How do I get to $1/minute?

Lawnmowerguy23

LawnSite Member
Location
Louisiana
Hey, y'all.

Right now, I am working for a lawn care company. I mostly do weedeating/blowing but when it's necessary I get on the mower. We cut in this one small town with mostly 10 - 13k lots. It's not a subdivision where every house and lot layout is the same, but they're all pretty small.

Recently, there's been a few days where I'll actually be by myself. And on these days I've been timing myself cutting the yards to see how fast I can expect to cut them whenever I get my own business rolling. On every yard that's between 10k and 13k sqft lot, I do it in about an hour. Anywhere from 45 minutes to 65 minutes.

The thing that takes so long for me is the weedeating. Some yards just have so much stuff scattered around, it takes a long time. It took me 20 minutes on average to weedeat/string trim a yard. And I've got to be walking at 3.5 mph or so.

My boss charges these people $35 to do these yards that takes me about an hour to do. So that's roughly 50 cents a minute. I've read on here that a good average should be a dollar per minute.

The neighborhood we cut in ranges from lower middle class, to "well off" (almost upper middle but not quite). I really can't see these people paying much more than $35. All we do is cut the grass, we don't do any weed control or anything like that. It's just not that type of crowd.

So, is the only real way to make decent money doing this to target those subdivisions where every house is the same? The actual turf is a little smaller, everything is standardized, people make more money, and they care more about how their lawn looks, etc. Or maybe I'm slow?

If I were to target a subdivision, how should I go about it? If I don't know anyone that lives in a subdivision, and I certainly don't live there... Should I... go door to door? How do I even pick out a subdivision I want to try to takeover?
 
OP
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Lawnmowerguy23

LawnSite Member
Location
Louisiana
$35 seems to be the rate in my neighborhood. I see signs with “$35 starting rate” a lot. But, we use a mixture of gravely and scag zero turns. Ranging from 34” to 60”. But we mostly use 34 and 42 or 48. When I was by myself I used the 34 because that’s about all I can afford to buy so I wanted to get an accurate time
 

RigglePLC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Grand Rapids MI
50 cents a minute for you--and then 50 cents a minute for your expensive equipment. Charge more for string trim--optional at extra cost. But you are in the semi-skilled labor market. And there may be other people doing the same thing for a lower price.
Consider studying hard and taking the test for chemical and fertilizer spraying. Learn about weeds, seed, soils, insects and lawn diseases. And learn about how to operate a small business.
Get licensed.
Skilled labor (I think).
And most homeowners do not have the spraying equipment--at least not much.
Then--maybe--you can charge $25 minimum, for 5000 sqft and about 2 dollars for chemicals and 1 dollar for your labor--for each additional 1000 sqft.
 
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Lawnmowerguy23

LawnSite Member
Location
Louisiana
50 cents a minute for you--and then 50 cents a minute for your expensive equipment. But you are in the semi-skilled labor market. And there may be other people doing the same thing for a lower price.
Consider studying hard and taking the test for chemical and fertilizer spraying. Learn about weeds, seed, soils, insects and lawn diseases. And learn about how to operate a small business.
Get licensed.
Skilled labor (I think).
And most homeowners do not have the spraying equipment--at least not much.
Then--maybe--you can charge $25 minimum, for 5000 sqft and about 2 dollars for chemicals and 1 dollar for your labor--for each additional 1000 sqft.
Yeah I am learning about things like that on YouTube and stuff. I’m at least a year off from even starting my business so I have some time. It is a complicated thing lol. I can’t even identify grass types yet.

I want to just have like 20 yards that I do a lot of different things for. Like cut 20 yards a week but then pressure wash a few of the houses, do some shrubs trimming on other ones, etc. I think it would really help with the monotony of just cutting, and be less people to keep up relationships with.
 

Toro44

LawnSite Senior Member
$35 starting rate doesn’t mean anything. Consider that the easiest lawn within 3 miles of the sign.
 

Toro44

LawnSite Senior Member
Are we talking a 10k lot, or 10k of grass. If it’s a 10k lot with a house leaving 5-7k of grass, I’m really not sure what takes you an hour.
 

Youngandfree

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
VA
I'm at $50 on a lawnn that size.

So you guys don't do any other maintenance work for your customers? More money to be made doing full service, even if you aren't doing apps. Shrub, mulch, fall cleanup just for starters.

Keep in mind if there are two guys, how long does it take to do the same lawn? That puts the closer to $1/minute by cutting the time in half.
 
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Lawnmowerguy23

LawnSite Member
Location
Louisiana
I'm at $50 on a lawnn that size.

So you guys don't do any other maintenance work for your customers? More money to be made doing full service, even if you aren't doing apps. Shrub, mulch, fall cleanup just for starters.

Keep in mind if there are two guys, how long does it take to do the same lawn? That puts the closer to $1/minute by cutting the time in half.
We do leaf cleanup but I don’t think he charges much extra. It’s more like we have to do something with the leaves because we cut year round in the south.
 

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