Estimating Residential Properties

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by APLUS LAWN CARE, Mar 12, 2012.


    APLUS LAWN CARE LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from North Missouri
    Messages: 587

    This is my second year in business and last season I primarily did commercial properties. I am gearing up this year to take on more residential properties and I am not real sure what is the best way to estimate them. How do you guys estimate residential properties?

    I am sure most of you estimate by the square foot. Do you exclude the square footage of the house on the property? Based on the fact that many lots are not perfectly squre, how accurate are your square footage measurements?

    APLUS LAWN CARE LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from North Missouri
    Messages: 587

    Also, I know that it will vary by region but what do you charge per square foot or 1000 square feet?
  3. TuffWork

    TuffWork LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 506

    I charge $5-6 per 1000. It depends. Cost of living is cheap as heck here. I pay around $700 for a 1200 sq ft house in a nice neighborhood with a two car garage. Average is $30 bucks a yard. (for around a 5000 sq footer) Find out what average is. Bid most at that unless there are things that make it harder. Every thing that makes it more complicated than average add $5.

    APLUS LAWN CARE LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from North Missouri
    Messages: 587

    Thanks for the information. The cost of living is REALLY cheap here as well. My mortgage on a 1,300 S.F. house in a good neighborhood with a 2 car garage is about $350 per month.

    Do you have a minimum? For example, I looked at a yard a few days ago that was about 3,500 S.F. and that would be about $21 per cut at $6 per 1,000 S.F. I was thinking about setting a minimum of $25.
  5. CutterCutter

    CutterCutter LawnSite Member
    from WV
    Messages: 76

    The square foot method doesn't work for me. There are way too many variables to only consider the property size. Things that will effect what I am willing to mow a given property for will include:

    1. Condition of the turf... If it's lush, thick and fertilized often it's going to be a lot harder to keep the cut looking nice compared to a lawn that is thinner.

    2. Is the property level or does it have steep areas

    3. Is the property full of flower beds, small trees or other obstructions that will make it more difficult. I had one a few years ago that was so full of obstructions it was almost impossible to mow.

    4. How much trimming. Some properties have almost none and others have a bunch.

    5. Weekly or biweekly... if weekly it's easier to control the growth

    The bottom line is you want to get as much money as possible on every job. If you happen to get agreement to a figure that you think may be too high don't worry about it. After doing the job a couple times you may find what you thought was too high is actually about right. Also, if it turns out that the agreed price actually is too high it will give you room to do additional services from time to time without making an additional charge.

    As for getting to a price it's always a negotiation. Find out as much as you can about what the customer expects. Ask what the previous service did and how much they charged. I've had customers decline to say what they paid someone else and that's ok with me. Most will freely tell you if you ask. You can be sure that no one will pay you more than you ask for, so if you don't ask for a price that will well compensate your time there's no way you'll get it by accident.

    Lastly, I'll take a job sometimes for less than what I want knowing I'm going to raise the price the following spring. I don't think I've ever had a customer balk at the increased charge because I've spent the previous season proving the worth of my work.

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