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TJLC
08-23-2000, 04:05 PM
Hello, all. First I would like to thank the people responsible for this great site. In the short time I've been on, Iv'e received some great advise and help.Thanks again. Now for my question: In everyones opinion, when you give a price on a lawn, do you base it on one pass at an average speed or do you factor in that you might have to double cut? For example, down here in Fl an average 80x125 lot goes for $18-20 cut, trim, blow. If the grass is thick, should you cut the lawn twice for that price or do the best you can in one pass. I hope this is not a dumb question! Thanks for any help and advise.

Guido
08-23-2000, 04:19 PM
It may not be at your location, but I think that price is a little low even for one pass! Someone closer to you in Florida can help you more with that though.

But.......to answer your question, I guess you can say yes. You should always leave a little leway in your pricing in case something comes up, for an example, double cutting as you mentioned. There are a number of other things. You have to think how long it would take to do the job, worst case,......not on your best day with one pass in nice dry grass with a cool springs breeze!!

Hope this helps!!

Charles
08-23-2000, 04:20 PM
I always price lawns(from the beginning) as I vision them having high grass at one time or another

Starling Lawn
08-23-2000, 05:47 PM
TJLC,
I`m in Fla,20.00 for a cut is way to low.I would not unload the trailer for that.You need to set a higher minimum.Just try it,you`ll be surprised how many people agree to pay without balking.30.00 a cut is a good reference point for this size lot.
Dave

TJLC
08-23-2000, 07:44 PM
dls7133,where I'm at in Fla you are lucky to get 18-20 dollars per cut! There's people here who will do it for 12-15!

Charles
08-23-2000, 07:51 PM
I have heard that about Fla prices being so low. How sad

TJLC
08-23-2000, 07:56 PM
Charles, there are people here who will argue over a dollar or two in the price of a cut!!!

stick
08-23-2000, 10:17 PM
I feel your pain, I too am in the same boat that you are in.
20.00 a cut your doing good and am not kidding! Must be 20-30 ads in the news paper that say "any standard size lawn $15" am not kidding eithier. That why I must bust my ass to cut 100+ lawns a week as a one man LMO. In this area its not the quality of the job, its the price. Most people are 65+, fixed income, and very very cheap. Most LMO's are semi-retired people that do it just because they did not plan right for there retriement. Thats what is killing the price per. cut in this area, but there is a high turn over rate here on accounts. I get 5-10 phone calls a day, and mostly waste my mins. on the cell phone asking them about their property, as such as, area, type of grass, irragation system, and the williness to pay a monthy fee all year around. If they do not answer these questions right, forget it!
Who said it was harder to cut grass up north than the south? Come work with me for a day and you'll get the facts straight.

lawrence stone
08-23-2000, 10:40 PM
A solo operator with a 44 to 52" and a 32" walkbehind could make $2k a week mowing those little residentials ALL YEAR
ROUND.

stick
08-23-2000, 10:57 PM
I agree Stoner, but you bust your ass to do it. Thats 20+ lawns a day for one guy. Most good LMO's have 2 guys that bust out 40+ a day. But finding 1 helper here thats going to do 40+ with you is other big problem. When they can go work at Wal-mart in nice cool air conditioning for the same pay. Its just plain common sense, they don't make people like they use too anymore.

KirbysLawn
08-24-2000, 02:59 PM
Stone, $2,000 a week with one person just mowing? Please elaborate on what type of schedule this would be. Mowing how many days, what hours, how many lawns per day, what charges, and such? That's serious cash flow for one guy all year.

bucktail
08-24-2000, 04:38 PM
Gosh Dernit! If people are willing to cut any average size yard for $15 LET THEM DO IT! You will end up getting their customer's sooner or later at a minimum of $30 because presumably you are professional,reliable,experienced and able to provide a real service which will be obvious by looking at the grounds.whoever does it for $15 are either broke,going broke,or are serious fly-by nighters who in all likely hood will create their own demise by destroying a bunch of grass.

stick
08-24-2000, 05:04 PM
Kriby
20 lawns a day
20 bucks a cut
________________
= 400 bucks a day
________________
X 5 days
________________
= 2000 bucks per. week

Belive me, its long day, 10-12 hour day. It can be done, proven and test by me personaly every week. Thank god its not all 52 weeks all year, but close too it at 40-45 thats enough for me. Half way threw the summer and feel smoked aready. I just wait till ski season in Florida!!!

KirbysLawn
08-24-2000, 05:13 PM
Stick, that's how I had done the math but I couldn't figure out why anyone would want to work that much 5 day's a week? Ever consider going up on your prices and dropping some accounts? $30 per mow x 15 lawns is $450, more money with less mowing. Maybe go up to $25 or something. You can't continue like that forever. What size lawns? Are they in a trailer park? My kids charge $20-$25 a mow.

stick
08-24-2000, 06:19 PM
Kirby,
Like charles said "Its sad isn't"
From trailer parks to 200K houses the price is just about the same, just a buck or two different. Big deal, yes I have increased my prices, right after the snowbrids headed north. So they had to pay my prices, bad busneiss maybe, but I don't own a house in other country too. Go fiqure, most of them are bleeding heart liberals too!

J MAN
08-24-2000, 08:24 PM
For everybody,

Time is money. Sounds like most people charge by the lawn. But we all look at the lawn to see how long it takes. I estimate the time and charge anywhere from $30 to $45 per hour and that is working solo. I guess if you got other guys working for you, you would not go by time as much as you would by size.

KirbysLawn
08-25-2000, 08:24 AM
Stick, just a suggestion, I don't know if you could afford to take chances, but, every consider picking a day that has accounts you really don't want and doing a test? You say you mow 20 lawns a day, pick a day and go up on their prices, send a letter explaining the reasons for the change in price and give an effective date. If you went up to $25 and lost 25% of your customers you would be mowing 5 less lawns a day and only loosing $25!

* 20x20=$400.00

* 15x25=$375.00

20 lawns - 5 lawns= less work!

I increased my prices this year and lost zero customers and did not even get a single question about it.

Again, you can't keep at this pace forever and you need to look for options.

[Edited by KirbysLawn on 08-25-2000 at 12:26 PM]

MOW ED
08-26-2000, 07:54 AM
$20.00 lawn - taxes - gas - maintenance - contractors insurance - vehicle insurance = fill in the blank

Charles
08-26-2000, 09:56 AM
Finding 20 lawns a day 5 days a week close enough to together to cut down on your drive and loading and unloading time would be a challenge also. There only so many times you can drive to and unload your equipment in a day. Doing a good job on a matchbox size lawn alone can be time consuming. When you mow, blow and trim and god forbid edge. Then you have to talk to the customer sometimes. You looking at 45 minutes per lawn most of the time. It's one thing to talk about doing 20 small lawns in a day. Its another to find the energy and willpower and the right combination of lawns to do it.
I think the reasoning behind the low prices in fla is the sheer number of retirees their. The retirees know they corner a big enough market to attract some lawn company to do their work at their price. And too they have an arguement that their lawns are very small. While here we have more of a mix of proffessionals and retirees. And the lawns can be alot larger. We can just tell them to kma. And go after the bigger bucks. Then they will be left out. They know this so they are willing to pay more money because they have to. Our season is a little shorter also. You have to charge premium prices to make it through the winter. Those that would charge 20$ lawn usually drown in payments over the winter or broken down equipment doing volume business. You are screwed in fla until you all rebel.

bob
08-26-2000, 10:05 AM
20 lawns a day by yourself, what happens when it rains for a day or two. Raise those prices! If you're doind a good job, you"ll keep most of your customers. Find an energetic retiree to help you for a day or two.

KirbysLawn
08-26-2000, 01:26 PM
I cut 15 yesterday from 8:30a until 7:00p, I usually cut on W-T-F. 20 yards a day, 5 days a week and I would be dead. Plus, who allows their lawn to be cut every Monday? Around here some arn't happy with it being mowed on Wednesday, I couldn't imaging having tall grass in my lawn every weekend. :(

accuratelawn
08-26-2000, 02:46 PM
Kirby,
My Monday & Tuesday lawns are of lesser quiality and we do most of our commercial on those two days.
I figure the grass will grow slower on those lesser lawns and the commercial props want to look good first of the week.
Wednesday - Friday high end residential. It works for us.

KirbysLawn
08-26-2000, 03:04 PM
I agree, I'm looking for 1-2 commercials to fill in Mondays now. I'm not questioning Stick or anyone, I just can't imaging finding 40 people who wouldn't mind having their lawn mowed on Mon or Tues. And I can't imagine mowing 20 yards a day 5 days a week. Where's the time for weed control, shrubs, estimates (like you have time for new business), and other activities? I admire him, just can't see how he keeps up.

cutntrim
08-26-2000, 03:20 PM
TJ,

We estimate the average amount of time to cut a property one time, and take that per cut charge x the number of weeks in the season, then divide it into equal monthly payments. If we have to double-cut then so be it, we don't refund money if it's too dry to cut on a given week either.

Dave

accuratelawn
08-26-2000, 03:34 PM
I agree... how do you find several accounts to be mowed on Monday? We only have 9 scheduled on Monday. This leaves time for repairs, fertilization, shrubs and tree work, etc.
If an accounts wants to go everyother week we put them on Monday and fill the spot with a better account. They will be dropped the following season.

stick
08-27-2000, 10:10 PM
One thing I forgot to add, the cost of living is different in places. Sales tax's are different, customer base is different, and retires don't care what day it is, as long as you cut there grass once a week.
Yea, I get rain on just about every day, but I sit in the truck till it quits or till the job is done, I hate blowing grass off driveways when they are wet. All days rains, play catch up on weekends on top of trees, bushes and maintaince.

Sure I like to get them at 25 or higher,thats my goal, but customers have protenial. No matter if you can get along with them or not. If they can not cut there own lawn, there's alot of other work they can not do outside.
As I said before, I all ready hiked up their prices once this year, got a volley of phone calls too, not beacause of the work I do, just because their cheap.
If fact, am making about the same money or high per. cut than doing 1-2 arce accounts like in the north. Here is some facts:

80X125= .25 arce (thats an empty lot)
.25X4= 1 arce
4X20=80 bucks per arce
Now slap a house thats 2500-3000sqft and your cutting less.

Most of the accounts are on the same blocks so I only got too drop the gate once and knock out 5-10 at a time.

I talked to one guy this week that has 2 MTD tractors, hes been in the business for 20 years. I asked why he dosen't have any commerial mowers? He said " people are to cheap
to have a good mowers on thier propety, thats why I buy these disposal mowers at Home-depot every year" I laughed.

BUSHMASTER
08-29-2000, 03:08 AM
Fla..cheap cutting prices.. why? ...maybe becuase everyone the retires and on ss. goes to live there. just a thought

DBALLARD
08-29-2000, 08:09 AM
Stick
your figures

80X125= .25 arce (thats an empty lot)
.25X4= 1 arce
4X20=80 bucks per arce
Now slap a house thats 2500-3000sqft and your cutting less.

your talking 80 bucks a acre and even less if a house is on it. Thats no really true. Less cutting area does not mean less time. I would much rather mow a empty lot. When there is a house on it - That means more trimming more things you have to mow around (which means more stoping and truning) - more time. Then there is a driveway and probably a side walk which adds edgeing time. When you edge you need to blow - more time. Now that .25 acre empty lot which would have takin you 15 min. to mow - now takes 45 min.

Just a thought

DB

Kent Lawns
08-29-2000, 10:42 AM
Price every lawn for double-cutting.

I'm friends with a guy who only mows. (by himself) Works 50 hours/week and gross = 2240.00/week. (Only 8-9 months, though)

Does 15 lawns/day @ 35.00 average. Mix of commercial/residential.

If you're not grossing $400.00/day working by yourself, you're better off getting a regular job.

RollerGoalieBoy
08-29-2000, 12:02 PM
Kent what equipment does your friend use to mow that much?????

Getmow
08-29-2000, 02:33 PM
Kirby,
I too cut most of my commercial accounts on Mon and Tues. Mixed in with those are several residential accounts that don't mind being cut that early in the week. I explained that these were the only available times for us to take care of them. We work our routes by geographics and job size / not demographics. It works for us.

stick
08-29-2000, 11:31 PM
Dballard,

If I had other guy working with me(which I did this summer for a week), the guy mowing was the last guy to get to the truck. It took 10mins. An 80X120 lot will take 15-20mins,one man, mowed, trimed, edged and blown, if you not are doing that in that amount of time, your going futher south.

FACT!
Mowing takes the longest part of time for any job in lawn maintaince. Landscaping is a different ballgame.

Kentlawns,

Your friend is making about 80k a year on 36 cuts per. year. Not bad at all! He needs to get them on monthly billing all year so he's not eating can foods in the winter.
Found that out this last winter with the dought, I'll never do by the cut again!

Kent Lawns
08-30-2000, 01:41 AM
RollerGoalieBoy,

He has a 60" Exmark WB with Jungle Wheels. The dealer has loaners, so that's all he runs.

(I think he has a 52 Toro in the garage)

RollerGoalieBoy
08-30-2000, 01:55 PM
Kent how does you buddy get into back yards and what do you mean loaners??