Charge the right price

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by afftandem, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. afftandem

    afftandem LawnSite Member
    Messages: 196

    1st yr of mowing, I had a 21" craftsman, a weedeater blower (chpst there is) and a sthil fs 45.. I had passed out flyers the first of spring and got aprox 13 - 18 customers.. I wanted to build it more and do it for a full time job during the summer. About a month after I passed out the flyers (and acquired my 13or so custmr's) the rif raf began to call (based on flyers I had passed out 3-4 wks b4)... wanting me to mow,,, when i went by their homes to mow, the grass was outta control.. I was stuck on charging $25/mow.. thats what I was chrging almost all my customers.. I thought I would mow them and suffer through it and I would get them for the season.

    One that comes to mind is on the other side of my town. This neighborhood has the nicer homes ranging from $165k to $250k.. this yard was twice as big as the $25lawns i usually did...but stuck on chrging 25 (ever bit of a 40$lawn when mowed as needed) A month into the mowing season and the grass had not been cut, still i stuck with it thinking i would get them for the season (ever bit of a $60-$75 job) couldnt mow 5ft without the mower getting bogged down and dieing... mowed the whole lawn by push 1ft raise, push 1ft raise/dump ... after i was done, i went to the door (thinking i would explain that I should mow in 5 days again to mulch it up more, then maybe goin to reg schedule) before I could say anything she handed me the 25$ and said, "Well, if I could afford ya, I'd keep ya for the season". A month later, another message on my answering machine asking me to come and mow.

    Another one I went to was a corner lot.. alot more to mow... I had wised up a little, and explained to her that I was charging $25 for most of my lawns and that she had twice the lawn most have.. but I gave her a reasonable price ($35, it was a $45lawn).. She said that a neighbor had complained about the lawn and she had a notice from the city to get it cut. She had just moved in a few months earlier, and you could tell the previous homeowners had taken good care of the lawn (thick, fertilized).. once again Im doin a $75 job for regular price.. She told me, she wanted me for the full season and I was happy with that(I explained to her that anyone else would charge her over $50 to do it and the city charged $75hr/appox. 2hr charge, plus from what I hear, an administratin fee .. I figured out that I had to bag lawns when they got this bad, and I told her that it would be alot of work and that its impossible to get rid of grass clippings but i would do it.... worked my a$$ off for over 4 hrs bagging that lawn.

    I didnt have a truck, I had a 93 tbird that I put the mower, wdeater, blower in the trunk... I was able to fit 3-4 bags of grass in the passenger side, my back seats stuffed to the ceiling.. and as many bags in the trunk along w/equip i could fit... I had my seat full front with my nose in the windshield to drive..

    As I was finishing up the lawn, I noticed a man (about 26y.o. or so) on the front porch talking to her.. both glaring over at me watching me work.. when I finished the job and went to collect she explained to me that it was her nephew and that he'd be doin the job from now on.

    The look I was getting from them was a look that I must be crazy to charge $35/mow..
  2. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 854

    Please don't take this wrong but you deserved that look. Chalk it up to a learning experience and learn to say "NO" to people who will not pay for your time. Everyone that is experienced here on lawnsite has been where you went. Everyone does it once. Some even do it twice. We learn from it and move on. Keep chugging away with your business and build it. It takes time. You will make it!

    Remember, only one person on the face of this earth cuts grass for other then for money & profit.... that's Rodfather. . . he does it for his health :p
  3. afftandem

    afftandem LawnSite Member
    Messages: 196

    While Im at it.. last season my neigbor mowed lawns with me.. lawns I would normally charge $25, he would tell them $20, esp. if they were old.... his argument is that theyre on a tight budget...These were the new lawns we were acquiring .. not the ones I was chrging 25 for already.

    One thing Ive learned is that not all the elderly are on a tight budget..
    those who say they are, usually are not.... I know i may get some slack on this one but Im right.
    Elderly people have a different thinking than our generation does... Theyll say their living off their soc. sec. and thats a tight buget..
    the problem is, is that plenty do try to limit themselves to this, but will have over $1/2 mil setting in the bank.
    Ive seen this several times...
    their homes are generally paid for.. or they should be..
    and many with what they get extra goes straight to their kids, nieces, nephews.. Ive seen this alot!
    One lady I mow for ($20 because shes on a tight budget) forks her money to her prt time working daughter and her nieces and nephews....
    she just sold a piece of land in tennessee, which she forked over to her family.
    She (and her alone) just payed for her nephew wedding.
    She pays for her nephews college and the little bastard cant even take one hour out of his schedule every 10 days to mow her lawn... i even mow her daughters, where he lives cause he wont even mow his own for his mom.

    Anyways, the elderly arent lieing to us, they just look at things differently.. they are on a budget because they choose to be, not from the lack of funds. Regardless, we cant be a charity job.. If theyre truly having trouble refer them to organizations such as the united way.. they will ck their funds and look for volunteers to cut their grass.

    But dont assume that they are broke.
  4. afftandem

    afftandem LawnSite Member
    Messages: 196

    The look "that Im crazy" for chrging 35$, was a look that I was overcharging.

    the look was right, but not the way they were thinking it.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    The cost of education is skyrocketing.

    Your story could be told over and over on this site. The worst part is that the next guy that comes along will get the "well the last guy did it for this " story.
    I have not seen it lately but one of the members tag line said---I would rather go broke sitting on my butt than working it off!
    Your story is true to that statement.
  6. Hi-Output

    Hi-Output LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    Hey buddy, this sounds like me and my problem. Only I've be putting up with these kind of people in my town for almost 10 years. That's why I haven't went full-time yet. But with these guys' help on Lawn Site, maybe we can beat the cheap-skates, huh?
  7. Hi-Output

    Hi-Output LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

  8. osc

    osc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    This is a joke right??? It should be.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    I may have missed something in the original post, why were you 'stuck' on $25 a cut? Was this on your flyer, or is this the prevailing price?
  10. Stripe This

    Stripe This LawnSite Member
    Messages: 239

    Don't take this the wrong way, but you did everything wrong in that scenario. Banging your head into the wall would have been more productive. Don't make those mistakes ever again!!!

    Let's see....4 hrs of work for $35. That's $8.75 an hr. Less 1 yd of grass clippings to dispose of ($10 here) Travel time, wear and tear on the machine, fuel for the mower, and not to mention the time you wasted when you could have been making money.

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