What are your minimums?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by christoff, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. christoff

    christoff LawnSite Member
    Posts: 139

    For cuts, Fert, Aerating, mowing, weeding, and dumping?
  2. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Here is my minimum list.

    Mowing = $40
    Fert = Twice the mowing rate plus materials
    Areating = Twice the mowing rate
    Weeding = $35-$50 per man hour if not included in some other sq footage rate
    Dumping = Don't offer the service
  3. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    How does your mowing rate have anything to do with fertilizing or aerating I would love to know?
  4. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    OK rodfather, here is your lesson for today...

    To begin with, I am not one of the "hourly pricing" gurus like many.
    All my prices are volume based, so that I am not limited to $XX.00 an hour.
    And also so I do not give away my production increases to the customer.

    So my rates are X amount per thousand x difficulty factor = price

    For turf extras, this makes it very easy to calculate a profitable rate every time.
    Plus it is very easy for the customer to comprehend justification for the rate.

    It's pretty cut and dried understandable when you say, "I am using addition equipment, I do a double pass on the property for fert/aeration, plus I have additional material charges (if fert).

    I always come out great with this method. I've never once been unhappy with my net profit on an extra's job. I see no reason to offer all services at a fixed hourly rate and leave money on the table.
  5. eruuska

    eruuska LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 454

    Mowing $25
    Fert $35
    Aerating $85
    Dumping No minimum. It costs me nothing or real close to it.
    Weeding $45
    Slit Seeding $100 (I know you didn't ask)
  6. Daner

    Daner LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,308

    Hi there Envy...your fert. rate seems to be a tad high...roughly what size lawn would you charge $80 plus fert?
    The reason why i,m think this Is ...you cut for $4o then you fert. for $80 plus should take much less time to do just my .02
  7. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    I still don't understand...let me tell ya why sport.

    First of all, if you are basing your aerating and/or fert rates on X$/K, then you are basing your mowing rates down to each K...correct? Secondly, what is your definition and/or parameters of "difficulty factor"...# of trees, shrubs, obstacles, etc that you have to go around? Is the slope of the prop included too in your "difficulty factor"? How about moisture content (if any) in the soil and/or type of soil?

    I'm sure Envy you have never been unhappy with your net profit margins with this kind of work cause it is completely subjective to what you deem your "difficulty factor". You can't lose cause your formula has no constant. I call it nothing more than a WAG.
  8. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    Good... that's where I'm aiming with my prices... a tad high.

    Personally, I am not content to do an application for the mowing rate like most people will. I'm talking about the same type who is mowing an $80 lawn for $40 and will do the app for $40, material included. Even some really seasoned veterans like myself will do it for whatever the mowing rate is, material included.

    Not me... not even worth the extra trouble for that price... and that's rather it's small enough for an in-route squeeze in, or big enough for a separate trip. See, by the time you tailor the application, schedule it, load out the additional equipment, make the extra trip if need be, get the supplies, get to the site, use extra equipment, and make two passes over the lawn...

    Well I guess you can see where I'm going here. There is a good bit of extra time and extra effort involved that is unaccounted for. So it is a good thing you are in and out on the job itself quickly. I aim to gross and net more for extras than the mowing.

    As for the size of the lot I would do for $80 plus materials...
    Well that depends as much on the lot itself as the price.
    The actual size could vary quite a bit.
    So let me reply to rod and I think you'll understand more about that.

    Rod, did I make you mad or something? Didn't mean to if I did...

    Anyways, it's not hard to understand. As an example, I'll use the cheapest application I have ever done. (Here's an example Daner)

    On this site, I believe there was about 7k of turf. The difficulty factor was a 1x multiplier (easy). So it hit my minimum for mowing. At the time, my minimum was $35 which set the job at $5 per 1,000.

    When I started lining up applications on that route, I wanted to be sure to get them on board if I could. It just so happened that this account and one other had the same needs, and I could do this little 7K account with the leftovers from that job. So I cut some slack. I gave them an estimate to do the application for $70. No issue at all getting a signature on that.

    So $10 per 1,000 for that app. Even if I didn't have the luxury of using leftover materials, I would have still done excellent on that. In the end, with my rate system I can do any lawn that falls in the "one-bag" class for $80-$100 and always come out happy.

    Anyways Rod, I have a mowing rate sheet with a graded price per K depending on size. I measure the lawn and that's what I start with. Then I consider all the difficulties if there are any and I use a multiplier. Anything that should come out under $40 falls subject to the minimum.

    Now for instance... I gave an estimate today. Other than some smoother ground, this lawn could not have been more "ideal" in location, layout, ect. Total size... 25K of turf. As ideal as this one was, I would have probably normally quoted $50 to cut plus $10 to trim for a total of $60 times a 1x factor. $60 job, in out and gone in no time flat. However, this lawn did have a difficulty factor at the very perimeter.... 300+ linear ft of ditchline. Shaped basically like a check mark, from the lawn down into the ditch 2' then up 5-6' up to the edge of the street at an angle of about 50+ degrees.

    Soured a sweet job quick. So I multiplied the base rate by a difficulty factor to adjust for the ditchline. It's simple really. What would you have quoted based on your system of pricing, and what do you think I ended up quoting?
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Keep in mind this is my 5th year, experience makes a lot of difference... I can cut an acre with my 48" Wb in 40 minutes, cut and trim and blow down sometimes in under an hour. I've spread 5 cubic yards of mulch in just over 2 hours before, I mean I am FAST but not so much because I run all around all the time but because I have it down to a science by now <- Experience. Matter of fact, to some casual observers it might even look like I'm hardly moving ... From pulling up to a yard in the truck (engine on, gear selector in drive, door closed, seatbelt on) to mower blades actually chomping turf at WOT, under 60 seconds.

    That having been said...
    The more my body aches while I'm estimating the job, the higher the cost.
    No I am dead serious, I am telling you if the job is hard work my body aches just thinking about it.
    There are a few here and there come around, my lower back hurts so bad looking at it, I can't bid it.
    But most of the time, if it ain't so bad, I figure how long will it take and I think $60/hour.

    Standard Minimum: $35
    That's all around, I just don't drop the gate for less. Far as specific minimums, I don't have them per type of job but it's cheaper for combo stuff (i.e.: more than one thing done per visit, since I'm already there). Yes, I aerate for the same money / hour I cut grass, that's just how I do things but then I don't have that many aerations to do so this helps. Leaves, try getting $60 / hour for leaves sometime LOL you will have no problem with leaf cleanups, guaranteed.
  10. Bustus

    Bustus LawnSite Member
    Posts: 181

    Wow you guys are all higher than me. Maybe its because I'm a student, or that I can handle working hard, or that my company is comparatively small. I start at $20 for cutting, and thats Canadian (although thats becoming less meaningful everyday). I find that there are some really small lawns here that people would not even consider paying over $20-25 to cut. I do have low overhead so this may allow me to cut at these prices and still make it worth my while.

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