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2005 Prices

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by LawnMowerGuy, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. LawnMowerGuy

    LawnMowerGuy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    Hi! I'm Jon. I have been lurking on this site for a few days. i have noticed a lot of hate.. but i got a question... please dont treat me bad.. :cry:

    are mowing pricing going up or down? i honestly cant tell.

    a typical house in a typical neighboorhood.. what are people bidding them at? sometimes i see $25 sometimes i see as low as $10!

    what about yall

    thanks for your help in advance
  2. fool32696

    fool32696 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 991

    My mower doesn't come off of my trailer for less than $25. I'm in a fairly rural area and jobs usually go for $35 or 40 an hour. There are always guys that will do a lawn for 10 or 15 bucks but you don't want to be that guy and you don't want the customers that want that guy. Do good work, hold yourself to high standards and the customers will come to you.
  3. MudFoot

    MudFoot LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    This is a good topic. Hopefully people will share. :rolleyes:

    I know quite a few companies that follow the same statement. :)
  4. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    Prices for most people/areas are pretty stagnant to some degree. Prices??? Well, costs are sure not going down. They only go up. Know your actual costs and then price accordingly. You can go broke sitting at home, no need to work yourself broke. Personally, no gate down for less than $37. Next year will probably be $40. We are already in the process of planning for 2006 at this point.

    TJLANDS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,669

    Hey Jon,
    I think you will get different prices for different regions. Where I am located most houses are in the 40-50 range with some higher. my minimum here is $35. As far as prices going up or down there was a trend several years ago 2000-2001 that I felt pressure on my prices. Lawn Maintenance and Landscaping. It seemed that everything was going up except my prices. But since the middle of 2002 prices have been going up and I am getting alot more landscaping and hardscaping jobs at the price I Quote. Lawn maintenance prices are even on the rise... in my opinion
  6. redoak77

    redoak77 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 291

    Id say prices are pretty steady. Chances are you will always find someone doing it cheaper. 25.00 is a good minimum for my aera unless it is a rediculous small yard with virtually no trimming. Just do good work and you will be fine
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    To the other guy: Sorry for the hate, comes from living in a big city on the east coast, it is a sickness spreads from Maine to Florida, drive 100-200 miles west and it gets a little better but as a general rule, big cities carry this.

    In my 1st year, I did a *LOT* of work for 15-20/hour and 25/hour was the most I could get. Has to do with experience, equipment, and volume (number of customers calling you).

    Now this is my 4th year... Things got better with time. It kinda depends where you live, appears the further north you go, the higher the rate but it also has to do with equipment and experience:
    If it takes me two hours to do what it takes you one hour, then you charge 40 and I charge 40 but you earn 40/hour and I earn 20/hour, still you (and I) have to charge what the job is worth to be fair to the customer. Some guy with a ZTR comes around and also charges 40 but is finished in 40 minutes so he gets $60/hour, it is all technical at this point, the job is still 40 bucks.
    If a job is worth 40, you can low-ball it for 35 or if you're real busy, charge 45 to slake the demand but in the end we must charge what the job is worth to be fair to the customer.

    Today I agree, 35-40 is a good rate in MY area and with MY equipment. I charge 40-45 (40 minimum) but then I also advertise year-round (24/7-365) so that helps me get the extra money.
    I have a brand-new 48" wb and it is tweaked and tuned - It is NOT the same machine as one you would buy, I have an older 48" of the same model and it is how I learned the correct settings. This takes time, it took me a few years and about 2000 yards cut, you learn with each one, you get to this point one yard, and one day at a time. I started with used Wb's to learn about them before I spent thousands on a new one. Experience + equipment.
    Still, don't do it for less than the job is worth just because you lack the equipment - If it takes you longer, it's still worth what it's worth. If you lack the experience (i.e.: you've never done something before), then it's worth less because education costs money and IF you still want the job then you need to tell the customer like I do:
    Sir / Ma'am, I have never done this before but would like to try and am willing to do it for half price or less. We both take a chance - I lose money because I'm not getting paid my regular rate, and in the end if it doesn't work out, you lose money, too. It is my intention to make this work, I WANT to learn how to do this and I WANT to do a good job, and if I am successful then we both win: I will have learned a new skill that I can charge regular price for from now on, and you will have gotten some good work done for less than usual. It's a 50/50 deal, we both take a chance and there is some risk involved.
    Some people go for it, other's dont.

    I also agree with the 25-dollar minimum, that is my minimum as well and it is fair, some guys won't move a finger for less than 35 but you need a minimum to cut out the mickey mouse 'can you cut this tiny little strip of grass for 5 bucks' crap. At least 20 dollars, minimum.

    Finally, you need demand. If you're hurting for money and you have 5 customers you will find it difficult to get $40/hour for most anything. It's funny how it works, people are not stupid and they can almost smell your desperation, so to speak. So when demand is low and supply is high (You are READY to go, but no calls or very few), your prices will tend to suffer. You have a choice at this point: Drop your prices so at least you have something to do, or sit at home and wait it out if you can afford it.
    At the same rate, if you have 50 or 60 grass accounts and you're working sun-up to sun-down, you may find even $50/hour is not enough to slow them down and you get to a point where you feel BAD about raising your prices more - When you get there, that is a good problem because everybody wins: Your conscience won't allow you to raise prices, you're working your tail off to make ends meet (nevermind money, you're just trying to get the WORK done) and the customer is happy because you truly are more concerned about the work than the money.

    If it's your 1st year, try 30-35/hour and advertise like mad for as long as you can stand it, then do it some more. You need to do this to get volume: It's really nice when you're getting like 3 or 4 calls/day (more is better, but even I'm only getting more like 3-4 calls/week so it varies on your advertising but also time of year).

    Another good rule of thumb:
    If too many say YES, your price is too low.
    If too many say NO, your price is too high.
    If half say yes and half say no - Perfect!
  8. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,420

    I believe you will see a great deal of variance in price in relation to which area of the country you are in. Seems to me eastern and large metropolitan areas command a much higher price, but to be fair the cost of living in these areas as opposed to where say I am or someone in a mid south rural area is, can be much higher.
    That said I have a $25 minimum I adhere to, I do not give a hoot how tiny a yard is and that it actually takes a mere 15-20 minutes to do the job, thats what its gonna be. Now I did take over some new accounts from a guy getting out of the business and my opinion was he was severely underpricing them in some instances. However for the sake of fairness I did not raise the price as the season was already nearly two months underway, I know I would not take well one price for the season at the beginning and then have it raised two months into it, JMO. I did, though inform clients in no uncertain terms that all properties would be evaluated on a per property basis by me and priced accordingly next season. Hopefully the quality work will do the trick for most, for the rest I say keep putting those attaboys in the bank for when I really need them :)
    As of right now looking over sales by item in Quick Books my average charge per service is just a bit over forty dollars, this is only for basic lawn care (mow/trim/power sweep). I look to increase this next year, so that it will make me money and support a crew running the lawn care route so I can focus on the higher profit margin work.

    Sorry for the rambling but as I stated different areas will reflect a sometimes wide range of price IMHO.

    Good Luck to you

  9. saveonlawn

    saveonlawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    I have a flat price of $70.00 a month for bi-weekly service, that is strictly mowing, edging, and blow off. I sell myself by having all english speaking & uniformed employees, professionally marked trucks and courtesy calls prior to the day of service. If customer wants weekly service it is $125.00 a month. We can make no less then $50.00 an hour on regular maintenance ( 2 employees can do between two to three houses in an hour which gives me 70 to 105 an hour, and that is routing them correctly). My prices are listed for any customer to see. So if they call me, they already know what they are going to pay.

    I do offer additional services so if the customer needs something extra we will do it and then add it to the next months bill. All customer's are on a prepaid basis and i have them all sign contracts so they know what they are getting into. And yes, this is working very well for me :)
  10. greenwithenvylandscape

    greenwithenvylandscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 134

    I here ya on the hatred brother and it keeps me away most of the time. everyone knows everything and nowone makes any money....that will start something right there.....

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