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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Dingo, Feb 15, 2000.
Home Depot also carries them.
TGC, Thanks for bringing up these old posts and reading the archives before you ask questions! I wish the rest of these new guys would do the same. I kinda want to put my 2 ANAL cents in on measuring out and estimating jobs. If you don't mind taking the time, you can pin point down to the minute how long a job will take. Get your measuring wheel and measure all the turf areas in Sq Ft. Figure out how many SqFt you can cut with your 61", 48", or 22", because it will take different times with different mowers. Next take your wheel again and run it along anywhere you'd trim, along buildings, sidewalks, around trees, etc. Figure out how long it takes you to trim by the foot. Now measure all the paved areas you'll have to blow off, and figure out how long it takes you to blow per sq. ft. This will work for anything else you want to add also, edging, weeding, etc. You'll be super accurate with this and be able to see your profit a lot clearer.<p><br>I think Homer brought up how to figure out how much your equipment costs to run per hour. Heres an example:<p>Price paid for mower: $2,000.00<br>Expected maintenance over x hours you expect to get out of the machine, lets just make up a number cause it will vary greatly depending on your machine: $500.00<br>Fuel cost over x hours $500.00<br>Resale value after you put x ammount of hours on the machine $700.00<p>Now lets see: $2,000.00 new machine<br> +$ 500.00 repairs/Maint<br> +$ 500.00 fuel<br> -----------<br> $3,000.00 expenses<br> -$ 700.00 resale value<br> ------------<br> $2,300.00 total expense over x hours<p>now to find out how much per hour, just divide $2,300 by x hours = how much it costs you every hour that equipment is running. <p>It takes a while to figure it out with maintenance and fuel costs, etc, but it leaves very very little room for error when your bidding or costing a job. IT WILL PAY IN THE END!!!<p>Hope it helped a little.<p><p>----------<br><a href="http://communities.msn.com/guidosequipmentpics/">"Guido"</a><br>David M. Famiglietti
Plus you have to factor in the costs of your trimmer, edger, and blower and time spent with each, right? Whew...<p>I've been in business for myself about six years, and before that was with this company (my father's) another eleven. Still, I'm looking at it as if I'm just starting. I've learned more in the last several weeks than in the last 17 years combined, and that's not an exaggeration.<p>Essentially, I'm tearing this thing down and rebuilding it from the ground up. Your facts and figures will help immensely, Guido, and I plan to start implementing them (or similar) ASAP. In fact, I'm working on notices this weekend that I'll be handing out to 20 longtime customers this week, essentially rebidding their jobs or dropping my service. Some of them work out so low that my profit is too embarassing to mention.<p>Some of 'em I pay for the privelage to mow. Again, that's not a joke.<p>It's easy to rebid their jobs, however, since I already know how long it takes (with my 21", that is. I'll rebid all jobs with that machine in mind, taking the extra profit my larger machine will give as I learn it more and more...), so it's a piece o' cake.<p>Once again, and I hope you folks don't get tired of hearing this, but thanks for all your thoughts and ideas. As I rebuild this cesspool of scrubitity my father left me, I'll keep you informed on how well I'm doing (or not doing as the case may be!).<p>Now, I've got some equip maintenance to do!<p>-TGC
Guido,<br>Thanks for your post. I was going to buy one of the books mentioned on this site all the time so I could figure out how to figure out my equipment costs. Now I can save that $ a little bit longer. LOL. I also like your idea of expanding the great mowing measurementprice calculations mentioned earlier in the thread to include the trimming & blowing measurements. What a great thread.
BRL - Slow Down man, you got it all wrong! You should still buy the books!!!!. Actually I think those cost estimating techniques were in them, but I learned how to do that about 3 years or so back from a Walker Talk advertisement magazine!!(Vol. 10)<p>Believe it or not!! It explains it pretty good in there.<p>Those books are a great source of knowledge and can really help you alot, ESPECIALLY with the biz side of the industry. Although you can probobly find most of the stuff in bits and pieces around here, The books are filtered out and the good stuff is in order, inside. It also kind of straightens out the jagged lines. I hope you understand. Thanks for the compliment though, but I'm just trying to pass on some info! I sure as hell can't take credt for making it all up!<p>Hope this helped though!<br><p>----------<br><a href="http://communities.msn.com/guidosequipmentpics/">"Guido"</a><br>David M. Famiglietti
Don't get me wrong, I'm still buying the books! You just helped me with my most pressing question, so I can save that $ for another week or 2.
It's oldies night here at Guido's Pad, so heres another one I think will benefit some of you new guys a bit.
Hope it helps!
When I read all these posts, I couldn't believe the number of people who criticized guys like me for using a measuring wheel. ??? If you want to eyeball it, go right ahead. I did that too. Then I realized there had to be a better way.
I can tell you this: If you used CLIP or some kind of spreadsheet to "crunch" the numbers on time, area, and all that, you'd have a pretty good idea how long it will take to do any size yard. It took a lot of playing with it, but I came up with a reliable formula. I got the idea from the UPS guy that used to pick up where I worked. UPS did "time studies" to see how long EVERY STEP the driver took. If it's good enough for UPS, I can use it too.
Also, I've had several new clients tell me that the reasons they chose me over cheaper guys was 1. the wheel, 2. our uniforms. They told me it looked very professional. Ever hear you never get a second chance to make a first impression? Duh.
I'm a little curious: How many of you guys use 21" mowers for the bulk of your mowing? I have one too, but I'd rather get kicked in the grapes than use only that.
Until about two months ago, I used only a 21" for about six years (in business for myself) and for 11 years before that for the previous business owner. Now I use an Exmark 36" Turf Tracer HP and *hate* to pull out the ol' 21". If I could find a commercial mower around 28" or so with the power of the bigger machines, I'd retire my 21" come Spring ... forever ...