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Old 05-01-2013, 01:19 PM
MDLawn MDLawn is offline
LawnSite Bronze Member
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Western NY
Posts: 1,284
Originally Posted by smallstripesnc View Post
I know I could charge more but $30 is right in the going rate for my area from what I can find out and seems pretty fair.
Who says or dictates a "going rate"?

This is the something you need to try and avoid. What if one company doesn't pay taxes, insurance, drives a beat up small truck, trashed trailer, and an 8000 hr mower that is on it's last legs. $30 per cut to them is like gold and I bet they get a lot of customers, and they only charge. Please don't give me the company with new trucks, new equipment BS of reducing overhead because the above is not even remotely that and yes the people posting pictures with a newer crew diesel and a 5x10 trailer need their head examined. But having quality running equipment is important to consistency and for me it's an image. Look cheap, expect to be treated that way. Not saying this is you just an observation. Maybe you're picking up all of this companies customers who have left due to bad experiences with said company but give the line "That's too expensive, I paid this with my previous people" That sentence right there says two things to me. You're incredibly cheap and I'm wasting my time, or you're upset with the service you've had in the past and are looking for better. If the latter, time to turn into salesman mode. Just like Eric's I'm part time and have been for a while. So take what I say only so far as you want. I just picked up a lawn that is no more than 2,000sq ft for $35. They argued about only paying $20-25 in the past and were blown away by my landscape price saying they paid less than half.

"Ok, Mr XXXX but you were complaining of your past service and for great service from a legitimate company (taxes, insurance, etc..) and there is no way I could compete with that. Let me know how you would like to proceed so I can make sure to get you in my schedule"

Two days later, contracted all the services. So either they were lying, trying to haggle, or whatever. I know what I want to make, take it or leave it. The joy of part time. The next few years I will be testing the market to see if this can even be a viable thing to pursue. And I will not be following the principle of "the going rate". I'm in this for a few things; make money, provide exceptional service, and build a business that can run without me doing everything. This takes time to do but only if there truly is a market for what I want to do. The other thing is I'm not focused on mowing. I've always made more money in a day with landscaping (installs and non mowing maintenance) but mowing will always be offered as the landscape market is either flooded with the same mentality as mowing (do it as cheap as possible just to get the job) or people are holding their money still.

Instead of looking at it as that you can only do 10-12 per day and how do I squeeze more in. Look at it like can I make those days more profitable by increasing my rates therefore I can reduce my workload or keep the workload but make more money. $30 vs. $35 is $60 more per day with 12 lawns and if you mow 5 days that's $300. If you're better than the rest (service, personality, etc..) $5 shouldn't be that hard of a sell. Try acquiring people at that or more and remove those who wont pay that rate. Then if you increase your efficiency that number can increase.

I know when I worked with a friend himself and I could complete 20-22 1/3-1/2 acre lawns in a 6-7 hour period. 14 were in one neighborhood though (increased efficiency with close proximity, great equipment, and 2 guys working). He was and still is part time but now with employees who mow for him and now takes 3-4 guys on landscape jobs. What was an 8hr job for the two of us has become 4-5hr jobs for him and able to complete two a day vs one. Maybe he's making less money with paying people but he has more time to himself vs being on EVERY job.

Also you said getting the work is not problem as in you can get nearly any job you estimate? That says you're a little low on price. If there are that many opportunities start trying to get more. So you get some no thank you's. Maybe you can start to change over your business by getting better paying work? Just a thought if work is so plentiful.

My outlook on what I want to do is good but unfortunately in my brain my expectations are poor knowing this industry has matured. But I've got to keep my head up because for every 9 "no thank you" I get one awesome "sounds good when can you start" If my phone rings enough I can weed out the problems and only have what I want.

Phew sorry that was a long one.
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