How to charge for lawn care

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by superdave2357, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. superdave2357

    superdave2357 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    I live in Norfolk, VA and I would like to find out how much to charge people to mow,edge and line trim there yard. I have heard about $20 an hour for about 1/3 acre, and what about bush trimming
    David
     
  2. dKoester

    dKoester LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,242

    Nope!!!!!!!! 1/4 acre's range 40-45. You get stuck in the Norfolk traffic. 20$ an hour,Your kidding. We make over a $100 an hour. Someone lied to you bud. We work in Norfolk, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach and P Town. Go to O.D.U. and get a degree in business management. It will help alot. Have you ever worked for a landscape firm? If not, go get some experience.
     
  3. Grass-Masters

    Grass-Masters LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 424

    I base my pricing on how long it takes to complete it. $1.00 per minute is par me everybody is different.
     
  4. lawnwizards

    lawnwizards LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,434

    very very low. you need to shoot for atleast 50-60 per hour or it will be a waste of your time. also, dont waste your time with bush trimming. no one wants to pay what its worth.
     
  5. Manicured

    Manicured LawnSite Member
    Posts: 18

    Superdave2357,

    I see that this was your first post. Welcome! I have always tried to help anyone who I feel asks a good question. I think that dKoester's responce was a little harsh. If dKoester would like to come back into this discussion maybe he could share his long list of 4 and 5 year degrees with all of us. I am sure it would be impressive.

    I have been in business for a little over ten years my friend. I have only a 2 year degree in criminal justice and have done just fine. However, it might be a good idea for you to take short evening classes on payroll and book keeping. I guess what I am trying to say is how you manage your money is just as important as how much a person makes. Most lawn care businesses go under because of how they track, manage and spend their income.

    Now to answer your question. I charge 45.00 per hour if I am working be myself. 30.00 per hour per man (including myself) for mowing or any task that requires operating gas equipment. 25.00 per man per hour if we are just doing grunt work. Also, I charge for gas if necessary for the travel costs. The secret to being sucessful in lawn care is to keep your clients close. One of the best and healthest words you can learn to say is a polite no thank you. As for as shrubby trimming goes I charge according to the rate quoted above. If I trim shrubs for one hour with one employee I would charge 65.00
    for the job (thats if I didn't drive far). I love the lawn care companies who refuse to trim shrubs or don't remove leaves because it allows me to grow my business with little marketing expence.

    Good luck!
     
  6. Big C

    Big C LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,641

    Man..... take it easy...the guy was on asking a question?
     
  7. mtnzone

    mtnzone LawnSite Member
    Posts: 201

    hi ill chime in.... even though I dont live in your area. I still think your very low for the work.. I like to, "actually have too" make at least $65 an hour to make any money.

    Think about your $20 and hour a little bit.. your travel to get to property is going to eat some gas even if it is a gallon that is $4 right there.. your mower is going to eat gas about a gallon that is $4.. not to mention your trimmer's gas for the property another $2, possibly blower for driveways walkways $2. with these expenses your already down $12.. now can you live on $8 and hour??? If so then find an easier job, because we havent even taken into consideration the money needed for upkeep of your equipment and the inevitable breakage that will occur. Also the fact that you need to purchase the equipment. You will probably say "but I already have it" while that may be true Im willing to bet it is residential equipment and or used equipment. If either is the case please refer back to my above sentence about upkeep and breakage because that is exactly what is going to have to you screaming at the top of your lungs when your bank account is in the negative. And we havent even taken into account the insurance needed for this type of business and licenses for the state if you want to be legal..

    if you take all these factors into account and there are others this is just the tip of the iceberg.. then that $20 you just earned for the hours worth of work is now gone, as a matter of fact you would be better off just taking out your wallet and handing the owner some money and walking away.

    Not trying to sound harsh but really sit down and formulate a budget of exactly what you will need to make just to break even..be honest with yourself, and if you are you will be alarmed at how low your first estimate is.
     
  8. mikewhit1010

    mikewhit1010 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 394

    I think its great that you are trying to join the industry and that you are trying to learn. However if you dont know how pricing works you will end up hurting yourself. My opinion is price what you need. Meaning if your over head is high then price higher and so on.

    Learn how to price by maybe working with another company. If you dont have any idea how to price now I seriously think at 20 an hour you will put yourself under.
     
  9. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,273

    Before you start estimating any jobs you need to sit down and figure out your costs. You need to think about fuel to get to the job, fuel for the mowers and other equipment, insurance costs, maintenance/unexpected repairs, and a profit for yourself. Best of luck.
     
  10. Big C

    Big C LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,641

    ^^^^^^Damn good advise^^^^^^
     

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