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Got a job offer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Kbota, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,670

    "per mowing" is why I always sell a contract.

    Its 30 mows a year, $250 per mow , 7500 total, divided by 7 months $1,071 per month.

    This prevents the EOW switcheroo.

    Oh you want EOW 'suddenly'? thats a whole new contract.

    $550 per mow, 16 mows, $8800 per year, divided by 7 months $1258 per month.

    What? It's not cheaper!..

    No, no it's not.

    IF you don't write contracts for mowingÂ…. ALWAYS quote BOTH on the SAME piece of paper, make them sign the bottom and initial next to their choice.

    $250 for 5-7 day service interval
    $550 for 10-14 day service interval.

    Pick one.
  2. DSLS

    DSLS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    5 acres with a pond ditches and trees really won't take as long as you think. We do properties like that everyday. I've got a 10 acre property with a fence to trim both sides and lots of trees then the house and it takes 5 man hours. Three man hours on 60" mowers and two man hours trimming. 5 of us are in and out in one hour. You should be able to do that job in 4 man hours or less especially after you mow it once or twice even on two week schedule if he wants. The yard of mine I'm referencing is two weeks (bi-monthly). Mow it you will make money. $60.00 or more per hour. The man offering 250. is about right on the price and doesn't seem to be low balling you. That may be the most he can afford and may be the best customer you have you never know. Don't miss the opportunity and not get it for being greedy. Try it out make some money if for some reason it doesn't work talk to him about it and see what happens but I think you'll do well at 250.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. Kbota

    Kbota LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    After some serious thought, I took the job. This has been the lowest wage I've ever earned per hour, after expenses. There was an acre (approximate) where the Bahia was so thick, that I wound up bush hogging it. My 5' finish mower behind a 30 hp diesel tractor wouldn't cut it in first gear. As soon as I realized my error in judgement, I stopped and had a discussion with the landowner. I did not attempt to up the cost, because I had agreed to it, but I had to make sure that his expectations and mine were matched. He understood that this section would not look nice when I was finished, so on that basis I persevered on.
    The Scag Tiger Cat couldn't do it either by the way.
    Anyway, I spent three hours yesterday...5pm until dark (8:15). And another 4 + hours today to complete this job. Burnt 2/3 of a tank of diesel, (6 gallons) and 3 gallons of gas in the Scag to mow the sections that weren't so thick. Plus a half tank of fuel for the Stihl FS80 and a push mower. So with my truck fuel, I'm close to $50 in fuel. Registered 4 hours on the tractor, and 2 hours on the Scag plus push mowing the pond levee, and weed eating the trees. Not sure exactly how to ascertain the value of equipment hours, but I'm scared to do that math. lol.
    Anyway, it was definitely a learning experience. I took the job in good faith, and finished it in good faith. The landowner was happy, and he paid me when it was done. Based on this experience, this job was at least a $300 job.

    I do want to thank everyone for your advice and suggestions. They were more helpful than you realize. Several of you were exactly right, and I should have listened to your experience and wisdom. I now share a small amount of that wisdom. I just wish I didn't have to learn some things the hard way...lol

  4. RedSox4Life

    RedSox4Life LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,480

    Too bad that it didn't work out. Good on you for finishing the job instead of quitting halfway through though. Sometimes in his industry you gotta lose money to maintain your reputation.
    Also good on you for doing the math afterwards and realizing that it wasn't enough money to continue. A lot of guys make the mistake of thinking that $20 or $30 or $40 an hour is a ton of money for this kind of work. These are the guys that go out of business the first time their machine breaks, because they can't afford to fix it.

    Now On to better paying jobs......
  5. Kbota

    Kbota LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    There's no way I could walk away without finishing. I'm a grown man, and my eyes were wide open when I looked at the job. A more experienced lawn guy would have recognized the trouble area, whereas I did not. I honestly thought my finish mower could handle it. I was mistaken. It was simply a part of my ongoing education. At the end of the job when we looked it over, I recommended that as soon as the cut grass dries out, he should cut it again just in an effort to regain control. Probably won't happen though.

    But RedSox, your advice was spot on from the first post.
  6. slowleak1

    slowleak1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 532

    May I ask, what would you have been doing if you hadnt taken this job?
  7. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Posts: 14,132


    I don't agree with RSFL at all. You may have made a mistake in agreeing to do the initial cutting for his price with the equipment that you have now, but I still say that you can make good money on that job per cut (as you stated in your OP) at that price once the initial cutting was done.

    That is, unless it is going to be that bad every time, in which case it probably won't be cut more than twice per year. If so, it is not a job worth taking on in for that price unless you get the correct tool for the rear of your tractor,ie; bush hog or better yet, a flail mower.
  8. Kbota

    Kbota LawnSite Member
    Posts: 24

    Slowleak; I would have been home working in my garden, or cleaning my shop. The results of either of those efforts would have been worth more than the $8 an hour I figure I made on this job. I doubt I could have found anyone to do either of those for that low a wage, plus they would have done it wrong....lol

    Ridin Green; While I stop at calling it a mistake, it was not one of my smarter decisions. I completely misread the time required to get'er done. After we had settled up, we had a discussion about the next mowing, where I mentioned that I couldn't do it for this price next time. His thoughts were that if he couldn't get it done for that price, he would buy his own mower. I just said, "that's certainly your call", but I cannot do this job with my equipment for that pay. He'll probably find someone else next time...which is fine. It's worth $300 if it's worth anything, for the condition it was in. If he has it mowed more often, then maybe. But there are a limited number of guys mowing grass who will make the same mistake I did.

    my 2 c
  9. Ridin' Green

    Ridin' Green LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Michigan
    Posts: 14,132

    What I was saying is that if you took the job not knowing for sure if you could make money on it, it may(I did say may in my previous post) have been a mistake to do it for that price, but.....

    you may want to look at it instead as a fairly inexpensive learning experience/lesson that will help you with your business decisions in the future. That's a small price to pay for a good education IMO. We all have made mistakes on estimating what a job will take to do, so don't feel like you're alone. Anyone who says thay never have is lying.

    Also, since you have a CUT, you may want to keep an eye open for a good used flail mower for these kind of jobs in the future. They do a much better job of shredding the material than a bush hog or an over worked finish mower, and will take less time and power to do it than the finish mower by far.
  10. AI Inc

    AI Inc LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 25,390

    education aint cheap

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