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$65 an hour thing?


LawnSite Silver Member
S.I., NY
I see alot of people use the $65 an hour formula to charge for service, just wondering if this is per man, or no matter what its $65 an hour? For example, if I'm working by myself, I would charge that amount. If me and a worker are doing a job and it takes an hour, do you charge $130. Just asking because people say they have to make that an hour, but with a couple of guys, 65 dollars can get chewed down pretty fast.
Hi, fga

I quote 85 an hour for two people. 60 for the first and 25 for the other. I know that a lot of people say never quote your hourly rate but on clean-ups when something can take 4 hours or 8 hours and I haven't got the est. time thing down yet, I just quote 85 an hour for 2 people and my only response has been that seems fair to me.

hope that helps


Randy Scott

LawnSite Bronze Member
Actually, you are probably seeing the $60 an hour thing. That's the more common number on here. The reason you see that a lot is because most people don't have a clue as to what they should charge per hour. They have seen it here and just follow what others have said. It has basically snowballed into a country wide standard. Although materials are different from coast to coast, company overhead is different, peoples standard of living is different, cost of living is different, yet everyone thinks $60 an hour is what you should be doing. It's a joke. Whatever the case, I would do some hard research on how to figure what it costs you to run YOUR operation. Following what every other mule does is a good way to get yourself in trouble in a multitude of circumstances.


LawnSite Fanatic
Flint, Michigan
Randy Scott,
Your post couldn't be more true. That's exACTLY what is happening. Got a 36" walk behind? ...Better charge $60 per hour. Got a $10,000 Z? Better charge $60 per hour. Pulling a leaf rake, reaking leaves? Better charge $60 per hour. Have a $2,00 vacuum set-up? Better charge $60 per hour.


LawnSite Senior Member
as long as the number will make me happy i'll work for it. I don't see 60 an hour too often. I do better and worse. When I'm putting fert down I see my biggest profits though at well over 60 an hour after the costs of the fert.


LawnSite Silver Member
S.I., NY
I agree that everyones costs are different, I've never used a formula in maintenance in 6 years. I look at the property, estimate what I want to make on it. Sometimes I get alot more then 60 an hour, especially on clean ups and thatching, other times, less then that.
Just wondering where I am in the "ball park". On the spring thatching, I've made up to $240 a hour, that's me and 1 worker.
I usually price something and try to get it done as soon as quickly as possible.
I never understood the hourly rates, making bigger and more efficient equipment obselete.


LawnSite Platinum Member
Atlanta, GA
The market sets the price, not us. I use a formula to acheive consistency within the limits of the market, not because I want to make that or my costs are such and such. I arrived at my price through trial and error early on and by finding out what others charged and what customers would pay. If I charge $48/hour plus a $10 trip charge that comes to $58 for a one-hour mowing job. Or $34 for a half hour.

Operator skill and experience is a huge often overlooked factor. I'm much faster now than when I started, even though I thought I was fast then. Better mower, better time saving tricks, better technique. So if you're just starting out you may not be able to match others' per-hour numbers. The key is to constantly be looking for better ways to do things and constantly THINKING.

You can't charge owner rates for employees unless you have some supermen out there. They just don't produce as well. My observation and experience is that you'd have a good worker if he consistently produced 2/3 as much as a motivated owner-operator. Sitting on a rider mowing huge fields, the difference may narrow, but for typical things where technique and hustle matter more, that's what I see out there. 1/2 to 2/3 speed from employees vs. someone with a purpose.

Mowing rates and rates for other work differ. A guy with a rake isn't the same as a guy with a lazer Z and vac system. Just as you can't charge for a man with a 36" wb like you could for a guy on a 72" rider.

I have observed that WANTING to charge an amount you pulled out of the air doesn't work long term. You may well sell some people on your services, but over time you will have constant erosion of your client-base if you are priced too high. And the bigger the job the more important relative price is. 10% high on the $30 lawns is one thing. Being 10% higher in price on huge estates or commercial work may well cost you the job.


LawnSite Bronze Member
Good points, Bruce.

The good thing about people charging $60 just because they see it on Lawnsite is that it may very well eliminate some of the low - balling. A lot of people low - ball simply because they don't know what their services are worth.