Changing the way I price.........

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by vixlawnservice, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. vixlawnservice

    vixlawnservice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    Hello, I have been thinking about changing the way I price. Currently, depending on how much trimming I have to do I charge 30-40 dollars for up to a 1/4 of an acre, 50-60 dollars up to a 1/2 an acre and 20-25 dollars for every half acre after that. I offer a seasonal contract based on a 24 visit mowing season (twice a month) in which I discount 10% off the monthly amount.
    Example: $35(1/4 acre lot) x twice a month=$70 - 10%=$63 per month ($756 per year)

    I also offer a seasonal contract based on a 36 visit mowing season which is about 3 times a month. On this contract, I discount 20% off the monthly amount.
    Example: $35(1/4 acre lot) x three=$105 -20%=$84 per month ($1008 per year)

    Examples are based on Mowing, Trimming, and Blowing.

    I feel like I am charging too low, any suggestions would help.:)
    2003 Toyota Tacoma Prerunner Extended Cab V6
    5x10 Single Axle Trailer W/Dovetail Gate
    48" Gravely Walkbehind
    21" Bolens Push Mower
    Shindwaiwa T231 Timmer
    Echo SRM2400 Trimmer
    Kawasaki Hedge Trimmer
    Echo Blower
    Hand Tools
  2. cwlawley

    cwlawley LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 470

    I don't do the package deals. I try to make $40 per hour, period.
  3. Jpocket

    Jpocket LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,282

    Your #1 mistake is your Not cutting WEEKLY. Get 99% of your customers to spend over $100 per month. Every two weeks is never gonna cut it.
  4. vanguard

    vanguard LawnSite Member
    Messages: 202

    I Concur. dancing
  5. Right Choice

    Right Choice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    You have a good idea with the discounts. However, you want to be careful with how much you discount and when. Remember, if your solo you are discounting your sweat and blood. Try and limit the discounts to when your customer is doing something for you. For example: 25% off 1st cut on sign up or 25% off for a referral. Try not to keep giving money away. Based off of your figures $105 - $84 = $21 per month X 8 month season = $168 per year that your giving away per customer, that can add up pretty quickly.

    And I highly encourage you to mow once a week. During the peek of the season your average customers should be paying about $120 - $140 per month just on mowings. I would try to slowly change over your existing customers but all your new ones I would mow weekly.

    Just somegthing to think about.
  6. vixlawnservice

    vixlawnservice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    That is a good point, Right Choice, the only thing that I am concerned with mowing every week is scheduling. Say you have a full week of clients and you get a few days of rain. Do you reschedule for the weekend or do you just not go that week to the clients you missed due to rain. Because if you try to reschedule for during the week or the weekend it will definetly throw you off the following week and so on. That is my main concern, how no to disapoint my client. Am I thinking about this the wrong way?
  7. Right Choice

    Right Choice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Here is the way I handle it. I have a relatively small company. I run approximately 140 lawns per week with 95% of them on Wednesday thru friday. In Texas we know that weather can change quickly. I watch the weather, if rain is an issue I try and move my clients up one day. If I have to, then I utilize the weekend as my back up days. I generaly do not work on the weekends. However if I have to then I have to. My guys know that the week is not over untill the jobs are done. I try not to work on Sundays if I don't have to. In the past 17 years we have only worked on Sudays 2 or 3 times.
  8. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995

    We run in florida. capital of pop-up rain.

    Run your schedule Mon - Thursday full days. Run Friday as a light day. Run Saturday as a back up day and Sunday as an emergency day.

    Very rarely will you be completely rained out for more than one day in a week.

    Sure it may rain 5 days in a row, but not all day, so mow what you can. If monday is rained out, then tuesday becomes Monday and the schedule marches on a day behind and you try to squeeze in an extra couple of yards at the end, so some of the actual tuesday work is already done when you start on wed. Besides, if you have them on Yearly service, monthly pay, Just shoot them a call and say, hey the weather is horrible. I am not mowing because with how saturated the soil is, I would do more damage than good. We will see you as soon as weather permits. And have that already in the contract.

    As far as giving discounts based on signing up for monthly service or bi-weekly service. You have it backwards.

    Set up your system so that weekly cutting on a yearly contract is the norm. With Monthly billing (in advance).

    Then when anyone wants every other week service or a one time cut, you can go UP accordingly.

    How I do it.
    example: 42 cut season.
    Weekly service April - Nov average 1 hour per cut 28 cuts
    EOW service Nov - Mar average 45 minutes 14 cuts
    total time spent 30.5 hours
    my hourly rate $60
    total cost to client $1830
    divided by 12 payments = 152.50 per month
    round up to $155 monthly.

    Now if the same client wants to be done EOW I figure out the same figures
    then multiply by .8 $155 x .8 = $124
    so the EOW mow price on the same property would be $124 monthly. This helps people to understand that being cheap only gets them tall grass. And you really don't want these types of accounts anyway.

    One time cut request on the same property
    $155 x .45 = $70

    What it basically does is makes your monthly rate the norm and cutting Every other week is like paying for 3 of the 4 on monthly and one time cuts is like paying for 2 monthly cuts. And that is about how much extra time it will take with these annoying options.

    NEVER ever tell them how you came to these prices. Never tell them your hourly rate. Never tell them the (theoretical) single cut price

    I have a gate fee on any one time cuts. I don't care if it is 100 square feet of turf. For me to break off the schedule and mow on a one time basis, Starting price is $40. Take it or leave it. I don't care "if you might start using me fulltime if you like how we mow". I don't care if you have "10 other properties that I might get you to mow". I don't care if your grandma just died, your husband just had a heart attack, the county is gonna assess a fine if it isn't done today.

    I am in this to make money, not help out slack people who are trying to get over.

    Those are all lines to make you feel like you have a hot lead on more business or to make you feel sorry for their deadbeat self.

    One time cuts. CASH in hand prior to dropping the gate. No exceptions.
  9. jtkplc

    jtkplc LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,656

    I don't understand why you don't cut every week and why you are offering a discount, can you explain?

    Aren't the lawns really tall after 2 weeks, unless it's way different in Texas than it is in Michigan. I would never think of mowing 2 times a month. I would have to bag everything. If I cut every 2 weeks, I would be charging at least double the price of a weekly cut, because it's a hassle and it will take much longer to do.

    I'm all for discounts, but not across the board. Like others have said, maybe a first time deal or for a referral, but I can't see throwing away potential money.
  10. vixlawnservice

    vixlawnservice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    This is a great formula and it was wha I was looking for and the advice about running heavy early in the week and having a couple of days for backup is great. Thanks everyone. Precision just one thing, I think your math is little wrong.

    28 cuts at 1 hour= 28 hours
    14 cuts at 45 minuts=10.5 hours
    total time spent would be 38.5
    your $60 rate
    cost to client $2310
    divided by 12=$192.50 per month
    round up $195 monthly

    Or did I missunderstand you? Thanks

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