Help with a price

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jackstraw, Sep 5, 2003.

  1. jackstraw

    jackstraw LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    Hello folks,First I would like to say how helpful this site has been.Ive only been in the lawn care business a few months and really enjoy it.nothing like being your own boss.I currently just have all residential accounts in my neighborhood.My question is about what to charge for an empty lot that this guy needs mowed only once a month.Its about 40 x 80 feet and about a foot high.Tons of weeds and a couple spots that are even higher grown than that .Im really at a loss for what to charge as there will be lots of bagging involved and I have no idea how long it would take.Im sure Ill be able to price it better after I do it once but for the first time ,what would be a good price to give.Thanks a bunch,Josh
  2. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 976

    Jackstraw, that seems to be a normal sized lot in alot of the areas around here. My weekly rate for something like that, since there isn't much trimming, is $25/wk+$15 for bagging=$40. From there figure in how many weeks in month (4 or 5). My question for you is are you going to have to take the clippings with you? I charge a standard dump fee of $40 per truck load. This is where I would sell him on mowing weekly and letting me mulch. Not only is it better for the soil (since mulched grass clippings are one of the best natural fertilizers), but it would be more cost effective for him.

    Sounds to me like he thinks mowing once a month would be a way for him to save money. If you give him a lower price you'll be regretting it after the first month.
  3. Superior Lawns

    Superior Lawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    Hello. I have been in the business 7 years but I am only 22. Over my mowing time, price has been the biggest problem for me over the years. On a job like that, the bagging is going to suck, bad. I would charge $50-60 the first time, then if you are going to do it weekly, it should be too hard. I would charge it at about 30-40 weekly, or 50 bi weekly. if you have any other questions, I would feel free to help you out what i can.

  4. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,977

    40x80? That's a little bitty thing, isn't it? :dizzy:

    Is it close by? How long do you think it would take to do it? You have to have some rough estimate of how long it might take. Is bagging really necessary? It sounds like to me, once it was cut initally, you could get by without cleaning up too much mess. Talk the customer into more frequent cutting. Make it worth their while to do so. In other words, make it damn near the same price for 1 cut (because of all the work) as for 2-3 a month.

    I'll use this for an example, not necessarily an exact scenario.

    A guy comes up and says, "hey, I have a lot over here in Ridgecrest. I need it cut once a month to keep the homeowners association off my butt. That's all it needs to be cut. How much you charge?" I say "sure, I know where it is." It's local in an area we cut in. "I'll go take a look at it." I go by and it's your average 80x120 lot. I call back and say "Mr. Smith, I went by and took a look at your property and I can do it for $75 once a month. But what I would rather do is cut it more often. You can keep the property in a lot better shape this way and keep the association happy at the same time. And the good thing is, it won't cost you anymore. I could do a one time cleanup for $50, then you could just pay $75 a month and I will cut it 3 times a month"
  5. jackstraw

    jackstraw LawnSite Member
    Posts: 6

    yeah thats seems pretty fair.The only problem is its just an empty lot in a blighted neighborhood.I think the owner just is trying to avoid getting fined by the city for it being overgrown.There is no house or anything ,there would be a bit of trimming as the lot is fenced in.Im just so used to residential homes ,something this overgrown just threw me for a loop.Also all I have is a push mower at the time,which will make it a bit difficult on my part.Wonder if trimming the higher spots would make it easier ,then just straight up trying to mow it? Never cut anything this overgrown before.Just trying to get a good estimate to give the customer tommorow. Thanks for your suggestions.
  6. Keith

    Keith LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,977

    If it is that bad, you may be better off leaving this one alone. You hit something solid with that push mower and it might finish it off.
  7. work_it

    work_it LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 976

    If all you have is a push mower don't bother. Even with a 5 or 6hp motor you may end up burning it out.

    I ran across a similar situation in the beginning of the year where the home owner would only cut his vacant lot once a month, and ended up burning out the motors on 2 lawn mowers. He didn't even make it down to the fence one time before having to replace the second mower. What made it worse is the second mower wasn't even his.
  8. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Posts: 776

    Here are my thoughts based on what you have said so far. I know that others on this board will surely not agreee. However it is a way for you to still make money. Offer to go in every time the grass gets to be X" high and hack it down with your trimmer. No clean-up, except for any paved areas and what not. I am just saying that if he wants to be cheap, let him.
  9. GLAN

    GLAN Banned
    Posts: 1,647

    Lots like that have to be done. Not the best work, none the less it is work and needs to be done.

    A foot high is not all that bad. I would imagine you can cut it down and then cut it again making the clippings small enough that removing them may not be necessary.

    What would you charge weekly for lot like with a house? $25 more or less? Why not charge him a full month. Or month and a half.

    Then offer to cut twice a month for $70 or so.
  10. Rick Jones

    Rick Jones LawnSite Senior Member
    from NY
    Posts: 427

    Walk that lawn before you cut and examine it well. If you destroy a mower cutting it, it is a total loss. I agree with the trimmer suggestion. Might take a little longer, but you won't damage it by hitting some 4" stump protruding from the ground that you can't see because the grass is so high. Charge accordingly.

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