How do you guys bid a lawn?

Discussion in 'Bidding, Estimating and Pricing' started by Connor Sneddon, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. River

    River LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Wisconsin
    Messages: 2,455

    I’d kick your friend to the curb first. Most of the partnerships in lawn care don’t work out. As for the pricing it depends on what you got. If you got a pushmower your profits will be less than having a 52in commercial mower that can cover some ground.
    WhitsGreenerPastures likes this.
  2. BigJlittleC

    BigJlittleC LawnSite Gold Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 3,449

    Mower size doesn't equal profit. The correct sized mower for the property is always the best option. Plenty of profit using a push mower on the correct lawns. Right tool+ right price= profit.
    hort101, River and like this.
  3. johnwcropp

    johnwcropp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I’ve seen this dollar per minute posted on a few threads in the past. I don’t understand that concept. The majority of our lawns are $35-45 or 15-20 minutes. When I bid lawns it’s simply by time, if it is an hour then it’s $140 as I can have my guys down the street mowing 4 $35 lawns in that same hour. Size of lawn doesn’t come into account for me, simply time. I know if you are super hungry for work it may be appealing to take for less, but in the end if everyone charged appropriately across the board it would establish a profitable price point for all to bid competitively. When you go to the auto mechanic, it’s 85 per hour here, if the job is 15 minutes or 4 hours, the rate is the same based on time worked. I’ve never understood why it is or would be different in this industry versus all or most others.
  4. LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,653

    You are really talking about two very different businesses. Doing small property's at a minimum price. ie: won't drop gate for less than $35.
    So income is derived from lot's of yards paying minimum show-up price.
    Like a plumber, just to show up to your house bare minimum may be $50 even if all they did was plunger your toilet.
    So if a plumber could get nothing but toilets needing plunging, six on a block he could make $300 per hr.
    But plumbers also need to do entire house installs. They don't charge $300 per hr for that.

    Not all towns have hundreds of postage stamp yards that trigger a minimum fee. I had a few that took only 13 min. From gate drop to gate close. At $35 each. So in reality I was grossing over $170 per hr. Great for me but the 80 yr old lady's were over a barrel. Either pay it or their yard didn't get mowed. Not for me.
    I gave them to another lawncare guy.

    I would rather earn money cutting grass, not earn money because I can charge them the minimum drop price.
    Not saying it's wrong, or bad. Someone has to do it. Just not me.
    Total different business models.
  5. LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,653

    Every single person does the same.
    It's always figured how much (TIME)
    But in order to know, how much (TIME) any given lawn will take you need to know how many sqft per minute, per hr, or per day you can do.
    Unless of course it's triggering your minimum drop charge.
    500 sqft $35
    1000 sqft $35
    3500 sqft $35
    5000 sqft $35
  6. River

    River LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Wisconsin
    Messages: 2,455

    I was speaking in general around here. It may be different in downtown Chicago if you’re doing a few strips of grass on the sidewalk. But hey whatever pays the bills
  7. BigJlittleC

    BigJlittleC LawnSite Gold Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 3,449

    Like I said right size mower for the property is your best bet. That could be a pushmower or a 104 inch wam. Do you use a 5lb sledge to hammer in finish nails? Just like you don't pushmow open acreage or use a 72 rider to cut a few strips of grass on the sidewalk.

    Profit doesn't equal deck size. Profit is gain by pricing for profit and understanding your cost.
    River and hort101 like this.
  8. WhitsGreenerPastures

    WhitsGreenerPastures LawnSite Member
    from NW Iowa
    Messages: 41

    I always think in terms of time added to a route. If I bid a job I think "Ok, I will do it after this site and before this site and it adds this much time total." And I like to charge about a dollar a minute.

    I have an employee that I pay $15/hr (this will be his 4th year and he knows the routes as well as I do now) regardless of time actually mowing. And people tend to find the prices pretty fair.
  9. Michael Ray

    Michael Ray LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 391

    This. ....and while I never had a partner I agree with the rest of the guys.... would start solo then add an employee later if you really need the help.
  10. Precision44

    Precision44 LawnSite Member
    Female, from Virginia Beach
    Messages: 21

    First you must figure out an average of how much you spend on getting to the job(Fuel etc oil for the trimmers, mower etc etc. If you are going to do it properly meaning legally you have to figure all this into operating expenses. This will help you decide an hourly rate I charge forty five an hour an feel this is very cheap compared to larger companies you also need to figure in maintenance for yearly vehicle and machines it took me a while to do this however once I did I got paid with no questions asked. Most people and I mean 100% have no idea how much you have to put back into the business in order to be successful. This way you are able to just your cost to clients. I hope this helps you.:)

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