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LJ lawn
10-05-2000, 10:59 PM
After reading multiple posts it seens that $25.oo appears to be the norm for ligit lawn services.If anyone replies to this ,please post your location(state),and an honest answer.I live in central N.J. and have to deal with the usual scabs who underbid us ligit operators,but am finding it increasingly difficult to charge any more than the usual $25 per cut for a small lawn(50'x100')average.I try to maintain a $25 minimum.I do have customers who pay more but would like to get a feel what everyone else out there across the country gets.This has become a heated argument around the garage lately.I have people here who think the world revolves around central N.J. and a decent wage/living in this trade can't be made anywhere else.I plan to move in a couple of years and would like to know i can make a living doing this in other parts of the country.Unfortunately you have to make at least 50 grand in this state just to exist- house/tax/fees etc.Any feedback would be appreciated.

LoneStarLawn
10-05-2000, 11:04 PM
I think that a national average should not be a bases for what you charge your customers. For two reasons...

1. Markets are different in every city, example the price of living....working in San Fransico would allow higher prices ...why??? because the cost of living is higher there.

2. Different companies do different things...you get what you pay for most of the time.

TLS
10-05-2000, 11:17 PM
Suburbs of Phila. PA I have a minimum charge of $32 for a lawn, unless it is adjacent to another that I mow. I shoot and mostly attain a $ per minute. $60/hr but never tell a customer that. If they are watching, I try to trim theirs and all neighbors first, then start mowing others, and finish theirs. Blowing off theirs last. Just to make it look like I'm spending more than 35 min there. For snowplowing $100/hr door to door. Sometimes after a big snow, I have figured it out to be like $175/hr but thats with my salting also. Big $ in salting parkinglots.

Hope this helps.

Mow like a pro, charge like a pro.

jaclawn
10-06-2000, 07:02 AM
You can't do a national average.

There are too many varibles.

Cost of living.
Territory.
Scope of work...

An average lawn in your area is completely different than an average lawn in mine.

Even two lawns of identical square footages will be different because of layout, hills, customer expactations...

Mowman
10-06-2000, 07:52 AM
I also have the problem of people not wanting to spend more than $15.00 to have their lawn taken care of. This year I tried a new angle from things I learned on lawnsite. Figure out what you want for a lawn, say you want $20.00, then tell them $25-30 then give them a discount say a senior discount or because there in your route area. So far this year I've not lost any jobs, they think they are getting a deal. I'm happy and in turn they are happy cause they think they are getting something for nothing. NOT!!!!! Hey it's worked so far. I live in a small rural farming area in Northwest Ohio, and most of the people are tighter than bark on a tree. Good Luck.
Mowman

ChrisYanik
10-06-2000, 08:33 AM
Minimum charge: $35.00 dollars a lawn.

Think about how much you would like to make and how much your service's are worth on an hourly basis.

Then add up your overhead....Insurance, Gasoline, Repairs, TAXES :-( ...etc.

To be honest.........I don't see how ligit operators can afford to charge only $25.00 dollars for a lawn no matter how small it is. The price of equipment is not cheap nor is the cost to repair broken parts. With gasoline prices up and the LOW LOW unemployment rate...I really don't understand why "Ligit" guys would be charging only $25.00 dollars for a lawn.

In my area, there's a ton of guys out mowing lawns....seems like every guy with a pickup truck is out mowing. But there's still plenty of work to go around. Since I'm a owner operated business, I can always find more than enough work to keep me busy 100+ hours a week.

TGCummings
10-06-2000, 09:22 AM
I just don't know about minimum charges. We've debated this before, and I'm still not sold. Maybe it's the area I live in, where most of our residential areas have very small lawns, that effects my way of thinking on this. I have several lawns I cut for $8-$10 a pop, but these lawns take 10 minutes tops to unload, cut, and go. If I have to do that on four different places, with a full 5-minute drive in-between, I'm making $40/hour, which isn't a bad rate by anyone's standards. Covers overhead & expenses and still leaves a healthy profit.

I've always been in favor of a minimum rate, but again maybe that's the area I live. I suppose the alternative is to never take on a 10-minute lawn, unless you can get $150/hour to cut it?

Maybe my operation isn't "there" yet, which is entirely likely, but I don't see the necessity for it yet...

-TGC

LJ lawn
10-06-2000, 02:41 PM
hello, again,seems that some of you might have missed my point on the subject of the national average per cut,i too try to bill according to the $1.00 per minute rule but all i really wanted to know is what everyone else out ther gets in other areas of the country.i am fully aware of the economic and land layout factors governing the pricing of jobs in a certain area (city/rural, wealthy/poor).i was not looking for a standard or a guideline.just looking for some honest feedback as to what everone else is charging out there.

Twotoros
10-07-2000, 02:40 PM
I think that overhead for the business is about the same all over . At least within 10-15% . How much did my 2 21"ers cost here this season compared to San fran or Chicago . Insurances, gas ? . I know housing is alot different here or there .
The prices of lawn care should vary also but I think the whole country can support the 25-30 min range .
In my town , hardly anyone has a min . and are cutting their own throats. We are ranked low in wages but lawn care is still worth the higher mins.

jeffyr
10-08-2000, 07:35 AM
Hi LJ,

I am from NJ too...NE area though.
I agree with your pricing or average cut-somewhere around 25-28 for a 50x100 average lot. Alot of people in this forum have mentioned pricing by the acre in other discussions, which is a concept I have trouble with since my world is made of 5000-10,000 ft. sq. lots.
I had a minimum this year of $27 for any new customers, but along came these people with a modest but very nice 30x15 ft. front lawn that they wanted professionally maintained. I charge them $20 and I'm in and out in 13 minutes. But then again, I have a 75x120 that I charge $30 for and it takes me 45 minutes minimum. I try to stick to $1=1 minute minimum, which usualy works well. As a solo operator though, the smaller jobs that larger companies couldn't afford to stop for make me the best money.
Last week the guy that cuts 2 doors down from me was boasting because he now has 2 employees and they cut 20 houses per day. Now I know that it took them 15 minutes travel time to get to and from this house, so it cost him 45 minutes labor just to get there. The other day I cut 17 houses alone in 8 hours, and drove 16 miles total. I don't know what he is charging them, but my profit would be alot higher than his simply because of geography.

I got off on a tangent...sorry.


jeffyr

MIDSOUTH
10-08-2000, 04:00 PM
i have set my minimum to 35.00 to unload-unless there is some small stuff side by side that i can make good money equivalent to the minimum charge i have,i have some 25 and 30 dollar yards that i got when i first started but i am going to take look at those in the spring and probably have an increase on most of them.

curlawngreen
10-08-2000, 04:21 PM
7 minutes to get there
15 min. to mow
6 min. to edge
5 min. weed eat
6 min. to trim hedges
5 min to blow off
2 min per blade sharpen
44 min per yard
average cost to client, $35.00
Central Fl.

MIDSOUTH
10-08-2000, 04:24 PM
curlawngreen-i wish some of my accounts only took 5 minutes to weedeat-i'd hang on to those

dhicks
10-08-2000, 04:35 PM
My minimum is $35.00 for a townhouse type property. Larger townhouse properties/single family homes with a small yard I get $45.00. Location: Maryland, and 55 miles nord of Washington, D.C.

65hoss
10-09-2000, 12:20 AM
I took all mine and added up and divided out and the average price was $35. Most of mine are 35 or above, but I have 10 zero lots on 1 street that I get 15-20 for. So that lowered my average. If I took those out it would be around $40.

Lawnworks
10-09-2000, 08:12 AM
$35 dollars is my minimim bid. I want big yards and telling someone on the telephone that $35 is the minimim helps me not waste my time giving estimates to a dumpy yard or a person who is an "el cheapo".

Charles
10-09-2000, 11:33 AM
I saw a report on the average salary for employees nationwide is around 15$per hour. Her in sc it is 14.50hr. The people are not running any equipment or other expenses and have benefits. So if you are cutting yards at 10$ a pop you not doing too good at all for those properties

RYAN
10-09-2000, 07:19 PM
That is true if you are only mowing 1 ten dollar yard an hour but if you are mowing 4 or 5 than that is 40 to 50 dollars per hour, even with overhead that is still over your 15/ per hour national wage.

Charles
10-09-2000, 07:39 PM
Ryan even the smallest yard I had including loading and unloading and driving to and sometimes getting paid. Takes 30 to 45 minutes. Blowing off drive, trimming, cutting.. Now I am a one man operation. Still I have less expenses that way and do less volume than a crew of course. Some years I can get 4 or five yards in the same neighborhood. Most of the time not. Rarely do I get yards side by side. Never 4 or 5. If I did though get that lucky. I would still charge the going rate or close to it. Because it is rare and I would want to make as much money as I could. Most of the time in my area the scedule is changed because of lack of rain or more rain. Or someone has a party and wants to change it. So you have to do that yard seperately and drive to it without doing the others... Oh well do your 10$ yards and see if I care :)

RYAN
10-09-2000, 08:08 PM
I don't mow any 10 dollar lawns. I was just comaring it to your "average national salary"

GroundKprs
10-09-2000, 08:28 PM
Price varies too dramatically across country to give "average" national rates. Trade mags do surveys every few years and usually break up country into 5 - 8 different regions, for appropriate rate comparisons for similar areas. In general, in last one I saw, northeast and midwest are higher than rest of country, and far south and far west are lowest. These trends were the same in lawn care (chemical), lawn and landscape maintenance, and landscaping.

lawnboy11
10-10-2000, 04:53 PM
Where the hell do you people live? Small properties kick butt. I get over 1$ per minute alone. Today I did 30 houses and I started at 7:45 (load) and ended at 4:00 I do fly, but I have 15 years of this to thank for the speed at which I can work. QUALITY WORK mind you, all edging, trimming, beds edged and cultivated, blown off, everything taken, etc Also, jungle wheels and only pro equip. I live on Long Island and the properties including the house, hardscpaes, etc range between 40*80 up to about 1/2 acre. On the smaller end I can easily do 4-5 per hour @ 16-17$ ea.(my route is TIGHT, no kidding 45 second drives, usually around the block and many have 4-5 houses at a time). Like I said, I've been doing this thru middle school, high school, and college (BS in Plant and Soil Sciences (no jokes about BS) and also a 2 yr degree in Landscape Development so any of you out there that don't believe it you can you know what with yourself.
To those that suggested building a garage door spring rig for the trailer gate, Thank you, I did it and it works like a charm. About 30$.

curlawngreen
10-10-2000, 05:23 PM
My hat is off to anyone making $90,000 working by themselves.

TGCummings
10-10-2000, 05:51 PM
I suspect you must be right about minimums, since you all make money in this business and, by comparison, I don't. However, when I plug in the numbers to my current customer base (established over the 6 years I've been in business, with some remaining clients from my stepfather's original 20-year business), I find that in order to set a minimum/cut of just $20, I would lose 3/4 of my accounts.

Mind you, only 25% of my accounts take me longer than 30 minutes from curb to curb and many take much less time than that. None take longer than one hour, and in 17 years, I've rarely cut one that does.

When I figure up my average rate/hour, it's just about $34/hour mowing (still a tad low, but I'm working on that, and it's up from around $20/hour just 4-5 months ago. Yes, I worked a lot of hours then...).

As you know, I'm learning on a daily basis, or at least trying to, to turn my little operation into something more professional & respectable. I've been in the Green Industry most of my life, but I know I've learned a lot of wrong ways to do things from my predecessor. I plan to succeed, and value each and every one of you for your wisdom in helping me achieve this, but when I hear the numbers you bandy about I get dejected. I feel my operation would need to be completely torn down and started over when I see statements like "You can never mow a lawn for $10, no matter how small!", and with a mortgage, compiled debt, and a family, I simply can't afford to start over from scratch.

Am I in too deep?

I'm a bright fellow. I've always been told that. Good with words and good with numbers. Good with people, too, and I have a burning desire to succeed in this, my chosen field. I'm taking study courses, and visit this site religiously. Since my first visit here, I've gotten myself professionally licensed and insured. I've taken my pesticide application exams (I failed, but knew I would and took 'em to see what I needed to learn for the Spring exam) and upgraded from all 21" push mowers to a 36" commercial. All my equipment from trimmers to edgers to hedgers have been upgraded since joining this site. My knowledge base is growing with leaps and bounds, and I'm never afraid to learn more, or to be wrong in the course of doing it.

My company shirts and hats are on their way. ;)

The only thing I'm not doing is making money. Not enough by my standards, and nothing compared to the standards you have set. Is my market just a bad one, over-saturated? More than half of the customers to whom I have risen prices have moved on to other gardeners who 'charge less'. People are physically stunned when I ask for an extra $5/cut (i.e. $20/month).

It's maddening.

I feel that if I'd known then (6 years ago) what I know now, I'd be right there where you are. Problem is, do I have another six? Can an operation this badly damaged, by myself and the owner before me from whom I learned, be turned around, or is it simply too late? Do I throw caution to the wind and drop any customer below a mandatory minimum (crippling myself financially), or do I hang onto them, cutting below industry minimums, until I get more higher end accounts?

Do I apply at McDonalds?

::sigh::

-TGC

Charles
10-10-2000, 07:30 PM
TGC, you just go up on certain yards 3$ per year(the low end yards) to catch up with a profitable rate. Not every yard at one time in one year. Go up on the yards that you are making money on at least 1$ per year to keep up with inflation. By not going up on all the yards at once you don't risk losing too large of a %. Keep an ad going somewhere or flyers. On the new yards make sure you charge a profitable rate to begin with or don't take the account

TGCummings
10-10-2000, 08:53 PM
Good idea, Charles. I think that because I know what I know now, I want my business to become what it should be overnight, and sometimes I get too anxious. I have to remember the important things:

1) Keep the business going, and

2) Take baby steps.

I'll sit down tonight and work out a new business plan to put into effect over the winter/spring, and try to market more add-on services to my existing clients to make up the differences, such as aeration, fertilization, pruning, and mulching.

I'll get there, I know I will, but sometimes I just lose patience.

Thanks again!

-TGC

LJ lawn
10-10-2000, 11:07 PM
MAN!! after reading Mr.dhicks (emerald green)'s post i want to move to maryland! must be making the serious SCROLL!.

Lawn-Scape
05-31-2007, 09:34 PM
I thought it might be interesting to see what pricing concerns and methods might be today versus what was discussed in FY2000.

How has $3 gasoline changed the way you price your jobs?

If you track the actual time on each job, do you also track all the time you are non-productive (not on a customers property). What might this information reveal and how would it change your pricing?

Do you really know what your costs are per job?

I'm learning the hard way. I have to work to be careful to stay at $1 a minute.

65hoss
05-31-2007, 11:03 PM
Blast from the past!!

KTO Enterprises
05-31-2007, 11:28 PM
Regardless of area you can not charge less that 25-30 per cut and make money. mowers cost the same thing in cali as they do in podunk. same as gas and repair parts. trucks are the same. value does not change depending on area. 25 per lawn usually covers expenses.

lawnworker
06-01-2007, 12:03 AM
Wow, what an old thread.way back to the early days.any ways, I wonder when the proverbial dollar a minute will be to low to succeed in this business.

KTO Enterprises
06-01-2007, 12:14 AM
its already getting there. I try to stay between 70 and 85 per hour on maintenance work and 125 to 150 per hour bush hogging.

Wet1
06-12-2007, 03:56 PM
My first post here (Hello!)

I came here looking for just this information (as well as getting info on 60" diesel ZTR mowers). As an owner/operator of my part time business I've always shot for $1 / min. Over the years I've managed to get many lawns close together so I now spend an average of 2.5 minutes on road over all my accounts. As I've managed to do this I found I was getting closer to $65 / hr. which sounds good, but I didn't think I was charging enough based on what some of the other guys around me are charging. I've since raised my prices $3 to $5 per lawn on the jobs that were priced pretty low, and I still think my pricing is on the low end of the spectrum. I have one job that takes me about 10 minutes which I charge $27 for, the others I charge a minium of $33. Most jobs take me about 25 minutes and are priced around $35. I have a couple that take me around 50 minutes and I charge $70 to $75 for those. I average just a hair over $72 / hr. now. All of the above is almost completely done with a single 60" ZTR. FWIW, I'm located in CT.

CustomKare
06-12-2007, 10:53 PM
It floors me to see that you people can get $40-$45 per lawn. I find $25 to be the magic number that is still affordable. That's $100 per month. $40-$45 $160-$170 per month seems to be a tough sell in todays times. My thought is the more I invest in more efficient equipment that will be the only way I can increase my DPH. It's when Joe Homeowner comes out and chit chats that kills my DPH.

KTO Enterprises
06-12-2007, 10:58 PM
All my accounts are biweekly. We grow a lot of centipede here and weekly mowing will stress it and kill. I have picked up a lot of work because I mow biweekly and all the bigger companies want to mow weekly. My yards always look nicer than those done by large companies. This way I can get 50 per trip. its a little over 108 per month and I get it all year round. 26 trips per year.

Scagguy
06-13-2007, 12:09 AM
My minimum is $35 for weekly and $42.50 for bi-weekly. I have had people tell me that my price is too high for bi-weekly, but I don't care because the grass will be 6 inches high in two weeks. I'm one of those people that either gets my price or walks away. As a result, I have quality customers that appreciate quality service. I sell on service, not on price.

TLS
06-14-2007, 09:04 AM
It floors me to see that you people can get $40-$45 per lawn. I find $25 to be the magic number that is still affordable. That's $100 per month. $40-$45 $160-$170 per month seems to be a tough sell in todays times.

It depends on the size of the lawn! But for $25 you shouldn't really be physically mowing that lawn for any longer than 15 minutes solo.

rluscomb
11-10-2007, 01:44 AM
We take on monthly accounts only, with a minimum of $85.00 monthly. But we charge by the square foot at a rate of $.015 per square foot. This seems to work for us here in Florida. This charge is for mowing, string trimming, edging, and blowing off. All other services are extra.