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Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by syzer, Sep 9, 2000.

  1. syzer

    syzer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,272

    Okay guys, I very well may have my first contract here. Its a commercial account and my bro and I went and looked at the site today. I has about 1-1.5 acres of grass, not just a lot but in different spots all over the place, many trees to trim around and lots of sidewalks to edge. ITs a very big company, and I know they have money.....but i have literally no idea what to charge. I was thinking around 120-150 or so a cut.....some guys told me this was kinda cheap and should expect at least 800 a month from these guys for the regular mow/trim/edge/blow we just got our equip tues, and am still in the process of setting the business up and could use some info on what you guys think i should bas emy charging on. There grass is long as hell they hate there current contractor and are anxiouis to get us in there so i need to rush all this stuff and get the biz on the rd. Thanks.....Chris

    Precision Landscaping

    BUSHMASTER LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 519

    fisrt find out what the market can beer oops bear if no time figure what its going to cost you to run neecessry quipt for the job based on paper work with the machines.
    figure in insurance.B.S..and your help workers comp and definily if the grass is long CHARGE MORE FOR THAT FIRST TIME JOB thats a good time to set things up so each service goes fast.hope this helps. you can definilty charge more than the last guy cause thats why hes not doing it right.
    more charge better job
  3. UrbanEarth

    UrbanEarth LawnSite Member
    Messages: 142

    If the company that you are going to do the work for is not happy with their current company, you might ask how much they are currently paying. Many people will say no, but . . . You can then use this as a basis for your price. Add in your thoughts about timeings from your visits and see if the numbers work for you. Don't forget that they are not happy, so will probably be willing to pay more.

    Good Luck.

    Alan Jackson

    P.S. If you didn't read the Taco Bell thread, remember to get a written contract!
  4. Doug406

    Doug406 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 134

    Do not ask what they are paying, that is for scrubs, sell your service by telling them what you are going to do for them, edging, trimming each week, no grass buildup, 5 day schedule if nessesary, trash pickup etc. If it is a nice lawn with broken up areas I would tend to charge around $80 an acre. But if it is one big open area that price would go down substantually. Remember, if this is your first account, you can afford to do an extra good job each week, even if the profit is not there yet because of productivity levels. Exposure + experience is where its at. And this first account would give you both. Good luck, and keep the price up and the quality high!
  5. eslawns

    eslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 712

    Go with Doug's advice and take it one step further. Measure the square footage of lawn to mow and the linear footage of edging. Keep track of the amount of time it takes you to cut and edge. If you blow a large area, measure that and keep track of time there too. Once you have done this for a while, calculate what you're getting per man hour and see if you made $$$. If you're not, charge more when you get a chance. You could accept the work with the condition that you could renegotiate after a given amount of time. (2 months?) Whatever you decide, you'll have a better idea next time, and be able to submit more realistic bids.

    Good luck!
  6. Ssouth

    Ssouth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 436

    Syzer, First of all Congratulations on your first contract.
    I use a figure of $40/hr. to estimate all mowing jobs. This includes the basics of edging, trimming, mowing, and blowing. This figure works great for me here in North Alabama. I can look at a job and tell how long it will take to complete. This may be difficult method at first but it works well for me. I find there is a need for knowing square footage, but not to estimate a mowing job. What I like to do is walk the property four times. On the first walkthrough I determine how long it will take to mow, second walkthrough how long to edge, and etc... Hope this will help. If the grass is exceptionally tall the first time charge accordingly.
    By the way, I personally have never ask a customer what they have payed in the past. You and only you know can decide what you are worth as a service provider.
  7. landscaper3

    landscaper3 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,354

    with our Walkers we can cut up to 3acres an hour depending on slopes, trees , ect one school we do including the 2 baseball fields take us 4hours which includes detailing. most 1/2 to 1acre lots take 1/2 to 1hour at $35 per person. sounds like 1hour to 1.5 in time
  8. syzer

    syzer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,272

    Thanks for the help guys, i know some of my ?'s ay sound out of place or repetitive, but i know you guys are a very good resource to have which i would like to use so i can become successful.

    About the turf it seems to be an acre or so,(new so i have a hard time telling) its broken up into different sections, islands etc. some of it is not that great because dirt with rocks and debris is showing through ( i will have to avoid these spots for my blades sake). THere will be alot of trim and edge work. This is a huge company and they want year round service (snow removal, i assume garden maintenance, etc.) I just dont want to make a mistake of way undercharging. I would think that this will be a very good money maker, as of now my bro and i still hold full time jobs and this will be done most likely on a saturday. Probably a good part of the day. The grass now is about 6-10"s long infront of offices and everything (ewwwww). First cut will of course reflect this. I just dont ant to make any mistakes on a first time contract hope you guys understand alot of my dumb questions heh. Thanks again.

    Precision Landscaping
  9. UrbanEarth

    UrbanEarth LawnSite Member
    Messages: 142

    I stand behind my statement about asking. I have now been in the business for eleven years. I now know what I am doing, and know how long it will take to mow, trim, etc. My estimating is usually bang on. What seems to have happened here is that most other people don't seem to remember what Syzer has said:
    He and his brother are NEW to the business.

    If they are having trouble estimating the square footage (No offense Syzer!), what are the chances that he will know how long it will take to cut, trim, and edge? Try to remember what it was like when all of you started out!
    Asking the price being paid now gives a ballpark area for reference (and I am not saying do it for that price). Once Syzer has cut a few properties and knows how fast his machines can cut, and what his expenses are then all of your advice will be more useful.


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