View Full Version : Lowballers living on the high end

06-09-2003, 06:55 PM
Ok here's the story
There's an older woman down my street that has one of the only landscapers left beside myself servicing her property. Last week, she had her driveway resealed by a company and her lawn was not serviced by her usual lco. I gave it about a week and a half until her grass has gotten to being about 8"(very nice lawn though) and I decided to go leave a quote for lawn service since her grass was tall and I hadn't seen her current lco there in a week and a half. I priced the lawn being a $50 lawn, about 9,000 sq. ft. I dropped the bid in her mailbox figuring she wasn't home because other mail was still there and as I am at the end of the drive I hear her calling. I went back to go tell her that I wanted to go drop a quote for lawn service in her mailbox because her lawn was tall and it needed to be cut. She said she just got off the phone with her lco and that he was coming tomorrow and trimming the bushes too. So I said ok but then she goes on saying of yeah I remember you, you did a cleanup for me in the fall. She sadi you do a very good job but are a little expensive. Mind, I charge $40 per man hour for cleanup. I think I did the cleanup for like $110. So anyway she goes my guys only charge $20 per man hour and only chrage me $20 a cut for my lawn. I almost died right there. $20 FOR A FRICKING JOB THAT SHOULD BE $50. She goes, that's what I've always been charged. I was like yeah maybe 20 years ago. This really pissed me off. Mind, this guy has 2 crewws consisting of the following: 3 52" Tiger Cubs, 1 Scag 52" hydro, Scag 48" belt, and a Sutech 33" and all nice 2 cycle and 2 fairly new chevys with plows and 16 ft open trailers too. He also has a newer chevy dump. This guy has about 8 guys, 6 mexicans and other 2 white. I don't understand how this dude is making money to even pay for all his equipment and insurance and workers and all. :angry: :angry: Very po This is unfrigginbelievble. Wahat do you guys think? :angry:

Turf Medic
06-09-2003, 07:51 PM
Are you sure that her taking the time to explain the prices she is paying wasn't attempt to get you to lower your prices???

06-09-2003, 08:17 PM
Either she is BS ing you about the price for whatever reason, or this guy does a whole lot of other upsale work and simply uses the mowing as an access. - Much like a "special" sign in a front window of a store to get you to come in, - then you'll buy other things. Chances are, this is the case - especially if he has a dumptruck. Many lco's do this, merely for the access to other work. This is what I do. I don't lowball, (although 50 bucks for 9000 sq. ft. would be a bit extreme around here:D ) I have a minimum, and this would probably fall under it. It's all the OTHER work that the good money is made on, though. The mowing is nice just because it's regular, but anytime we can come across a decent installation or reno, I jump on it.

06-09-2003, 08:22 PM
$50 for 9k sqft? there ought to be a hell of a lot of trimming to justify that price. i could mow 9k sqft in about 10minutes, That's a 95'x95' lawn. Not a chance in hell I'd hire you unless i got to sit on your back while you clipped the lawn with scissors.

06-09-2003, 08:32 PM
9000 square feet meets my minimum of 25 bucks if it is within 2 miles of my shop. 8 inches high......maybe 35 to 40 bucks to get it into shape.

06-09-2003, 08:39 PM
Thats about $30.00 where I'm at. Unless they have one hell of a big hill and excessive trimming. But if you can get that for 9k, go for it. I know if I bid that around here I probably wouldn't have any business.

06-09-2003, 08:43 PM
$20-30 around here for a lawn like that too, more if its in a high traffic area, less if its in the woods.

06-09-2003, 09:01 PM
Maybe she was one of his first customers and he keeps the price low for her or maybe a relative of that company.

06-09-2003, 09:01 PM
I don't think that the person cutting her lawn is living on the high end, from what you said you would charge her it sounds like your the one living on the high end. At least the landscaping company that does service her is paying taxes, paying for insurance etc. etc. Out of the $50.00 that you would have charged her how much of it would have gone to pay taxes etc. I noticed in another one of your posts that you said that you did over $30,000.00 in sales last year, did you pay all the appropriate taxes on it. Did you also know that if you are doing that kind of business you should be collecting sales tax in the state of Ohio.

John Allin
06-09-2003, 09:40 PM
I'm somewhat familiar with that general market....

$20 "feels" low, but $50 definitely "feels" high.

06-09-2003, 11:25 PM
Lawnkid,my prices are very similar to yours. All i want to say about guys charging $20.00 per man hour is that they are jackasses. I know secrataries making more then them.Let them have the work and do not let them kid you.After all expenses,they are not making jack. All i can say in closing,is,thank God for the people who want and are willing to pay for quality work.

06-09-2003, 11:27 PM
with 3 guys working that lot would take them 5 minutes, tops. the biggest time factor is the load/unload time.

06-09-2003, 11:31 PM
wmsland, where are you at in Ne Ohio? Since I only do lawns on my strret for the moment, I don't pay any taxes but I go as high as possible so it doesn't look like I'm lowballing all the other guys just to get work but my customers must really like my work because most payments are right on time. Anyway, I was thinking of lowering my residential prices and keeping my commercial prices at what I charge now. This is how I charge. I charge $35 for the first 7,000 sq. ft, and $10 extra for every 1,000 sq. ft. after that. $5 bagging for the first 7,000 too. Does that sound reasonable. I am thinking of switching my price to $35 for 5,000 sq. ft. for commercial once I exapnd into commercial and get a truck and trailer and insurance and license in the fall hopefully if not next spring. Thanks guys.

06-09-2003, 11:42 PM
If my calculator is working correctly, the cost in my area would be around $31.50 (assuming there are no particular problems with working the lot).

What are you getting per square foot in your area?


06-09-2003, 11:43 PM
Originally posted by lawnkid
I don't pay any taxes

Whats your full name and adress? Ill be sure to report you. I hear, not that ive ever ratted anyone out before:eek: , that there is a small reward for turning in punks who cheat the system. Not to mention the hefty fines that accompany the back owed taxes.

If you do any commercial work at all, they should be giving you a 1099(i believe is the form). I shows that you were an expense to the company and if they ever get audited, you best have claimed it, because the company did as well. Dont worry though, we will never know who lawnkid is, so you can keep going on with cheating the government and costing us money. Thanks.

Sounds like a BHB wanabe, but his mom wont take him anywhere with her van.:p

06-09-2003, 11:49 PM
Lawnkid - Wake up a smell the roses - The Consumers will eventually establish the price - ($50 for a 9000 sq/foot yard? Get real or go broke - You are not a low baller, You are a High Baller)

Around here if you bid $50 per 9000 sq. ft. yards, you could bid 1,000,000 of them, then when the bids that are accepted come in you would have no mail - there fore your overhead would go down because you would need no mowers, or employees, or insurance, or anything else. (Excuse me - you would need a Nintendo game to keep yourself occupied.)

I mow a 6 acre property for $110 - takes 60 minutes - one machine - am I making any money - you bet I am.

06-09-2003, 11:53 PM
I agree Maclawn.

Lawnkid you better hope those companies that you mow for don't get audited. Seeings how they probably claimed you as an expense and if you didn't turn in the 1099, the IRS will be looking for you.

06-10-2003, 12:01 AM
If you do lawn and landscape work over $5000 in gross sales in Ohio, you have to charge and collect State sales tax. You will need to apply for a vendors licence. After you get a vendors licence you can buy supplies such as fertilizer, seed, mulch, plants, etc.. tax exempt as you will be reselling these and collecting the tax. There are a few vendors in my area that give me wholesale prices on supplies since I have a vendors licence. These vendors charge guys that don't have a vendors licence full retail price.

06-10-2003, 12:06 AM
how do you spell "pinnochio? is it "l-a-w-n-k-i-d"?

lets cut the ****, there is no way you're charging that amount, at 14 most people will pay you at most $12/hr for labor. at that age you can't lift, push, pull, drag or dig as well as a fully developed adult.

Your prices are re-god-damn-diculous-ly high, like i said earlier, you had better be cutting each blade of grass with a pair of scissors at that rate.

06-10-2003, 12:07 AM
Runner, that is what I do also. I don't have many lawn maintenance customers, I do some, but mainly just to get other work. It used to be that I could avoid all maintenance, but now I notice that I need to do a little bit of everything to keep the customers. They want one stop shopping, and I have to conform to keep them happy. If they find another company to do the maintenance, they may as well use them for everything.

And like you said, it also gets you in the door to sell them other things. Things that have a better profit margin.

David Haggerty
06-10-2003, 12:10 AM
Originally posted by Flex-Deck

I mow a 6 acre property for $110 - takes 60 minutes - one machine - am I making any money - you bet I am.

On this property?

I mow 6 acre lawns too. Probably takes about an hour also with one machine.
But not for $110!

I'm not questioning your honesty. It's just that I have to go to bed now, and statements like that don't let me sleep very well.:rolleyes:



06-10-2003, 12:15 AM
Dave - I would like to see your machine! And why would you not sleep well? Efficiency = Profit.

06-10-2003, 12:22 AM
Flexxy, his machine puts your JD rig-a-thing to shame.

06-10-2003, 12:25 AM
McLawn - Bet it costs a bunch more, and I bet it doesn't - You have never run my machine.

06-10-2003, 12:34 AM
I just wanna know how both of you (flex & Dave) are doing 6 acre jobs (plus trim & blow?) in ONE hour? I must be doing something wrong? Please share your secret...

BTW.. I would charge $180 for 6 acres and it would take me about 3.5 hours.

06-10-2003, 12:37 AM
Lawn Scapes - This is a no trim job - my apology for not mentioning that - However, I have a lot of equipment to mow around as it is a JD Dealership.

They a line of mowers, then there will be a line of tractors, combines etc. And It does make angle mowing somewhat more difficult, but not impossible.

Thanks, Brad

06-10-2003, 01:34 AM
i charge around $40 plus tax for a 9 k lawn.

06-10-2003, 03:20 AM
If you offer a cheaper price to mow the lawn, wouldn't you appeal to people who don't want to spend more money? Then you say you're going to sell them more expensive services. I doesn't seem like people who don't want to pay a few more dollars to mow the lawn would ever hire you for extra, more expensive stuff.

One of my relatives has a guy who charges a good rate on the grass, but she claims he is expensive on other things, so she simply gets other services to do them. She only keeps him because he charges $35 to do a fairly large corner lot, but doesn't pay him to do any other stuff, like her hedges, which are more labor intensive than mowing the grass, and therefore seem more expensive to her.

So how do you get people to pay you for more expensive services by charging less on one of the cheapest things you can do for them? Please explain.

06-10-2003, 03:36 AM
Seems to me that you should make more than $150 on 6 acres, even if there is no trimming; that means you are charging less than $30 per acre! I charge $75 for a one acre lot that has no fence around the property and not much curb in front, because of the way it is shaped. This leaves very little trimming, compared to mowing, and there is only one tree on the property, and no hills. Granted, I have never made $150 in one hour either. That lawn takes me around 3 hours cause I only have a 21", but I guess if I had your machine I could mow it in 10 minutes, at 6 acres per hour, and finish in less than an hour, even after trimming. What kind of machine mows that fast anyway?

John Allin
06-10-2003, 01:56 PM
Lemme see if I got this right....

We're actually arguing about a kid who's charging customers 'professional' rates, not reporting the income, not collecting sales tax, and is basically a scrub (probably doesn't have insurance either).

Gentlemen.... WE are the dummies here. This isn't worth our time. It's certainly not worth mine.

06-10-2003, 02:00 PM
$50.00 for 9000 sq. ft. Not in this part of the world. $35.00 would be about tops for that size yard. As for not paying taxes, I would not even try that, I couldn't't even sleep at night knowing I was doing business that way. It is your responsibility to do business honestly. If the tax man ever finds you, you will wish you had. Honesty, is the best policy!

06-11-2003, 12:16 PM
While I agree with John Allin about debating the "scrubbiness" of lawnkid is a waste of time, lets go back to the original premise of the question and see how many of you guys read the original specs of the job.

For the record let me say that that lawn would probably be about $35.00 to $ 40 bucks for me also. HOWEVER, he stated that the lawn was was at least 10 or more days since the last cut and and something like 8 inches tall.

Do none of you guys charge a premium on initial lawn cuts? I do it all the time in situations like this for a couple of reasons. ONE to make sure I earn a profit on the first cut.

Two, just in case they are only looking to get some sucker to get the jungle under control and edge that sidewalk which hasnt been done since last August, for a bargin.

And three to avoid the "I only want it cut every two weeks people who think you will cut it every other week for the same as the weekly price.

I mean if your not doing this you must just hate it when after spending 2 hours to get the property up to par, they pay you $ 35.00 bucks and they say "ohh well take care of it from here"


06-11-2003, 04:30 PM
Yep, Cmerland I have. A first time high cut, under the right circumstances, will be priced higher. especially when intuition tells me "these people won't be needing my services for to long." :cool:

Getting back to the topic, lot size and price is very subjective. There are so many variables to consider. Posting prices here means little to me. Having said that, $40.00 dollars sounds about right for my area. Thats for residentail. As we all know, residential take longer with walk behinds, with the tighter areas and such, then wide open fields sitting on a Dixie 72" mega mower.


06-11-2003, 06:37 PM
Thank you Lawnworker and CmerLand,
geez guys chill out, the reason I charge that is because the grass was like 9" tall which would be like triple cutting and so other companies don't think that I am stealing their work. I do have a $25 minimum though on my lawns and I don't do any commercial work MacLawnCo because I am uninsured and I know that they will not hire me if I'm not and I don't have my license either. Normally I would only charge about $35 weekly for that lawn. But anyway, you guys can afford to chrage less beecause you have riders and have a crew and all that so that means you can do more lawns than I can in an hour. You could probably do 2-3 lawns in a half hour instead of just me only doing one, so I charge as if I were cutting two. I am one man, I do 16 lawns ranging from $30- $65 per cut and yes these lawns do have a lot of trimming, if you do not believe me, I'll post some pics, and once I get my trailer and truck in the fall , I'll be getting insurance so chill out. Everyone has to start somewhere but I'd rather start high than lowball. If I charge way too much, than why do I have 16 accounts. There must be some logic. BTW, all my customers know I am uninsured and doing this just to make extra money until I really go out in life and support a family and all. It's not like I have 70-80 lawns like most guys do around here. Oh well, everyone has their opinions.

06-12-2003, 12:37 AM
You also have to remember that we are using $10000.00 machines to cut these properties.Its a LOT easier today than when i was using snappers. Todays overhead is far greater then in the past and we should charge accordingly.

06-12-2003, 01:58 PM
Not having insurance or reporting my income or anything, how do I do all of this. I am getting insurance and that's all I know how to do. In a nice tone, can someone explain to me how should I report my income? If you are licensed, do they take away taxes or is there another way I don't know of yet. Sure I've been cutting grass for years but I'm still learning the business process and how to obtain insurance and to reort my income and all the other things I should have while mowing to make my work legal. I know you guys all think that I am a scrub and I probably am but I want to know that I have a good source of income before I go out and spend money on insurance, license, cell phone etc.... so cn someone please explain to me who I need to contact to report my income.

Pape's Landscape Maintenance
06-12-2003, 04:04 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by lawnkid
.... so cn someone please explain to me who i need contact to report my income.

Hey Lawnkid, try calling this place, its called the "small business development centers of ohio" their phone number is 800-248-4040, and they will send you a packet that will tell you every thing you need to know from registering your co. name to tax requirements and so on.
Hope this helps.


06-12-2003, 04:59 PM
Get an accountant. When I was going legit I went and found myself a good accountant.

06-12-2003, 06:23 PM
Thanks guys,

Since you're somewht in my area, who do you get your insurance from. I'm looking for the best deal a round town right now cause it's all I can afford.

my best friend's older brother is in his last year of college to become an accountant and I told him when I need him, I'll be his first customer.

Any other advice would be appreciated.

Pape's Landscape Maintenance
06-12-2003, 07:57 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by lawnkid
[B]Thanks guys,

Since you're somewht in my area, who do you get your insurance from. I'm looking for the best deal a round town right now cause it's all I can afford.

I use auto-owners in middleburg, call mike @ 440-243-2229 and tell him i sent ya, they still have me listed under "great lakes lawn care & snow removal".
Anymore questions p.m. me.

Steve :cool: