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Doing yards for certain prices.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by kebrowns, May 1, 2014.

  1. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,660

    Yea I'm not understanding your dislike of smaller lawns. Its like the clowns that only want beautiful perfect lawns with thick lush grass that takes from freaking ever to mow. Bahhhhh give me a sickly lawn that takes 10 mins for the same price I have no delusions about prestige from mowing high end accounts. I am here to make money not impress myself on how good I am at working for peanuts. Now Monday My second stop has 5 houses all of them are on 8-10,000 sq feet lots. I had 4 on and these are all grandfathered price wise so only 25 each. Still I finished all 4 solo in under an hour. How many of those big ones pay you over 100 an hour per man. That said I have a few dozen 1 acre and up accounts but the small ones are where the money is.
  2. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,021

    Small lawns clustered in decent neighborhoods is where you make your $$$. The larger we go, the less we make per hour, plain and simple. Once you hit a certain price point customers just don't want to pay what it takes to mow large lawns.
  3. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,021

    Overgrown lawns, cut high initially and tell the customer it will take 2-3 additional cuts to bring it down to normal mowing heights. A good commercial mower will cut an overgrown lawn where you can't tell from the street that it was ever overgrown.

    Example: We get calls for a cut and customer says it's a little high. Typical answer. We show up it's obviously overgrown, bid it high, get it, then cut at 4". Lawn looks great and stripes very good even overgrown large weeds. Then we explain that it takes 2-3 additional cuts to maintain a nice green look while bringing it down to regular height (very true).

    Additional advice: Focus on quality and don't compete with lowballs ever...they take care of themselves when the temps hit 85 deg and realize they aren't making any money!!! A biz plan in this industry based on low prices is doomed for failure. We get a flood of calls every summer for this very reason. Stick to it, do quality work and you will be successful.
  4. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    Yup. I won't say I was "burned", but I DID learn a lesson doing this.

    Year one:
    I couldn't believe my luck - SEVEN houses TOGETHER!
    I gave two of them "deals" - one because she was an old lady and another just because I was already there and it is tiny. (as are most of these)

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    Two years later:
    One stopped because kid was old enough and wanted to mow lawn
    One switched to someone who also does chem applications (I don't)
    Two moved
    I have three left - and one is a biweekly

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    Nobody gets a discount for being next door to an existing client any more.
    The person who should benefit from such an arrangement is YOU - not the customer.

    I had some clown try that "Since you're already going to be here" crap last week.
    I could tell that he figured since I'm going to be there, I'd be happy to mow his lawn cheap. He was wrong. I didn't get it and I don't care.
  5. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    I am not anti small lawn. My one commercial account has a 50'x50' parking lot in the rear of the house and a front lawn that is no bigger.

    $40 and it takes me 20 minutes when I go slow.

    The reason for a minimum is that it tends to keep the customer from haggling.

    Would I break my $35 minimum. Possible though I never had a lawn that small to make me feel that charging $35 would be excessive.

    As pointed out I never give price breaks because people live next door, and or across the street.

    The reason as point out it sounds great that you got 6 people on one block. But with time you lose customers one at a time. By the time you realize that you are down to 3 lawns you need to raise the prices because you lost the volume those people have long forgotten why they have been getting a price break. They refuse to pay more and replace you with another low baller.

    You see you were so anxious to grow the route that you convinced doing work for less then the normal price was not low balling.

  6. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,478

    i know my situation is different, but since i work by myself and still try to offer mowing and apps out of same truck, i am at a point where i only mow the small lawns 5,000 sq. ft. of grass and under. Minimum price $35 to $40 depending on how much trimming, and usually 20 to 30 minutes per stop. I can manage these by myself quickly and come out pretty good at the end of the day when i can mow 7, and do 15 treatments, and come home feeling like i made some money. lol. the small ones are way easier to mow on an every other week schedule because even if i have to double cut it doesn't add a huge amount of time.. the big ones, i always seem to lose money on, so cut that out this year. but i don't have a ZTR, just a 36" walk behind, so with my equipment taking on big lawns is just shooting myself in the foot especially if they are EOW. I just dont' care for the ones that i would have to push mow the back yard! had a few that had to much landscaping to get to the backyard with even a 36". so have you thought of just having a minimum price for the small lawns? this seems like where the better profit is with our size equipment (considering i think you have similar setup to what i have)

  7. southerntide

    southerntide LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Alabama
    Messages: 5,957

    2ft grass cut yesterday 1pass dull blades '05 gravely 148z


    I have never priced by lots size bad idea, every yard and job is different and all call for different prices.
  8. southerntide

    southerntide LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Alabama
    Messages: 5,957

    I give lower cost to neighbors because I do not have to waste money driving to the job that factors a lot especially gas is almost $4 here now. Plus they are smaller lots and gravy to do takes about 10-15 mins to cut .75 acre lots here

    About $35 to fill my mower tanks up
  9. Tn Turf

    Tn Turf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 303

    I put an ad up on Craigslist to mow a small lawn for $5. The thing is, I will only travel a 1 mile radius, otherwise it is not worth it.

    Only got one job in the last 3 days. Weird.
  10. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    Maybe you missed the point.

    If you give the "neighbors" a lower price and THEN the original one(s) drop you/move/whatever, then you have a property/properties that are underpriced AND you still have to drive to them.

    I used your EXACT same mentality when I "low-priced" two of those seven jobs - "I'm already here - a few bucks will cover my gas for the day" - now I'm down to three and one of them is the underpriced job, and I now resent the fact that I'm mowing it for less than I should be.

    Grabbing up extra clients all in one spot is GREAT if they all stay that way, but as in my example, you can see that anything can happen.

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