Lots of questions about mowing.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by kbrashears, Mar 17, 2006.

  1. kbrashears

    kbrashears LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 777

    I just started a business here in North Central Arkansas. I am a full time teacher right now, but looking to get out. We are growing our business as we speak and giving out quite a few chemical estimates, but wanting to expand our business in the mowing field. My business partner is an agronomist and a supt. at a 5 star golf course.

    Here's my dilema. I can pretty much nail estimates for residential properties. Around here, the going rate is about a dollar a minute. In the past, I have ran just a simple JD 48 inch mower and done about 10 accounts on my own. Well, we're up to about 12 residential accounts, and possible 10 commercial accounts. My father in law has some contacts, as do we through the golf course and our playing group.

    How much to charge. Let's just pretend that one account, bermuda, at a bank consists of about 14K sq. feet. Like all banks, it has a ton of smaller areas, lots of curb to edge, but some larger areas to be mowed with our new ZTR. Once per week, April through October, what should I charge?

    Now, how about the other branch, fescue, once every ten days, but closer to 30K sq. feet.

    Now, how about this one. This is the big puppy. Large new business that has about 6 acres of turf to mow. About a full acre of this is a steep bank that I am pretty sure a 27 HP Exmark can handle. Doesn't appear to be too much trimming, but about a mile (so it seems) of edging. We're probably looking at a once every 10-14 days on this account to mow.

    How should I go about doing an estimate?
  2. kbrashears

    kbrashears LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 777

    One more question.

    ZTR mowers. Which one? Why?
    Close dealers here sell:
    John Deere
    Dixie Chopper
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    You charge by how long you think it will take, that is what an estimate is, nothing but an educated guess. When you're scared, go up on the price (in your mind) until you can start to feel the fear going away <- That's your price (thou I will say I tend to end up on the high side of things via this method - still better than the low side). If, as you're going up on price, the fear disappears suddenly, start to come down a little ways, you want to end up somewhere near the edge of fear and calm. You bet fear is a great pricing guide.

    As a rule, a 48" Wb at full speed does an acre in 45 minutes, so 6 acres = 4.5 hours plus trimming, I'd say 300 dollars.

    For curbs, you'll need to find out how long it takes to trim them. Also take into account curb-jumping with the mower, this process takes time as well to drop / raise and move between islands.

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