price per square foot

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by gamoose, Mar 10, 2003.

  1. LCAmerica2

    LCAmerica2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    I sit here and read your post and think how and the hell you guys get away buy charging per square foot. Now im from michigan and out of the 1700 companies in my area no one ive heard of charges per square foot. most lawn in my area (60by125) go for about 20.00 tops some are 15.00 or lower. Either companies around here low ball real bad which i know they are or we would be bigger by now or your cities have alot of money. Just a thought.
    Lawn Care America
     
  2. LCAmerica2

    LCAmerica2 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    My formula is i pretty much guess on the time spend their.running a 61 scag all the time makes cutting pretty fast.Most yards are all open and i rally never pull off my 36/Exmark/Belt. But there has been time were i under bid, thinking ill be their 20min. and end up being their an hour. but lawns are my way to get in on other things.(Gardening,Trimming,Landscaping,ponds. Ect...).It seems to me there is alot more money in others cities then mine.
    Lawn Care America
     
  3. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Posts: 269

    Here's my formula for mowing. This is like the third or fourth revision. (I'm thinking about doing something a little more concrete that would include upping/lowering the bid based on linear feet of sidewalk edging and number of obstacles per 1,000 sq ft such as swing sets, trees, etc. Just need to give it more thought, but obstacles have a tremendous impact on time.)

    First 3,000 sq ft = $22.00
    3,001 to 5,000 sq ft = $4/1,000
    $2 per 1,000 after that

    The problem is, I just got my teeth kicked in using this formula today. The guy had 29,875 sq ft, and I priced that at $77.95 per week. (I had another $38.75 per week to maintain 2,400 sq ft of beds.) Anyway, the prospect told me he could easily get the lawn mowed and the beds maintained for $60 per week.

    With my 32" Hyrdo Ferris mower, this lawn would take me a while...probably 3 to 4 hours by myself. At least 2-1/2. However, someone else has posted on this sight that they could mow 5 acres in an hour and half.

    I guess it depends a lot on the equipment you have. Unless I decide to get a bigger trailer and buy bigger equipment, I don't think I'll be bidding any lawns over 15,000 sq ft....I just can't compete with a 60" cutting swath.

    The formula I'm using has me real competitive on the average lawn around here, which is around 4,000 sq ft. Unless you have multiple crews or have a huge trailer, I think you've got to decide if you want large lawns or small lawns. The equipment requirements are different.

    Hope this helps,
    DFW, TX
     
  4. gamoose

    gamoose LawnSite Member
    Posts: 27

    Thank you for the posts, this is my second year in business and I need something more solid than just looking at the yard. All my first year jobs are underbid. Luckily thers not to many of them. This year I incorporated, pay insurance and as a result of last year have new equipment. I need to be competitive, my properties are small and relatively easy to do, but I need to cover the bases without scaring them off.I think pef sq. ft. +pita = time is the way to go. Do any of you charge extra for the first mow?Thanks for the input,again.
     
  5. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 819

    HEY GUYS.

    WELL SQUARE FOOTAGE IS THE WAY TO GO WHEN PRICING AROUND HERE. I LIVE IN NORTHERN NJ ABOUT 20 - 30 MINUTES FROM NYC.... LET ME TELL YOU THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE PLACES TO LIVE IN THE COUNTRY......YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT HIGH PRICES....LETS TALK ABOUT INSURANCE...MY INSURANCE COSTS ME A LITTLE OVER 5 GRAND A YEAR..AND THATS ONLY LIABLITY AND COMMERCIAL VEHICLE...I DONT EVEN WANNA GET INTO WORKMANS COMP...LAST GUY THAT PRICED THAT FOR ME WAS AT 2500 PER GUY PER YEAR FOR A 16000$ A YEAR SALARY.....HOW DO I COVER THESE COST WELL I PASS IT ON TO THE CUSTOMER...IF THE CUSTOMER CANT AFFORD ME OR CRINGES AT MY ESTIMATES I WONT EVEN BOTHER ASKING THEM IF THEY WANT TO SIGN A CONTRACT...OH YEA AND I DONT DO ANY WORK WITHOUT A CONTRACT UNLESS ITS CASH IN HAND BEFORE THE JOB BEGINS...PEOPLE AROUND HERE GET A LITTLE CRAZY AND THINK THEY CAN STIFF GUYS LIKE US REAL EASYLIY...SO YOU GOTTA BE SMART....OH YEA AND BECAUSE MY PRICES ARE SO HIGH I KINDA DONT REALLY HAVE TO FIGURE IN TOO MUCH FOR GATES AND HILLS......BUT IF ITS REALLY OUTTA CONTROL I WILL.....ILL SAY THE AVERAGE PROPERTY AROUND HERE IS ABOUT 15 - 20,000 SQ FT SO THE AVERAGE CUT IS AROUND 35 - 45 A CUT.

    GOOD LUCK GUYS

    CHUCK
     
  6. wayne volz

    wayne volz LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    :alien:

    Square footage methods are okay if you know your base rate. What is your minimum? Put it on paper with a costs recovery system that works based on your company's overhead.

    Anthing less than a minimum of approximately 27.40 per hour for a one man operation is not enen allowing you to realistically break-even.

    Just a thought!

    Good luck!
     
  7. jvanspro

    jvanspro LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    first off I'm new to the business so bare with me.

    I've had a couple potential customers ask for price quotes on their yards. Each yard ranges from 35-45 thousand sq ft. What would you guys charge for a lawn that size? Each lawn is pretty wide open flat land so the job would be pretty easy. Each quote I seem to write up is over $100 dollars per cut. To me that just seems to high. What do you guys think. I would appreciate some help writing bids as I don't think I'm doing a very good job at it.

    Thanks
     
  8. Heavenly Green

    Heavenly Green LawnSite Member
    Posts: 171

    We have a few that are around 45,000sf and they range from 125.00 to 175.00 So Id have to say no your not to high but people of MI are for the most part bargan shopers and will constantly find some one to do it for less so they can in turn bi@#h about how poor of a job the last company did but then try and get you to match there price. If you land more than 3/4 of the work you bid then you are too low.
     
  9. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Posts: 269

    ++++If you land more than 3/4 of the work you bid then you are too low.++++

    That seems like a good rule. Very smart.

    Later,
    DFW, TX
     

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