$35 per hour with a ZTR

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by wolfpacklawn, Jun 20, 2002.

  1. wolfpacklawn

    wolfpacklawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 120

    I was talking with another lawn jockey the other day and he was saying how he was going to be able to get more accounts now that he has a ZTR because he could charge less money since it would take less time.

    I said "Are you crazy?"

    I told him that he needed to bid a lawn as if he were still using a 21" . To make my point I said - are you going to lower the price of your existing customers because you can now do them in less time? Of course he said no.

    When I look at a lawn to bid it I imagine how long will this take for one person using a 21" commercial mower then I plug in an hourly rate of $35 with a minimum of $25 per lawn ( even if it only takes 5 min.). Now if I can use a ZTR or a 36" wb and do it in less time then great, more money for me to help pay for these expensive machines.

    Please tell me I'm not alone in my sanity.:blob3:
  2. 65hoss

    65hoss LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,360

    Nope your not alone. Why would anyone want to intentionally drive prices down. I don't use a 21" as my reference, but I do use a 36" on residentials as my reference point.
  3. BigJim

    BigJim LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 382

    Its an international problem,I know another Walker Jockey who charges it out at $25 per hour cause he can mow twice as fast as a pushmower,now it costs at least $10(NZ) an hour to run a Walker,deducting taxes and business expenses hes gotta be making around $5-10 per hour.The going rate for pushmowing is around $30 per hour.A Walker needs to return around $60 an hour to make some money so go figure:confused:
  4. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    I was doing 2 lawns, one on either side of the street. One lawn became just too demanding (bagging, full edging every cut, pool, islands). I was charging $120 for the lawn ($60/hour). They got another service to do the lawn for $60.
    However, I'm still doing the lawn right across the street for my normal fee AND they are very happy with me. So, don't worry about the stupid guy's giving their time away. I'm still turning away customers.
  5. WashMoBrink

    WashMoBrink LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Looked at a factory last night. They have a guy in there now @ $20 - $25 / hr. I bid at $37.50 / hr and was told I could have it because the present guy has it looking horrible. Moral of the story - They'll pay for quality and you won't waste your time.
  6. Pro-Cut Lawns

    Pro-Cut Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71

    Let's see - what he is saying then is his overhead goes up, his prices go down, and he is going to make more money by doing more volume?? Like to see his face when he looks at his bottom line at the end of the year (if he does look at it).

    HOWARD JONES LawnSite Member
    Posts: 233

    I've run the numbers several different ways and always come up with close to $10/hr to run the machine - not counting truck and trailer, trimmers, etc. Then don't forget the time you spend on the maintenance - if you do an hour's worth of maintenance for every ten worked, for example, you need to add that in to your estimates.
  8. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    Maybe that's why I stay with a WB and velky. One of my newer machines has 300 hours on it. I have not put a dime into it. Plus ,I seem to burn much less than one gallon per hour, too. Actually, I really find it hard to see how any machine costs $10/hour to use. Maybe you could say it costs $10/hour "on the hour counter", but that's harder $10/hour of work time
    HOWEVER, now we get back to my thoughts about guy's using a Lazer rider for a full one hour straight, and only charging $65/hour or even $75/hour. AND, I say, I'll take $60/hour and that hour includes Mower use, weedwhacker use, backpack use and driving time to the next stop. Actually, if you compute things, I may be making even more an hour than those that think they are making big bucks using a Lazer rider, because of maintance costs. So far, my bottom line sure indicates that......
  9. SIG

    SIG LawnSite Member
    Posts: 188

    I have to say, you need to take into account Operator Fatique. I can run my Lazer for 12 Hours a day if need be. When I only used Walk-behinds 5 Hours and I was beat (no Velke). As far as maintenance I can change blades on 2 machines in about 30 minutes, including sharping, and Oil change about 15 minutes a piece. And I have never had anything else break on either mower in 2.5 years. Pretty lucky Huh!
  10. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    First off, sounds like you have a good maintainance program ;) However, I guess no one is picking up on my thoughts. What I'm saying is, I'd agree it may take $10 per hour to maintain an $8,000 lazer and many guy's run them hours on end and they may get $75/hour to run them. But, if you can make $65/hour and "of that hour" you are running your mower/rider 35 minutes, weedwacking for 15, blowing for 5, and spending 5 minutes to the next stop, the cost for that is much less.
    Furthermore, as with a car/truck, your investment of $8,000 for the lazer goes down hill really fast and has less of a return. In other words, your making $75/hour with the lazer which cost $8,000. However, you can make $65/hour when mowing a lawn using a $250 weedwhacker and $500 blower.
    And to make matters worse, you can take that same $8,000 for the Lazer, and buy a hydro WB for yourself with velky and a belt drive for your friend and clear $90/hour with your friend working with and for you.

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