View Full Version : Scalping Price Question

02-28-2004, 09:48 PM
I have never scalped a yard before. I have a customer that wants her yard scalped. I will be doing this with a toro 21 push. Her weekly price is $60 and it takes an hour to mow, edge, and blow. How long do you guys think it may take? Is $180 a good price, or will i get burned at that? She has already told me its a hard job. What height should i cut at 3/4"or 1 1/4"?

02-28-2004, 11:09 PM
why are you scalping the lawn ?

02-28-2004, 11:15 PM
I do short mows on all of my accounts every spring. They take at least twice the time. My route takes three weeks for one week of lawns with edging and getting the blown in leaves etc.
If the lawn hasn't been cut short recently I would not attempt 3/4 inch, way to much time and hard on your crank seals. 1 inch or so, what ever you can get away with that will still bag.

Ryan Lightning
02-28-2004, 11:25 PM
How many sqft? Do you have to haul the grass off? How high are you mowing it now? Is it bermuda?

02-28-2004, 11:27 PM
scalp the grass:confused: :confused: why on earth would she wantd this.. i could see maybe doing this in the spring on the first cut to expose and loosen the thatch. (cheap way of dethatching)
well whatever makes the $$$$$ then i guess do it. but you may want to consider this. when a person or multiple persons drive by and see you doing this, they are going to think this is the way you do things and remember your name. it could bring up some bad publicity.. i don't know there might be something good in doing this i never heard of it though. just figure a good charge and then jack it up for extra clippings and extra wear and tear on the mower.. good luck

02-28-2004, 11:46 PM
Short mows make a wonderfully green lawn in the spring if you do them just before the grass comes out of dormacy. It removes most of all dead shoots and lets the soil warm up faster. Next cut raise mower at least 1/2 inch. You see nothing but green all year long because your way above that brown thatch or mat level.

02-28-2004, 11:51 PM
ah i read the thread wrong i thought it was saying she wanted cut weekly like that....i understand the first cut of spring is short i have some clients who like that too...but some people get spooked by the phrase "scalp the lawn" so i just leave it up them

02-29-2004, 01:13 AM
Hey guys sorry for the late response. I'm scalping becuase she is my best customer and that's what she wants. The Yard is probably 8-9K square feet. The lawn was cut at 2" last year. Is 3 times the normal price a fair price?
thanks for the replies.

02-29-2004, 01:19 AM
sounds pretty good

02-29-2004, 01:53 AM
if you scalp a lawn you have made a mistake. find a different word for it.

03-02-2004, 09:19 PM

Even though you are an Allbarn fan, I will give you some advice.

First piece of advice is don't pay any attention to posts concerning scalping of bermuda from those that don't have bermuda in thier area. People in Mich., Ohio, and such just don't know what it's all about.

Second, scalp down all bermuda lawns as low as possible just as they are coming out of dormancy and when you know there won't be another frost.

Third, make sure all of your bermuda customers are mowed on a weekly basis and mowed at no higher than 1.5 inches. The reason for this is because bermuda needs a lot of sunlight. If the leaf blade on the grass is too long, the next time you mow, you will have nothing but brownish yellow, because the lower portion of the grass isn't getting sun. It's basically the same thing as when you leave a trash can, basketball, or newspaper on the bermuda lawn in the heat. If an objcet is covering the grass, when you remove that object, you have a yellow patch of grass. Same thing with long leaf blades.

If you are using a 21 in. mower with a bagger and scalping down an 8000 ft lawn that was maintained at 2 inches, be prepared to be there a loooooong time. It is a necessary job, but it sucks.

Good luck

03-02-2004, 10:17 PM
I told her $180, which is 3 times the regular price. I hope i don't get burned.

03-02-2004, 10:55 PM
i see, my bad. different connotaion.

03-03-2004, 01:30 AM
I scalped one today. It normally takes me fifteen to twenty minutes to cut. Today it took me almost three hours with a 21 inch mower. This may give you some kind of idea on how long it is going to take you.

03-03-2004, 08:11 AM
Just a quick question. Why are you using a 21" mower? Most people aren't going to pay enough to make that worth it. IMHO

03-03-2004, 09:16 AM
I'm using a 21" because that is all i have that will go low enough. my WB only goes to 2".

03-03-2004, 09:47 AM
Listen to nate these other people just don't understand. I alaways take my lawns down in the spring. You may even try renting a reel mower. I know it would cut into your profit but it would be less work, maybe you could get a few other customers to scalp their lawns and make a day of it.

03-03-2004, 03:17 PM
Ditto to what NateinAtl said, at least about reasons for scalping. In this area it is expected on Bermuda and Zoysia lawns, no one driving by thinks you are an idiot for doing it. It takes at least double the time as a regular mowing, and there are TONS of clippings to dispose of. The disposal fees and time are an additional hassle. Also, it is normal that you end up with the stuff in your clothes and every body orifice. Your equipment air cleaners have to be serviced frequently, too. With all that in mind, this year I will charge most scalping customers a price equal to 3 regular mowings.

As far as equipment, no way I'm going to scalp anything with a push mower. My Grasshopper goes down low enough, my Troybilt wb gets the small areas.

But hey Nate--regular season cutting of Bermuda 1 1/2"?

03-03-2004, 04:42 PM
mbicker--That's correct. Try it out and see for yourself. I know what many will say about why they don't--water, uneven lawns, etc. But according to Sid Mullis, the director of UGA's Extension service:

"The appropriate mowing heights for our main grasses are as follows:

Common Bermuda 1-2 inches

Hybrid Bermuda 1/2-1 1/2 inches

Zoysia 1/2-1 1/2 inches

Centipede 1-1 1/2 inches

Carpetgrass 1-2 inches

St. Augustine 2-3 inches

The higher ranges are probably better during drought."

Sid Mullis is director of the University of Georgia Extension

03-10-2004, 05:15 PM
Actually 1.5 inches is the high end of the bermuda scale.

I used a reel mower at my previous home and kept the 419 bermuda at 3/4 an inch. The turf is thicker than carpet at that height.

For most pros in lawncare, the frequent mowings required at this optimal height make bermuda impractical as a homeowner turf.

The PhD's at UGA know what they are talking about with regards to tuf science.