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Minimum Prices.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bill8379, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. bill8379

    bill8379 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 778

    I've seen so many people here say $35 and I've seen on several websites of larger company's a minimum of $28 a cut. They say this is from 0-1200sq ft.

    Now I have lots of 3-6k sq ft that I charge $20, Takes 20 mins, helps keep my route tight etc. I'm not huge into lawns. I have a couple 13k lawns I charge $35 and a 22k lawn I charge $55 (last years prices).

    I'm just not sure why so many people have such a high minimum. They MUST not get the smaller lawns or maybe they don't like small lawns?

    SNAPPER MAN LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,443

    I have a $30 minimum because of the fricken price of gas. You cant have all the money you make just going into job cost. You have to make profit. Thats the way I look at it.
  3. deason

    deason LawnSite Member
    Posts: 236

    The reason is that they know thier expenses. The profit margin is shaved dramatically when you stop a crew to cut a lawn that cannot yield more that $20 - $25 in todays market.
  4. newbomb

    newbomb LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 391

    Many lco's here are larger companies and do landscapes primarly. Also many cut 50-100 lawns per week. With that volume you can be selective. If $20 per lot works for you and is profitable thats good. The problem is most guys here are 100% legit, they pay taxes, insurance, wages, lots of operating costs. If you have the operating overhead of a larger co you gotta make money.

    There are a few guys here We call "lowballers" who get into this business for one seedy reason or another and work cheap just to have work. They either don't know better or don't care. One year later they're gone and customers call guys like us expecting a bargan price for Cadillac service.

    The guys who say they have a minimum charge worked their way into good clientel and are just grateful they made it.

    If you do good work and are reliable charge what you can live with.

    Are you licensed and insured? Paying taxes etc? All that stuff adds up to a higher minimum.
  5. bill8379

    bill8379 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 778


    It's ridiculous to charge the same for a 4'000 sq ft lot as you would for a 12,000 sq ft. lot.
  6. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    No it's not.

    If the guy with the 4k sq ft lot can't go get himself a push mower, or doesn't want to, he's paying for a service.

    If I call up the satellite company and tell them "Listen, I only watch 13 of the 452 channels you beem into my house, I want a lower rate" what are they going to say??

    They're going to say you signed up for a 'service'.

    There's costs providing those services. You may have an older, smaller truck to pull around the smaller mower you use. You are going to have a smaller overhead than I am driving a new diesel quad cab, pulling a 24' enclosed trailer, that's a pretty simple one.

    You're probably going to have a smaller mower than my 60 and 72" mowers, which is also going to lower your overhead.

    It's all in the overhead / profit margin each company wants to make. Worry about your own money in your own pocket.

    For what it's worth, this year my minimum is going up to $60 per time, for 1 time shots. If they want consistant service, it's a minimum of $300 / month for 6 months for the season.

    I don't care if they take it or leave it. I haven't advertised now for 12 years, and I'm already working 60-80 hours per week. It's really not like I need the work.
  7. bill8379

    bill8379 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 778

    But what if you phone up the Pizzeria and ordered a small pizza with three toppings and they said we still have to charge you for a Large 6 toppings?

    I know what you're saying about equipment, I only got 21's and a 36. Truck and trailer. But these small yards tie together my route.

    You know what? I think your advice is bad. Now another guy like you will come and say, "Hey My minimum price is 2500 dollars a cut and I only do golf courses' Every pays the same."
  8. lwelve

    lwelve LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    Our minimum is $35.00, with our average residential being $50.00 (10k - 15k sq footage)
    My commercials are at $55.00 - $65.00 for two - three men and equipment.
    Stop and calculate what you pay for fuel, repairs, insurance etc.
    If your`e legit, the costs are astonishing.
    Why do anything for cost? Aren`t you in it to make money for yourself?
    I was in purchasing, maintenance and material mangaement for a medium sized firm for 20 years. You would not realize the cost of services and items today, until you start ordering them and approving invoices for medium to large companies.
    Let the fly by nights charge $20.00, chances are they don`t do a great job and you will get the business they had eventually anyway.
    I don`t quote against low ballers, we do an exceptional job for our clients and a lot of repeat and added business from them.
    Customers remember a poor job long after the price is forgotten.
    Do quality work and you can get paid what you desire.
  9. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    I'm glad you think my advice is bad. That means that you're thinking for yourself.

    Do a search for JustMowIt on this website, read the pages and pages of their operation. When you're done with that, read a thread that's about 200 pages long by ptp, about how they're making tons of money doing lawns at $20-25 per lawn, using only 21" push mowers.

    Then come up to where I'm at, about 30 miles north of the twin cities in Minnesota, and see that you don't have mile after mile of 4k-12k sized turf areas for block after block.

    My point was, you and only you can decide if you can make money at what you're charging.

    I cannot even charge a minimum of $35 per yard, no matter how small, because it's not worth the drive to get to it. At $3 / gallon for diesel, and if it takes me 5 miles to get there, and 5 miles to get back, and the truck gets 10 mpg, well there's 10% of the yard right there, just driving.

    That's why you can't look at other people's operations and compare yours against them. The only thing that's worth comparing is last years numbers against the year before, the year before and hopefully for many years to come, and watch, making sure they stay where YOU want them at.
  10. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    I have learned that it "all depends".

    It depends upon the going market rate, what your competitors are charging.

    It depends on your overhead.

    It depends on your business plan, which should drive what equipment you use and purchase.

    It depends on what part of the country you are in.

    Personally, I start with what the going market rate is. I price myself a bit above the average. Then I back into everything else. I have to keep my overhead where it is low enough to make some profit and still be price competitive. I have to buy equipment that is suited to the customer base I want to target. I want small residential, 3-5k properties. No large commercial accounts. That means no 48" mowers.

    I also want all the fert and pesticide business. I don't want to just mow and blow my clients. I can use those services to supplement my maintenance prices. I want to do total property management, IPM, ferts, controls, pruning, plantings. I make the least amount of money doing maintenance. I have to stay price competitive, and around here, that means 25 a cut! But, I have to do that to get the more profitable services I offer.

    It all depends....

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