Beginner in Need of some serious estimating guidelines!!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by NDHometownLC, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. NDHometownLC

    NDHometownLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    Hi guys, I am in only my second year of mowing and up until this point I have only really done mostly residential lawns. I have always just kind of bullshitted my way through the estimation process. I don't do this to scam people or anything my prices are always plenty fair and i can explain my reasoning if the customer asks, there are some jobs I have even probably underbid. So what I'm looking for is serious guidelines on how to give and estimate and what to base it on. How much of it needs to be itemized, if you add in any gas or equipment cost on your estimates, how you charge?? Is it based on the job, the sq. footage of grass, how much trimming you do, time it takes, and how you figure in employees pay into that??? I know there are many different ways and opions of estimating so I'm open to any and all suggestions! Please help me Ha!:hammerhead::dizzy:

    P.S. this will be my first commercial estimate and that's why I'm worried because this is a very serious job at a big assisted living complex in our area
  2. magicmike

    magicmike LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    I am also new to the business, and my advice would be what company "A" does in NJ is different from what company "B" can charge in NY. Ive asked a number of times (posted pictures) and everything actually probably last week, and I gave the estimate for a trimming job for I posted pics on here I said I would charge 310... someone on here said it was a good price and someone said I was a low baller, but I actually estimated the job for the customer at 295, she said she got way better estimates and decided to go with another company.

    Pretty much what I think you need to do (I need to do this also) is next season have a friend or family member call some landscapers to estimate their property. The more the better, than go from there.

    It all depends on your market, how much competition you have in your market, and what your customers will pay to have someone cut their grass and not do it themselves, good luck
  3. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    First never work off of price, work off of what it takes for YOUR company to make money, every company is different so you can't judge by anybody else. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS! What are YOUR cost to do business? But for some good guidelines you can check here,
  4. johnnyb01

    johnnyb01 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    it also depends on who you are competing with, there are plenty of guys out there that will do it on a Saturday for "beer money" for example my uncle had 3 guys come out last year with (borrowed) equipment and do a major clean up on his lawn. They removed 3 dead trees (30 ft plus pines, two in the air and one on the ground) pulled up a few large out of control azalea bushes and a lot of other minor stuff (basically got it back into a shape where he could mow it) they were out there all day (8hr+) and only charged him $150...somebody with overhead cant compete with somebody willing to gross 6.25 per man hour. but the guys made $50 each and had beer money for the weekend
  5. Victorsaur

    Victorsaur LawnSite Member
    Messages: 81

    Price varies on geographical location. Here in Asheville NC the standard profit margin is $50/hr. The very lowest one may go is $35/hr. for gardening work. This can go up to $70 or $80/hr. given equipment, and for dangerous work involving tree climbing and chainsaws etc. expect at least $250/hr. I generally shoot for $50-$60/hr. if I'm using machinery and $40-$50/hr. if I'm using manual equipment. This is per man on the job and assuming that you've hired capable experienced workers. These are all profit margins when gas and extra expenses have been paid for.

    I'd suggest humbly asking for advice from a local experienced landscaper who is friendly and knows that you aren't quite competition yet. And for what the above guy posted, some people do work for pennies but this isn't you. Don't let clientele throw you off when they say that you are too high. Some do that because they're used to paying beer money guys or because they're old and remember when things were cheaper or because they don't really know what things are worth but are just trying to see how cheap they can get it etc..
  6. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,476

    man, that sounds like work to me. I rather just sit by the interstate off ramp holding up my sign. :drinkup:

  7. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    You have mowed lawns.

    You know how long they take.

    You know the size of these lawns, I hope.

    You timed yourself?

    You work solo?

    You know your expenses yet?

    By having answers to the above you should be able to come up with a pricing system based on the size of the lawn and the time it takes you.

    Then you need a minimum price. Mine is $30-35 for 1/4 acre or less plus tax.
  8. Triton2286

    Triton2286 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 214

    ^^^ Exactly what I would have said except 32 always says it nicer than I would.

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