Really tired of explaining why I cost more than others!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by KirbysLawn, Jul 19, 2000.

  1. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Posts: 3,486

    Often I get an email or call for a prospective customer: &quot;I got several estimates from $90 - $100 for mowing, edging, trimming, and blowing, you are $140 what's the difference?&quot;<p>HOW do lawn companies charge $90.00 for a months lawn service to homes that are $350,000.00 + and have mowing areas greater than 8000 sf for $90.00? <p>Here was my reply: <p>Mr. Smith,<p>I base my prices on my operating expenses and time on job site. There are a multitude of lawn services out there as I'm sure you know. Many of these companies give their bids based solely on a guess, they last only a year or two and go out of business. <p>Companies that bid $90.00 for a lawn either have extremely low overhead or have no idea what there operating expenses are. After taxes on the $90.00 earned only around $59.00 remains, divide that by 4 weeks and they are making $15.00 a week! Now, figure in truck fuel, mower fuel, trimmer fuel, trimmer line, and payroll and what's left? I have not even included liability insurance, licenses, equipment insurance, and on, and on, well you get the idea. This is why so many lawn care companies fail, they charge less than neighborhood kids charge!<p>Hope this answered your question. If they are able provide lawn service at $90.00 and meet the requirements below, I can't tell you why not to go with them:<p>* Are they insured? I am for $1,000,000.00 <br>* Are they licensed? <br>* Are they certified? <br>* Do they offer spraying services <br>* Do they offer deep-root fertilizing? <br>* How often do they sharpen their blades? I sharpen every 8 hours. Ask this in person so you can see their response when asked. <br>* Are they members of any professional associations? This helps them gain knowledge, learn new techniques, learn about new products, and more. I serve on the CGMA Board of Directors and am a member of The Carolina Grounds Management Association, The Turfgrass Council of NC, and The Professional Lawn Care Association of America.<p>Please call me if you have any more questions.<br> <br>Ray Kirby<p>Didn't know what else to say.<p>Ray<p>----------<br>Ray Kirby - Kirby's Cuttin' Edge Lawn Maintenance<br>Home Page, My Truck, Lawn Photos<p><font size="1">Edited by: KirbysLawn
     
  2. lawnsurfer

    lawnsurfer LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    I coudn't have said it better.
     
  3. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,412

    &quot;I got several estimates from $90 - $100 for mowing, edging, trimming, and blowing, you are $140 what's the difference?&quot;<p>Is this a one-shot complaint or something that keeps happening? If the latter, I think you need to either cut expenses or increase productivity to compete at a level your market will bear.<p>In my area, a 8000 s.f. lawn with trimming goes for 22-25/week. 10 minutes and you should be in and out. Doesnt matter if its a 350k McMansion or 100k ranch on the lot.<p>Bill
     
  4. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    If you don't mind, I'm gonna copy that and use it.<br>Thanks Ray.
     
  5. jeffyr

    jeffyr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    Great letter Kirby.<br>and no, I don't think $140 a month for an 8000ft.2 plot is too much.
     
  6. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Posts: 7,866

    You don't have to take on every yard at any price. Ijust take the jobs that pay my minimum (35$) or greater. Leave the scraps for the lowballers. If you question what i charge then you can't afford me or you are a tightwad. Driving to and unloading for just one yard that pays 22 to 25$ is just a complete waste of time. Unless you have a cluster of yards at that one stop. Customers will be happy to pay these low prices forever if we let them. Kirby, just take the yards that pay a profitable rate that you can live with and don't worry about the rest. Plenty of customers out there that will pay what you are worth.
     
  7. Kirby $20 a mow and blow is the going rate in fly over country for a 8k homesite.<p>YOUR problem is that you have WAY to much overhead to be fooling with such small potatoes. <p>If you did not have a NEW 30k truck, 5K trailer that weights 4500 lbs loaded, and<br>all new equipment you too would be able to<br>make money doing small residentials.<p>For about $8k total investment I can put a<br>used truck, trailer, 3 walk behinds (44,52,21)trimmer, edger, and blower on the street.<p>With a 2 man crew one can do 40 $25 small<br>residentials in one day.
     
  8. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,211

    Ray,<br>I love your letter. But I have to agree with the naysayers on this one. I would use that letter for potential customers that are looking for a full service program. With insurance & licenses etc., I'm still able to make money charging the market rate in my area for mow & blow, which is generally $25.00mow & blow for 5,000 - 8,000 sf. Now, my full service customers are paying more for my expertise and the market allows for that pricing. I find that those customers are more educated (about business in general, value, landscaping) & care more about how their yards look. When doing mow & blow we boogy through the yards ASAP and make money; and when we're at full service customer we look at those brown spots in the lawn and address them, we keep everything pruned nice, etc., etc. and those customers pay fairly for that kind of service. I would say Stone is right, you're not looking for those mow & go customers, they're not your niche market, so don't waste your time with them.
     
  9. BRET

    BRET LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    KIRBY ISN'T IT AMAZING THAT WHEN A PROFESSIONAL LAWN CARE SERVICES A PROPERTY THAT THEY ARE COMPARED TO A MOW,BLOW AND GO LAWN MOWER PERSON. THESE ARE TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE ALL TOGETHER. I AM IMPRESSED WITH YOUR OUTFIT FROM WHAT I SEE IN YOUR PICTURES AND POSTS. THE PRIDE AND PLANNING THAT GOES INTO A PROFESSIONAL IMAGE AND NICE EQUIPMENT IS SOMETHING THAT CAN NEVER BE COMPARED TO A GUY THAT HAS A RAGGED OUT TRUCK AND SORRY EQUIPMENT. I HAVE SEEN POSTS WHERE PEOPLE SAY THEY HAVE COMMERCIAL EQUIPMENT FOR OVER TWO SEASONS AND I'M WONDERING IF THEY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT IMAGE OR THEY ARE JUST SATISFIED WITH MAKING A LIVING DAY BY DAY. I MADE THE MISTAKE TO POST THAT I WAS UPSET THAT THE MARKET IN FLORIDA IS SO CHEAP. I DO OVER $ 30,000.00 A MONTH IN LAWN MOWING A MONTH. I SAW IN THE PAPER ABOUT A KID WHO DID $ 320,000. LAST YEAR AND GROSSED $ 80,000. BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN THE PICTURE OF HIS OLD EQUIPMENT. IF I DIDN'T RE-INVEST MY MONEY BACK IN MY BUSINESS I GUESS I WOULDN'T BE ABOUT TO BUY MY 5TH AND 6TH TRUCK. AND THESE ARE NEW FORD F-150S. NOT AS NICE AS YOURS BUT FROM YOUR POSTS I SEE YOUR ALSO A EMT/MEDIC . HELL YOU GUYS DESERVE EVERYTHING NICE IN THE WORLD FOR SAVING LIVES EVERY DAY. I WAS A GREEN BERET MEDIC AND SERVED IN COMBAT FOR MY COUNTRY SO MY ATTITUDE IS I'M WORTH WHAT EVER I WANT TO CHARGE A CUSTOMER. I DON'T CARE WHAT GO BLOW JOE IS CHARGING BECAUSE HE ISN'T THE SAME CALIBRE. E-MAIL IF YOU WANT TO TALK ANY TIME BRET.
     
  10. KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Posts: 3,486

    I will try to reply to each post.<p>ThelawnGuy: How can you arrive, mow, edge, trim, blow, and load on a 8000 sf lawn in 10 minutes? I know $22.00 in 10 minutes = $132.00 an hour, but I find it very hard to believe you could keep up that rate or pace all day once you factor in driving loading and so on. <p>Lawrence Stone: Read above. Stone, $35.00 is my minimum, $20.00 is my 14 year old son's minimum. Heck, $22.00 a mow for a 8000 sf lawn, neighborhood kids would be screaming lowballer! We are professionals and should charge accordingly. Also, a $350,000 home in a golf course community is not a low maintenance lawn. I already mow in this area and have similar size lawns ranging from $170.00-$210.00 per month, and again this is a luxury lawn and high maintenance with a multitude of natural areas that must be edged around. The $140.00 is only the mow/edge/trim/blow charge, full service with fert, tree treatment, weed control, and such is an additional $45.00 a month.<p>The reason I have top of the line equipment is I want to separate myself from the others. Me comparing my equipment against yours or vise versa, isn't really relevant to this post. If you maintain a business with $8K worth of equipment, are licensed, go to monthly training, have insurance, blah, blah, and can charge $20.00 a mow so be it.<p>My question would be out of that $20.00, how much is profit? I too have a few lawns I mow for $25.00, 3 different single elderly women (so much for minimum). One lady once asked me &quot;I'm paying $25.00 and it only took you 20 minutes?&quot;, my answer was absolutely! I just placed $4000.00 worth of equipment on your lawn which allowed me to do it that fast. No more questions from her! <p>Now, 40 lawns in a day? Around here a day would be 12 hours, 40 lawns would be 1 lawn every 18 minutes, not including breaks, driving, loading, and so on, how do you do it? We will use your higher number $25.00, not $20.00. Your $25.00 x 40 lawns would be $1000.00 a day, - taxes I'm estimating (-$340.00) would leave you $660.00. Payroll at 2 employees at (est. $7.00 hr), would leave you with $492.00. Now figure in workers comp and all the other things listed above and what do you have left?<p>BRL: Agree with Stone and the neigh Sayers? Did you not read the 2nd paragraph of my post? This is a $350,000+ home and it has 8000 sf mowing area, of course they will be picky. This is not a mow and blow lawn.<p>lawnsurfer, MOW ED, jeffyr, Charles, & BRET: Thanks for the words of encouragement. I just do not understand how &quot;professional&quot; lawn services charge $20.00 for a 4 service lawn mowing? I made $10.00 a lawn on small lots in a small trailer park, 25 years ago! Just because our mowers are bigger and we mow faster doesn't mean we charges less! Thank God these cheap rates were not around when I was a child, I would have been really pissed!<p>If you are a professional, look, dress, arrive, mow, train, spray, and charge like a professional. Thanks for all of the replies!<p>Ray<p><p><font size="1">Edited by: KirbysLawn
     

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