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Estimate Question

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by grassgirl4, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. grassgirl4

    grassgirl4 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 125

    Hi!! This is my very first post...exciting!! :)

    This is my third year in business. I am submitting an estimate today for weekly mowing/trimming on a sizable private residence. The job will take a good portion of the day, so I will not be traveling around from site to site guzzling gas and racking up down time. I certainly don't want to underprice myself, as the work I do is top-quality - which I pride myself in (plus I don't want to be a low-baller)!! However, I don't want to overshoot the quote and lose it altogether. I know what the 'big boys' around here charge per man hour, but my question is do they charge the full per-man-hour rate for each hour they are on the property, or do they discount each hour some since they aren't losing time and gas money traveling around?

    I had always figured the full per-man-hour rate, but then I saw a post here a few days ago saying that if you're working a property all day, then you discount some (i.e. from $40/man hour to $35).


  2. pbdlandscaping

    pbdlandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    well if it's a yearly estimate I would take a shot in the dark and guess the time it would take you, then put a price on what you think your time is worth for that time, then crunch equipment fuel numbers and so on...then mess with the numbers to figure out a good reasonable price that you think you can make good money on and still win the bidding war. also $35/ man-hour is very competitive in my area, actually lower than most but no considered low balling. best of luck
  3. Wet1

    Wet1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    I make sure I'm getting paid $60+/hr on all my mowing jobs, this includes travel time. But keep in mind, your location might warrant more or less per hr.

    Also keep in mind that very large jobs can be difficult to accurately estimate the amount of time it's going to take you. I'd see if I could workout a discounted one time rate which you both think is fair and see how long it takes you... Or, time whoever is doing the property now. Use this info for a much more accurate quote. Nothing worse than getting the job and realizing you grossly under bit it!

    Good luck Grassgirl! :)
  4. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    Depends on the size of the property.

    When you say "sizeable part of the day", what's that mean? What's the size of the property? Lots of trimming, or just a little? Hilly? There are a lot of things that factor into price besides size and how long your truck stays parked.
  5. grassgirl4

    grassgirl4 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 125

    As for the particulars of the property, I know in total there are about 9 acres; however, some of that is left natural/uncut. The terrain, for the most part, is relatively flat, but there is some slopage here and there, along with a pond that will have to be delt with with my string trimmer and either my WB or the 21" (due to slope). As for trimming, there is quite a bit, as the owner planted a bunch of trees all over the place. He currently mowes it himself with a Ferris ZTR and says it takes him 4-5 hours - mowing only...no trimming. I figured that with all the trimming and dealing with the slopy area around the pond, the entire job would take me around 8-8.5 hours (working alone).

    He only wants the trimming and pond done bi-weekly, so I figured $220 for the weeks I just mow (5.5 hrs @ $40/hr) and $340 for the mow/trim weeks (8.5 hrs @ $40/hr).

    More opinions? Everyone's voice is greatly appreciated!!
  6. Petr51488

    Petr51488 LawnSite Silver Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,377

    What size mower do you have?
  7. grassgirl4

    grassgirl4 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 125

    60" Exmark Lazer Z, Quick 36 (en route), 21" Honda HRX217HXA, Echo handhelds
  8. Petr51488

    Petr51488 LawnSite Silver Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,377

    I'm pretty sure 9 acres can be done in 3 hours or less. I mow my 7 acres in pennsylvania in about 2.5 hours with a deere 52'' tractor
  9. johnnywill08

    johnnywill08 LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA z6
    Messages: 383

    i've found smaller lawns to be WAY more profitable... hard to get $100 for a single cut but i can easily mow 3 $35 lawns in an hour...
  10. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    I mow one property that is exactly 2 acres. Several trees which are a bit of a pain due to low haninging branches. Average time with my 50 inch was 1 1/2 hours, with my 60, I trimmed 10 minutes off, or 1 1/3 hours, so roughly 40 minutes per acre. The yard is level, but rough, as are most of the yards around here. I doubt I average over 5-6 mph on the Z most of the time. Hope this helps. Trimming time is much harder to figure, as properties vary so much, but it is much less expensive, relatively speaking, to do, if you are operating solo.

    I read posts on here all the time about guys mowing 3 acres an hour, etc, but in the real world, or at least the real world around here, it just doesn't happen that way. Now, if I were young, and didn't care how much I get jostled around, maybe I could mow some wide open and post some of those times myself. :)

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