Am I under bidding?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Pugsly, Mar 24, 2003.

  1. Pugsly

    Pugsly LawnSite Member
    Messages: 59

    Having posted a thread on equipment.

    I have another question. I live in suburban chicago. I just started passing out flyers for my first season on my own. having made it only about 30 or so houses before the rain hit,i headed home.

    less than 24 hours later i had 2 calls for prices!!!! most houses in the neighborhood are about 1/3 to 1/4 acre, some with some without fences and non really with a lot of obsticales in the way. I quoted $22 for cut trim, edge and got both accounts.

    I based this on what a guy did for me last year when I went on vacation for a month...he did $25/week for the same. So to get my foot in the door I reduced my price to $22 (i really wanted to charge the $25 but got scared thinking i was going to loose the new customers)

    Did I underbid? Most houses in my area are around my lot size 75x115 ft with a 1000 sq ft footprint for the house and a 2 car attached garage. My house has a fence, 5 trees, and a good slope at the rear 1/3 of the backyard.

    What would you bid for a lawn like this?

    Also how much arse-kissing should i do. both women had "special" requests that i was willing to accomadate. One wanted it bagged on rainy days and the other didn't want service on the occasionial (actually rarely) dry spells were the grass actually dies.

    How accomadating are most of you to these types of requests?
  2. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    Keeping in mind that everyones area is different, in my area $25 would be about right for what you described your personal yard as being.

    A 1/3 acre lawn would be more like $30 (up to $35 for a PITA lawn).

    So if you are low, it's only by a few bucks or so. And since these were your first, I wouldn't worry about too much.
    I understand what you mean about not wanting to lose your first bids. I bid my very first lawn too low also. I just didn't want to be turned down on my FIRST one!

    As far as bagging in the rain. I would have to charge a surcharge for bagging if she insists on it. Bagging sucks and I try to avoid it at all.
    And I skip cuts during droughts too. Can't cut it if it aint growing.
  3. Jon99

    Jon99 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    This is my first year as well, I told myself the first 5 accounts I would bid out lower than what I should, so I now have 5 accounts at $18 a cut, none which will take longer than 15 minutes...

    1. I wanted to have some accounts to bring in at least some revenue...

    2. The all important wanting to get my name out there so people can see my work...

    Now that I have 5 I will become more aggresive with my pricing as I try to land my goal of 20 accounts before the mowing season starts...

    RECESSION PROOF MOWING LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 376

    Hmmm...$22 per lawn? If I lived in Chicago, with those cheap wages, I'd sub you out on each and every one of my accounts and make money doing nothing! You're mowing for free. Many people fall into that trap. You'll never make it in this business if you're always scared of losing customers, so much so in fact, that you give it away. $22.00 is a money-loser and the sooner you start bidding like a professional and not akin to a neighborhood kid pushing around dad's beat-up 'ol Murray looking for lunch money, the better off you'll be.
  5. schunklawn

    schunklawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    work for a dollar a minute and you will in return gain good loyal customers and you will also be able to pay some bills and throw some money in the bank...only go less if you have multiple cuts on the same street/sub. etc...its worked for lawn account led to more and those lawn accounts led to mulch jobs, installs, tree work and so forth...just realize your situation and bid accordingly...good luck

    No Bunk Lawn Care and Landscaping:usflag:
  6. greenbaylawns

    greenbaylawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 563

    When I cut a yard I cut it 2,3,4 time if I have to to make it look good. That's how you get your reputation out there! Referrals will come no matter how many flyer's you put out. Word of mouth is the best, and your work will show
  7. Lawntime Mowers

    Lawntime Mowers LawnSite Member
    from KC MO
    Messages: 219

    I won't even start my truck for less than $35.00
    There are always exceptions but not many.

    I lost two accounts to a low-baller this week.
    I've had them three years now and they always love the work we do.
    But when somebody knocks on the door and offers to take over for $20.00 per cut...dang who can blame them.
    Hell, I should call them and get the same deal for my yard. That is until they go out of business or raise the price mid summer.

    They must have skipped business 101 class.
    Three yards an hour does not mean you profit $60.00 an hour for a two man crew...... lmao!

    @ $22.00 per cut you can make a profit if:
    You walk to every account pushing the mower.
    Don't have insurance on anything
    Don't use a trimmer or blower
    Or just use a reel mower

    Good luck

  8. Atlantic Lawn

    Atlantic Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Outer Banks NC
    Messages: 950

    Never drop the gate for less than 35 on a stand alone account, cluster accounts can be priced differently.
  9. rplawnservice

    rplawnservice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I am in my second yr. I work full time and cut on my days off as I am off half the month. 35.00 is the least I charge. You have to buy city permits, ins, ect. I am sure you are not cheating the city out of their permit money are you? How about that car going your way that has a hole in the windshield that your mower threw it. ohohoh her that dude comes and boy does he look mad............. you had better RUN
    I started with 1 lawn and now have 26
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,652

    It could be, I suppose it is possible.

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