Can i get a little help

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by coxslawncare, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. coxslawncare

    coxslawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 223

    I took on a residential account the other day about 3 acres to cut. I told the guy Id do the first cut for 85. I know i need to get more and he told me if i have to go up on price then its ok. It took me and my helper 2.5 hours to cut. I think i could do it in 4 by myself and I cut solo most times. takes me 4.5 gallons of fuel between the trucks and mowers to do this. He's callin me Monday mornin to see what I see. Also he has about 100 yards of mulch to install in spring at 45-50 a yard(my cost is 16.75 plus need to find someone to deliver it) so I can make up some on that in the spring but dont want to have to rely on that to be profitable
     
  2. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    Hard to say without knowing what kind of equipment you are using and the lay out of the land...trimming amount, etc.

    Also with that much mulch I'd pay the tad extra and just have it blown in, you'll still make nice money without the work.
     
  3. coxslawncare

    coxslawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 223

    Havent been able to find anyone that blows mulch around here but im sure there is. 2 acres nice sodded at the beginning of the year. 1 acres around the edge of a field thick tall grass, only wants that cut every other cut and only cutting once a month. I use a toro timecutter z 42 inch cut not commercial i know but better than the murray I had and looking into a large walk behind for next year. Also use a 21 inch JD JS 63 c push mower for trimming up. Very little trimming, took me about 20 minutes to weedeat everything and blow the drive way(about 200 yards of driveway)
     
  4. waffletown20

    waffletown20 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 100

    Once you practice you should be down to 3 hours. It depends if it's bumpy. Keep the estimate even though it's low because then you won't get complaints plus your a shoe in for the mulch.
     
  5. Cutter LLC

    Cutter LLC LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 100

    Well I was going to say 40 an hour on your z which would be about 150-160 but cutting every two weeks to a month is a different story. You gotta think about wear and tear on your mower with that tall grass and not being fully commercial is not gonna help. New blades, belts, bearings, and spindles are not gonna come cheap. You need at least 225 IMO. Not sure if this ol boy is gonna go for that unless you explain it to him fully and even then.......
     
  6. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    Their is no way you can continue to do this for 85 bucks! Even a cheap area like mine would be at least 150-160. I had one the same size that I did once a month for 225 but I lost it to a kid who would do it for 50 this past month. You say it took 4.5 gallons of gas, that is about 11 bucks at todays price (going up tomorrow) that leaves you 74 bucks for you and your equipment plus your helper. However its your decision and you know what you need to make but I promise this want get it. You would be better off cutting small yards for 15-20 apiece that averaged about 15 minutes apiece. In my area when you get past 50 bucks I don't care if the yard is 1/4 acres or 4 acres you have reached the threshold of pain. That is why I try to target the small/medium, no more than a hour apiece yards here.
     
  7. coxslawncare

    coxslawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 223

    he knows its going to go up and because of the mulch i want to try to keep this. when i bought the mower i got the 4 year waranty and made sure it would cover commercial use, so if anythign goes wrong other than belts or blades i feel pretty ok. dont always have a helper go with me just happened to this past time. Looking to buy a walk behind this winter at least 52 inch deck which would help alot on the area around the field. I was thinking of telling him 110-120 every 2 weeks. I think not having to cut aroudn the field but once a month and it will average out.I cut the field for this guy before with the old murray took 4.5 hours and got 200 and this guy only owns a 21 push mower and had been cutting it with that( around the house 2 times a month and around the field once a month. I know he doenst want to do it
     
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I'm with you on the NO-go-$85 but 3 acres @50/acre...?

    I get 55/acre for ONE acre so it might be 50/acre for 2 so be nice lets go 45/acre for 3 = 135

    Now charging 135 when it's going at 85 right now, that is likely not going to happen even with the nicest customer. Far as the mulch, if you have a 6x12 trailer you can load 4 yards at a time and pay yourself the $35 delivery fee so long it is 12 yards or LESS you'll come out about even AND you can put the trailer where YOU want it rather than having a big pile dumped wherever the truck driver feels like dumping it. Last but not least, I *NEVER* spread someone else's mulch because to be quite blunt, a 7-yard pile looks the same as an 8-yard pile so who is going to know if the customer ordered 10 yards or 12? At least that's been my whole issue with it, of course if YOU'RE ordering the mulch to be delivered then that might be ok.

    So let's see...

    I'd say if this is your first year ask the guy to increase to 100/cut and do this RIGHT AWAY then that way you can use it to build experience (education is not free so the $35 difference 'pays' for this) and the extra $15 over 3 hours of work you will notice the extra money helps alleviate the stress you're feeling at 85. Again ask for the increase ASAP because I had a similar situation a year ago and I waited on asking for the increase and like 2 months AFTER the guy SAID he wouldn't mind paying more I tried to ask for it and it was too late lol so ask for it asap.

    Still, I did a 2-acre lot all of my 2nd year (took anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours solo) for 50 bucks/pop and it hurt but it was also a $200/month account and one balances and compromises the good and the bad, that guy spent over $1,500 with me that 2nd year and it did help even thou today I wouldn't do it.
     
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    ok if you can get 115 then do that, I think that would be ok.

    Far as the fuel, see if lowering the throttle a little bit helps, try this:
    - Turn the throttle to full where mower is running WOT.
    - Now SLOWLY back off the throttle and listen to the engine: You want to KEEP the rpm's at MAX while lowering the throttle, once the engine drops speed, you've gone too far. Usually you can lower the throttle 5 or 10% before the engine drops speed, doing this in the long run saves me a fair amount of fuel.

    In the truck, take it easier on the gas, here's tricks to max out mpg:
    - Learn where your foot needs to be for certain speed limits. So when accelerating from a dead stop say in a 45mph zone, step on the pedal JUST enough to DO 45mph and let the engine work its way there gradually - It will take MINUTES to get there but it increases MPG by 10-20%.
    - Allow the truck to speed UP downhill and slow DOWN uphill by keeping as steady a pressure on the pedal as possible. Say in a 45mph zone, let her get up to 50-52mph going down and 38-40mph going uphill.
    - When you know you need to stop let OFF the gas WAY early. Lets use the 45mph zone as an example when you see an intersection it looks like you have to stop, the idea is to COAST down to like 25mph before you even have to step on brakes. Doing this:
    - Saves wear and tear on brakes and tires, I get at least 50k miles out of my brakepads and my tires last a LOT longer as well.
    - Half the time you won't even HAVE to stop at the light because it turns green while you're coasting down so now you can mosey on through and THIS saves a TON of fuel.
    - Saves fuel because brakes shave off speed which took fuel to build.
    Same goes for when you know you'll have to turn: Put your turn signal on early and coast on down - there are times when I don't have to use the brakes to get into the turn so long I got enough coast, however you can't do it in heavy traffic lol.

    Drive it like it's an 18-wheeler or like an old lady - I used to think old people must be kinda dumb for doing it when I was young, now that I'm older I figured out older people are actually very SMART.
     
  10. coxslawncare

    coxslawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 223

    yeah i talked to the guy before he left he told me if I had to go up he's easy to get along with so it sounds like he expects a raise in price. He told me he was gonna give me a call monday mornin and see what i thought. I am pretty sure he will be fine at 100 I told him i'd do it at 85 the first time to see how long it will take.This is my first year and as far as the mulch goes my neighbor owns a big dump truck and could get some help from him on delivery. Ive had a real hard time finding small yards. My smallest one takes me 30 min to cut. Everything I've been offered so far has been at least one acre
     

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