Hope it works

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by linemech31, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. linemech31

    linemech31 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Hello I am new to the forum and lawn care. So far i have bought a gravely 44"wb and an off brand trimmer i have all the other stuff to go along with it nothing too great but it is serving the purpose so far. I tried putting a small ad in the local newspaper and it has got me some work but only one full time customer. I am thinking of putting flyers in the news paper as inserts the cost is reasonable. And im wondering what you guys think of the inserts in the paper. I have a fulltime job but it is only four days a week. I would like to have enough work to keep me busy for two days a week. Im trying to bid my work at around 45-55 per hour. I work by myself but could find a friend or two is i got in a bind and needed help. I am open to any thing you all might have to say so i can get started on the right foot.
  2. grass disaster

    grass disaster LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    work smarter not harder
    keep your prices high
  3. linemech31

    linemech31 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I started at around 85 per hour but had no work, came down a little to get work should i hold out??
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653


    The problem with the hourly rate is that this is a guideline only, ultimately the value of the job itself dictates how much you get paid, divided by how long it takes you, you get paid the same regardless.

    What I mean is, around here an acre lot cut + trim goes for around 60 dollars. Now, it goes for 60 dollars whether it takes you 5 minutes or 3 days, the price of the acre lot is 60 dollars all the same.

    Same goes for mulch... I get $50 / hour to spread the stuff, but I gauge mulch by either the barrow or the cube, depending (if it's my mulch, then I charge $25 / cu.yd., if it's NOT my mulch then I charge $5 / barrow). So what happens if I can only spread 1 cube / hour is I only get paid $25 / hour, my cost to spread the cube... But it just so happens I can usually knock out just over 2 cu.yds. / hour.

    This takes time. It took more than a few wheelbarrow loads before I could knock out 5 cubic yards without taking a break. I usually unload the whole thing with pitchfork and barrow (all but a cu.yd. or so), then spread it all out <- That's highly effective but it again took time before I learned how far apart to dump the barrow loads so it would all work out evenly. At the least, I like to unload 15 or so barrows before I even grab the rake to spread, but then you have to know how far a barrow load spreads to begin with.

    Meanwhile, it takes some strength but more than anything, it takes stamina. Stamina is that which makes you be able to run 3-4 hours solid without taking a break, and to be going as fast in the 4th hour as the 1st. This also takes time to develop, and it can't be faked. Ok, you can force it, but what about tomorrow, you plan on working or will you be too sore?

    So, consider lowering your labor rates, I'd lower them until you start to convert about half of all calls. That's cheap and it will hurt, you can go up some if you'd rather convert less but be aware that even 5 dollars / hour makes a HUGE difference.

    Fyi, my first year I did a LOT of work for 20-30 / hour.
    You're further north, I'm in virginia.
    Try 35-40... 40-45, somewhere in that range.
    Just do it until you have enough work for now, and do remember it's easier to come down in price than it is to go up, so you're actually on the right track. Might even try 45-50 first.
  5. cessnasovereign

    cessnasovereign LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 292

    Hey man, email me at cessnasovereign@aol.com and I'll show you a couple things I've used..

    But as for hourly rates, I personally never go by that, I mean I don't show up and say, "I'll cut your grass or trim your hedges for $80 an hour." I just give straight prices, I know if I was a customer, I'd go with the guy who gave an exact upfront cost.

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