Hourly rate is what the customer is charged or better said as how you determine the price to charge the customer.
People will go crazy when you tell them you charge $60 and hour to trim a hedge. When you price the job do not even say this hedge trimming job is 4 hours so it will cost you $240.
You just state to trim those hedges is $240.
Anyone can ask for any hourly rate they want. Customers will not hire you if you are to high and you will never get any where from low balling.
$60 hourly rate is a good starting point. From there you have to figure your costs.
Can you afford to live on $50,000 a year. Well charging $25 hr at 40 hr week will gross you$1,000 a week. Lawn care will be about 31 weeks for me this year. That's $31,000, then spring clean up, and fall clean up will add to the total. Then there is snow removal. Some people are busy enough to work 50 or 60 hours during the lawn season.
60 - 25 = $35
At first you will not be busy enough for a helper. When you do kiss another $10 goodbye.
35 - 10 = $25
LCO is going to have to pay for yearly costs: insurance, licenses, fuel, line, oil.
Then you have to figure even if you have already have all of these things as if you will have to buy them say every 5 years: truck, trailer, larger mower 48-60", medium mower 36", small mower 21", line trimmer, stick edger, hedge trimmer, chain saw, back pack blower. All hand tools, pruner's, lopper's, shovels, rakes. Take that total cost then divide by your (31*40) 1240 season hours.
Example $70,000 / 1240 = $56
$60 hr gross - your salary, 1 helper salary, equipment costs = $4 profit.
Now I left off maintenance and repairs. Some can do some can not. Though based on your abilities you have to figure in a main and rep cost per year and include that with the yearly costs.
To make my example easy I just said everything has to be replaced every 5 years. In reality a truck and trailer can last you ten years. Some hand helds can be shot sooner.
This is a good starting point. As you operate you will gather your real costs. This is why it is good to avoid credit. You may think you can afford the payments because you do not yet know your real costs. Also people tend to see the money coming in during the summer but forget most of the money will stop during the winter.
Yes there are a lot of things I left out. Example keep a truck for 10 years it is going to need a new set of tires.