Considering Adding Lawn Mowing Programs

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by BeautifulBlooms, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. BeautifulBlooms

    BeautifulBlooms LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    Hello, I am a co-owner (With my wife) of a small landscape company that has primarily been landscape design, maintenance and small construction (NO SKID STEER WORK ALL HAND PLANTING etc.)

    I am considering offering lawn mowing programs to our current customers in hopes of transitioning to having full time mowing crews to compliment our landscape crews. I know going out and getting lawn mowing contracts may be easier than getting full season landscape contracts, but I also know that keeping the lawn customers happy is probably much harder. I know the competition is much greater in lawn mowing than it is with landscaping, and I also know that the equipment needs are much more expensive than we have had for the landscape work. Basically the scope of our landscaping requirements (all hand labor, minimal equipment needs (blowers, hand tools, etc) seems to be much less than the need for mowing practices.

    What I am wondering is how should I go about making this happen? I know lots of opinions there, but I'll take them all. We will charge $45 an hour (next year) for landscaping with less inputs than for lawn mowing, I can't possibly charge more than $45 for lawn mowing can I? Well I guess I know I can but will I get any customers at that rate?

    We already have 2 trucks 2005 Chevy 1500 silverado w/ Crew Cab Long Box, 2006 Chevy 1500 silverado w/ long box. Is this truck more than capable of handling a trailer with mowing equipment on it? I know an enclosed trailer would be nice but also unecessary at the beginning of this venture. The trailer I have for landscaping would not work for mowing equipment, so i know I would need to find a decent trailer for hauling around the equipment. If I know I will not fill up a full weeks worth of mowing, can I get by with just one single mower, string trimmer and backpack blower? If my mower goes down in how long can it typically get back up and running (knowing full well I cannot handle the mechanical side of things quite yet)? 1 day, 2 days, a week? I know it depends on the service personnel but just a general guideline.

    Any help would be desired. I look forward to hearing back from all you established companies.

    Mike Harrington
  2. I charge $45/hr too. For bed work etc. Man with a tool (up to and including small power tools) is $45/hr.

    I can't afford to mow for that price. Most guys who have commented on it here on lawnsite strive for $60/hr. running a ZTR. But hardly anyone mows by-the-hour. Most give a firm price, by the cut, by the week or by the season, and then try to better their own times.
    What if you got a lawn mowed in 10 minutes? You're not going to charge $7.50 are you? You'd be loosing money.

    All of my mowing customers pay more than $45/hr and are glad to have me at that price.

    Maybe you could mow by-the-hour if you were using 21" SP mowers on an occasional basis. But I dunno. It just sounds like you're heading the wrong direction talking about mowing by-the-hour.
  3. BeautifulBlooms

    BeautifulBlooms LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    I am not considering mowing by the hour, I was simply looking for guidelines on how I can estimate my mowing pricing. I know a job is bid as a per cut or per week. If it takes me longer I lose out on some profit if I do it quicker yeah for me. If I expect a job to take me one hour per visit, what would a general price be for that cut? $40, $50, $75???

    How can I come up with the cost of a mower? I dont even know how much a ZTR costs, (as I have been focussed on landscaping not lawn mowing) or how many hours it may last? What about maintenance costs on mowers, can I expect $200 a year spread over it's life, or is it more like $500, or $1000 for maintenance and repairs.
  4. MacPhersonlawn

    MacPhersonlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    I charge by the job but figure that charge on how long the job will take me. It is not a factor of how much to charge, it's knowing what your expenses are. I have to get $70 per hour (minimum) for mowing to cover my expenses and take home money for me. My goal is about $90 per hour but I do not always get that.

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