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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Kbota, Aug 5, 2014.
Because after the bills are paid its about $10 an hr.
Flails are expensive to buy and operate compared to a rotary. Most people aren't willing to pay for it
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In the last few years I've found several flail mowers in great condition for very good prices, and close to the same money as a rotary cutter in the same condition. Deals are there to be had, but you have to keep your eyes open and be ready to jump when you see them. They may cost more to run than a rotary cutter, but if they are the correct tool to make you money...............
Strange that most won't bid over the phone, but will tell this person how to bid over the Internet. How big is the pond? We don't know. How many shrubs? We don't know. How many trees? We don't know. What kind of grass? We don't know. Rough terrain? We don't know. Would the mower get bogged down in the wet ditch? We don't know
Charles, you are 100% correct. Heck,...I looked at it, walked it, and still couldn't get it right. Now,..did I lose my butt? No,...but I couldn't make a living doing it for that price. But I'm a little wiser today. Hindsight is a great teacher, and hindsight says I should have passed....but then I wouldn't be a little wiser would I?
That's a fact, not a soul here can claim they ain't never been through it, and had you not took the job you'd be none the wiser so I am glad you took it and took care of it too, because I'm telling you... EVERYBODY can talk the talk...
But how do you think any of them learn to walk the walk?
You know, it takes time, years in my case...
But today, after many a many situations just like yours and then some blood and sweat soaked tears?
I'm the guy 'offering' the $250 job, if you get my drift.
Hang in there, it gets better in time.
This one wasn't expensive.
I'm glad to see you did exactly what I recommended, namely mow for the $250 and then go from there regarding price. I agree from your description that $250 is probably not enough, but, to be honest, I don't necessarily agree with your math. If you actually believe you made less than $8 per hour for this job, why would another $50 make it desirable?
If your total expenses were $100, and you spent a full 7 hours on the job, that still works out to over $20 an hour profit.
Neil, I guess the $/hr of my labor would depend on what value is given to a Grand L Kubota tractor/hr, and what value is given to a Scag/hr. To arrive at that number you have to know the expected life of the Equipment. Then the operating and maintenance costs must be added to the purchase cost, then divided by the lifespan.
Good equip is expensive. Maintenance is expensive. For example, my tractor has 800 hours on it, so I need to change the hydraulic fluid and filter. Just the hyd oil is over $200. I could sit down and mathematically arrive at a close $/hr for each piece of equipment, but I'm not in a regular lawn business, although I do a job occasionally to earn a little extra. I'm retired and on a fixed income, and I like to stay busy. I just did a swag at the equipment value/hr. Honestly, I'm not sure what I actually made for my labor.
It was an interesting job, and it will pay for the tractors hydraulic system maintenance. And I really enjoyed reading the different comments and suggestions from the guys here. I learned something from each comment, and I learned from doing the job.
Kbota, I see where you are coming from. If it is any help, I figure my costs to operate a commercial zero turn (I run Gravely) is in the $15 per hour range. This includes fuel, routine maintenance and depreciation. I generally trade every 2 years so as to keep my mowers under full warranty, so my depreciation is probably more than someone who keeps a mower several years, but, I generally have little to no repair costs.
As for costs to run a tractor, I haven't a clue, but I do know depreciation is much less. A twenty year old tractor will still have lots of value if it is well maintained. Most twenty year old zero turns will already be scrapped well before then.
Neil, your analysis is pretty good. And yes most quality tractors will outlive a ZTR. My tractor has 800 hours on it. I've maintained it well. It's barely broken in. With good maintenance, it will easily go 4000 hours and then could be sold for 50% of what it cost. One of the unique things about tractor values is the non linear depreciation line. After about 2000 hours or 20 years, the value hardly drops anymore. Several variables there though. It's all about condition then...kind of like an old Ford Falcon. Man, when I was in high school, I wanted a Falcon Sprint so bad I could taste it. Found one for $600 in cherry condition. Only problem was....the old pockets were empty. I saw one like it on eBay the other day....$9400. And then there was that old mustang...
Ahem....sorry...I figure the tractor should be worth $40/hr. The Scag should be worth 10-15, and then there's the trimmer, push mower, truck, trailers, insurance, labor (mine again) to pressure wash all the equipment, sharpen blades, grease etc.... This list could go a while... There's cell phones, business cards, cost estimates....after all, doing cost estimates is only free to the customer right? safety glasses, pens, pencils....etc... Somehow, all that stuff has to be accounted for in a successful business. After those sunk costs are reconciled, then I get whatever is left....until my wife wants to go out for dinner. Oh well, hard for a working man to get ahead ain't it? And Neill, respectfully, I understand I've been preaching to the choir...lol