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Pricing Questions...

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mister_snowplow, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. mister_snowplow

    mister_snowplow LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    I'm trying to figure out the best way to price. As of now, I am a one man crew. I will be mowing with either a 48" or 52" Hydro walk-behind. I realize this is general, I just want to make sure I'm in the right ballpark. Any feedback is greatly appreciated! :waving:

    Here is what I have come up with through research and reading lawnsite.com posts:

    - a 10,000 square foot residential lawn mowed & trimmed in (25 min. 1 man)
    - a 5,000 square foot residential lawn mowed for $35.00 (13 min. 1 man)
    - a 10,000 square foot residential lawn mowed for $45.00 (25 min. 1 man)
    - a 15,000 square foot residential lawn mowed for $55.00 (38 min. 1 man)
    - a 20,000 square foot residential lawn mowed for $65.00 (50 min. 1 man)
    - 1 acre (43,560 square feet) mowed for $130.00 (around 100 min. 1 man)
    - mowing price based on .003 to .004 cents per square foot of lawn (.003 x 20,000 = $60.00)

    Now, is the price of trimming included in the price of mowing? How about bagging clippings, or going over the clippings again with the mower...do you charge extra for this? If so, generally how much do you charge?

    I've read that some people here say they charge $1.00 per minute. For those of you who charge $1.00 per minute, do you start charging when you pull up to the house/building, or do you charge when you start mowing? When do you stop charging?

    How about Spring cleanup? Do you charge a flat rate for this, or do you charge by the minute? I realize I need to take into account a dump fee if there is one.

    Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it! :waving:
  2. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    It will depend on the going rate in your area, but I can tell you that for NC you are too high in those prices, and I suspect you will be where you are also.
  3. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210

    Everyones opinions will be different...you need to decide what is best for YOUR company. Only you can decide this.

    For instance, I have to respectively disagree with anyone who mentions 'going rate' setting your service prices. IMO, again its just my opinion, 'going rate', 'fair market value', or anything similar is mostly crapola. If the going rate in my area is X-dollars but it costs me X-dollars to operate, why should I charge the market rate? It makes no sense...costs should depend on YOUR companys costs...not what the darn market rate is. If you are an excellent salesmen, perform good, reliable, dependable work, customers are willing to pay a premium for that...over and above the market rate.

    In addition, if the going rate is X-dollars but you can get X+25 dollars, who is the fool...those charging the market rate or those making 25 over and above the market rate? As I find myself saying quite often...SELL YOUR SERVICE NOT YOUR PRICE!!

    Also, I'd like to know where people get the going rates from? I can't seem to look them up in some book and I'm pretty confident when people claim its above or below the market rate they have not performed any type of market survey, and if they have its with a sample rate of 3-5 not 15-20. Sorry, seems as if I'm venting... :rolleyes: This is NOT directed at anyone in particular. Again, its an opinion.

    As for your specific questions, everyone runs there business different. Some charge extra for bagging clippings, double cuts, etc. Others will charge a monthly or seasonal fee in which everything is included...really depends on how you want to operate your business. I don't know of anyone that has a watch and charges per minute for trimming...that is just a 'rule of thumb' for estimating what the cost of trimming would be per week. As far as billing per minute...I think you are asking for trouble...I would bill to the nearest 1/2 hour or hour increments.

    The main thing is to make sure that your expenses are covered and you are obtaining your desired profit margin. Perform some searches here on LS and you will get lots of feedback on your questions...some that may disagree completely with my line of thinking...but who's to say he/she/me is right or wrong? ;)

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