Formula for prices?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Ericfischer100, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. Zen Lawn

    Zen Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 77


    Thank you so much for your time and input. This makes perfect sense, and I think I can make that apply to me also.

    I'll gladly go over my numbers again and see if I can make this fit my budget.

  2. cody417

    cody417 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43


    According to those figures you are getting $100.00 per acre to cut and $220.00 per acre to fert approx?
  3. XLS

    XLS LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,038

    It is about 108 a acre on the mowing .
    now you need to know i think a acre is LARGE. we only do a few over 1 acre ( 1 .5) is our max size period and most of our checks when writen for the service week of an acre yard is over $150.00
    Most of our lawns are smaller then 3/4 acre.
    the weed control is higer then most and the $5.50 was high actually . The reason it was off is we sell it as a turf packaged price for the year and it included fert and spray seed de-thaching 1turf scalping and 1 aeration.and then we do monthly apps . for 12 months so i would have to punch it in to Grounds keeper Pro and see what it was and then divide it by 12 , and then break it down to the weed control Only......which i did not do ,sorry.

    it is $3.50 just for a per app only service. (but i do not offer it as a per app Only service)
  4. NCStateTurfKing

    NCStateTurfKing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    All of the information above is accurate. The way I estimate mowing is based on a lot of different things. There are a few things that I facture in. Time is money, so when you go to the property the best way is to look at the lay of the land. What I mean by that is factor in the slopes, edgings (soft and hard), turf type, customer requirements (high maintenance/low), shade or full sun, and time of day they are on your route. Sounds silly, I know! But if they are an early morning customer and there is dew or irrigation is set to be on just hours before you arrive, then you will have to mow a lot mor careful than if it is mid day and you can stripe and take sharper turns. This equals a faster completion rate. If grass is moist when you happen to arrive then you need to factor that in. I am in the piedmont of NC, which we grown numerous types of grass. If you do not weigh in all of the above then you are not doing your job. All comes from experience!
  5. Zen Lawn

    Zen Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 77

    TurKing- sounds reasonable. I'll have to learn my style as I go and figure out what factors add more time to my mow.

    I'm still timing lawns with a stopwatch and mowing with a 21" walk behind for now.
  6. NCStateTurfKing

    NCStateTurfKing LawnSite Member
    Messages: 6

    That is exactly how I started out. Just pick up as many customers in a centralized area as possible. I would advise you to step up to atleast a 32 inch walk behind. A commericial mower allows for more control and will give a more professional cut as well as make your business look more porfesional. I would would look on Craigslist and find a decent used one. 500$-1000$ would get a nice mower. If your customers have gates or other obsticles, this allows for a fit everytime. Push mowing a property is too time consuming and hard to make a profit after a while.
  7. Zen Lawn

    Zen Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 77

    TurfKing- I agree; learning that the hard way. After reading on here, I'm thinking of up to a 36", since most posters have found that that width will fit through most gates.

    I just figured out how to calculate my overhead, gross income and net profit in the last month from reading on here also. I dug myself into a bit of a hole by unintentionally lowballing before that. I have to catch up from that before I can invest in a wider commercial mower... it's definitely at the top of my list, though. I just have to keep reading and learning in the meantime.

    Maybe it's the season- being in the middle of the mow time, but there are very, very few commercial mowers on the market on Craigslist and at the dealers floor right now.
  8. XLS

    XLS LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,038

    another way you can figure time is by going low
    IE: You time a push mower and learn on a hill itcuts 250 sqft a minute then when the next estimate has 5000 sqft divide it by 200 and you will take 25 minutes.

    your price is based and presented to the HO AND YOU DONT SAY HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE. then if it takes20 minutes you made a little more profit then your base.
    same goes on a open lawn 12000square foot=60 minutes and you bill 65.00 per hour
    but becauseits open your going to cut faster 400sqft a minute and in 30 minutes you made 65.00
    its not about your price of service but how you sell it and stand behind your work.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    if your looking to try to break down your trimming and edging you need to do this.

    Go to a property, and measure your amount of stick edging. Then get a timer or a watch etc. And edge all the sidewalks and time it. Then do a few more houtime by the number of feet you edged. Then you are going to divide the number of feet you edged by the time, to determine you feet per minute. So for example say it was 100ft/2 min 75/2 min 300/5 min 45/1 min 500/10 min. That means you average feet per min were: 50, 37.5, 60, 45, and 50. Add those up, and divide by 5, and you get 48.5 feet per minute you can edge. I then multiply that by 60, to get my feet per hour which is: 2910 feet per hour you can edge. Now make sure each one of your properties you edge is very similar in how the edge is. Dont mix really bad edges with good edges. That will throw your times way out of wack.

    What i do then with this piece of material is go to new properties, measure the amount of edging and divide it by that number, and multiply it by my hourly rate so then I know how much to charge for edging. Say, I get to a new property and theres 450 feet of edging. I would take that 450/2910 and get .15 (I always round to the nearest .05.) Multiply that by my hourly rate and I get $5.25 for edging.

    Now I do this with everything: String Trimming (Both the linear feet of it and the actual number of obsticles too), zero turns, wbs, push, etc. That way when I bid, everything is acurate for what I need to do. I meause all new properties for the way it will be cut, if i need a zero turn, wb, and then trim it. Thats all used. Come up with my cost on the job, and then I can multiply in my profit based on that. It works wonderfully.
  10. wiselandscaping

    wiselandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 128

    Instead of basing your pricing system off of what you want to make, figure out what you need to make to cover all of your costs, then add in your target profit. From there you can figure out how much you will charge the customer per unit of service. Example: $X.XX/10,000 square feet of turf mowing, $X.XX/1 foot of string trimming.

    We have created a system where everything is measured. This includes pruning, edging, string trimming, mowing, salting, snow removal (plowing with trucks, bobcats, and front-end loaders) etc. If you charge for a service, there is a metric that can be used to calculate price.

    Our system wouldn't work for one man operations, because we charge considerably less per man hour for most services. At the same time, we can really control what we make on a particular job because instead of eyeballing and estimating, we can measure and estimate which allows us to hit our target profit percentages easily.

    One thing I would suggest is having a two flat fees that you add on to the price you derive from the calculations. The first is a truck maintenance and fuel fee. The second is adding 1/3-1/2 man hour for loading, unloading, and blowing debris from hard surfaces. By having these flat fees that you add to your numbers, you allow yourself to have a little fat to trim from your price if you need to be more competitive.

    While I can't say our pricing structure for obvious reasons, I can say that it allows any account manager to consistently price jobs. With a little tweaking you can get your own structure accurate to your market, and after bidding against your competition, you can even learn which services you may have to sharpen your pencil on when bidding against certain companies.

    An example of this is when I bid salting (per ton) against a certain competitor in SW Ohio, I know I need to drop $20 dollars off of my ton price to secure the work, but I can move my fert/weed program price up just a hair to compensate while still being competitive.

    I hope this helps.

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