pricing q for resort areas

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Mike M, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,955

    Here's my situation:

    I will be moving into an early phase of a development in a new community down south and there are many retirement and second home communities in the area. I'm used to bigger lawns in PA with free standing trees and rocks and other obstacles--instead of organized landscape beds--not to mention slopes all over the place and many poor drainage areas.

    The lots I'm looking at now are level, and typically in .20, .25, and .33 acre sizes (including home), mostly irrigated; and with multiple prospective customers in each community.

    Anyone familiar with typical rates for these type of lots? I understand rates should be discounted for these variables, but how low should my base rate be?

    :usflag: Mike
     
  2. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,955

    Let me re-phrase the question:

    What is the lowest you would charge to drop your gate for small, level lawns, with few obstacles?

    Mike
     
  3. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,955

    Hey Mike,

    Why don't you just figure it out for yourself? :weightlifter:

    Mike
     
  4. Ol'time Lawncare

    Ol'time Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 497

    25 to 30 at 3000sqf.
     
  5. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    Mike here is a pity post. Every area is so different. At first I thought you were describing an are like I service but while it sounds the same the service is different. The short answer to your question is for me 60.00 because I run 3 guys 40 per M/H and it takes 30 min to unload do anything and load. But I have a 3 hr minimum at all my accounts so.... my minimum would really be 120 +10% for dumping and incidentals. We mow, trim shrubs, anchor vines to the walls, fertilize, dead head flowers, check and adjust irrigation controllers, check and replace low voltage lighting, fill fertilizer injectors, water pots, hose off patios and driveways, pick up dog crap, and at one place we swap out the water filter for the drinking water in the home from time to time. So what I do and charge may or may not help you. Good luck.
     
  6. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    we have a $35.00 minimum
     
  7. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,955

    "We mow, trim shrubs, anchor vines to the walls, fertilize, dead head flowers, check and adjust irrigation controllers, check and replace low voltage lighting, fill fertilizer injectors, water pots, hose off patios and driveways...."

    Do you charge/itemize for each thing per visit (as they come up), or do you estimate the labor and factor it in for a monthly/season rate?

    Basically you are suggesting that rather than going for fast turnover because lawns are small, I may want to provide as many add-on services as I can and make each account bigger than the lawn size. I guess the key for this model is having at least a few guys for the manual labor, I don't like the idea of my equipment sitting in my trailer while I walk around using my hands.

    I should start reading up on irrigation maintenance, and get my applicator license for SC.

    I also like a "35" minimum, that's why the small lawn size was making me anxious. I hear a lot of big crews down south in these developments can go in and out quickly and they can provide competitive rates this way. A good way to get cash flow, but I'll have a tough time with that because I'm a part-timer and mostly solo.

    This leads me with another main question to post...

    Thanks, Mike
     
  8. JBird

    JBird LawnSite Member
    Posts: 114

    Here's the answer in a nutshell. Figure out what it costs YOU to run an hour. Then you'll have an idea what price you'd be comfortable working for. And, really it's all up to you, it's your butt out there. In time you will learn how long it takes you to do differrent size properties thus you will become a better bidder. And, that's really the only way to learn. Talk to the guys in your area and find out what a good starting point is. Most guys have a 30-35 dollar min. Good Luck!
     
  9. skurkp

    skurkp LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    In my area you are going to get 20 - 25 for a lawn that size for basic service. You can get 30-45 for full service, corner lots are a little higher. Just look in the paper, our smaller paper is the greensheet and all of the lower cost lawn services advertise in this paper and you will be able to check their prices. If you get too high it will take longer than normal to get going. Good luck. From the prices I see on lawn site, I would be a lowballer.
     
  10. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    On the smaller homes I estimate and provide a firm bid that has a base rate for labor, incidentals and typical dumping. I bill extra for lights, fertilizer etc. once they get up to the 800-1,000 per month and higher the properties are too big and you have too many variables. For them I give them an estimate but bill them T & M for everything. Everything is based on an hourly rate. Whether I am picking up crap or mowing with a reel mower.

    I have found this to be a nice niche. All the tools you need are inexpensive you mainly need to have an eye for detail, good communication skills, good plant knowledge, and above avg. labor. Thats the hardest part, finding labor that the clients are comfortable with and can communicate and not stick their foot in their mouth. Keep in mind I don't work in the field any longer so I rely on them to maintain our professional image. With this kind of service after a while you no longer provide bids for extras, you just do what needs to be done and send a bill. Imagine the time savings if you don't have to bid or shop for the cheapest plants. I love my job.

    I have to confess I was not able to start off providing this service I worked for many years in landscape design and install. In AZ that includes irrigation, boulders, hardscape, lighting, misting systems, drainage, structures, flowers, plants, cacti, you name it. All this experience enabled me to provide the service I do now.

    I also put out a monthly newsletter for my clients in full color with pictures. So there is more to it than just being able to do the work. What I sell is a relaxing retreat that is just outside their door, if they have to ask for something we are not doing our job. For that you don't have much competition. So if you really are in a resort area this may be a service you could selll if you have, or can buy the knowledge you need.
     

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