Small lawn tractor is all I've got, what to charge?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by FredMaxwell, Jun 18, 2005.

  1. FredMaxwell

    FredMaxwell LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 13

    All I have is this 12Hp 38" cut mower and a push mower.
    Is $25.79 per hour a fair rate?
     
  2. FredMaxwell

    FredMaxwell LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 13

    Or I could do this:

    1st Hour $25.79
    Beyond one hour $.37 / Minute ($22.20 / Hour)

    Advance hours purchases..

    10 Hours - $210 ($21/hr)
    20 Hours - $400 ($20/hr)
    40 Hours - $740 (18.50 /hr)
    100 Hours - $1700 ($17.00/hr)
     
  3. A+ Lawncare

    A+ Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 503

    Fred ur not gonna get anywhere billin like this... u gotta know what to charge per lot... ex. an acre may take you 40 mins, most ppl charge $55 for an acre... so based it on that, never tell a customer how much u charge per hr.
     
  4. South Florida Lawns

    South Florida Lawns LawnSite Platinum Member
    from usa
    Posts: 4,785

    Listen to A + Bid work by size of lawn not how long it takes but do factor time into your price.
     
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Well you gotta do what works for you, I myself quote hourly prices all the time and get away with it because for some reason it works for me. But yes I know a LOT of people who have NO luck with the hourly thing, they get skru'd by quoting hourly rates, so you have to find out what fits or suits you best.

    Also I do agree you can not go just by hour, you have to quote a fair price in the end and if the yard is an acre and it would normally go for 50 dollars, then you don't want to quote 75-100 dollars for that same yard even IF it would take you 3-4 hours, that is not fair because the yard is worth ~50 so fair prices would be most anything 45-55, maybe 40-60.

    25/hour is a fair rate, I would get rid of the .cents and just round up or down to the nearest 5 dollars. I did a LOT of work my first year for 15-25/hour and the way it works is, it gets better with time. I would certainly stick with at least 25/hour starting out and be ready for a little haggling, too. You can go down to 20 but once you get to 15 life really starts to suck because by the old 1/3'rd rule (which never works out like this but):
    1/3 your gross is for your company.
    1/3 is for the IRS.
    And the last 1/3 is for you.
    So if you're at $15/hour then you're basically getting paid minimum wage and like I said, life sucks. But at 25/hour you can say you're getting paid around 8 dollars/hour which is a very nice wage even if the work is hard. But NO you can not tell your customers you're getting paid $8/hour I think you need to tell them flat-out $25/hour or they will get confused.
     
  6. Tharrell

    Tharrell LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,964

    If you plan on staying in this business, you need to figure the property at what a commercial mower would do. Your lawn tractor will take more time than a WB or a Z but, you'll just have to bite the bullet until you can get one.
    Most people bidding on that same lawn will be using commercial equipment.
    One of the most common pieces of equipment is the 48" walkbehind.
    Pricing jobs is tough when you're starting out. There are a lot of things that have to be paid for that you probably don't realize right now.
    I suggest you spend some time on this site and use the search feature. You'll learn a lot about pricing and how to do just about anything. Good luck.
     
  7. Randy J

    Randy J LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,124

    Only you can answer your question. And your answer is going to depend on several things: 1) what is your cost of doing business per hour, what do you want to be paid for an hour of your time, and how long is the lawn going to take you. Figure your total fixed and variable costs - include the cost of your lawn tractor, as well as depreciation on it, because if it broke down you'd have to replace it. 2) What are others in your area charging for similar lawns. I don't believe you totally set your prices according to the competition, but obviously you have to be in the range of them.
    Mowing lawns isn't exactly rocket science, but if you want to run a successful business it's going to take some brain power.
     
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Here is a guideline I used and still use from time to time (and yes, I use a 48" Walk-behind):

    An average size yard costs 35 dollars.
    An average size yard is best defined as one which takes about 2 hours to cut with a 21" pushmower and usually falls in the range of 1/4 to 1/3 acre, or around 10 to 14k sq. feet.

    Another way to figure it, your 38" will take about twice as long as my 48" will (due to speed, deck size AND homeowner vs. commercial equipment):
    I charge 40 / hour to cut + trim, so a good price-range for you likely would be around 25 / hour.

    Last but not least:
    If too many people say yes - Your price is too low.
    If too many people say no - Your price is too high.
    If about half say yes and half say no - Perfect!
     
  9. SWD

    SWD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 989


    I'd love to see you argue those prices here, where my company operates.
    Average yard around here is measured in acreage.
    I stopped the per hour calculation a long time ago. At $25.00 per hour you are off by half what I receive per hour and the cost is escalating.
    You have factored no equipment depreciation, no replacement, no maintenance, no upgrading, no uniform allowance, no signage on vehicles, etc. Additionally, you have allowed no licensing aspects at all.
    Actually, I wouldn't like to see you around here at all because you would be just another failed business.
     

Share This Page