Question on Estimates, rate. Help!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by clemsonfan69, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. clemsonfan69

    clemsonfan69 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 41

    Ok. So Im gonna charge approx. $50/man hour (Im new at this so I dont wanna charge too much or too little. Heres my dilemma:

    Say I have Yard 'A'. How do I tell how long it will take so I can give an accurate estimate?

    What if I THINK it will take 20 minutes, and it actually takes 35. Im selling my self short.

    Should I give an initial cheap 'test' cut to show my quality and get a gauge on an accurate estimate?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    -CJ
     
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    its kind of trial and error a lot of times, not always, but most. After a few lawns you should be able to tell how long other lawns are going to take based on those few lawns.
     
  3. clemsonfan69

    clemsonfan69 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 41

    Really? Im just worried about screwing myself out of money by under estimating the yard time.

    -CJ
     
  4. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Posts: 8,745

    really make sure to look at everything on the property. Amount of trimming, terrain, gates, # of obects to move or trim around, how much of sidewalks is there to blow off, how much edging if needed, where you can and can't get the mower into, etc. Really look at the whole, and not just the mowing.
     
  5. I didn't notice if you said what kind of equip you have, but trust me if this is your first year you will get much faster, a yard that now takes you 35-40 min this year, will become a 20-30 min yard next year. You will learn more and more each cut you make, this knowledge of each property will make you more efficent. Just don't sacrafice quality inorder to gain 10 min.
    Good luck to you
     
  6. turf9

    turf9 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 233

    I agree but don't sell yourself short on the test cut its tough to get up to speed if you give them to much of a deal on that one .You know what om getting at right
     
  7. lqmustang

    lqmustang LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 620

    I wouldn't use a 'cheap test cut' to set your prices. There is alot of trial and error when you are new to estimating the time involved, but after a few you will get a better idea. As mentioned, check the entire property to determine time consuming areas such as excessive trimming, gates, trees, etc. You will probably get burned a few times, (we all have) but it's all part of the learning curve. I am in a similiar situation right now as I am getting ready for my first season of snowplowing. Having never run a plow before, it is hard for me to determine the amout of time it will take for some lots I have bid on, and I pray that I don't burn myself. After this season I'm sure I'll have a much better grasp on time, and be able to better estimate to hit my target range of $120-$150/hour.
     
  8. clemsonfan69

    clemsonfan69 LawnSite Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 41

    I guess my main concern is charging $50/hour (or $80/Month) and messing up and cutting their grass too short or something else ya know?

    I have confidence in myself once I KNOW im good but this being my first time around, and using a ZTR for the first time....ahhhh! lol

    I know everyone has been there

    -CJ
     
  9. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Test cut? Absolutely not. Trial and error, soon you'll be able to gauge how long it takes to do jobs. Price at what you think it's worth and go from there. Try and look at your expenses first. How long to get to the job, pay helpers, dump fees, insurance costs and stuff and it will help you bump the price up in your mind. Use a measuring wheel on some of your jobs to get an idea of the size and record how long those jobs take to give yourself an idea and soon you'll be eyeballing it.
     
  10. lafrance4078

    lafrance4078 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 246

    You are going to make mistakes! Just make sure that you learn from them. I still will underestimate yards every once in a while. That's why we call it estimating. The more that you do, the better you will get. Good luck. Everyone has good advice hear.
     

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