Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by KB Klippers, May 28, 2006.

  1. KB Klippers

    KB Klippers LawnSite Member
    Posts: 64

    What do you guys use to measure jobs with? How do you come up with square footage? Do you ever "eyeball" a job?


  2. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Measuring wheel at Home Depot, will cost around 20 or so last time I checked. Some guys use a range finder so they don't have to walk, nevertried that myself. After enough time you will be able to eyeball it but still measure when using materails.
  3. KB Klippers

    KB Klippers LawnSite Member
    Posts: 64

    After reading my post, I just want to let everyone know that length x width gives square footage...hehe...I'm just curious about the tools and methods used to estimate.
  4. PastyWhite

    PastyWhite LawnSite Member
    from Jax, FL
    Posts: 56

    I just bought a measuring wheel from Lowe's yesterday. I'm just getting in the biz and my first jobs are next week. I figure it will keep me from screwing myself and hopefully customers will see that I'm trying to be honest by not just eyeballing.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I use a handy online guide but keep in mind it is only a guide, you still have to look at the property because the guide gives you the total size of the lot (including house, driveways, woods, etc) so the total lot size is NOT the grass area but this is very nice:

    Enter the street number + name, and zip.
    I use that a lot, if nothing else it helps me keep my mind sharp.
  6. All_Clear

    All_Clear LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 443

    As mentioned i have a measuring wheel also... Lately i haven't been using it... I just walk the property and name my price. Everyone i have been talking with lately basically doesn't care what it cost (within reason) because they can't get the other LCO's to return calls. Which works for me. If i feel unsure I'll break out the wheel tho. Besides pricing by sq ft. is still just an estimate, since there will be things you may over look from time to time, extra or missed trimming or what have you. I am feeling more confident in just walking the property, speaking with the homeowner and pricing it... the first few yards, i measured everything :dizzy:

    All Clear
  7. leadarrows

    leadarrows LawnSite Senior Member
    from N/A
    Posts: 925

    I use a wheel for most jobs. I needed some measurements of the distance from my barnyard to the surrounding properties for the zoning board last winter and I didn't want to walk all of them. So I borrowed a friends range finder he uses when hunting. Worked very well for when you don't need to be exact. I was able to take all the readings I needed from three locations. For large jobs it seems ideal. Then I just used paint to put them on the picture. Now if I ever want to know again I have it on file.

    Property lines to neighbors.jpg
  8. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    For mowing, I can't really see a dire need for a measuring wheel. There are just too many other factors to determine the cost, that the sq. footage plays a smaller role. I used to use one all the time when I first started. I was out measuring a seniors apartment complex with a friend of mine who does chemical (mentor). He always paced areas out. He told me. "Here...You go take your time consuming toy, and measure out these areas over here. After that, you measure out these areas here that I will be measuring."
    When I was done, I went back to the truck to give him my measurements. After that, I gave him the square footage that I came up with for the second areas he told me to do. Guess what? He was right on,...and done in alot less time. He told me that as long as you know your pace, (you train yourself to take 1 yd. paces), you can measure ANYthing much faster. I now use the same method. After awhile, many times, you can LOOK at something from a bit of a distance and know that it is 3 or 4 (or however many) paces across without even measuring it.
    Now, as far as "eyeballing" a job goes, yes. It can be done, and I do it all the time. I can LOOK at a lot and tell that it's about 1/2 acre, or a little bigger or smaller. There are a few things that you look out for that can be decieving, but after you learn these, you can tell. Generally, most lots in a subdivision are the same size (except the obvious double lots) and the corner lots which are usually bigger. You can't really deduct th small areas of turf that are gone, because they are MORE than made up for with other labor intensity. For instance, a small garage out back. While there id no turf there, there is STILL four sides that now need to be trimmed, and an obstacle that is stopping some rows. In many cases like this, it would be faster and less labor to just have grass there to cut. You have to price that accordingly. Also, always remember to factor in your fencelines, sheds, clothesline poles, trees, beds, barbeques, birdbaths, mother in law's lawn chair, etc..:)
  9. KB Klippers

    KB Klippers LawnSite Member
    Posts: 64

    Thanks All! I will get a measuring wheel for big properties. A range finder may come later.

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