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Just Started my Own Business- Pricing large yards and commercials.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by smc1984, Oct 8, 2006.

  1. smc1984

    smc1984 LawnSite Member
    from sc
    Posts: 6

    Hello all, I sure hope some here can lend some helpful insight. I just recently jump started my own lco. After working for a outfit that rode me like a mule for 2 years. I thought i knew enough to just work for my self. I was luckily enough to start with 9 yards that are 40 to 55 each in my neighborhood. Recently I have been asked alot for pricing other homes. I thought i had the pricing down to a science. however, im discovering that the yards are either so bad- some havent been cut all year! or these yards are way larger than the ones i been doing.
    seeing as I really didnt understand the lco comp. i worked for about pricing, I learn most for it from here. Now Im worried.. i may have been lead astray?

    I try to use .006 to .0075 x sq ft= price. but, when useing this method on 1acre lots of 45,000 + sq ft lots the prices are so high people are like ...pfftt ..no thanks..lol
    Example: 45,225 x .006 =$270.00. one particular lot is a corner lot with ditches on two sides that are grown up with crap. it will take approx extra hour per ditch to complete. i figgured that an extra $50 would be fair. which brings it to $320. what do you think? Am i been greedy?? or have I missed somthing? am I not taking into account no travel time ?

    a small business asked me to price there 19,000 sq ft , so i did... at .006 which i like for all my yards to be edged and weed eated and blown! they looked like as if I gave the price of a new car! what gives.. ? I'm careful not to under price my competition. but I must be doing somthing wrong? should I use .003 or .004 well heck can i just do it for free:dizzy: :hammerhead:
  2. Poncho25

    Poncho25 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 369

    I am not one to give advice as I am still learning myself. But it seems that your formula is fair. If your in business now for yourself you have insurance and the like so those are expenses that you have to cover. Don't get discouraged, you will get alot of tilted heads, but stay strong with your price and be confident in what your offering...Your not just the guy who takes care of someones yard anymore, your the salesman, the customer service rep and the one who is doing the work...so stand strong. I have won quite a few bids based on the fact of how I sold myself to the client and have been told that. If you give them a price and its not confident sounding, they will question it knowing you probably will back down in price.

    ANyway I am sure there are alot more exp people here willing to toss their thoughts in this, Good Luck and keep your head up.

    BUCKEYE MOWING LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,169

    Only you know what you need to make to cover expenses and what your overhead is....What is your time worth ?? What is your comp. charging ?? I would think that approx. $60 an acre then add say $25 for each additional acre....and down ssize from there ..I have a $30 min. and prob. avg. in the mid to high $30's on houses...commercials are another story all together...just know your costs and DO NOT LOWBALL
  4. Grass Kickin

    Grass Kickin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 167

    I'm not to sure about your formula. I try not to get too technical when giving quotes. I take into consideration the area where I'm working. I currently have about 70 accounts most are small residential. I do have some larger farm type accounts which are several acres each. My general rule is 35.00 per acre and add 10.00 to trim per acre unless it is crazy. This genrally works out to be about $150 to 180 per cut for my accounts. I'm in Florida. I'm sure in some areas prices are much higher but I can only speak for myself.
  5. smc1984

    smc1984 LawnSite Member
    from sc
    Posts: 6

    well just when i thought i had this down .... I my overhead is low, I have 6k invested. if you include my truck thats 12k invested. I try to do very good quality I always do my best no matter the the lawn. yes I seems to get calls from the ones that one one else wants to do.

    30. dollars per acre?? mercy... An acre is 43,560 sq feet. under the pricing your doing thats is .00066 cents per sq ft??? I was under the impression that an 5000 sq ft lawn would be around 29.99. which would be 0.0059 or to round it up it would be .006 per sq ft.

    Buck Eye... $60 per acre = .0013 per sq ft.
    My thinking is flawed some how.. which shouldnt be a surprise to me. I thought i has this down to a science.

    arggg..getting so confused... if only i had paid more attention to the pricing structure with the lco i was with. :confused:
    I'm not trying to argumentative Please be patient with me.. the yards I have now they avg. between 15000 to 18000 sq ft. which range from 40 to 55 dollars. which I inherited from someone that use to cut them.. and didnt want em anymore to far to travel , and it a kinda a small town with a bunch of elderly folks. I figure they were a little on the cheep side.. but i needed them.
    thanks for your help-I realize yall dont want to give away the trade secrets.. however if someone would have mercy for a hard working- honest- dad with screaming kids:hammerhead: to come home to.. I would greatly thank thee.
  6. Grass Kickin

    Grass Kickin LawnSite Member
    Posts: 167

    SMC, I hear what you are saying but when you figure in the tirmming, now you are talking about 40 to 45 per acre. I simply don't get the square foot figures. There is little chance any of us even know the true footage. I figure it out my way and I'm happy.

    Remember what I said about the demographics of the area you are cutting. I'm charging more in areas where the houses are more expensive and taking a little less in lower income areas. I don't think any of us would take on a job not getting what we really wanted to get paid for it. I know I won't.

    I think in general, the formula is flawed. Also take into consideration what you are using to cut, how much time will it take you....etc. I work with another guy, my brother in law. On a typical job we do on Friday, we have a 3 acre farm that we bang out in 1 hour and get paid 150.00 plus a 25 dollar tip. This is mostly straight open cutting, trim around the house, blow and edge every other week(only a small cement driveway.) I think we make out pretty well.
  7. mojob

    mojob LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 515

    Figure out what you need/want to make per hour to cover your costs and make a profit. It sounds like you've been doing this long enough to know how much time it will take at each job and then just do the math. ($ x Time = price).
  8. huh

    huh LawnSite Senior Member
    from Lubbock
    Posts: 251

    one thing you need to consider is that windshield time is the same for a drive to a 100 sqft yard as it is for an acre

    also some overhead like office space ect. can cost about the same for an acre as for the 100 SQFTer....It would cost you the same to have an office employee take a call no matter the size of the property

    while your small equipment cost should be about the same per square foot because when it runs it cost you in wear and fuel.....your large equipment cost like truck and trailer stay about the same PER client (this is the min gate drop charge debate on this forum)

    so if you get 35 for 3 postage stamps not on the same street you could go down to 28 X 3 for a property that is the same size as 3 postage stamps, but requires only one "gate drop"....so the difference would be 35X3 = 105 or 28X3 = 84.....then you can look and say 105-84 = 21 and ask yourself does it take me 21 dollars of time and expense to move between the three seperate postage stamps or does it take a bit more or a bit less time and try and adjust your bid for the larger single property based on that

    hope this helped somewhat....good luck on the business and the kids :laugh:

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