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labor rates

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by fullburn, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. fullburn

    fullburn LawnSite Member
    from ct.
    Messages: 42

    just curious, what is everybody charging for labor rates these days. want to be fair, but doun't want to lowball an lose profit.
  2. Oasis1

    Oasis1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    The going rate in my area for mowing is pretty much a dollar a minute. And when it comes to landscaping or things of that nature, the rate is between
    43$ to 50$ per hour per person working. Hope that will give you some sort of general idea where to start.
  3. Oasis1

    Oasis1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Sorry I meant 22$ to 25$ per hour per person. I normally have someone help me.
  4. we have an avg of no less than $40 per hour that is what keeps us profitable remind you this is for cut,trim and blow
    the other is per service and figured differently for each job
  5. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,004

    general landscaping $40/hr /person
    leaves $50/hr /person
    mowing average $80/hr /person
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    This has been my experience ... I'm in my 4th year and pricing around 45-50/hour BUT in my first year I did a LOT of work for $20 or so / hour, however if you have newer, commercial equipment AND with today's demand and high fuel costs, you SHOULD be able to +$5 my 1st year's rates.

    It really depends how much experience one has and what kind of equipment one is using which determines how fast one can get things done... In my 1st year I had OLD wb's and most I could do was 8 yards/day thou a sustained rate was 5 or 6. Now in my 4th year I have newer wb's and these faster mowers can cut 8 yards / day easy while I sustained 10/day for 3 months and the record is 12 - This makes a BIG difference in hourly rates, the prices / yard in and of themselves have not gone up by much, but I am much faster now than in my 1st year and THAT makes most of the difference - Last but not least, it's not just the machine, it's experience as well - It has been over a year since I've had to use a tow-rope on my p'up truck to pull a mower out of the ditch, as an example (don't laugh, doing that wastes 20 minutes minimum).
    In the end MOST of us DO charge by the hour but the estimate is not only based on how long it takes but ALSO by fair market rate.
    Thus if a grass-cut would go normally go for ~40 dollars then fair market pricing would sustain ranges from 35-45 whether it takes 1/2 hour or THREE. Not to blow someone's bubble but if you're brand-new, be prepared for this and know that a change of 5 dollars/hour makes a BIG difference.
    As a general rule, if more than half your estimates are YES, then your prices are too low. If more than half are NO, then they are too high... However, this also hinges on your advertising / response, so if you have a TON of demand on a full schedule then it may be wise to have prices high enough to where 9 out of 10 answers are NO and conversely, if your demand is LOW and your schedule empty then you may wish to make an adjustment so that at LEAST half say YES and I've been desperate enough to lower my prices until 9 out of 10 said yes - On that note again, 5 dollars/hour is usually all that is needed to have that desired effect, for example:
    If at $30/hour the response is 50/50, then:
    At $35/hour the response CAN drop to 9 / 10 NO
    At $25/hour the response can EASILY be 9 / 10 YES

    One quick note as well is area of country: it is cheaper down south and more expensive up north, always.

    As a general rule, I like to fill my schedule at LEAST 90% before I even think of raising prices, I have to be backed up for a week solid before the thought crosses my mind AND I like to be backed up close to two weeks before the increase takes effect, as this has helped me from getting skru'd.

    So play with it a bit with the above quotes and don't be afraid to adjust your pricing +/-$5/hr to adjust for things if necessary.
    Hope is help,
    best of luck.
  7. djlawn

    djlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 112

    We charge $25.00 - $35.00 per average lawn. When you start getting in to lawns over 3/4 acre, the price goes up. Although it is cheaper the more land you have because we don't have to charge for the travel, and load, unload time.

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