Finding work in charlotte county florida. New lawn service. Prices?

Discussion in 'Florida Lawn Care Forum' started by Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. Hello, :hammerhead:

    I just started a new lawn service in Port Charlotte Florida. I plan to cover Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, North Port, & the Deep Creek area. I used to have a lawn service here 2003-2005 until we moved back up north because my wife hit a downed power line in hurricane Charley and didn't want to stay another season. She was in the hospital for 3 days and has heart valve damage from it. She is in good shape though.

    Well we finally moved back and bought a house with cash from the equity of our home up north that we sold. I have purchased about $7000 in lawn equipment that is fairly new with a 48" Zero turn Bad boy and all. So I know how the lawn service business works. But I'm not getting any calls. I'm all over Google at Florida's Suncoast Lawn Care Service. And twisted the name about 5 different ways to show up in Google. I'm in the local papers at $140 a month and even the business service directory color big ad twice a week. But I have gotten only 3 calls in 3 months. And none of them want monthly service. They want it cut for $15-$20 a cut and you know how that goes. You can drive out there once a month in winter wasting fuel and the grass can be 6 inches high and they want to wait until next week. But when it's by the month they want it cut every week. I want monthly accounts but I can't seem to even get that. I offer $65 a month for straight lots, and $75 for corner lots and I'm not getting anything. How do you guys stay in business with $4 a gallon of gas? :cool2: What are the going rates in SW Florida? I used to charge $60 and $70 in 2003 and people paid. You would think it has went up by now since fuel prices are way up... I see people offering to mow lawns for $12 in Craigslist here. WTF
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  2. I'm doing well in business bc I live near some of the wealthiest people in the country who want their properties maintained to the highest standards. EOW or by the cut is not too common around here. I don't know much about the west coast but am curious as to why you purchased such a big mower to start put with? Good luck to you and I hope that things work out for you down here.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. fl-landscapes

    fl-landscapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,542

    Port Charlotte prices have indeed come down since 2003. And I can tell you 2003-2006 my phone rang off the hook. I would screen so many calls and voicemails and cherry pick the work I wanted. Now THE PHONE DOES NOT RING! I have been fortunate to keep most of all my contracts from when the economy was good. If I had to start over right now, I don't even think I would try. This area is economically depressed for sure. Sorry about the wife, hurricane Charlie was brutal but it was also a huge boom in business doing tree work. No per cuts or per season for me, only yearly, but starting from scratch you might have to take all you can get. Good luck.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. I can't seen to find work here. The fuel prices and home owners lack of wanting to pay monthly has me disturbed. I'm already considering shutting down before I even start. I have my business license and liability insurance and advertising. I can't even get enough work to pay for my magnetic signs and business cards. LOL. I know it's the slow season but shesh. People don't want a monthly contract. I even have a nice contract all made up. But people want by the cut only. And even then they don't want to pay $20. It's pathetic. I'm hoping by the spring I pick up some contract monthly accounts. I'm just glad we don't have any house payments.

    I purchased the 2010 Bad Boy 48" for $2000 from a divorcing couple, they had to split all assets and let me talk them down $1000. It only has 30 hours. I bought it and the trailer in Indianapolis before we left. The enclosed 5x10 trailer was only $600. Plus then I bought a new Hasqvarna walk behind for smaller enclosed areas on sale at Sears for $200 after my wife's 10% Sears discount. Just cheap Homelite weed eaters but I like them. They last forever and are only $95 at Home Depot. Bought a nice Hitchachi blower online for $100 -$30 mail in. $70. And bought a 98 Dodge van v-6 with 90K miles for $2500. That's how i started my business last time too. 48" doesn't seem so large. I usually mowed 95% of my lawns back in 03-05 with a zero turn no problems. I even used to open the fence up on two lawns to get in to mow the back yard. It was quicker than walking it still. So I got it all cheap enough. But no calls doesn't help. :)
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  5. Wow, I wouldnt have passed that up either. Just a thought-the customers that are yearly prob already have a service right now. I'm sure in spring you can get customers from services who aren't doing a good job. The per cut cheapos let LCOs go for the winter.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. Ya thank you for the information. What are the going rates? I just don't get it. Because older people still need help mowing. Plus there is money that comes down from up north that own vacation homes here. I think the people offering to mow by the cut at $15 and such has ruined it. They must be working for beer money or something. It's unreal. I'm about to go get a job in computer service or something. I really need to work though I've been sick with 5 stupid surgeries in the last 4 years and I'm in misery and when I get out and work and such it takes my mind off of the pain and misery. Plus it helps to get moving. Intestinal problems and a dark spot the size of my hand on my right hip that burns like hell. The moron doctors do nothing anymore. The doctors now just say IBS and send me home. Ya IBS causes a dark spot the size of my hand and burning like madness. They have no clue and don't care. They just want paid. So i'm trying but not getting work. It's making it stressful plus I'm wasting so much money advertising it's killing us. I'm in a 12 month contract with Sun Herald for advertising now.
  7. williams lcm

    williams lcm LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,200

    You will have to offer more than just mowing. Most want mowing, shrubs trimmed, weed control ect for $65 per month. Alot of low ballers willing to do it for $10-15 per cut.The scabs only need beer money and would never be on a lawn site forum. I have seen some retired guys doing it for under $45 per month. . Good luck
  8. $65/mo for full maintenance is pretty bad. Those are lowballer prices.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. Oh I know they probably don't even know how to read probably :confused:.

    I offer mowing, edging, weed control and some minor tree/shrub trimming for $65. Larger trees and such i trim for $15-25 per tree. I even pluck weeds as I go; in flower planters if it's not an overgrown situation from neglect to begin with. I keep stuff maintained. Or at least I used to. I even cleaned up a lot of stuff. I hate the ones that want it cleaned up for $20 a cut then they never maintain it and want it done for $20 forever but let it overgrow. I've dealt with good customers and bad. I would say it's about 10% bad and 90% good overall if I can get customers again. But shesh I can't believe how bad it seems anymore. This economy sucks.
  10. I am getting $80-$90 for little backyards with 500-1k sq. Ft of turf with some plants and $120+/mo for lots with 3-5k sq ft. I only do full maintenance. I guess prices are way lower in other areas or im just getting good numbers??
    Posted via Mobile Device

Share This Page