Pricing lawns

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Fresh, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. Fresh

    Fresh LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    just starting up new business, how do I price lawns(cutting, weedeating, edging...please any help on subject
     
  2. Utah Lawn Care

    Utah Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,363

    Decide how much you want to earn/hour. I think most legitimate professional lawn care companies are in the $50-$75 per man hour range. If you're dealing with smallish residential lawns you can eyeball them and decide how long you think it will take from getting out of your truck to getting in your truck. Charge them the amount you charge/hour compared to the number of minutes it will take. Lots of people charge 60/hour because it's $1/minute.

    Make sure you know how much money it will cost to even run your business. I person on a $15,000 mower mowing several acre lawns will have more expenses than the guy mowing 2000 square foot lawns with an Exmark 30 for example. Also consider the cost of insurance, gas, truck use, equipment use, advertising etc. It can sound good to earn 30/hour till you crunch numbers and realize you have to charge 30/hour to break even and you're working for nothing.
     
  3. Fresh

    Fresh LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

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  4. Fresh

    Fresh LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Thanks Cedar lawn Care, info was very helpful, I appreciate yuh
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  5. kemco

    kemco LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 748

    I agree it depends on your area(s) and what the market will allow. Try to find out what some people in your area are currently paying - ask friends, family members etc that might have their lawns serviced. At least that's a place to start.

    For years I've considered doing the following but I haven't yet, I think I got this idea from a thread on here as it's not mine but makes perfect sense once you have a basic idea on what to charge based on what you can charge in your area and how much time it takes to do each: It involves taking the time to figure out how long it takes you to #1 mow, #2 edge, #3 trim around borders, #4 whatever else you are going to be doing on your normal services. Then break all of these down separately to know what you need to charge per sq/ft to mow, per linear foot to edge, per linear foot to trim around borders etc.

    So then when you are pricing a job you would actually spend some time there with one of those wheeled measuring tapes on a rod (sorry I don't know what they are called but it looks like a bicycle wheel you just roll it and it measures distance for you) measuring out how many sq/ft you will mow, how many linear ft you will edge, trim etc I think you get the idea.

    Then you write all of these measurements down separately. You have already determined how long it takes you on average to edge X# of feet, trim X# of feet, and mow X# of sq/ft of lawn. You got these numbers by measuring lawns you already mow and timing yourself to come up with an average. Multiply the measurements by a multiplication factor that you have already determined then add it up. Easy right:laugh:

    I know that it takes a lot of work to do it this way but I'm seriously considering trying it. The idea here is to actually price a yard scientifically for lack of a better description. If you think about it it really makes perfect sense. If you want to get new miniblinds for all the windows in your house is a salesperson going to come in your home, spend 5 minutes looking around and then give you a price without taking any measurements? Probably not. This way you are not screwing the customer as you are making what you need to make, and you are not screwing yourself by underbidding a lawn. And you can always adjust it up or down for added drive time etc. You at least get a true starting point estimate this way. Just a thought. If you try it this way I'd like to know how it works for you.
     
  6. t-10yrs2retire

    t-10yrs2retire LawnSite Member
    Posts: 41

    Im new and just basicly finished up my "real" legit first year. There is a formula I have somewhere that I will dig up and share to figure equipment cost. I dug that up somewhere on line. I used this formula on each piece of equipment I have to figure a per hr cost. Added that all up then added an amoint I wanted to make for my self per hour. On that I added a profit margin of a percentage to come up with a final per hour price.

    Examp.
    Equip cost...30
    My pay.........20
    Profit mgn 10%
    Charge per hr $55

    (Just an example not my actual numbers)

    The next thing I did the beginning of this year was get a time clock app for my phone. And used it. Kept track of each job and how long it took me for the whole season. What I have to do now is see where I am as far as did I charge enough per job. I havnt figured it out exact but I believe im a little low. Also you need to make sure your making enough to cover travel and admin time.

    Thats where I am at now. Hope it helps a little
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  7. Fresh

    Fresh LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Thanks Kemco, I herd a few talk about that wheel but ive never used it or seen it in work other than when a policeman was marking of an accident....:) but it makes alot of sense, I've always jus lioked at yards and figured out how much work and time but like u said dont know if I was over charging or not charging enough, my last few jobs were more of acres than jus normal yards and didnt know how to give an estimate on acreage, so thats why im asking for help on my pricing but u were very helpful....thanks
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  8. Fresh

    Fresh LawnSite Member
    Posts: 16

    Thanks t-10yrs2retire.....very helpful indeed never thought of keeping time of each job and keepin the count
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  9. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    This is why I also use a measuring wheel. If you buy one make sure you get one that measures in feet. My son is a CC and track coach. So I use his wheel though it measures in meters. So I have to multiply the meter reading by 3.2808 to get feet.

    I charge $35 minimum 1/4 acre or less. $40 half, $50 half, $60 1 acre. If a property measures 5,000 SF above a 1/2 I will charge $45. The property is 1,000 SF less then 3/4 I will charge $49. Keep in mind that each 1/4 acre is 10,890 SF. So I will add up or down to get the highest price.

    Keep in mind that corner lots have more edging cause longer curbs and sidewalks. Beds and fences increases trimming. Gates force you to use the small mower in the back yard. More time calls for more money.
     
  10. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,984

    Keeping time is important. Though keep in mind that when starting out many only have one or two mowers.

    So when it takes you 1 hour to do a lawn with a 20" you can not charge for one hour when all the local LCO's use a 36" WB for that type of lawn and get it done in 30 minutes.

    Same as they knock out that 2 acre lawn in one hour with their 60" and you take 2 hours with your 36".

    And it is ok to do a lawn to large for you mower because you will still make a profit. That 2 acre lawn is a $120 a week job. There is the money to eventually buy that bigger mower. In the beginning one never has a full schedule. Better to make some profit then sit home in your garage looking at your mower wishing you were making more money.
     

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