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an acre for $30 i think not

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by watsmi57, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. watsmi57

    watsmi57 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    this lady calls me this week. wants a price on just a mowing for her 1 acre. she starts telling me how they have sold the house and are moving but her mower is broken and it needs one last cut before the new owners take posession. she tells me how fast she can mow it with her ztr mower (which is broken lol) and how it won't take long..blah blah blah. i knew then she wanted me to do it for next to nothing and it would be a one time deal, but i said sure i will come take a look at it and give you a price. i never give out estimates over the phone.

    went by that afternoon and she had at least an acre of mowable grass. the whole property was probably 1.5 acres. the growth wasn't bad so after i walked around i shot her a price of $45. she said can you do it for $30. i asked her if she had bought gas lately lol. i told her it would probably cost me $12 in gas to drive over here and get it mowed. i told her no way and said i would go $40 on it but that was it. i said maybe you can find one of these guys out here running residential mowers and no insurance that can do it cheaper. i said good luck and call me of i can help and turned and walked away.
  2. TWerner

    TWerner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    That's annoying. Amazing how people don't consider your travel time to the site and overhead.

    My advice, probably worth a bit less than it's costing you, is that if a one time deal ever comes up again, unless it's very close to another job, you should tell the potential client up front that you probably won't be able to do it for less than $X, and that if there are any complexities to it, it could be a little more. Explain that you'll have to pay for the drive over, learn the lot, pay for gas if you cut it, and that it will probably take you a little longer than usual to do the cut the first time since it's a new property to you. If you explain that the first time cutting a property takes a little longer and that just driving over and unloading your mower takes time, your client will understand why it costs so much. They probably think you make per hour what you charge per hour at their site.

    If they're still interested and are OK with you confirming the price and cutting right after that, then make the trip with equipment.

    Alternatively, you can have a contract template that you'll fax over and get them to sign even before you show. The more official/professional you seem, the more they'll be willing to pay you.

    And go buy a used copy of this: http://www.amazon.com/Yes-Scientifically-Proven-Ways-Persuasive/dp/1416570969 or this: http://www.amazon.com/Influence-Psy...-Essentials/dp/006124189X/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b
    So that next time you can get her to pay you $50, which would be the minimum I'd expect to pay for a one time job that required you to drive here and cut my 1/2 acre lot that takes 35 minutes or so.

  3. watsmi57

    watsmi57 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    what gets me is people think pricing is negotiable, which sometimes i will work with folks just to get the job.

    the other thing i see that bothers me is people think that if it doesn't take long, it shouldn't cost so much. the only reason i work so quickly is because of my experience and the quality commercial equipment i have. it's not about how fast i can do it, but it's the size of the property and the obstacles involved.

    when people balk at my rates. i usually remind them how much gas costs, then ask them what they would charge if they had to take $20k worth of their own tools to tear up at work for someone else.
  4. TWerner

    TWerner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    I think you need to work on how you present that fact. You sound like your a bit defensive about it. Don't be. If you say something like:

    "Well, I have to spend the same amount of time on travel as everyone else, but since I know people don't want loud machines around their property a lot, I use XYZ equipment and work very hard to be efficient."

    Then they'll think you're worth more for being faster.

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