Per square foot and other tips on what to charge for lawnmowing?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by jvw, Jul 3, 2006.

  1. jvw

    jvw LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    I have posted to this site before but I couldn't find my post.
    Most of my lawn jobs, I have been charging $20 - $25 for smaller yards or senior discounts and anywhere from $30 and up for larger yards.

    I am a very small business. Just nearing three years in lawn mowing.
    I just got one yard last week that is about 3000 sqft. Most of the yards I mow are a little smaller. I'm charging the women for this yard $35 each time, if I mow it twice when she is gone. Just so I know a little more about ballpark figures, are these rates to low or too high. Should I charge more for 3000 sq ft yards?
    Should I be more accurate and charge between 10 to 12 cents or more per sqft?
    What about weed eating? Should this be extra or included in the mowing price?
    Any help would be greatly apppreciated.
     
  2. Sandgropher

    Sandgropher LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 909

    Mate your first post went into Business manangment forum, there were no replies this is in a better forum (just starting in business) so hope fully get some responces, i would say you are prob charging the correct rate but diff areas are different rates so hopefully you will get a reply for your area.

    If i may suggest you post in early afternoon so your questions dont get lost in the hurly burly of LS. (it may be a better time re: replies)

    I guess the question is are you making enough money at the rates you are charging to after costs, anyway i think you are about right but we need to hear from people near you to confirm that. good luck

    P.S weed eating is usually included in the price as is edging,blow clean etc

    PPS click on your name to find your posts( jvw lawn site member) left hand side screen.
     
  3. PMLAWN

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    Also use the search button, (green bar) enter "pricing-- costs" many good posts on this topic Read and enjoy:)
     
  4. hosejockey2002

    hosejockey2002 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,195

    Your pricing needs to be based on a number of factors, like how long it takes to do a particular property, how much you want to make per hour, and most importantly, what the market will bear. BTW, 10 cents per square foot is $300 for a 3000 square foot lawn.payup
     
  5. Frontstreetlawns

    Frontstreetlawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 168

    i hear that you times it by .005 a square foot and thats a good start then look at edging ect.
    does any one know how to charge for fertalizer? just curious
     
  6. SSS 18734

    SSS 18734 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    3,000 square feet is tiny. Thats a 55' x 55' space which wouldn't take more than a few minutes to mow. Are you sure you don't mean 30,000?
     
  7. LawnTamer

    LawnTamer LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,986

    When I bid, it's all about time. How much drive time(is it close to my other accounts), how much time on the lawn. I have a 14,000 sq ft lawn I do for $40, it is basically a rectangle with a few trees, I also have a 6,000 sq ft lawn that I do for $40, but it is broken into pieces, on a hill with lots of trees, they both take about 20 minutes for a 2 man crew. I have a $25 minimum, (love these yards, usually 8-10min for 2 guys), after that my goal is $2+/minute at the site, with no more than a few minutes travel time. My best accounts are $3/min, at $1.75/min, I either raise the price or drop the account. I think I am pretty average for my area. It costs me $29/hr to have 2 guys out by the time you add up wages, gas fica, workers comp etc.
    Good luck
    PS I have solo friends who shoot for $1.50/min and won't go under $1/min
    With a commercial WB or ZTR that is very doable.
     
  8. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 806

    Wow Lawntamer. I admire your tenacity. I for one can't see myself making that kind of money and toughing it out. I'm afraid you may be underestimating your costs. In your costs you need to also factor in replacing most of your machines within a few years if it's heavily used. Same goes for having to rebuild most trucks or company vehicles you use. Gas is also skyrocketing and could go even higher. The hours you spend at work also should weigh heavily. Travelling time is almost always underestimated.

    I bet your cost for 2 guys with all cost for business included is more like $60/hr.

    My sister makes $60 k a year working a desk. She saves about 20k a year wihtout trying. After 5 years she had nearly 100k saved. The way she's going, she's beating lco's like yourself hands down without fumes, no machines, no pitas etc... Amazing isn't it?

    Don't get me wrong, I admire your hard work, but after all the hours, it's what's in the bank that make a big big difference.
     
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Who would think someone new to the business can do in one hour what someone with 5+ years can do in that same time?

    Because my experience has been that $60 pmh is all fine and dandy after 5 years, I also get about twice as much done in an hour than in my first year, so doesn't that come out to $30 pmh for a first year Lco? If not, I can operate my hedge trimmers nowadays one-handed like a Ninja sword, you have no earthly idea how much bush I can cut in minutes flat what used to take me all day, now takes 1-2 hours...

    So it isn't rightly fair, if I'm charging $60 pmh and the 1st year Lco is advised to do the same, what is going to happen is my bid ends up about 1/2 price ... Which, otoh, better too high than too low, but still...

    anyway just my .002, I'd advise anyone new in this business to aim for no less than $30 pmh, that's about where I got started.
     
  10. jvw

    jvw LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    The yard size that I stated before was completely wrong. I was looking at my paper and what I typed. The lot that it stands on is three quarters of an acre. The woman told me all have to mow is the grass area on the other side of the driveway, the area in front of her house, and the small area in front of her 6 foot steel fence. She said I don't need to touch the back yard since it doesn't grow fast. So the total area that I have to mow would be just a little less that three quarters of an acre without the backyard. So where do I stand on price? Does $35 to $40 dollars sound right? If not, should I charge more next time I get a yard this big or bigger?
     

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