Cost per square foot to mow formula??

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by naturenick, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. naturenick

    naturenick LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Is there a formula that can be used to figure out the cost per square foot to mow a property. I know that alot of people say to base it off of time spent mowing, blowing, trimming and etc.. but if you are bidding it as a new contract you can not know how much time it is going to take to mow if you have never mowed it before. Does anyone have any ideas
     
  2. mike174

    mike174 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 240

    You'll get a couple responses:

    1) It depends on the property (hills, obstacles, mower used, etc)- no sh!t
    2) Mow it for free the first time - not my favorite option because you're working for free
    3) You should know your costs & time from previous lawns - this is a true statement. If you don't, start recording everything.

    It takes skills from all the above to bid it right.

    Basically, you have to know your market. Find out what's the going rate in your market & compare it to your cost structure. If you know your costs & market rates, you then can break it down to a per 1000 sq ft price to make bidding a little easier. If the numbers don't add up, pass on the property (nicely).
     
  3. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Posts: 736

    Anyone that has been doing this for awhile can look at a property and tell you how long it will take to mow it. 99 percent of the time I can be within 15 minutes of the correct time on a large property. If you go by square footage you will be screwed.

    Say you have 2 properties with 10 acres of turf.

    1 of those properties has trees, landscaping, curbing everywhere, and possibly alot of people walking around that will slow you down. This property is going to take several hours to trim and even longer to clean up. It is also going to be a pain to mow.

    The next property still has 10 acres but it is wide open with no trimming at all. You will have this area mowed in a matter in about 1.5 hours.

    Giving an estimate based on time is always the best way to go.
     
  4. SangerLawn

    SangerLawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from indiana
    Posts: 736

    Figure in how much everything cost for you to run a business for a day. Add the amount of money you want to profit per day. Divide that number by the amount of hours you will spend actually at a customer’s property.

    Here is an example….this is just an example so do not use these numbers.

    Fuel, trimmer string, ware and tear on equipment plus all the things to be legal cost $150 per day

    You want to profit $150.00 per day

    You know on a 10 hour day you will only be working 6 hours making money. The rest of time is working on equipment, paper work, or traveling from job to job.

    For a 10 hour day, with 6 hours of work that you can charge for, you will need $50.00 per hour to operate while you’re on a job working.

    Hope this helps?
     

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