To charge or not to charge?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by iamthelawnbarber, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. iamthelawnbarber

    iamthelawnbarber LawnSite Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 87

    I have a new biweekly client that I got during the hot summer months. During most of the season, the grass didn't grow fast enough to cut it more often. Now, with the morning dew, and lots of recent rain, the grass is growing faster. I find myself mowing over the same lawn twice in one visit to break up the clumps and to get it to look nice. I can't see leaving the property with clumps of grass all over the yard. Should I charge these customers more $ because of my extra time & gas to go over it twice?
    Also, If I can cut a property in 1 hr, is $40 a reasonable price to charge? When you figure in gas, Uncle Sam, maintenance, repairs, etc - is that around the going rate for 1 acre property?

  2. Tyler7692

    Tyler7692 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,086

    My new policy is minimum of $60 an acre. I try to make AT LEAST if not more than 60 an hour.
  3. tomgolfs44

    tomgolfs44 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 46

    WOW! $40 for an acre. I bid three 1.25 acre houses in a row @ $75 each and felt I was underbidding. Got all three and realized I did. Three guys do the work in 1.5 I am OK on $$, but wish I would've made 'em think a lil' more.
  4. iamthelawnbarber

    iamthelawnbarber LawnSite Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 87

    It seems like every property I bid on, the customer is trying to chew me down on the price. Is it location? I'm in NE PA. Some sweet old lady was trying to chew me down on the price to do her acre yard-a lot of trimming there! I couldn't go any lower! Am I underbidding?
  5. Dunn's

    Dunn's LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,546

    It usually has to do with how you present yourself. If you look like a bum they will treat you like one and offer you the scraps of their table as payment for the work you did.

    When you look professional you still get the lifetime hagglers who try and talk down the price of penny candy, but most realize you can't be haggled. Also if the start to haggle and you don't just walk away or hang up on them. They know they've got themselves another sucker.
  6. IHusky

    IHusky LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 478

    Make some rules and stick to them!!!!! $40/acre way too low. Good luck.
  7. iamthelawnbarber

    iamthelawnbarber LawnSite Member
    from Pa
    Posts: 87

    Soooo, I quoted this guy a price of $40 for the 1 acre property-I can get it done in 45 min. It's a biweekly cut. But now that the grass is growing faster, I have to cut it twice when I am there. Should I renegotiate the price and tell him I can't do it for $40 if I have to go over the lawn twice? Or do I eat the gas & time costs because we agreed on $40?
  8. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,067

    Dont feel too bad about not getting a good customer. Im in Michigan and its hard to start up a business and get top dollar. At some point you have to decide the lowest you want to mow that yard for and take control of negotiating. I am waiting til spring on a few of mine. I feel that its too late to worry with it this year and I dont want the customers to have all winter to find a new lawnboy. I have enough good customers to walk away from the ones who dont think they have to pay for lawncare.
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I found you can't accept a grass cut on the customer's terms, it's never weekly or bi-weekly season-round, at least here in VA the grass can go anywhere from a week to a month between cuts as it all depends on time of the year, weather, etc.

    Don't worry about the customers, they all do that, so take care of yourself.
    Well just about anyway, you have to bid what it's worth, so don't let the customer influence your price.
    I know, easier said than done but I went through this same situation many times and took a beating (some severe ones in between) until one day I stopped giving a rat about their problems.
    Because it's not your problem, it's their problem.

    As for underbidding, to a point you have to if you want the customer base, in your first few years it's about unavoidable anyhow.
    But just so you know they don't care, they all act like they do, but 90+% of them don't give a hoot about you.
    So why should you?
    That's how I get away with bidding high, I don't care anymore either, it's all the same money in the end, why bust yourself stupid?

    Hope that helps, and yes you'll be fine.
  10. SpartanBill

    SpartanBill LawnSite Member
    Posts: 91

    The market (prices) here seems pretty grim compared to the rest of the country don't they. I have 6 accounts that want bi-weekly service. What blows my mind is all 6 are new houses, w/sprinkler. When I quoted, I strongly discouraged bi-weely and added 20 %. NOT ENOUGH, I should have went 50%. Well this weekend they're getting a letter informing them that bi-weely will not longer be an option. I really don't to loose them, but so be it. I can't loose My Ass because they bought more house than can afford. I'd rather know now than be counting next spring and then loose them.


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