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Lawn Mowing Rates

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Mystic, May 1, 2003.

  1. Mystic

    Mystic LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 7

    :blob3: I'm kind of new to the professional lawn care business. This is my second year and obviously I wish to do things right. I am filing all taxes (yes I know....kinda stupid, but legit), and I did purchase my vendors license so I am in the "legitimate stack of professionals." Now for my question. It's about pricing. For mowing I'm charging $3.00 per 1000 square ft., and labor rate for spring and fall clean ups are $25.00 per man/per hour. Does this seem like a fair price or am I taking a bath? I do not want to work for free, but I also do not wish to be the most expensive company in town. Any input would be greatly appreaciated. Thank you.
    Neil Bauman from Classic Lawn Care

    "Professional Lawn Care with a Personal Touch"
  2. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,035

    As far as your mowing rate, it depends on what size lawns you're doing and the quality of your work. Most of mine are 20K and up and there's no way I could get $60 for 1/2 acre or $120 for an acre.

    As far a your clean-up rate, it depends on what equipment you're using. My rate is about double yours, but that gets you me, my 48 inch mower with bagger, 10 HP blower, BP blower, handheld blower/shredder vac and one intense dude who works fast.
  3. Mystic

    Mystic LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 7

    :blob3: Darryl,
    Thank you for the fast reply. I do have 12 years experience working for another company starting from simple laborer, to crew chief, to manager. Now I own my own and I am using:
    2000 Ford F-250 4 X 4 (w/ an 8' Meyer snowplow)
    24' Haulmark enclosed trailer
    Bunton 54" w/ a 17hp Kawasaki engine
    Bunton 36" w/ a 13hp Honda engine (great motor!)
    2 Echo BP400 Commercial B.P. blowers
    2 Echo straight shaft line trimmers
    Snapper 21" mower
    Little Wonder Edger
    Little Wonder 11 hp roller blower
    Echo Hedge Trimmer
    Assorted hand equipment

    Tools are there and so is the motivation as well as talent...I just want to make sure that a fair price is there as well.
  4. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,035

    In that case, your cleanup rate seems way low, at least in my area. I don't do ANYTHING for under $35/hour. All that will get you is me, hand tools and a wheel barrow. It goes up from there if I'm running power tools.
  5. Shuter

    Shuter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,171

    You can charge as high as you want as long as the market will bear it and you keep the customers happy. You have to remember, that you have to split up your hourly rates many ways. You first have to pay yourself, then maintain the equipment and vehicles, everyday costs like fuel, and also be saving some money for when no money may be coming in or slow times. Also I like to put some money towrds future equipment up grades.
  6. Auroris

    Auroris LawnSite Member
    Posts: 155

    I, for one, have been frustrated time after time... kicking myself in the rear after underbidding or underestimating a cleanup.

    When just starting out on your own license, it can take a while to get a feel for rates unless you have worked with or for someone and know what they're getting.

    I was at $25 per man-hour... and that was for me & my equipment. Boy, now that was too low! Upped it to $35, and now I think it's am still too low.
  7. gardenpro

    gardenpro LawnSite Member
    from -
    Posts: 90

    I was once taught, and believe it to this day, that you should get 50% of the jobs you bid for. You're no trying to underbid but rather get what it's worth. You should be picky. Show them what You have to offer. Don't start off being below the local standard it's nearly impossible to get out of the rut, when most customers are referrals you're screwed.
  8. dmk395

    dmk395 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 993

    With your experience you should be charging at a bare minimum of $35 per hour. You can probably get $40 or more
  9. Mystic

    Mystic LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 7

    :blob3: Thank you all for your replies. I will immediatly bump my labor rate up to $35 per man/per hour. Do you feel that $3.00 per 1000 sq. ft. for cutting is fair or too low as well? I did work for someone else for 12 years but I never got into the pricing aspect. I was the "oversee-er". Thanks again!
  10. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,035

    Mystic - Hard to say about your per foot cutting rate...depends on the size of the lawn and lots of other factors.

    I would suggest that you set a minimum rate per lawn (mine is $30) and base your pricing on what will gross you what you need to make per hour. So if you're looking to make $35/hour and the lawn will take 1 hour, price it at $35. If it's only going to take 1/2 hour, price it at your minimum.

    Hope this helps.

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