Mowing Prices

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Meier, Mar 18, 2003.

  1. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Posts: 269

    Ok. I'm using a formula for bidding mowing based on the square footage. I don't ever bag...I only mulch. Mostly residential properties.

    4,000 sq ft = $28.00 per mowing
    10,000 sq ft = $49.00 per mowing

    This is in Dallas, TX. Do these prices sound as if they're too high for a weekly contract? I figure the work would take me, by myself, about 1 to 1.25 hours.

    Thanks
    DFW, TX
     
  2. Ajays

    Ajays LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    You should set a minimum price that suits your area...probably
    $25-$30 and never charge by the hour. A small job (25-30) or 4000 sq. ft. may take you an hour now but you will get faster and faster as you get used to it and get better equipment. When I first started, my first client took 3 hours with 2 guys to mow for $35. We lost money on him for about a month but managed to get it down to 1 hour after that and broke even on the job. Now with the lazer we do it in 30 min. and make money. Not much on that penny pincher but a little.
     
  3. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    I say never say never on charging by the hour OR charging by the size of the property. Ultimately the market determines the price, but your rates should be determined systematically.

    Use time only? Nope, your productivity will vary widely based on your equipment, so that's out. A guy with a 36" belt drive can't charge what a guy with a 60" ZTR does per hour.

    Use square footage alone? No way. A large flat rectangle of open grass will take a lot less time to mow than a heavily landscaped area full of obstacles to mow and trim around. A property that can be mowed with a big 60" deck is one thing, one that requires a finer touch of a 21" mower is another.

    I guess you really HAVE to charge "by the hour" in the end, because you have to know how much work you're putting into a job to know what to charge. Your hourly rate should be set according to your equipment and personnel. Good mower + fast worker = more $$$ than mediocre mower + slower worker. Everybody has their own system. I try to base mine on an hourly rate added to a set trip charge to account for average travel time, then I tweak it based on factors such as the difficulty of the property(hills, lots of trimming, etc), the customer (easygoing or hard nosed and demanding?), and how badly I need the work at the time. If someone calls me out in July when I'm booked and busy they might get a slightly higher price quoted than someone who signs up in February.

    The bigger your business, the more systematic you probably need to be. But since I'm the one doing the work, I set the price based on what it's worth to me in terms of time and effort and hassle. I currently charge $12 + $40/hour on-site time. So a yard that takes me 15 minutes brings $22(my minimum for any lawn), and a lawn that takes an hour brings $52. I think this system does a decent job of factoring in a "volume discount" for bigger lawns a little better than a flat rate of $52 hour. I wouldn't do a 1/4 hour lawn for $52/4 = $13, after all.
     
  4. Ajays

    Ajays LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    I can take a look at the yard without measuring and give a price on it for what it is worth to me. Right now I have 70 accounts and the largest ones are 1 acre and take 30 min. I charge $45. The smallest ones are about 5000 sq. ft. and take between 8 and 15 min and I charge $30. Its all in what people will pay. If you charge by the hour, your always going to make your hourly rate. But if you charge standard prices, the more efficient you are, the more money you make. Mowing larger properties, I can make $80-$90/hour and mowing smaller ones $100-$120/hour.
     
  5. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Posts: 269

    ++++Mowing larger properties, I can make $80-$90/hour and mowing smaller ones $100-$120/hour++++

    Is that by yourself or with a crew? If it's with a crew, how many in the crew? If you're getting those rates by yourself, that's pretty darn good money.

    Thanks.
    DFW, TX
     
  6. Ajays

    Ajays LawnSite Member
    Posts: 133

    That is with my partner and I. We are full partners and both have something to gain or lose in this business so we are a lot more efficient than employees would be.
     

Share This Page