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Kids and Pricing

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Revival1906, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. Revival1906

    Revival1906 LawnSite Member
    from Alabama
    Posts: 44

    Okay, let me first state that you guys are great. I have learned a great deal from this website. I have two topics I would like constructive feedback on: How do you think customers would react to kids working for my lawn care business and what do you think about my first stab at pricing?

    Background info: I am a relatively new stepdad of three boys (ages 13, 13, 9) and a girl (5). My purposes for starting this lawn care business are to: teach the boys how to earn a living versus being handed everything, earn some extra cash working part-time, grow the business over time so they may have something in the future, and become less dependent on my 8 to 5 career. Also, I love working outdoors. Twins only mow and load/unload the trailer, 9 yr old is just a "gofer" and also watches the trailer and equipment for me.

    Equipment: I already know from reading many posts on this site that I have purchased very basic equipment (all of which came from Lowe’s) that must be upgraded at some point to commercial equipment and the very short lifespan of it. I am going to use what I have to get things started since I already spent the money and the twins probably couldn’t handle the high-powered stuff anyway. Here’s what I have:

    two 21” 6.75hp Self-propelled mulching mowers (Troy-bilt and John Deere)
    two blowers (one gas, one electric…no backpack)
    Black & Decker electric trimmer/edger (going to get a commercial gas one this weekend)
    3,000 psi Troy-Bilt Pressure Washer
    a very old Craftsman Bush Whacker
    125E Husqvarna gas Edger
    5 x 8 Trailer (open)
    16’ ladder (folds down to 4’for transport)
    Measuring Wheel (thanks to poster from previous thread)

    Legitimacy: I have acquired a business license, LLC designation, Quickbooks software, spoke to an agent about insurance, and printed up business cards. Haven’t advertised though.

    Pricing: (Just a stab at it from a newbie)
    Basic Service (mowing, trimming hedges, and blowing clippings)
    ¼ acre - $50 (those very small yards)
    ½ acre - $75
    1 acre - $100
    1 ½ acres - $150
    2 acres - $200

    Additional Services (plus basic)
    Edging $20 (sidewalk, walkways)
    Gutter Cleaning $50
    Leaf Cleanup $75 (is this simply gathering and bagging leaves?)
    Pressure Washing $150 (sidewalks, walkways, driveway)

    Are these prices high, low, okay or totally the wrong approach to begin with?
    Would customers look down on me since I have kids helping?
  2. noseha

    noseha LawnSite Senior Member
    from MI
    Posts: 554

    Can't You Afford A Baby Sitter? The Last Thing I Would Ever Do Is Let A 9 Yr Old On My Job Suit, No Matter What! Whats The Min Work Age In Your State? You Will Have To Get Ins. Your Mowing And Power Washing Price Is To High And Your Price On The Rest Are To Low.edging Should Be Included With Your Mowing And Trimming
  3. Sandgropher

    Sandgropher LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 909

    I think the kids will be fine, theres a lot of kids on here that run there own lawn care business's ( if own is the correct legal term) what is true is a lot have 20 or more clients and there do every things them selves exept drive themselves to the job, i understand you will be working with the so thats even better, leave the 9 year old as the guard dog till he is older to take an active part in the business, good luck :laugh:
  4. Matts lawn care

    Matts lawn care LawnSite Senior Member
    from MD
    Posts: 829

    for the leaf removel u should get about $75 or more an hour (if ur using 2 push mowers i wouldent doanything bigger than a acre)
    for the mowing a 1/2 acre is about 40 around me lowest price is 35 for like 1/4
    dont know much about presure warshing but charge by square foot u could end up charging 150 for a 500ft drive and like 150ft of side walk. good luck

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    Some people want a professional landscape maintenance company to maintain and keep the turf, beds, leaves, plants and soil, healthy and manicured. They pay top dollar for top service,
    Some people just want the kid down the street to cut the grass and expect to get that service at a low cost.
    I believe that most people will look at your "business" as just that - a school for teaching the kids some good work ethics and a way for them to get the grass cut cheap.
    There will be some people that feel sorry for your family having so little money that they all have to work to help Dad support.
    There is a good side to this--as other people drive down the street with their kids they will use you as an example of why the kids should do good in school and go to college,
    I am not trying to get down on you but really believe this will be the impression you give
  6. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,219

    i think the cutting is a little high and could come down also on the leaf removal charge a 60-80$$$ removal fee if youre hauling all that away
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I'm with pmlawn on this one, but either way you look at it I think it's always going to be a split between the pros and the cons and in that sense your business will likely suffer as such.
  8. TripleD'sInc

    TripleD'sInc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    The prices depend on your area and competition pricing. As for the kids I use my 16 and 11 year old son's to help out on Saturdays and when there is no school. I only do this part time and have 38 accounts, my full time job is in Law Enforcement. I started into this business with the intention of giving my two sons something to have later in case they do not get into another profession. I plan on retiring from my full time job in 12 more years and will only be 48 so I will still be young enough to get out there (hopefully). All of my clients do not mind the kids helping and it gives them some responsibility. I was fortunate enough to be able to buy all commercial grade equipment when I started. I'm not saying buying equipment from Lowe's is not good but it probably will not last that long depending how many accounts you have and how much you use it (but you have to start some where). Its always a learning experience as you grow and your prices may need to go up depending on how much time your spending, remember its all about profit.
  9. noseha

    noseha LawnSite Senior Member
    from MI
    Posts: 554

    yes, i would have to agree with both, topsites & pmlawn they have hit on something to think about as will.
  10. Bel Air Bob

    Bel Air Bob LawnSite Member
    Posts: 84

    You will need some trial & error experience to get good at pricing. A couple things to keep in mind, if you get every job u bid, u r not charging enough & need to raise prices. Also, you can't set prices based just on lawn size, and while size is part of it, it's not proportionately higher as you get larger, i.e. 1/2 acre not usually twice price and 1 acre 4X price.....it's all about time. You look at job and figure how much time it will take to calculate price. I have lots of people add on to house or put in pool etc, and think maybe I will lower price because they have less yard to mow. Truth is, it usually ends up taking me longer to do job. I have more trimming etc. For example, take a lot 75 x 75 ft square and drop a house on it. It's less grass, but I am betting I can cut it quicker with no house, even before the trimming. The prices u mentioned do seem a bit high, but you will learn soon enough. If you get 10 calls and get no jobs, you're too high. 10 calls and get all 10, ur too low. u want something in between...good luck

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