Year round pricing??

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by cutintime, Aug 23, 2003.

  1. cutintime

    cutintime LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Hi everyone, I have a question on how to price a job on a monthly basis, when here in S.W. FL. the lawn will only need to be cut once every 2 or 3 weeks. I am very new at this and I only have 4 accounts now but I may have not considered the dry season. If I made a mistake on pricing the 4 accounts I already have, I can live with it, but I don't want to make that mistake over and over. Someone mentioned something about considering my $30 a week cut $40 in my last post, not sure what that meant. I do offer other services, (tree trimming, sprinkler repair) and I have gotten 2 one time deals for tree service but obviously you can't depend on one time deals. Any help would be greatly appreciated:)
    Also, Thanks for the input on the guys house built on a hill. He never complained but this weeks mowing went much better.

    One other thing, I may need to buy a new mower. Mine is in the shop. I am thinking about a toro zero turn rider. on sale for 3199.00 16hp 42in cut. Sound good? ?
    Anyone know of a good place to buy a mower in SW FL.?? I'm not looking for the super duper I can cut three football fields in 20 minutes type mower, just a good for residential under 4 grand mower. Again, any help would be great:D
     
  2. pinnacle

    pinnacle LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 791

    Mate can't give you any insight on your pricing but a 42'' Toro ain't going to cut footy feilds. (Esieki?)
    Have you demod other mowers?
    The Toros have a bad deck on them you should stay away from "Stamped metal decks" and look for something thats "Fully welded and fabricated" and nice and deep.
     
  3. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,491

    If you're in Ft Meyers and your only cutting every 2 to 3 weeks during the dry season your biggest concern is finding more accounts that are St Augustine grass and not Bahia. Starting out you've gotta take what you can get though. The Toro you mentioned is a homeowner model I believe and is junk for what you want to use it for. Your money would be better spent buying a good commercial mower, in order of cost:

    1. Exmark walk behind 48"
    2. Exmark Hydro walk behind 48"
    3. either of the above with a sulky
    4. Wright Stander 42 - 48"
    3. Exmark ZTR 48"

    Try to stay away from used equipment unless you know the person who's owned it and can prove the maintenance records.

    I price all my jobs (cutting) on a monthly basis with a signed aggreement. Attached is a copy that you may use making any changes to suit your particular area.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. nelbuts

    nelbuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW, FL
    Posts: 1,053

    Ok, I live 21 miles north of you so I may be able to help. The way I do it is this. Mine get about 36 cuts per year, some 38.
    Know what you want per cut then just multiply it out.
    Now if these are real nice homes some of the plants will need pruned every month during the months of May-Oct. Determine how long it is going to take you to do them and multiply it out. You will need a couple of touch ups from Nov. to April.
    If you are going to do palms then decide how much for each palm and you may do them twice per year on the queens and once on the Sabals (after July). If you are going to spray the beds (get a lic. first I can help you with that) you will do it about every two weeks growing season, once per month rest of year. Fert. about three times per year, figure your cost per app. and what you want to make. Then add everything up and divide by 12. It is really that simple.

    Now if someone wants you to just do it by the cut make sure you add about 10% - 15% on anything. Sure you will be high but you don't want the cuts unless you can help it. They take away from your annual customer time. I do four all year at any one time during the week. This week I have four. Starting in Sept. only two as I dropped them.

    Hope this helps you. Sorry but I do not discuss money or my fees on this or any other site. What you want to make is up to you. Since you live in Ft. Myers I would concentrate on only a couple areas to avoid the traffic.
     
  5. nelbuts

    nelbuts LawnSite Bronze Member
    from SW, FL
    Posts: 1,053

    For a rider mower the Toro is ok. But I would look at a Scag Turf Tiger. One good dealer is Sarlo in Ft. Myers. My son is on the owners swim team. They have a good selection but no Scags (I think).
     
  6. Tbarchaser

    Tbarchaser LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 449

    nelbuts... 36-38 cuts a year? I am on a 42 cut per year cycle in orlando. mar-oct every week and every other week in the winter.

    What is you schedule like?
     
  7. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    I was the one who told you that. I was just warning you, if you bid the lawn at $80 dont say something to lthe customer like, i cant do this for $20 a cut. Winter will come and they will only want to pay 1/2 because your only cutting once or twice during the month, afterall your the one who said $20 a cut. They forget summer, when you could be there 5 times in a given month. And tell them up front its every week in summer, and every other in winter. an easy way to do it is figure 40 cuts a year .
     
  8. cutintime

    cutintime LawnSite Member
    Posts: 4

    Thanks, at 40 cuts per year, pricing is not so difficult now. I saw the light!!! I did make a mistake pricing my current 4 accounts, but like I said I can live with 4. I'm glad I asked before I got 40.
    Nelbuts, you said something about getting a license to spray. How coan you help? I need all the help I can get. Ha! Ha!
    Now I am telling the home owner that I will pull any large weeds and if they want round up or something sprayed they will have to do it themselves.
     
  9. logan

    logan LawnSite Senior Member
    from FL
    Posts: 315

    I don't know why people in Florida seem to price their yards at 35-42 cuts a year. Why not bill your customers for 52 weeks ayear and make more money? I tell all my customers that I will come out every week and cut it if needed. Every week in the summer and every other week in the winter depending on the weather. If nothing else, I will edge the concrete and blow off the leaves. I think there is more money to be made that way. For example if you think that a yard if worth $30, then at 42 cuts that equals $105. Why not 52 visits and make $130? I don't get it.
     
  10. sniggly

    sniggly LawnSite Member
    Posts: 190

    Cuts:
    I base my service agreements on 38 cuts per year. Every week in April, May, June, July, August, September, and October. Then every other week the other months. I also specify with great clarity that cutting the lawn MAY NOT happen in the winter months because it doesn't grow.

    Toro:
    Toro makes a good mower BUT you really need to think about this purchase. That mower you mention sells at the local big box store right? The blade speed on that mower is not going to be what it needs to be....and like another poster here said if you are cutting Bahia you might want to reconsider. I will go so far as to say that if you are cutting Bahia with it YOU WILL HAVE TO ALWAYS CUT EVERYTHING TWICE. We call it wire grass up here. I run an Exmark Metro HP 36 with mulching deck and still sometimes have to run over Bahia twice (especially if it's Pensacola Bahia).

    I just started my business in June of this year and have 12 accounts.....5 of which are on service agreements. I push service agreements like a car salesman. In my view service agreements are vital to both you and the customer. YOU because you don't starve in the winter, and THE CUTSOMER because it gives you time to do some things in the yard during the winter that you don't have time to do in the summer (like trimming back those low hanging oak limbs that always hit you in the face). It especially works well this way when you go out in the winter and it doesn't need to be mowed. Makes the customer think you care...and you should.

    Seriously - take a closer look at a commercial grade walk behind. I put Jungle Wheels on the back of my Exmark and I can mow St. Augustine in 4th gear. I decreased my 'turf time' by 22% (and believe me I keep track of it).
     

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