Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by turfman33, Apr 24, 2003.

  1. turfman33

    turfman33 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 226

    OK I must be the worlds most worse estimator there is OR I'm being influenced by what the reaction of the client is. I'm still pretty new as far as lawn care businesses go and I am still green and having problems with estimating price for cutting, weed eating, edging and the clean up. A lady asked today how much to mow a yard. I said well without seeing it I can't really give a good estimate (not that I do anyway. Thats why I'm writing this). She said approx. I said $25 and up. Well the ground could of swallowed her up. Thats a little to much she said. Theres a guy that told her $20. Anyway I came away feeling bummed out. I got to thinking am I pricing correctly or not. My base has been $25 since I started around 1.5 to 2 years ago. Some I may be in and out in 35-40min. Am I to High? How do you go about giving an estimate to where you making money but not robbing the person. Plus the other side, you don't want to be losing either. I fairly bummed out about this. I know that some i'm probably losing and others gaining. But I don't want to lose business either. HELP!:confused:


  2. promower

    promower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,232

    Your not to high $25 minimum is totaly reasonable even if it takes you 5 minutes. Its your equipment and overhead, some people cant figure out how much it really cost to run a business. They think you come cut and pocket the $25 and thats it, no other cost, you just made $25 in 30 minutes. Wish that were true I would have a lot more money:D Good luck this year
  3. Patrick Gleason

    Patrick Gleason LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    The hardest part of this business is pricing,and then educating the customer that the lowest price isn't always the lowest price in the long run.Some of the $15.00 cuts per week may end up costing hundreds down the road to straighten out damage caused by the inexperinced operators.Stick to your price if you miss a few you may get them back later on when you are asked to correct their problems caused by that inexperinced operator.
  4. nelbuts

    nelbuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW, FL
    Posts: 1,053

    Interesting thing here when we ask about prices nationwide. First, like many things prices are different depending on what region you live. Out west gas is two bucks a gallon while here ours goes about $1.60.9 and labor is a little cheaper down here. We pay no state income tax while many other states do and oter taxes that we don't have.

    Having said that and not knowing the lawn you looked at, I think $25 should be about right. I never quote a price on this forum as there are a couple of cut throat locals down here that read this forum. I generally do not do by the cut lawns but rather have yearly contract full service clients. There are a few exceptions (5) and I have found that 80' x 120' lots with a home and pool go for about $20 and corner lots go for about $25.

    Again, where you live you should be able to get your price. So don't fret and keep giving the bids as the ones you get will be profitable for you.
  5. Pugsly

    Pugsly LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    i here ya......i'm in the same boat. I'm finally fiquring out that biggest thing to do is stick to your guns!!! If the lady says that's high...tell her have a nice day. because if you accept her $20 month she'll be back with "i got someone that'll do it for $18 and so on.
  6. ConPro

    ConPro LawnSite Member
    Posts: 116

    1. never give a price by phone. If your gonna buy the car, you test drive it, right?
    2. I have too many lawns to do, but I will always bid another. I have $15 weekly lawn cut customers that spend hundreds a year on extras. Never judge a book by its cover.
    3. Always, when possible, use the Jedi mind tricks. "No mam, the price will be $25 for the outstanding job and service I provide."
  7. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,660

    I have a $25 minimum. That is to get me there, drop my trailer and to get the mower on and off the trailer. For you, $20-25 is probably right on, just remember: stick to your estimate. Tell them that the quality job you do is well worth her $25 and you will prove it to her. Maybe tell her you will come out and mow her lawn for 1 or 2 weeks at that price, and if she isn't satisfied with the great job you do, then she can go get the scrub down the road to do it for $10. Be confident in your work, and know that you deserve the money you earn. Not that it is any of her business, but you can explain to her that you put a lot of money into your business by purchasing good equipment that helps to make her lawn look more professional than joe blow down the road with a 21'' crapsman scalper.
  8. LawnGuy73

    LawnGuy73 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,945

    The guy who told her $20 is most likly using his dad's mower and is not a "pro" like us :cool:
  9. hoffmanlandscaping

    hoffmanlandscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 68

    Like everyone else said it hard to say what is high and what is low with out being in your area and seeing the property. But $25 min for my area is low mine is $35 and those yards usually never take more that 30 min. If you feel that your price is fair and that is what you need to charge to make a living stick to it. Its alot better to get turned away 50% of the time than it is busting your butt for minumun wage. Remeber the money that you have in your equipment and the time you are spending. If you stick to your pricing your clientel will grow each year until you don't have time to sleep. Sucess comes with time. Unless that is you hit the lottery:). Good luck and stick to your guns and rember never alway go the extra mile.
  10. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Posts: 269

    I totally agree with what you are saying about pricing jobs. When you quote a price, you want the customer to say yes. But in truth, you really need for about 60% of them to say no. I've been getting about 75% to say yes, which means I'm working too cheap.

    As for me, my goal is to price the work such that I can gross $40 per hour by myself with drive time. My average drive time is about 2 to 3 minutes, so it shouldn't be that hard. It's a very tight route.

    But I'm struggling to make $37 per hour on my Tuesday route and on my Wednesday route I'm struggling to hit $33. (Only 14 customers have signed up since January...I'm starving.)

    I've used the exact same formula to price all my lawns. I measure the square footage with a measuring wheel and quote based on square footage. But on some lawns, I'm grossing over $55 per hour, yet on others, I'm not even hitting $27 per hour.

    I've got to change my formula. Tomorrow, I'll be figuring out a new formula that will take the square footage as a base starting point. If I can't get my 32" Ferris Hydro into the back lawn, there will be an extra charge to drag the 21" off the trailer. If the driveway comes in behind the house from the alley...more money. If the property has too many obstacles per 1,000 sq ft...more money. If the property has too many linear feet of paved edging...more money. If the property has too many low hanging trees (forcing me to walk like a damn monkey)....more money. If the property has fruit bearing trees...more money. Swingset...more money.

    I've learned a lot about this business over the last 120 days. One thing's for sure...when I get off a lawn that pays $26 and I've been there 53 minutes...I'm PI$$ED OFF (at myself).

    For what surely looks like totally unskilled "dumb" labor to the average american, this can be a very challenging business.

    Good luck,
    DFW, TX

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