Would like some help to get started?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mjoaaa, May 10, 2004.

  1. mjoaaa

    mjoaaa LawnSite Member
    Posts: 34

    Hey Everybody,

    I am new to this forum and excited I found it. I am interested in starting a lawn mowing business and need some help along the way. I have had over 5 years exprience working with a large company in fertilizing & weed control, but not one that deals with mowing. I feel confident about selling my services but not so confident on setting prices and estimating man hours, along with a few other things. My goal is to get just a few customers this year and begin growing strong and rapidly next year. I think this will give me an opportunity to work out any bugs in my plans. So with out further ado, I will begin to ask for your advise and help!

    Pricing:

    I am used to measuring lawns by square footage. Is there a formula anyone uses to determine (for example) 10,000 sq. ft equals 1 hour mowing time. If so, can you share it? Or if you are not located in Michigan, and have a pricing sheet based on sq. ft. would you be willing to share this with me? (I am in Michigan, thought it might be wrong to ask for someone in michigans pricing).

    Contracts:

    I would like to create a contract. I think I will allow the contract to be broken if needed to be by the client, I feel a contract creates a commitment on both halfs. Any suggesstions you would recommend other than an attorney? Ex: Did you do something that you later found was wrong? If your willing, would you send me a copy of your contract? I understand that most of you paid to have your contracts created, and may feel offended by sending them out and that is ok, I understand. If you don't mind, I don't mind getting the foundation.

    Insurance:

    Generally speaking about how much does insurance cost for a lawn mowing business? I want a basic coverage that will protect me should a rock hit a car window or something.

    New Contracts:

    I am getting ready to bid on a mowing job that will cover 4 county cementaries. Any suggestions or tips you might recommend when sending my proposal?


    I thank you in advance for your assistance with my questions above. I look forward to offering you my knowledge and exprience and gathering yours.

    Sincerely,

    Michael O.
     
  2. Hawkeye5

    Hawkeye5 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 295

    Welcome Michael.
    Pricing: I measure, but there is more to pricing than pure sq. ft. x a $ amount. You will have to estimate your fixed and variable overhead, know the time your equipment takes to mow 10,000 sq. ft. that is flat and open, account for obstacles, estimate trim and edge time. Then you can develop a per 1000 sq. ft. average that can be modified for individual situations. I have seen all types of pricing alternatives such as $1 per minute, $3 per 1000 sq. ft., $1 per inch of deck per hour. etc. There is no one-size-fits-all pricing model and it is more art than science.
    Contract: If you can do a search, there have been many contracts and ideas shared by others.
    Insurance: Contact a local agent that works with contractors. Do not assume all agents are the same, they are not. Price varies. Make sure you also have a commercial auto policy.
    Cemetery Bid: At one point I worked as a groundskeeper at a National Cemetery. There are a number of threads regarding cemetery work with good information and a search should provide plenty reading material. The only problem is that in many cases 'cemetery' is mis-spelled so you may have to be creative. I will tell you that it will take much longer than you think, and can be a royal pain.
     
  3. gr8cutter

    gr8cutter LawnSite Member
    Posts: 91

    I agree with Hawkey, in time you will get a feel for how many man hours it will take per yard. That is what I base my bids on.

    We do not use contracts and use it as a selling point. They can cancel at anytime. Do a great job at a fair price and they will stay with you more times than not.

    In just got a 1,000,000 plan for mowing and fertilizing and it was 700 yr. It also includes a vehicle rider and barrowed or rental equipment coverage.
     

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