutes = 2 hrs. I also charge 10% more for extra rental equipment + time added for pick-up and deliver and a min. of 10% more for materials, based on retail prices, not my wholesale prices + time for pick-up of materials.

12-17-2002, 05:07 PM
I also have charges for additional equipment from shovels to edgers to Bobcat.

12-17-2002, 05:36 PM
We bill $50-60 per hour for hand tools and 21" mowers.If we use a bigger mower, then we charge more. It depends on the property.

12-17-2002, 07:38 PM
I make from $20-35 an hour next year when i hire i`m gonna pay $8-10. i`m gonna hire a friend so that i no that i can trust him with things.

12-17-2002, 08:32 PM
You really have to know your company in order to decide how much you have to make to pay all your expenses and yourself, I think I use to be more expensive when I started in this business, charging $25 for the customers, now the I shoot for $60 or more I'm able to compete even with lowballer, reason being is cause I have a better equipment, better ways to do things then when I started, Thanks in part to this site and specially Eric Elm (the man).

Listen to all this people that share they knowledge for free, try to always give a price for all your jobs, not a per hour basis, if you tell someone you're going to charge $60 an hour they might not hire you and sometimes even $30.

12-17-2002, 08:55 PM
With that equipment you better try for at least a $40 a man hour minimum.

12-17-2002, 08:58 PM
Originally posted by AztlanLC
try to always give a price for all your jobs, not a per hour basis, if you tell someone you're going to charge $60 an hour they might not hire you and sometimes even $30.

Not true, for mowing a set price is just fine, but when you do jobs with unforseen variables the hourly rate is the way to go so you don't burn yourself even if you use a fudge factor.

12-17-2002, 09:14 PM
I have been accused of being totally out whack, and maybe I am, but this discussion seems to me to be coming from the wrong end.

1. I know the prices vary, depending upon where we all live, but the basic fact is that Mr. Jones has a 1 acre yard, and lets for example assume that he lives in an area where the average LCO charges $45 to mow one acre yards.

a. You are going to make $45 to mow his yard. -

aa. If you do it with a 21" push mower that takes three hrs it would be $15 per hr. with very little fuel used, and very little capital investment:

bb. If you do it with a 60" ZTR that takes 30 min. it would be $90 per hr. with a lot of fuel used, and a lot of capital investment:

b. I could go around and bid all sorts of places and say "I NEED $60 per hr. and probably get no contracts unless I have the equipment to allow myself to be competitive on a per acre, or per yard basis with the local competition -

I would assume it is the same everywhere - Customers know what it costs or SHOULD cost to get a certain size yard done - They are not going to pay any more than that - It is up to the LCO to figure out a way to be more efficient.

BTW - Here is a wide area mower - (116") that will do 8 acres per hr. (The 100% chart says 12 acres per hr. but we all know that does not happen - I take 66% of the max for everyday mowing) http://Wide Deck

mowing king
12-17-2002, 09:52 PM
Lets try it this way.

Take your total revenue for the year = x

take the total number of man hrs worked to produce X
(this is a door to door number, from the time you or your guys clock in and out. )
this =Y

then divide X by Y = PH production per hr. Thats the real number. NOt what your trying to get but what your really getting. In real Life.

Now take the total of all your bills for the year =A
(total cost)

Now divide A by Y = B cost per hr. if you know this you are in good shape.

Now subtract PH - B =profit per hr.

Remember your salary is not profit so you must add in what you paid yourself in total cost.Also count your hrs as best you can if you don't punch a timecard yourself.

Subtract your material cost from total revenue

If you do this you will be ahead of 95% of your competition.

that will get you real numbers that you can live with or make changes to.

12-17-2002, 10:10 PM
Thank you for all the nice replies gentlemen. LGF, I was kind of thinking that seems about right around here and in this situation. I may try that for a year and see how it goes according to mowingkings plan. Thanks,

12-17-2002, 10:34 PM
Here is an interesting scenerio

Job - 17 acres - no trees - no trimming:

What would you bid, and how do you bid it - by the hr or by the job?

I have been informed that the bid of $269 that I submitted in in the ball park.

Now - assuming that the hourly cost to run a machine is .1% of its cost, the wide area mower I showed in the post above would cost $14 per hr (About $14,000 involved in the 9 1/2' mower) + fuel would be about $17 per hr.

It mows 8 acres per hr, so the job will take 2 1/8 hrs.

This means the hourly rate generated on this property is $126.58

Insurance, Trucks, Trailers, and a lot of other things are constant and would not change whether I mowed this property with a push mower or a ZTR, or a Front Mount. so this in my mind is one hell of a money making machine.

Just out of curiousity, what would you people bid on a job like this?

12-17-2002, 11:12 PM
The problem with your 9 foot mower is that unless you pick up alot of big acreage accounts like this one it will sit. I dont have any accounts I would use that mower on. So you figure that this mower makes you $126/ hr for 52 hours a year. And if this were the only large account you have 0 for all the other hours in a year. So how much is that mower really worth to you?

12-18-2002, 12:02 AM
Nu83 - Wrongo - I can use it on every yard I do, small and large - You see, you do not have to go between things with the whole mower in most situations when you have a flex-deck, as it can get narrow things mowed due to its postition up front. - Can't explain it, you just have to drive it to understand. Would be glad to send a video

Thanks, Brad

12-18-2002, 12:45 AM
How do you come up with the .1% of the cost of machine per hour to operate it? By my calculations, in 2 1/2 weeks (assuming 40 hrs per/week on the mower) it's going to cost me the purchase price to operate my mower. Little confused here:confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

12-18-2002, 01:01 AM
its .1% or .001 or 1/1000. It is a little higher than I figure for my mowers. Lets take any $5,000 mower. .1% or that is $5 per hour. times 2 1/2 weeks (100 hours) is 500 bucks. If gas were included as a cost of the mower that would probably be right.

Brad- You use the tractor on every yard you use? That would seem to be counter productive on most yards, with or without a flex deck.

12-18-2002, 10:30 AM
Originally posted by LAWNS AND MOWER
How do you come up with the .1% of the cost of machine per hour to operate it? By my calculations, in 2 1/2 weeks (assuming 40 hrs per/week on the mower) it's going to cost me the purchase price to operate my mower. Little confused here:confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:
Brad Ignore this post. I left a zero out. Makes a little more sense now. My bad.

12-18-2002, 08:23 PM
Nu83 - LGF has seen the video of the all wheel steer 455 with a flex-deck, and I think he would be the first to say that with the flex-deck on the unit, it is just as efficient as a ZTR, and in some cases is more efficient. Send me your address and I will send a video - flex-dek@mepotelco.net

Thanks, brad

12-18-2002, 09:45 PM
Forget the video, I saw it in actioin sevral times.

It still amaizes me every time I see that tractor go.

12-18-2002, 10:12 PM
Brad, interesting concept with that tractor mounted wing deck! I like it better than a tow behind unit. Fact I would be interested in making one someday as I will have a 8hp B&S I/C and a 32" single blade deck laying around. It would have a quick hitch on it to remove quickly. I have been warming up to the Flex Deck too maybe someday you can have the pleasure of selling me one or two, that is if I don't make one of my own first :D Which I probably will do sometime. Oh, on that wing deck thing, I would be alittle concerned about windrowing that much grass or do you mow in rectangles or circles always throwing out? Mowing back and forth (most effecient) I think it would add alot of extra load to windrow that large of an amount. Maybe it's less of a problem than I imagine I don't know. I'm kinda tired.. been driving all day. Went on a road trip.