View Full Version : price per square foot
03-10-2003, 12:16 PM
Do any of you remember the thread about bidding and pricing jobs per square foot. It was done around June and July of last year and had some great tips on it. I've been frustrated by my search efforts thus far. A gentleman from Florida had a formula wit sq. footage = so many cents. If you can't remember the thread I would appericate some range in values. Thanking you in advance.
03-10-2003, 04:41 PM
There have been a bunch. The one I remember was entitled "lets put square foot pricing to the test" I think.
03-11-2003, 12:22 PM
I price all my yards based on sq ft...starting with 10,000 sq ft = $30.00...now you can do the math....10,000/30=334 ...so say if i have a 12,000 sq ft yard 12,000/334= $35.93... see how sinple it is? 9,725sq ft/334=$29.17 again very simple and this way every property is priced the same... oh yea those figures are before tax....this works well because it maximizes your dollar on every property. basically it works out to 2.99 per 1000 sq ft. +tax.
03-15-2003, 06:57 AM
...schedule of rates and where my brain is at for now...
$3.00 per square foot? But isn't the $ 30 for 10,000 sqft. including a chunk for transportation and to unload/load equipment?
I'm totally new at this, but I'm struggling to get a guideline formula.
I'm thinking the increase of sq. footage should discount for the fact that I am remaining at one location; i.e., charge $30 for first 10,000, then apply a rate for every 1,000 sqft after that.
for example, 20,000 sqft:
first 10,000 = 30.00
additional 10,000 @ 1.50/sqft = 15.00
Of course, my numbers are just for example. I'm trying to figure this out.
The formula I'm playing actually starts @ $25 for up to 5,000 sqft.
Ideally, I think a rate schedule should have a higher sqft rate up to one half acre, and then a better discounted rate for sqft from 1/2 to 1 acre plus.
So I might figure $25 for first 5,000, plus 1.50 sqft for up to 1/2 acre, then 1.25 for sqft after that.
But this seems crazy. Maybe I should just find out going rates in my area, figure a 1/4, 1/2, and 1 acre guideline rate, and then walk the property and go from there.
03-17-2003, 12:40 PM
Why short yourself for the work you do...The customers that dont want to pay for quality lawn care arent worth having anyways. Basically my price is 2.99 for every 1000 sq ft. so for 20 000 sq ft you better believe im getting $60 to cut it....I have some lawns that are $100 cuts....then you dont have to factor in so much for travel/gas unloading time etc etc...those are also numbers that are really out of your control...say your driving from site to site and you hit traffic, is that factored into your price?or you get a flat?or stop for food and a drink?or just a lil extra tired that day so yur moving a lil bit slow?what about if a belt breaks on a machine and your have to spend time fixing it?well while your getting 45 on that 20,000 sq ft lawn im getting 60 for the same cut. Oh and by the way i wont drop the gate for less then $25.
03-17-2003, 03:40 PM
The way I do my fertilizer pricing is so much per SQ ft plus a stop fee. Stop fee depends on amount and difficulty of cleanup etc..
This could be applied to mowing. take the examples give
but $2 per 1000 plus $10stop fee:
10k X $2 = 20 + 10 =$30
12k X 2 = 24 + 10 = $34
20k X 2 = 40 + 10 = $50
9.7k X 2 = 19.4 + 10 =$29
This might work for smaller or larger lawns, let try:
3acres =130.7k X 2 = 261.4 + 20(lets assume there's more cleanup involved here) = $280
37.5K X 2 = 75 + 20(split rail fence to trim around) = $95
7.5k X 2 = 15 + 10 = $25
5k X 2 = 10 +10 = $20
How do those prices look?
They are all alittle high for what I am getting but close. You can adjust the "Per SQ ft" price up or down depending on difficulty and adjust the "per stop" price up or down depending on trimming and cleanup involved.
This just might work.
I have been guessing average mowing time on new accounts and averaging last years time on the old ones. By area seems more consistent at least for the new ones.
03-18-2003, 08:03 PM
Keep in mind....mowing and fert are two different beasts.... pricing by the square foot for mowing can get very tricky....
you can have a 10,000 lawn with no gates, no obstacles and little trimming to do.... you could have another 10,000 sq ft lawn with a slope, a gated back yard, swing-sets, dog houses (and dog leftovers), etc....
I'm not saying that charging by the sq ft is wrong, but there has to be things built in, which ultimately seems to lead to time anyway....
If you know your needed hourly rate, and know how quickly you can unload, mow, trim, edge, blow and load then time will keep your numbers true.
03-21-2003, 09:42 PM
Sean is on the right wave length here. Rather than pricing per square foot, you may want to consider knowing your cost per hour of operation.
Too many contractors have no idea why they charge what they charge. Even if you want to use a square footage methodology, you must know what the cost per hour is as a basis and then break that number down to a productioncapability per hour based on equipment being used.
95% of the contractors have no idea why they charge what they charge other than they are pricing based on their competition. This type of pricing is ok if you have a base rate per hour and you knopw why. Otherwise, you may spend a lot of your time thinking you need more work instaed of charging enough for the work you already have.
Just a few thoughts!
Good luck and have a profitable year
03-23-2003, 08:09 AM
I'm with Sean & Wayne, obstacles such as fences, lots of shrubs & trees, steep slopes, rough ground, etc. will take more time & more work which should mean a higher estimate. A square foot basic charge plus factoring in obstacles should help.
03-23-2003, 09:10 AM
You can adjust the "Per SQ ft" price up or down depending on difficulty and adjust the "per stop" price up or down depending on trimming and cleanup involved.
I agree, you need to able to cover your cost per hour. The problem is with new properties it is often hard to know how long it will take. The SQftage is a measurable thing but mowing time isn't until you've done it. I have been trying to estimate times by comparing to similar properties, but that isn't exact either. If a formula can be put together with several of the measurable variables, an estimated mowing time/price can be calculated. I know a lot of people like to go with there gut on estimation mowing time or can guess mowing times just by looking at it. But others like to calculate things more exact, or need to break things down into measurements.
03-23-2003, 04:23 PM
I sit here and read your post and think how and the hell you guys get away buy charging per square foot. Now im from michigan and out of the 1700 companies in my area no one ive heard of charges per square foot. most lawn in my area (60by125) go for about 20.00 tops some are 15.00 or lower. Either companies around here low ball real bad which i know they are or we would be bigger by now or your cities have alot of money. Just a thought.
Lawn Care America
03-23-2003, 04:31 PM
My formula is i pretty much guess on the time spend their.running a 61 scag all the time makes cutting pretty fast.Most yards are all open and i rally never pull off my 36/Exmark/Belt. But there has been time were i under bid, thinking ill be their 20min. and end up being their an hour. but lawns are my way to get in on other things.(Gardening,Trimming,Landscaping,ponds. Ect...).It seems to me there is alot more money in others cities then mine.
Lawn Care America
03-23-2003, 11:21 PM
Here's my formula for mowing. This is like the third or fourth revision. (I'm thinking about doing something a little more concrete that would include upping/lowering the bid based on linear feet of sidewalk edging and number of obstacles per 1,000 sq ft such as swing sets, trees, etc. Just need to give it more thought, but obstacles have a tremendous impact on time.)
First 3,000 sq ft = $22.00
3,001 to 5,000 sq ft = $4/1,000
$2 per 1,000 after that
The problem is, I just got my teeth kicked in using this formula today. The guy had 29,875 sq ft, and I priced that at $77.95 per week. (I had another $38.75 per week to maintain 2,400 sq ft of beds.) Anyway, the prospect told me he could easily get the lawn mowed and the beds maintained for $60 per week.
With my 32" Hyrdo Ferris mower, this lawn would take me a while...probably 3 to 4 hours by myself. At least 2-1/2. However, someone else has posted on this sight that they could mow 5 acres in an hour and half.
I guess it depends a lot on the equipment you have. Unless I decide to get a bigger trailer and buy bigger equipment, I don't think I'll be bidding any lawns over 15,000 sq ft....I just can't compete with a 60" cutting swath.
The formula I'm using has me real competitive on the average lawn around here, which is around 4,000 sq ft. Unless you have multiple crews or have a huge trailer, I think you've got to decide if you want large lawns or small lawns. The equipment requirements are different.
Hope this helps,
03-24-2003, 09:38 AM
Thank you for the posts, this is my second year in business and I need something more solid than just looking at the yard. All my first year jobs are underbid. Luckily thers not to many of them. This year I incorporated, pay insurance and as a result of last year have new equipment. I need to be competitive, my properties are small and relatively easy to do, but I need to cover the bases without scaring them off.I think pef sq. ft. +pita = time is the way to go. Do any of you charge extra for the first mow?Thanks for the input,again.
03-24-2003, 04:42 PM
WELL SQUARE FOOTAGE IS THE WAY TO GO WHEN PRICING AROUND HERE. I LIVE IN NORTHERN NJ ABOUT 20 - 30 MINUTES FROM NYC.... LET ME TELL YOU THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE PLACES TO LIVE IN THE COUNTRY......YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT HIGH PRICES....LETS TALK ABOUT INSURANCE...MY INSURANCE COSTS ME A LITTLE OVER 5 GRAND A YEAR..AND THATS ONLY LIABLITY AND COMMERCIAL VEHICLE...I DONT EVEN WANNA GET INTO WORKMANS COMP...LAST GUY THAT PRICED THAT FOR ME WAS AT 2500 PER GUY PER YEAR FOR A 16000$ A YEAR SALARY.....HOW DO I COVER THESE COST WELL I PASS IT ON TO THE CUSTOMER...IF THE CUSTOMER CANT AFFORD ME OR CRINGES AT MY ESTIMATES I WONT EVEN BOTHER ASKING THEM IF THEY WANT TO SIGN A CONTRACT...OH YEA AND I DONT DO ANY WORK WITHOUT A CONTRACT UNLESS ITS CASH IN HAND BEFORE THE JOB BEGINS...PEOPLE AROUND HERE GET A LITTLE CRAZY AND THINK THEY CAN STIFF GUYS LIKE US REAL EASYLIY...SO YOU GOTTA BE SMART....OH YEA AND BECAUSE MY PRICES ARE SO HIGH I KINDA DONT REALLY HAVE TO FIGURE IN TOO MUCH FOR GATES AND HILLS......BUT IF ITS REALLY OUTTA CONTROL I WILL.....ILL SAY THE AVERAGE PROPERTY AROUND HERE IS ABOUT 15 - 20,000 SQ FT SO THE AVERAGE CUT IS AROUND 35 - 45 A CUT.
GOOD LUCK GUYS
03-30-2003, 08:13 PM
Square footage methods are okay if you know your base rate. What is your minimum? Put it on paper with a costs recovery system that works based on your company's overhead.
Anthing less than a minimum of approximately 27.40 per hour for a one man operation is not enen allowing you to realistically break-even.
Just a thought!
04-01-2003, 02:13 PM
first off I'm new to the business so bare with me.
I've had a couple potential customers ask for price quotes on their yards. Each yard ranges from 35-45 thousand sq ft. What would you guys charge for a lawn that size? Each lawn is pretty wide open flat land so the job would be pretty easy. Each quote I seem to write up is over $100 dollars per cut. To me that just seems to high. What do you guys think. I would appreciate some help writing bids as I don't think I'm doing a very good job at it.
04-03-2003, 02:54 AM
We have a few that are around 45,000sf and they range from 125.00 to 175.00 So Id have to say no your not to high but people of MI are for the most part bargan shopers and will constantly find some one to do it for less so they can in turn bi@#h about how poor of a job the last company did but then try and get you to match there price. If you land more than 3/4 of the work you bid then you are too low.
04-03-2003, 07:07 AM
++++If you land more than 3/4 of the work you bid then you are too low.++++
That seems like a good rule. Very smart.
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