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Old 09-24-2009, 03:14 PM
Lazer Cut's Avatar
Lazer Cut Lazer Cut is offline
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I was unclear on the post before lol My friend was buying a house and my customer was his Realtor...
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Old 09-25-2009, 01:21 PM
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brucec32 brucec32 is offline
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Originally Posted by Lazer Cut View Post
I have been running numbers... I found that I am a complete idiot. My average yard takes about 45-55 minutes solo. I charge a average of $25 but have some $65-85. I do not think that I am charging enough. I would like to get $30-35 for the yards that I currently charge $25. They warrant the 30-35 but the customer shy'd away. I would like to at least get 30 how can I raise the price and present this to the customers... maybe raise it $3 for next year? I made $355 last week with cutting 14 lawns. That is roughly $25 avg. I'd like to make more to hire a helper with me so I can knock out more yards. Next year I plan on attaining 60-70 accounts. I currently have 29. Could use some help on budgeting also. I need to crack down on things.
Ok, with your machines you should be getting more like $45 at least for a lawn that takes that much time. I'm serious, this isn't "top dollar" either. 45 minutes nets me $45 or more with no problems. I do 2 lawns side by side in an hour and get $80 and they say I'm cheaper than the last guy.

I'm afraid you are not going to get people used to paying $25 to pay that much more in large numbers, so expect to have to start over to a large degree.

Forget this "hire a helper" stuff until you A) have your pricing down and know your costs, B) have actual customers enough that you can't handle the workload yourself, and C) know that adding help will pay off. Then D) start someone seasonally part time who is going to be more motivated and intelligent than 'most' full time lawn care techs.

If your main goal in hiring people is to somehow avoid work, you're in the wrong business. You'll be trading one kind of work for another, that's all. But from your pricing disaster it does not seem if you are "ready for primetime" yet in terms of growing.
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Old 09-25-2009, 01:37 PM
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brucec32 brucec32 is offline
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Don't show this to your accounting professors. They'll become suicidal. You can't charge $25 for a 30 min lawn, and $25 for a 45 min lawn. That is a 50% difference in time on-site! Gotta be more consistent.

And those are tiny lots. You may need some more practice to get faster.

From what I'm hearing you may well be more of a "salesman" than a "businessman". There is a huge difference. Ironically in today's society you'll likely make more as a salesman, most corporations are actually run by salesmen, so don't feel bad. Sales oriented people are often not into the numbers and details. They can, however, convince people to use their services.

You are going to have to face facts and tell people for next season "I made serious estimating errors, your price will be XXX for this year". An unexplained 80-100% increase will be rejected outright. I would give them a rate that is still attractive (maybe 5-10% off what it 'should' be) so when they go get other quotes you'll still seem reasonable. Then gradually raise them from there over time.

You are still going to lose many of them.

With typical drive time I'd say you are currently maybe netting $10/hour after factoring in all the time it takes for maintenance, planning, etc, in addtion to the mowing time.

Originally Posted by Lazer Cut View Post
I just got the grandstand about a month ago... I took another look at my log book... My $25 lawns are taking 30-45 minutes by myself. Some are I believe around give or take some 50x90 and 60x100... My grandstand I bought about a month ago because I work at a lawn and garden place and they are raising prices on the grandstand. I bought a new one (listed in the sig) w/ lifetime no down time warranty with it also and few other nice things since I work there for the price that they are asking for a new one... I thought it was a great deal and I have searched long and hard, also studying prices and different things and found that this was the mower I wanted... I used to use either a 52" Proline but the clutch went out on it so i just fixed it a bit ago ($550). I used a 36" exmark for most properties the other one I used for back up. Now I have a reliable 52" Proline that is very good condition but I would like to sell to have extra money for equipment- 36" mower- my exmark the engine went out... and also some back up money just in case. I just think I am doing something wrong when I run the numbers... I am going to do 17 properties this sat. and I am only going to gross $500. 10 properties are going to be my 25 yards and the other is two $35, $50, two $65... my $25 lawns are bi-weekly yes... so these properties all want me next year along with other people in the neighborhood that hear i cut 10 properties in the neighborhood for $25.. i'd like $30 out of them or even $28... how can I tell them that yes i know your neighbors yard is the same size but I am going to charge you $28-30 lol I just need to figure out my costs for everything and then start charging what I am worth and try not to please everybody... I think that is part of my problem too... doing something cheaper to please the customer but I am going to sink if I do this... I am pretty avid business man I believe very aggressive and going to college for business.. I can convince most of my customers to get fert, mulch when they didn't want it to begin with
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Old 09-25-2009, 05:57 PM
dvog dvog is offline
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i think whoopass is right on!
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Old 09-29-2009, 12:04 PM
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E.L.Co E.L.Co is offline
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10 an hour! hell mcdonalds will give you 6 and a big mac a day lmao but yes as my previous post said and it appears you want to go this route...go get em! you do not want crap customers. just yesterday i bid a lawn for 35 a cut IF they sign a 2 month agreement and cut a check for 140 on the spot she said she has another guy that will do it for 23!!!! i chuckled and said this ...mam if he has insurance and pays taxes and does quality work he will go bankrupt in short order charging that (she was trying to bend me over, this isnt baseball im not catching and shes not pitching!) if you feel this is who you want to hire just call me anytime if you want quality because id be happy to help you out, have a great day:] i didnt get the account but lets face the obvious. i am a landscaper because working for the man and his wages isnt my thing. so why with all my bills and overhead would i do it for mcdonalds wages? i would rathe play playstation 3 and eat cheetos lol a common mistake with most self proclaimed business owners is that they are oblivious until its to late, and they find that their business was running them and not the other way around. good luck ! always glad to be of assistance
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Old 09-29-2009, 01:29 PM
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DA Quality Lawn & YS DA Quality Lawn & YS is offline
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Originally Posted by Ronniecoleman View Post
It sounds like you have some biweekly's, you need to start pricing those at a higher rate. For instance if you charge $30 for a weekly mow biweekly needs to be $40. I would wait until spring to raise any prices.
Yep biweeklies need to be charged at least 30-50% extra - at least thats what I do here in the north. Extra trimming is involved, and sometimes the lawns get overgrown. A lot of the time biweekly business is simply because the customer does not want to pay for good, regular, weekly service.

Better yet, dump the bi-weeklies.

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Old 09-29-2009, 01:51 PM
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HOOLIE HOOLIE is offline
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Time to 'man up' and run your business. It's simple really, you notify your current customers that their price is going from X to Y. You'll lose some but pick up new ones at the higher rate. Such is the cycle of business.

I would actually, raise them now. Most customers are not going to go looking for another LCO this time of year. Get in used to the higher rate now. I always do my price hikes late in the year.
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Old 09-29-2009, 02:15 PM
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AndyTblc AndyTblc is offline
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Location: West Michigan
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My mowing is at a good price right now and I'm happy with them, but my snow plowing prices are going up AGAIN this year, not drastic another dollar or two or three depending on driveways. One driveway is going up a big chunk, when I used my tractor, I didn't tell him the price, he just paid me $10 and it's long driveway, and so last year when I bought the plow, I plowed 4" in the morning, then 7" again at night, he gave me $10 in the morning and $5 at night, and this year that AIN"T gonna happen. He thinks I need to earn my pay, and I took offense to that, he has some heart problems, I feel bad for him, but when it's costing me money, I come first before anybody else. I have to take care of myself first. So I'm going to tell him $15/each time or I can't do his driveway, all my other customers said "it's about time you raise the price" They were worried about me, and so I have a great group of customers.......Except the one that ripped me off. He just says "here's some money for gas"..... Well what about wear and tear, and my time and this and that. He's ran a business before, but I don't think he understands the concept.

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Old 09-29-2009, 03:47 PM
coolluv coolluv is offline
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Originally Posted by whoopassonthebluegrass View Post
Talking costs can be so arbitrary. There are guys on here that are happy if they make $20k a year after expenses. There are guys living at home. There are guys whose wife's do the real breadwinning. There are guys who do this as a second job.

It all depends on what YOU want to achieve. I can tell you this much, though. The $1/minute rule will never, no never, not EVER get you well off. You can SURVIVE on that (maybe), but you can't thrive on it. Not with the cost of equipment, fuel, etc - in addition to the reality that you have no retirement package/401K, no health insurance, no life insurance, etc.

All that being said, charging your existing clients more for mowing is like raising the price for a haircut. The receiving end is simply gonna look at you and say, "well you're just doing the same thing as you were before, right?"

You can price creep a couple bucks a year, but the thing I found is that you need to find new/better clients and let the starter clients (that helped you get on your way) fall by the wayside. That's just the reality of it. There's nothing sophisticated about mowing, and you can't perform some magic that others aren't able to do cheaper. Thus, unless you're one heckuva salesman, you're not worth the extra dough. That's the mowing biz.

Get out there and find those more lucrative accounts, and put the crap accounts in order as to which ones you will cut out of your schedule first.
You nailed it.

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Old 09-30-2009, 11:15 PM
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Lazer Cut Lazer Cut is offline
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Location: Southern, Ohio
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Thanks guys for the replies. I told one customer that I was rasing his $25 lawn to $30 next year and he looked at me with this deer in head lights look and said well I'll have to think about using you next year! I smiled and replied good luck still wont find anybody cheaper than me. He told me he could find somebody for 15-20 to do it!! I just laughed and smiled put my mower back on the trailer got my money and took off... That yard will def. be off my list.

I have a question. I have two very nice $25 lawns, both I think are $30 but both customers want me to fertilize once a month, mulch, plant some trees, and few more things. Do you guys recommend keeping them at the price that they are at to get the rest of the service and not risk losing them if I raise my price? I have done some cost research and it is $11.25 per hour that I run my mower (insurance, gas, mantaince, advertising) and .17 cents per mile on my truck. That sound about right to you guys?

Again thanks for all the help... making me a better business person with ever post
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