Cut and trim pricing

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Richard Martin, Feb 11, 2002.

  1. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    Well, I finally broke down and bought a measuring wheel. I am just getting tired of the "hit or miss" pricing strategy that I have been using. I went around and measured up a few of my lawns and I didn't really like what I was previously doing regarding pricing.

    What do you guys think of these formulas?

    Normal lawn/under 10k sq ft/real grass
    $1.00 per hundred linear feet to trim (edging same price)
    $3.50 per thousand sq ft. to cut

    Crap lawns/under 10k sq ft/crabgrass and weeds
    $1.25 per hundred linear feet to trim (edging same price)
    $4.00 per thousand sq feet to cut

    The lawn sizing is actual grass area to cut, it does not include the areas that the house, driveway etc. occupy. The trimming/edging price includes the walking distance from the truck or from one bed to the next.

    I haven't worked out the over 10k prices yet but the trimming will probably stay the same with a reduction in cutting prices.
  2. Wayne Offiler

    Wayne Offiler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 113

    I havefound that what works best for me (per my own experience) is not to put much emphasis on lawn size, rather, how long I estimate it will take to mow and trim. Big open lawns with minimal trimming go fast, while small "busy" lawns with lots to trim can take longer than the big lawn. Now, when I have to quote on a new account, I walk the property and carefully observe the characteristics that will determine the amount of time spent on the property. With my 18hp 52" sulky wb, I can gobble up square footage rather quickly, so I look more for other factors that will slow me down.
  3. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    I'm with Wayne. Each lawn is going to be different as far as number of and lay out of obstacles.

    I try to look at a lawn and estimate how long it will take and go off that. Perhaps on one lawn I may have gone $5 too low, but then on another lawn I may go $5 too high, working out in the end.

    I suppose your formula would be useful on large jobs (like commercial accounts), where $5 too low for every 10,000sq.ft. could really add up, but for 10,000sq.ft. residential lawns I can't see it being worth the trouble.
  4. SLS

    SLS LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mars
    Messages: 1,540

    I'm with Wayne and Jonathan here too.

    I've got some wide-open 1 acre lawns that are much quicker to do than some of the 1/2 acre 'trim intensive' lawns.

    I just walk it and imagine that I am mowing it. It works...especially on the ones that I have to break out the 22" mower on for ditches and tight spots.

    My primary machine is a 60" Lazer so all the trimming, push mowing, and blowing really 'make or break' the estimated time factor.

    I look for the flat "wide-open spaces" and ignore the confined, hilly obstacle filled lawns now that I've built up a client list.

    Soon I will start replacing the more 'labor intensive' lawns as I pick up the "flat smoothies' to replace them with.

    On the other end of the spectrum I do have 4 little "postage stamps" that I do every Friday morning (they are all in a row) and I use the 22" on them (gated back yards and way too tiny for the Lazer). 1 hr. and 5 min start to $25 a pop. I would like to have a day or two worth of these also....good profit margin...not to mention the exercise.
  5. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810


    Shouldn't anything under 10,000 square feet be $35 minimum regardless?

    I bought a measusing wheel last year and find it quite useful.. But most of the properties I estimate/cut are usually 1 acre or better..

    It's especially nice to measure for fert, mulch etc..
  6. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    Personally I think your structure is backwards because it takes longer to cut thru the nice, healthy, thick stuff than it does to fly over the less desireable properties.

    I know that in our area regardless of size every property has to have a minimum. As far as the blowing and trimming is concerned this at times takes almost as long to perform as the actual mowing itself -LOL!!!

    I figure in 5 minutes for the trim/edging and 2 minutes for the blowing off. You know what your market will bear, if your light on price (not saying you are) then up your figures a lil bit, if your at the tipping point your fine.

    I too agree that the wheel is the most valuable piece of equipment we have in our arsenal. I hope it helps you as muchas it has me.

    Good luck this season!!!
  7. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    Thanks everybody for the responses. I did go and measure up about a third of my present properties and I confirmed what I had previously thought. If I had been using the measuring wheel the entire time I have been bidding I could have avoided underbidding some of the properties that I now know I didn't bid high enough.

    Kutnkru, I live in the transition zone between warm and cool season grasses and unfortunately the grass that grows here the best is crabgrass. I would much rather cut a real grass lawn than a crabgrass lawn any day.
  8. SJR Lawncare

    SJR Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    Richard, I am in your area & I must agree with you. There are alot of lawns around here filled with crabgrass. It is much more pleasurable to cut a lawn with actual fescue opposed to weeds & crabgrass.

  9. Mark

    Mark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 723

    kutnkru how can you just figure 5min on trim/edge. I have accounts that take 15min just for the front yd sidewalkk 150ft on the inside same on outside then same on curb,that don't even include the house and trees,ect, sometimes it take me 30 min to trim a 15k yd. Thats way my price is around 80$$ for these types of yds. Marks Mowing Service

    LAWNS AND MOWER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,129

    My formula on pricing a new account is start with my minimun of $30 and go up from there. $30 for the first 30 minutes and then $5 for every 10 minutes over the initial 30 minutes. If they live in the high rent district, I add $5. It's easy to compare potential new accounts in term of time to existing accounts. Price high!! It's easier to come down on a price than go up, although most of the time you won't come down if it's overpriced. Don't you love it when you ask the potential new customer what their last guy was charging and they tell you.


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