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Hawkeye5
07-23-2004, 02:26 PM
Has anyone else noticed a resistance to pricing over a certain amount? It seems in my area that price resistance seems to start around $50 per cut or $200 per month. I have lost some larger residentials to low-ballers at this level. I am considering changing my focus to residentials less than 30,000 sq. ft. as the larger acre and acre + residentials seem able to find an LCO for less than I need to cover labor and overhead. The smaller 10 to 30K sq. ft. properties tend to go for $30 to $45 per cut and don't seem to be subject to as much price cutting.

venecular
07-23-2004, 02:31 PM
I really don't think it is set to those size yards. I have a big turn around due to teenagers coming in and passing out flyers stating one set price for any size yards.

Littleriver1
07-23-2004, 04:18 PM
I don't think you have maxed out your price. There is plenty of room. It helps if there is a lot of new homes going up. Lawn Service is getting to be like cable TV, and high speed internet. Everyone wants it and working it in to there budget. I see in the future, people giving up the SUV's so they can keep the lawn service. LOL it could happen

BSDeality
07-23-2004, 05:19 PM
i've also noticed there is resistance to >$50/week for anything around 1 acre. if its 2-3 acres its hard to get them over $75. I like the 25-30K sq ft'ers myself. $35-40/cut and in and out in 25 minutes solo with my new Z

NNJLandman
07-23-2004, 05:29 PM
It seems to be the same problem in any area dude, there is a guy in my town who has been lowballing any job, some older guy, his work looks like **** but he charges like $20-$25 a lawn, which is about the lowest price in this area. Most companies start at $35 a cut.

HOOLIE
07-23-2004, 07:18 PM
For some reason around here, people will pay $30-$40 for a postage stamp sized lawn, but the acre plus jobs they don't want to go over $50. One woman told me (after an estimate of $80 per cut) that I "will never get a foothold in this neighborhood. The going rate is $50". Hope she holds onto my estimate for when all the lowballers go out of business.

bobbygedd
07-23-2004, 08:01 PM
o, for sure. they will pay 25-30 for 2, 3, 4 k props. now quote a quarter acre at $45, they jump back. this is why i've said time and time again, i'll take em all in the 2-8 k range, you make more $$ that way

DFW Area Landscaper
07-23-2004, 08:04 PM
It's pretty much that way here. $25 seems to be the real point of resistance. With all the $20 door hangers I've seen, I got a feeling that number is headed south too.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

brucec32
07-23-2004, 11:49 PM
I don't know exactly where the price resistance starts and ends, but it's definitely there. No problem at all in Atlanta getting $30 to mow a small lawn you can be in and out of in 25 minutes, maybe less. Closer to $40 you start having to deal with more resistance.

But the big problem is that a growing number of Americans have been trained to expect something for nothing, and as fewer and fewer Americans have actually performed hard work, they increasingly don't understand the value of it. Anyone who has cut down trees with a chainsaw knows how exhausting it can be. But if your life is lived in air conditioned comfort 100% of the time, where your heartrate rarely exceeds resting, you don't understand what real value you're getting for your money. Because you have no idea what goes into doing the job.

QualityLawnCare4u
07-24-2004, 12:17 AM
Originally posted by brucec32
I don't know exactly where the price resistance starts and ends, but it's definitely there. No problem at all in Atlanta getting $30 to mow a small lawn you can be in and out of in 25 minutes, maybe less. Closer to $40 you start having to deal with more resistance.

But the big problem is that a growing number of Americans have been trained to expect something for nothing, and as fewer and fewer Americans have actually performed hard work, they increasingly don't understand the value of it. Anyone who has cut down trees with a chainsaw knows how exhausting it can be. But if your life is lived in air conditioned comfort 100% of the time, where your heartrate rarely exceeds resting, you don't understand what real value you're getting for your money. Because you have no idea what goes into doing the job.


Bruce32, you are absolutly right on this one. I done a 4 hour after strom clean up last Sat, using chain saw and dragging large trees up hill. The lady works in a AC Govt office all day and liked to shat when I charged her 200 bucks which I have not gotten yet. I was so exhausted when I got thru hardly had enough strenght to drive home and sleep for 2 hours, my blood pressure was 169/101 when I got home from this job and took it. I WILL get this money if I have to take her to court or whatever I need, that will be my last cleanup job like this ever. As far as the resistance in my area its around 30-35 no matter the yard size. Thats why I go after all small ones now. Picked up 2 $25 yards last week that I can do in about 25 minutes. much rather have these than the 2 hour $40 yards that I have now. I changed my policy this year that I would not do any yard for less than $35, this was costing me badly. I now have a few $20 yards that are so easy I wished I had a 100 of them.

Danny
Qualtiy Lawn Care

qualitylandscaping
07-24-2004, 12:23 AM
I am making out like a bandit on larger properties.. "under equipped LCO's" spend WAY to long working on the property. Alot of customers that own large lots, work out of their homes and don't want to be bothered for 5 hours by a guy on a garden tractor when they could pay me to be in and out in an hour.

DFW Area Landscaper
07-24-2004, 12:51 AM
++++But the big problem is that a growing number of Americans have been trained to expect something for nothing, and as fewer and fewer Americans have actually performed hard work, they increasingly don't understand the value of it.++++

BINGO! So very true.

Last summer, one of my customers asked how much to trim his 8 foot photenias. I didn't want the job with the equipment I had last summer. I told him $300. He about fell over.

Since then, he's trimmed the shrubs a few times. This spring, I left a note on his door explaining that I had made substantial investment in my tree & shrub trimming/pruning equipment and that I had also changed my prices to hourly.

He called on Wednesday. He said he was never going to do the shrubs again. Ever. I told him I thought they would take a two man crew around 1.5 hours so it should be in the $110.00 range. Well, we trimmed them today and it took us longer than anticipated. The charge was $180. I rang the bell when we finished and showed him the time and charges. He was fine with it. Had he never done the work, he might have really raised a fuss.

Another thing: I've got several customers with high school boys. Why are they hiring me to mow the lawn??? Sure, I may do a little nicer work and I'm more reliable than a teenage boy, but what's the deal? We have an entire generation of white kids who might never work a day of their life.

And one last thing: These people also think that the hispanic laborors aren't bothered by the heat and labor. They're actually that far removed from physical labor that they think some races/nationalities are naturally better suited for heat/labor. One customer today brought me a bottle of water but offered nothing to my hispanic employee. Think about that for a minute.

Can you say French Revolution? Seriously, the numbers of hispanics in our country is definitely growing faster than any other segment of the population. They make our fast food. They wash our cars. They mow our lawns. They build our homes and roads. I'd say there's a good chance, one way or another, that they're going to eventually take what we owe them. It may not be pretty when it happens for the average white guy.

Later,
DFW Area Lanscaper

QualityLawnCare4u
07-24-2004, 01:36 AM
DFW. 2 weeks ago I give a lady a price to do her badly overgrown srubs and price on yard. 250 on srubs and 100 on yard (she wanted seperate prices) she told me to do the yard and she would do the srubs. When I got to the yard she was trying to do the srubs with a electric clippers and was having a hard time. I let her use my echo hedge clippers while I was doing the yard. I eneded up finishing the trimming, she said she had no idea it was that hard and she now had great respect for us lawn people who work outside in this 100 degree and would never do any outside work or complain about my price again that it was worth very penny LOL

Danny
Qualtiy Lawn Care

DFW Area Landscaper
07-24-2004, 12:28 PM
++++I let her use my echo hedge clippers while I was doing the yard.++++

You're completely nuts for doing that. You know that, don't you?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

QualityLawnCare4u
07-24-2004, 06:51 PM
Originally posted by DFW Area Landscaper
++++I let her use my echo hedge clippers while I was doing the yard.++++

You're completely nuts for doing that. You know that, don't you?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

DFW, did you ever do or say something that a second later that you asked yourself, "why did I do that for" this was one of those times. I thought about it to myself and said "now what if she gets hurt" I wished I had not offered this. Fortunately she did not last long as I stayed nevously close behind her. I was relieved when she gave up real fast. I told myself this will never happen again, I was just trying to be nice and there is a fine thin line between stupid and nice sometimes. OK Ill take 20 lashes with a whip for this one! I was stupid to post it here too :)

Danny

QualityLawnCare4u
07-24-2004, 07:20 PM
Originally posted by hardworking-poorman
DFW, did you ever do or say something that a second later that you asked yourself, "why did I do that for" this was one of those times. I thought about it to myself and said "now what if she gets hurt" I wished I had not offered this. Fortunately she did not last long as I stayed nevously close behind her. I was relieved when she gave up real fast. I told myself this will never happen again, I was just trying to be nice and there is a fine thin line between stupid and nice sometimes. OK Ill take 20 lashes with a whip for this one! I was stupid to post it here too :)

Danny


ok there is something I did not add to this. When I walked into the yard the lady was bent over, the back of her pants were split and she had no panties on, and I lost all common since LOL she had one fine looking butt and I latter found out she was 56! Best looking 56 yo lady I ever seen. I guess that is why I lost all my good since :) I really did not want to post that part, figured it might offend the ladies here, but what the heck, that is what happened. Things like this make a man not think straight some time!

Danny

Trevors Lawn Care
07-24-2004, 07:52 PM
And one last thing: These people also think that the hispanic laborors aren't bothered by the heat and labor. They're actually that far removed from physical labor that they think some races/nationalities are naturally better suited for heat/labor. One customer today brought me a bottle of water but offered nothing to my hispanic employee. Think about that for a minute.

not stepping on any toes here, but hispanics actually are more adapt to the weather than we are. It is in their evolution. just the same as Inuet (in-U-wet) indians are also adapt to the cold, and can eat strictly fatty foods and never (used loosely...Better word..Rarely) effects them. WHY? They have been eating fatty foods for so long, their bodies have adapted to it. Hispanics live in HOT HOT weather, their bodies have adapted to it.

NOW, offering you water and not your employee, may be something a little more than her thinking he can handle the heat, she may have issues with "THEM"? I personally would have handed both of you waters, not offered, HANDED!

Trevor

txlawnking
07-24-2004, 09:34 PM
Bruce, Danny, and Dfw, I couldn't have said it better. We are living in a wicked lazy time in American history.
I too, am sick of all these people with an "entitlement attitude". Some politician said, Get rid of wellfare and start Workfare... Seriously though, in the next 20 years something's gotta give.

But yeah Hawkeye, the point of resistance around here varies considerably with the person I'm dealing with.

Trevor, who told you Hispanics are more adept to the heat?
"It's in their Evolution", Again, who taught you this fairy tale..

txlawnking
07-24-2004, 09:38 PM
Oh yeah Trevor, It's not just Hispanics that can toleate the heat well, it's just about anybody who eschews the garbage that the average Anglo American eats and drinks.

PMLAWN
07-24-2004, 10:27 PM
I feel bad for my children as I feel that the U.S. that they live in will be vastly different than the one I live in. My 11 year old daughter had the list of clothes that she could not wear to school and I am shocked at what schools have to put up with. The school has to make rules about not dressing like street walkers because the girls will dress that way if allowed. The boys have to be told to keep their pants pulled up. Earler post about kids not working---Why? They get to drive BMWs and Hummers around and are not expected to do anything. What happens when they are 25 and have to hold a job. I don't pay enough taxes to buy BMWs for the non-workers.

I think maybe I could go to Mexico to cut grass as there should be a shortage of workers down there, no?

GrassBustersLawn
07-25-2004, 01:12 AM
DFW

I am in TOTAL agreement with what you said.

I have one client (multimillionaire) that wanted a whole lot of trees/hedges trimmed at his turn of the century mansion. So much crap to be done, that I just told him my hourly rate. He got all indignant with "that's $xxxxxx a year (if I worked for him all day, every day of the YEAR). I told him, "I'm not working for you all day, everyday & our YEAR is only 35 weeks and not 52." Apparently, now he is budget conscious because he got "golden parachuted" out of his CEO position (his second golden parachute) and is now teaching at the college level. I think this struck a nerve with him, his landscaper is making more $$$ per hour then he is as a college professor. So he said he was "going to brush up on his landscaping skills." I said FINE, let me know if you change your mind (and want to pay the going rate you CHEAP RICH B@ST@RD). It has been several weeks and so far he has done ALMOST NOTHING. I am hoping he tries to go out and work on one of our HOT DAYS, then he might think that we deserve what we charge!

Mike

HOOLIE
07-25-2004, 02:10 AM
GrassBusters-

I have a customer like that too. Quoted him $1300 for a mulch job, he almost fell over laughing. Anyway, he was out doing himself when I came to mow a few weeks later. And the next week too. That's when he came up and apologized. He said, and I quote "Now I know why you guys charge so much, that's a lot of f*****g work!"

So I guess I got the job for next year...

HOOLIE
07-25-2004, 02:27 AM
And... to follow up on the lazy white boy thing, it's definitely becoming a larger and larger problem. But their parents are to blame too. Everybody pushes their kids from an early age to get into private schools, top colleges, etc. How's a summer of mowing lawns gonna improve their chances at getting into an Ivy League school? That's the mentality anyway. So they either spend the summer helping starving children in Africa, or they get a trendy job at a place like Starbucks. Those Starbucks clowns are another whole topic. Stopped in one today, the kid's like "Yo, whadya want, CHIEF?" I'm like, I'm not your buddy, I'm a customer. Does nobody teach basic customer service and etiquette anymore? I guess I should take it as a compliment, that at 34 years of age, they don't see me as an old dude. But still they will get no tip.

Sorry to ramble on... Maybe a shot or two too many of Stoly's.

brucec32
08-12-2004, 03:06 AM
These are interesting times. Things are really changing fast. Go look at an old movie. Odds are the person waiting on the table, the cashier, the person at the grocery store, whatever, was a real live "grownup" with real live people skills and training. Or, in certain jobs, an eager teenager who was carefully trained and guided in his work. Now with better "systems" and computers jobs have become dumbed down, and they feel that anyone with a pulse can do anything. Massive turnover due to low wages means that you're unlikely to get great service anywhere. More and more often, young kids are not required to work, and are actively discouraged from working in anything seen as "immigrant work" like our field. A whole generation is not only ignorant, due to the poor school system, but also lazy. It should get really interesting in a few years when they're out on their own. The Gen X stereotype of slackers living at home with the parents till they're 30 isn't that far off from reality.

I have had struggling single mother customers with able bodied teenaged boys who will pay me to cut their lawns, while he sleeps inside all summer. But there has also been a "cult of the child' that has sprung up in recent years too. Don't get me started on that.

PMLAWN
08-12-2004, 03:43 AM
Bruce32, --YES-- the teenage kid that watches me cut his grass. I do a lot of those. I'm glad to have the work but what is wrong with that picture.
This country is turning into a service industry economy but the problem is that kids don't know "service" and in a few years who will have the jobs to pay for service.
What does,- having your pants around you knees-walking with an attitude-I'm to cool to do that-, pay these days.
Sometimes one of the younger crowd on this forum will say something about the way they do business that makes me roll my eyes, but than I realize that they are working in the same field as me which means that they are working hard trying to make a go of it, so for that I give my respect. Last add for help wanted that I put out stated " landscape co., outdoor work, must pass drug/background check, 2 year clean driving record" . That add got 2, YES TWO, responces. Both from men 40 years or older. And this just 20 min. from Pillowtex, where 4000 were layed off last year and their Gov. help is ending.
Just hope that I am fertilizer before the good life in the U.S. crashes.

Precision
08-12-2004, 09:12 AM
Welcome to Wal-Mart.

That is what America is becoming. The dumb and the lazy. As consumers we are unwilling to pay for the service we recieve, so all the service providers are adopting Wal-Mart's strategy.

It is all about price. The lowest price wins. So sell them CRAP CHEAP and they will be happy. Notice the "dollar store" near you. Ever seen so many people packing in to buycracker jack prize quality merchandise.

My aunt, a single mom, has her son (29) still living with her. She went bankrupt because she co-signed a car loan that he made 1 (yeah one) payment on. He had a job that pays $28K, but he lives with her and never helps with the groceries, mortgage payment, nothing. The truth is he is a s**tbag, but she is at fault. Has never once explained the facts of life to him.

Tough love is real love. Discipline kids so they know who is boss. The real world doesn't let you sleep till noon and party til 4am and leave your litter all over the living room and walk around with your hand holding your zipper so your butt can hang out the back of your pants. And we wonder why they never leave the nest.

Can't wait to hire my first idiot. I mean employee.

brucec32
08-17-2004, 06:28 AM
Walmart is a great analogy. Cheap seems to be all many people want. But not all, I admit. But what people are willing to put up with in terms of poor service amazes me. They may complain, but they keep going back to save a little money. I don't shop at Walmart. Their business practices are pretty unethical at times(like getting local governments to condem land with homes on it so they can buy it cheap), and I've usually left annoyed when I did shop there in the past.

As far as employees go. No thanks. I ran a company that hired about 40 mostly young people about 17 years ago. It was a very positive experience. I was amazed how hard and well most of them worked, and for relatively low pay. I had to fire maybe 1 or 2 a year. I would say 80% would rate above average. Go try that now. The ratio would be nearly reversed. I would find working with employees today depressing, and I refuse to break laws when hiring/paying people, either.

SouthernFried
08-17-2004, 07:44 AM
Hispanics are genetically able to handle the heat better....has gotta be one of the dumbest things I've ever heard.

I have had so many hispanics work with me over the years (I live in San Antonio :) ), I couldn't even count.

Now, hispanics and darker skin folk can tolerate the sun better because of the pigment in their skin. By tolerate, I mean...they just don't burn as easily. As far as heat, it can affect everyone differently, regardless of skin color. I imagine someone from Michigan would fall over dead here after a coupla hours in the South Texas sun. But, I've lived here all my life...just learned to handle it. There is generally no difference in "heat toleration" based on skin color...in fact, I'm the one who usually handles it better than most. Has more to do with your overall health and physical condition...than skin color.

As far as big vs small yards. I learned a long time ago, a solo operator can handle smaller yards quicker and more cost efficiently than a big one. Even if you have the fastest, bestest mower in the world...nothing but experience will increase your speed trimming the monster yards. I can usually do 3 $35 yards in the time I can do one big $75 one...and I'm not as tired after.

I much prefer smaller ones. However, the bigger yards are the ones that customers generally have to have a LCO do...it's usually way outta their league. It's just hard to get enough money for 'em.

Like someone said...even if I can do 3 small yards for 35$ ea. in the same time I do a big one...it's almost impossible to get the big one to pay $105. I find they're just not as profitable for me. I think a 3 man crew might be reverse tho. Using 3 men on small yards might not make economic sense...but, might be justified on larger properties.

And ya, I'm always amazed when I see teenagers at the yards I do. My parents would never think of paying someone else to the yard when I was 12-18 yrs old. If I wanted to eat...I had to mow :)

Wynnscapes
08-17-2004, 08:00 AM
Have to chime in on this one also.....I have exactly that situation on 1 of my accts.......it is a good sized yard=$50/visit for basic lawn maintenance.....in Sunnyvale, Texas an aggressively expanding Suburb of Dallas, Texas that has lot size minimums, or at least used to.
Anyway, we maintained this lawn for 2 years and the lady is great.....but, in late May of this year she called and said her son was getting into the Lawn Care Biz and would do the yard from then on.......I hated to lose that yard, since it's close to 5-6 others we do, but I was happy her son was getting out to do something.......Lo & Behold, she calls me back in July.....quote/unquote..."Jason, I feel like the plumber's daughter.....my yard/work always gets done last and not as well as others!" Sure enough her lawn, the lawn where he lives & the lady that put up the money for him to start was not looking good.....granted he's young, but I laughed to myself when I envisioned what MY parents would have done to me in the same situation if they housed me & put up some coin for me to start a biz......now, that same son still mows yards, but inevitably is there when we're there and watches us do the work. Sad....
We even had to charge her several hundred bones to clean up the beds & hedges which were out of control.
I believe the father is not around anymore & the lady is super sweet and has some money, just wild how kids think these days!!!

PMLAWN
08-17-2004, 08:07 AM
In my house, on school nights, no TV- no video games- no computer. I spent too many nights fighting to get them off to eat dinner or do homework so it's gone. Now, I'm the biggest jerk in the world, and that from a 11 and 12 year old. Attitude is great in kids these days and is reinforced by their peers.
That is one plus for the 4+ acre lot is the time to just ride and decompress. I will give up a few $'s for the peace and quiet of a 27 Kohler.

PMLAWN
08-17-2004, 08:16 AM
Wynnscapes-- I think that --"LCO in the house and the lawn looks like crap"-- is catching because my lawn looks the same way.LOL

GrassBustersLawn
08-17-2004, 09:09 AM
With all the $20 door hangers I've seen, I got a feeling that number is headed south too.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper


WOW - $20 looks like PREMIUM PRICES compared to here! For some reason $18 is the hot new charge for newbies & high school/college kids. I've lost several of my $30 accounts to the $18 wonders! :(

They will be out of business soon, but there always seems to be a new start up willing to take their place. Customer doesn't care & it builds tolerance to lack of loyalty!

Mike

wrestlingcoach
08-17-2004, 11:34 AM
My partner and I can't stand to do yards that have teenagers leaving there. The lazy parents. I teach 7th grade math and it is amazing how many lazy parents there are. Kids refuse to do their homework much less mow a yard. It is the parents' fault period.

At my house my 4 & 6 year old pick up the house when told and pick up the yard when it is time to mow. My 6-year old is still too
young to mow YET!

Spare the rod, spoil the child.

Remsen1
08-17-2004, 03:20 PM
I've got two generation Xers coming up. One is turning 16 next year. She gave some attitued when we told her that she would have to get a job and save up some coin before we let her get her driving permit. With the proper motivation she will do anything to get what she wants. I can see this is where a lot of kids miss out. Their parents simply hand everything to them and the kids are not motivated to do anything.

I think one of the reasons kids are coming up like this is because many of the parents had them when they were very young and many of these were single moms. Their parents had to work long hours at low paying jobs and the kids were sent to daycare or grandparents. When the parents time became an issue, they didn't have the energy to take the time to show their kid how to make a sandwich instead they come home with mcdonalds, no time to show them how to sweep the floor, instead they hire a cleaning lady, no time to show them how to run a mower, so they hire a lawn service. Eventually you have 20 year old kids who can't make instant macaroni and cheese, don't know where the clean clothes come from, and don't know how to start a mower.

The best thing for these kids is when they say "i want" the parents need to say "this is what you need to do to get it..."