Keeping up with competitor pricing

Advance_lawn_care

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
AR
Numbers like this are hard to make mean anything.

Is the numbers mentioned an average spring/summer/fall man hour averages. For example I can think of one job from spring to August takes 85 minutes but the rest of the season is around 60 to 65. I could alter how my man out rate appears on paper by picking which months base it off of.

Is travel time figured in.

Is the drive to the first job and the drive from last to home or shop figured in. Alot of variables that unless fully disclosed leave everything hard to figure.

Best advice I saw in this thread was the estimate acceptance rate. However that can be altered by how well you screen calls. For example if you say up front before quoting you are full service and your average client pays $x amount on average monthly you can run off alot of people right away.

These discussions however are extremely valuable for new people starting out. However, only time spent pushing your personal limits or very open disclosure from members here will reveal what the market will pay.

I'm personally issuing rate increases to the bottom 25% of my clients annually until I begin to have to much free time and not enough work...
 

Mitty87

LawnSite Gold Member
I was happy to be getting $70/man hour on landscaping work where we had employees working. It kind of hit me when someone said I was half the price of another quote and it was a job with 80 hours at $73/man hour after the job was done. I was happy with it. Our breakeven is just $50/man hour. Canadian. It’s a bit of psychological barrier to just jack up prices 30% over night as I have always been too nice of a guy. But it’s taking a toll on me and everyone seems to want landscaping now, so May as well take advantage of it.
 

Tn Turf

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Spring Hill, TN
I was happy to be getting $70/man hour on landscaping work where we had employees working. It kind of hit me when someone said I was half the price of another quote and it was a job with 80 hours at $73/man hour after the job was done. I was happy with it. Our breakeven is just $50/man hour. Canadian. It’s a bit of psychological barrier to just jack up prices 30% over night as I have always been too nice of a guy. But it’s taking a toll on me and everyone seems to want landscaping now, so May as well take advantage of it.

There's companies looking for guys like you in my area. They want to sub the work out to you for $70-$80 then bill the client $160-$180 per man hour.

It's quite brilliant, honestly.
 

cool breeze

LawnSite Senior Member
Numbers like this are hard to make mean anything.

Is the numbers mentioned an average spring/summer/fall man hour averages. For example I can think of one job from spring to August takes 85 minutes but the rest of the season is around 60 to 65. I could alter how my man out rate appears on paper by picking which months base it off of.

Is travel time figured in.

Is the drive to the first job and the drive from last to home or shop figured in. Alot of variables that unless fully disclosed leave everything hard to figure.

Best advice I saw in this thread was the estimate acceptance rate. However that can be altered by how well you screen calls. For example if you say up front before quoting you are full service and your average client pays $x amount on average monthly you can run off alot of people right away.

These discussions however are extremely valuable for new people starting out. However, only time spent pushing your personal limits or very open disclosure from members here will reveal what the market will pay.

I'm personally issuing rate increases to the bottom 25% of my clients annually until I begin to have to much free time and not enough work...
You're absolutely correct. These rates per minute really mean nothing and frankly, some I'm even skeptical of.
 

Advance_lawn_care

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
AR
I'm going to be doing alot of data mining this winter. Based on quick figures I remember running during the year it seemed like 75 per man hour including travel time spring and summer. When grass slows down per man hour with travel is seems to average around 95. I assume that big jump per man hour is influenced by the fact that 80% of my work is eow, weekly would provide more control against double cutting over growth and make the man hour more equal year round. I could add a charge for over growth but I don't for reasons off topic. If you exclude drive time...rough guess spring and summer would be 90 to 120 per man hour and fall slow growth mowing easily 120 man hour plus.

I suspect the max the market would accept while keeping me (solo op) busy is around 25% higher than what I'm currently charging. My mow number research is slowing down tho since I plan to be out of mowing in a year or two...

Numbers are fun...big puzzle game. Spent the morning analyzing profit figures comparing real estate buy and sell and putting the profit in s/p 500, long term rental, vacation rental. Again off topic....

Manipulating numbers is easy, getting accurate numbers takes more work....
 

Mitty87

LawnSite Gold Member
There's companies looking for guys like you in my area. They want to sub the work out to you for $70-$80 then bill the client $160-$180 per man hour.

It's quite brilliant, honestly.

We could definitely be getting those prices ourselves. I have 50 quotes on my schedule going out 5 weeks. I was just charging what I thought we needed and feels weird trying to make over 100% profit. Every time we get jerked around by someone who we were giving a deal to, I start raising prices a little at a time. Irrigation hourly went from 70-85 this year, weeding from 55-70. Hedge and shrub work from 70-80. Landscaping quote at 75.
 

Mitty87

LawnSite Gold Member
I'm going to be doing alot of data mining this winter. Based on quick figures I remember running during the year it seemed like 75 per man hour including travel time spring and summer. When grass slows down per man hour with travel is seems to average around 95. I assume that big jump per man hour is influenced by the fact that 80% of my work is eow, weekly would provide more control against double cutting over growth and make the man hour more equal year round. I could add a charge for over growth but I don't for reasons off topic. If you exclude drive time...rough guess spring and summer would be 90 to 120 per man hour and fall slow growth mowing easily 120 man hour plus.

I suspect the max the market would accept while keeping me (solo op) busy is around 25% higher than what I'm currently charging. My mow number research is slowing down tho since I plan to be out of mowing in a year or two...

Numbers are fun...big puzzle game. Spent the morning analyzing profit figures comparing real estate buy and sell and putting the profit in s/p 500, long term rental, vacation rental. Again off topic....

Manipulating numbers is easy, getting accurate numbers takes more work....

I have run the numbers too, I figured rentals were worth it. With the mortgage interest and expected maintenance, it wasn't going to be worth the time of being a landlord or giving 15% to property management companies. With how hard it is to evict someone now, that tipped the scales for me. I think market returns were just slightly under if I factored in time. That is my market in Canada where you can't get anything livable for under 600k
 

Tn Turf

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Spring Hill, TN
I'm going to be doing alot of data mining this winter. Based on quick figures I remember running during the year it seemed like 75 per man hour including travel time spring and summer. When grass slows down per man hour with travel is seems to average around 95. I assume that big jump per man hour is influenced by the fact that 80% of my work is eow, weekly would provide more control against double cutting over growth and make the man hour more equal year round. I could add a charge for over growth but I don't for reasons off topic. If you exclude drive time...rough guess spring and summer would be 90 to 120 per man hour and fall slow growth mowing easily 120 man hour plus.

I suspect the max the market would accept while keeping me (solo op) busy is around 25% higher than what I'm currently charging. My mow number research is slowing down tho since I plan to be out of mowing in a year or two...

Numbers are fun...big puzzle game. Spent the morning analyzing profit figures comparing real estate buy and sell and putting the profit in s/p 500, long term rental, vacation rental. Again off topic....

Manipulating numbers is easy, getting accurate numbers takes more work....

That's part of our big advantage to earn higher PMH that many here overlook. Keep routes tight with extreme high efficiency through proper training. Our daily total windshield time might be 15 to 20 minutes from the shop and back. We don't make money when the tires are turning; we only make money when blades are spinning. Keep those blades spinning.

Training: that can't be emphasized enough. You have to learn to weedeat the fastest way without getting clippings in beds, trim so you never have to back-track, mow so you're not blowing clippings on surfaces to reduce blower time, reject push mow yards, reject yards that require excessive weedeating time, reject hills and slope yards, reject yards out of your very tight service area. Be very picky and run a tight ship.

Equipment: Use the most efficient and reliable equipment. I use 61" Scag ZTRs on .15 to .25 yards (and never double cut!). Forget those standers! Yeah they might do a better job with less stress on the turf, but we need to get in-and-out and off to their neighbors yards... and then to their neighbors yard, and so on....

Would customers prefer push mowers or light standers? Probably. But they aren't going to pay double for that. I constantly audit yards and production to make sure we aren't spending more than 6 to 12 minutes on any given yard.
 
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Advance_lawn_care

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
AR
If I spent a few more years I might be able to get my drive time lower. I don't think my area has as dense of a population. Average drive time is probably between 5 and 10 minutes but I don't currently have any data to back that. I have alot of jobs within minutes of each other then some that will be 20 minutes one way. I incorporate trip fees on those. I easily spend a hour a day driving that has to get figured into the customers price.
 

SS Lawn Care

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Broken Arrow, OK
It runs me @$700 per year from Hiscox , who farmers subbed me out to. I’m right at about $500 at the start of year for annual licensing here in ok.

the thing I see is the eddm cards where the guys say” 1st app $29,95l” with an asterisk by the price. The asterisk is explained at finer print “ if you sign up for 9-12 apps” nobody reads that. I’m at 40 stop fee and 3.50/4.00 per 1000sq ft.
How's it going fellow Okie? So on your spray rates, if you have a 5,000 s.f. lawn - $40 stop fee plus $4.00 per 1k - that would be $60 per treatment. That seems like a pretty good rate to me. So, on an acre, you would be running at $216? I always like to compare to see what other operators are doing. I like your formula, it seems like you're running a pretty decent rate. I probably need to bump mine up a bit more. I've got a bunch in the 48-52 range that I might be able to squeeze a bit more out of. I am using Specticle this fall for pre-emergent and yes it does add a lot to your spray cost!
 

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