View Full Version : I'll cut any city lot $19.95

12-20-2002, 06:00 PM
Just either had a good idea or a brain f*rt. What would you think of a low price point mowing co. You use a S-10 with out box sides and a modified ramp on the back. The mower of choice would be a walkbehind, this venue would cater to landlords and low end rentals or even economically challenged. Kind of the Earl Scheib of mowing lawns, any city lot would refer to a lot typically 66' by 132' or what ever the typical markets props are, this price would start at $19.95 which does not include mowing or trimming that would be negotiated in addition. doesnt that price point sound attractive, it seems some people probably have less than manicured lawns and only want to keep up with local ordinance enforcement against noxious weeds.....


12-20-2002, 06:09 PM
So this $19.95 price tag does not include mowing and/or trimming. What is it you do for $19.95...say hello and shake the guys hand only?

I might be a little slow at the switch here, still, I'm :confused: :confused: :confused:

12-20-2002, 06:11 PM
Maybe I'm missing something...I'm leaning towards the brain fart thing.

I'll cut any city lot $19.95

However any does not mean any now does it?

this price would start at $19.95 which does not include mowing or trimming that would be negotiated in addition

Exactly what does the $19.95 include if mowing is not included??? :dizzy: Sounds like a big brain fart....I'll mow for $19.95 but it does not include mowing...wow I bet they will be lining up!

Here is a simular topic:

12-20-2002, 06:14 PM
Thanks Ray...thought the first signs of senility were setting it. Glad it wasn't me though, LOL

Randy Scott
12-20-2002, 06:20 PM
Originally posted by turfman59


You are dreaming my friend. That's what we live for!!!!!!!!!!!:)

You're post is a little confusing also. Are you back from happy hour already? Are you going to cut it for $20 or look at it?

Actually, if you think it will work, go for it. I don't live anywhere close to an area like you describe. The areas I service are all fair sized that put me at a $35 minimum charge. Pretty much every property is at least 30 minutes work including a little trip time and loading/unloading.

12-20-2002, 06:57 PM
Originally posted by Randy Scott
The areas I service are all fair sized that put me at a $35 minimum charge.

And I am sure that your price does not include mowing or trimming, which is negotiated prices as well.......:D Just kidding Randy

Glad I am not alone at being lost at this post. :dizzy: :dizzy: :dizzy:

12-20-2002, 07:02 PM

12-20-2002, 07:06 PM
just stick to lawn sprinkling as per your biography. Whatever this services may be, who knows.:dizzy:

12-20-2002, 07:07 PM
I guess the world is just full of lawn choppers:dizzy:amazin

12-20-2002, 07:14 PM
Okay, are you saying you will do a crappy job mowing, and just mowing, cause some people just want the grass cut to the point where city officials wont jump on thier azz?
Since I think thats what your saying, let me say that you can get yourself in a lot of trouble doing that. People will do thier best to jip you, so say instead, "Will cut any city lot starting at $20" I think that would be better.
Oh yeah, and with the $19.95 thing, dont do that. I charged some people that one time, thinking I would get more lawns if I made it look like they were paying less, (five cents, come on) and the lady would always hand me a ten, a five, four ones and three quarters, and two dimes. Seriously. She wouldnt just pay me $20. she saved a grand total of $1 this year, cause I only mowed it 20 times. Isnt that ridiculous?


12-20-2002, 07:47 PM
Sorry I meant blowing and trimming I got so excited I should have re-read the post liked some off the comments though about the Brain F*rt

12-20-2002, 07:47 PM
I think you're refering to Not blowing or trimming, you'are goonna get many customers with that price, I friend of mine move upstate and he let me all his snow plow accounts, he said he had 60 and counting in only 2 years offering snow plow, I have 80 but I have 6 years in business, he had this many because he was charging $20 most of the driveways and couple $15.00, to beging with I told everybody I had to raise everybody $5.00 50% call me saying they were going to think it about it most did only loose 1, I'm pretty sure they couldn't find nobody cheaper, I only kept this accouts to try it out, they were in 2 miles radius, then the snow got here about 5 inches, being that the ground was warm 50% melt, half of the customer call to complaint saying there were not enught snow to plow, few even said to plow only after 6 inches less they could take care themselfs, send the bills another ton of calls, some said I wasn't even there, whats up with this sales tax? we never paid sales tax before, come down to the house and I pay you cash, (yeah right imaging going to go and collect $25.00 on every property) not worth it, so I decide they were going to pay what my other customers pay $35.00 minimum plus after 6 inches the price goes up I only kept 25 customers but I make almost the same with those 25 than with 60 less hours, less tear an wear.

I'm telling you if you charge cheap you get the cheapest customers, they don't do any extras they don't want it mow every week, forget about contracts with them, by the time you figure you're loosing money with those prices and tell'em the price is going up, they'll find the next $19.95 guy, forget about loyalty, It's not woth it man but if you decide to do it I wish you luck.

bubble boy
12-20-2002, 07:52 PM
wouldn't be reliable income. too many one timers, bi weekly, etc. and i bet you'd have a ton of bad debts at the yr end.

12-20-2002, 07:54 PM
That $ 19.95 is a great price point to put on the door of a vehicle beleive me I wrote ads for a retailers for 20 years. it getsem looking. The lots in our town our 66 by 132 a can get that down with a walk behind in a matter of minutes Yes blowing trimming would be offered, I really think the low overhead of the s-10 and a walkbehind create lower ( not to be confused with lowballer) direct costs stick a college kid on it a go for it . Like I said think Earl scheib.....

12-20-2002, 08:30 PM
This past season I ran an ad in the classifieds saying, “Most Yards $25”. The little ones I did do for $25, but the bigger ones paid me more. I didn’t change my pricing one bit because of the ad, and the customers realized they’d have to pay more for their bigger yard.

I did get some one-timers calling, but about 50% became customers. The problem was the competition in the classifieds. If I couldn’t call them back right away, or get there almost right after they called, they had found someone else. I didn’t go out of my way or off my schedule, so I did lose some. I’m thinking of doing it again next season, but with another mowing crew.

I’d give your idea two thumbs up, but I sure wouldn’t say ANY yard - I’d say MOST yards.

12-20-2002, 08:48 PM
Originally posted by turfman59
any city lot would refer to a lot typically 66' by 132' or what ever the typical markets props are, this price would start at $19.95 .


I said city lot, not yard.

* Aqua Turf defines city lot as a lot being 66 by 132 additional cost for larger propertys

12-20-2002, 09:44 PM
Originally posted by KirbysLawn

Here is a simular topic:

Ray, I was thinking about this thread the other day, but couldn't remember the title. It's a classic!

12-20-2002, 09:57 PM
Undercutting or low pricing in your area will affect all landscapers. You should try to stay consistant with prices and still get plenty of business.

12-21-2002, 12:00 AM
Don't do it the lower you start the lower they wanna go! I started out @ $20 on one lawn and then after 2 years I had to go up $25 then she had a hissy fit and expected me to bag it for $20 I dropped her after she paid me $15 for 2 hrs of work-when we agreed I'd get paid $35!

12-21-2002, 12:28 AM
If you can make money thet is fine, I would doubt it. After paying the equipment and uncle sam I would think you would have nothing. That is unless you live wiwth mom and dad and wish to continue that relationship:(

Simone Lawn Service
12-21-2002, 01:18 AM
They must not tax small business owners in Michigan-here in Indiana Uncle Sam takes his share to the tune of about 33% Which would put your $19.95 at about a $13.37 profit. Seriously though-even if these are cash jobs you have to consider this-most of my business seems to be by word of mouth. If your doing a $19.95 job on their lawn (no trimming or blowing) do you want your name on it when they ask "who cuts your lawn?" I've tried to learn to work smarter not harder. Charge a little more and you'll probably make the same amount of money for a lot less work, but thats only my opinion-I wish you luck.payup

12-21-2002, 02:08 AM
What would be the reason to go at it this way?
Is it really hard to find customers in your area? It seems like a desperate move to me. And I don't mean that in a critical way.

However, I do like part of your idea. The part about getting a small/medium pick up and a special ramp (look at USA Ramps) and targeting smaller lawns. But I would definately do a full service visit (mow, trim, edge and blow).

This would keep your start up and operating costs down (I'm assuming this is a start up venture based on your post, I could be wrong).
No trailer to buy or register or insure, less expensive truck to buy. Easier to store. Less to maintain. Easier to get around and park.
But like I said, they should definately be full service visits and charge accordingly! Get your customers based on quality of work, not lowest price.

12-21-2002, 03:58 AM
a few thoughts...

1. You're going to have every penny pinchin tightwad in your town, so be ready.

2. You'll have people argue over the yard/lot thing. This will cost money and time, which is really money.

3. Every time you drive away from a yard you didn't trim and blow, somebody will associate crappy work with your business. You won't get a chance to say, "but they don't want to pay for it" because you won't get calls from the kind of client you want.

4. Those people who only want to stay "in compliance" will let their weeds get a foot tall before they call, and fire you when you can't drop what you're doing and mow right now. When you do come, it will be to mow knee high weeds, it will take more than twice as long, and they'll want the clumps raked at no extra charge. You'll come half as often, and if you object, they'll fire you and find another sucker.

5. How loyal do you think somebody will be when all they see is the lowest price? What do you think they will do when somebody comes (and they will come) with a lower price?

6. Take a look at how people on this board feel about "budget" lawn services. Has it never occurred to you that there is a reason for it? These people make the entire industry look like a bunch of illiterate convicts without prospects for a job anywhere else.

Does this seem to you like a proper business plan?

12-21-2002, 07:54 AM
Not much to add to Eslawns post, I couldn't imagine mowing and walking away leaving a mess and calling myself a professional or even attaching my name to it.

12-21-2002, 09:17 AM
In this industry I believe that are all kinds of different markets, including the people that just want their weeds just knocked down. I say if this is the market you want to go after and you think you can be profitable, then go for it. If they are small and you can get many of them in a tight route I believe you can make it. If you can do 4 an hour, that should pay your cost. This is not a market that I am after, but I am sure someone is. If you do advertise on your truck, I would #1) use a magnetic sign so that way if your plan does not work out, you can easily remove the sign and you are not out big bucks for vinyl lettering or painting and #2) advertising "starting" and $19.95. I have often thought about this marketing approach, but this is one market I am not after. Sounds to me that you may have found your niche and that is what business is all about......finding a niche. Go for it and lut us know how it turns out.


12-21-2002, 02:56 PM
It is not always that good to be the lowest guy in town. You have to make enough to cover the job and also some to plan for the future. You get what you pay for.

12-21-2002, 03:47 PM
One more thing to consider.
Poorly maintained lawns will generaly have many bare spots wich means dust clogging your air filter, and sand dulling your blades and wearing your bearings and other moving parts. Also have to worry about debris that might dammage your equipment or be thrown and dammage someones property. Your maintenance costs are going to be much greater than normal.

12-21-2002, 04:29 PM
Ok ok how about $ 24.95 Id still like a segment of the low end market. Doing lawn irrigation on the side I have to keep a guy busy an extra 2-3 days a week, this is a start up venture for me. when I am at my full time job I've got an associate running around taking care of lawns and sprinklers, A small truck without the trailer is really easy on people to manuever. I have accounts that require blowing edging and trimming and you know what an account requires while sitting at the curb. My county that I live in has a low income profile that I feel would love this service but really are on a budget, I think it will really drive sales with a low price point. Man did it ever get your attention! Like I said before this would be mowing that is on a schedule, none of this "could you please come and give me an emergency cut" I would do it but it would be more money for a one time thing. My key issue is I dont want to be a self employed solo operator I want to retain associates and develop them and their skills I dont want to ruin the lives of landscapers across America I just want to take an aggressive approach with some guerilla marketing tactics. Thanks for all the candid post I really honesty no matter how much it hurts..... Bruce

12-21-2002, 07:04 PM
Where in Michigan are you? If you are near Traverse City, it can get quite cut throat with little co's like what you're describing. My minimum price is $25.00 but I only have a few accounts under $30. Those little lawns will provide only a very small profit in the long run. Had to learn that the hard way. Somebody mentioned the problem of the dust and dirt kicked up while cutting below-average lawns. Very important point to consider. I only accept lawns which are watered on a regular basis.

12-21-2002, 07:15 PM
....Where to begin.

I once tried using a similar tag line to entice interest as a start up advertising rates fom X $ per month. I based this on a 25 x 100 ft lot that could be done in under 10 minutes. There are a lot of these properties in my community with slow growing lawns, owned by seniors and we usually can get 3-4 on a block from one initial client.

Here is why I abandoned this tactic.

1. even though the ad spelled out what that was for, I got hagglers and those with clearly larger lots wanting the advertised rate.

2. I undermined my own brand positioning- I was charging existing clients healthy prices and this was sending a mixed message.

3. I got people signing up for one time, every two-three weeks etc

4. And I inadvertantly undermined the standards of the local industry.

The type of client that typically responds to this marketing approach is often also the one who will not appreciate quality, will want to haggle, will not pay on time and will take every advantage of you they can.

That said, there is nothing wrong with advertising "rates from..." Just make sure your price is appropriate and the details are spelled out clearly.

At the end of the day, I did not feel comfortable using this approach.

12-21-2002, 10:20 PM
I couldn't do that :rolleyes: I read that other thread, ROFLMAO :p
I just wouldn't find any satisfaction in leaving with it just chopped. I have on many occasions at no extra cost (they wouldn't have requested it anyway) double cut a lawn or just part of it (going over the same stripes) just to satisfy myself. It looked very nice after the first pass but it was not perfection. It wasn't good enough for me. I could have easily left it and probably not felt guilty and the customer probably would not have noticed it even but I could see a difference and it bugged me. It has to have my approval before I'm done with it and I feel that my quality work has definately had a very positive impact on several customers and they will remember me next time they need someone to mow for them (they were off and on type but I got my money). They loved the work and although they balked alittle at the price (maybe just my age) I know they were happy to have paid it anyway. Thats the kind of impact I want to leave on my customers. I would have no pride in my work and wouldn't be able to charge as much if I did crappy work I know that. I really enjoy lawncare and I beleive it is because I take pride in my work which lessens the load at times. Do your own thing I guess...
Just my 2 cents.
Eric:angel: :cool: