new guy looking for advice

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by dodgegmc1213, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. dodgegmc1213

    dodgegmc1213 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 199

    hey guys im new to the site, found it off of plowsite. i've been mowing for a few years doing just a couple of lawns mostly friends of the family. this year im trying to go bigger and eventually make it into a business. it'll be just part time as i work full time for my father doing blacktop sealcoating. the biggest lawn i do is roughly 20,944 sq ft just alil under 1/2 an acre. just curious what would be the average price for mowing that size? also what would the average price be for leaf clean up? it takes my brother and i about an hour with a 16hp walk-behind blower and backpack, blowing it straight back into the woods. front of the house has two small round mulch beds i have to go around with the leafs then around the house. my signature picture is the back part of the lawn just a few trees. any help would be great!
  2. Vecchio Lawn Care

    Vecchio Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 905

    I use a 60" ZTR and I estimate the time it would take me to cut, trim, edge, etc. and then figure $50-$60 a hour.
  3. dodgegmc1213

    dodgegmc1213 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 199

    ill be honest the laid has been a friend to the family for a long time and she pays me $30 everytime i go there. i think the fastes i cut it was in 45 mins with a 48" walk-behind walking in 3rd gear then prob another 10 mins for trimming and blowing
  4. DaveyBlue32

    DaveyBlue32 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 136

    So, after your cost... Truck, mower, hand tools, fuel Ect.... You make $4. Bucks an hour ... I'd try to fix that. I figure how much I need per/ach. and go from there.
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  5. dodgegmc1213

    dodgegmc1213 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 199

    Yea deff gotta figure things out. In one week I made $60 in lawns and all I paid for was gas and i fill my 21/2 gal can once every other week or so. Tools where my dads truck's under my dad as well. But this year is different that's why I turned here for advice
  6. GreenGuysLC

    GreenGuysLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 366

    You will find that people here are not all that willing to help out. Most will say you must know your cost and go from there... and they are right.... BUT.... we all share common cost. Fuel is expensive no matter where you are. So here you go. You have some key info already ...the time it takes. Dont price based on the once in 45 minutes... look more at worst case. You need to basically calculate your expenses. Fuel, Maintenance, Your time, insurance, license, supplies, etc. You already know $4 is going straight to fuel... Insurance is gonna vary greatly.. many ways to look at it but lets assume 20 paying customers... and your Insurance is $1000 yearly..(i wish) So each customer could be charged $50 for the year, or on the average season of 30-40 visits, Rounding Up... $2 per visit, then the maintenance cost... what does a new mower cost? 10K?? and how many hrs do you wanna base replacement on?? I do 1500 hrs. So 10k mower is good for 1500 hrs....thats $6 per hr just to pay for my mower. THEN... the actual Maintenance over 1500 hrs....includes your oil-filters-tires-belts-blah blah blah. Just go on and include anywhere from $5 and up per hr. So where are we...
    Fuel $4
    Insurance $2
    Replacement $6
    Maintenance $5
    We are already at $17 per hr and havent even covered your profit... taxes... supplies....license...
    On your $30 YARD... uncle sam gets $7. License are usually minimal but always assign a $1 value to any small expense. Remember the goal is to make money. And Supplies... this is trimmer string... Heads... trash bags... etc... add another 3-5 per hr.
    So now... $17 plus $7 + $1 + $ 3.
    $28 bucks.... and still none in your pocket. Your time as owner and Operator should be worth atleast $25 per hr. I value mine a little higher.

    Now as complex as that a rule of thumb..... if you are dropping the gate for less than $50... you are losing money. My target is to price em based on about $80 per hr. Never going under $50. The trick is learning to read a lawn and guess the time correctly. You figure your cost and run the numbers ... you can see quickly that for $30 per cut.... you are nothing more than a free public service.

    Hope this helps.
  7. DaveyBlue32

    DaveyBlue32 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 136

    I base mowing on $85 an acre... And $55 half acre ... That's A+ top quality.... Cheapest is 1/2 acre $40 weedwack the back ever other week. You need $55. An hour for you and your guy at a min. according to the accounting fellow. Charge for tools. Example, I don't do a lot of tree work, so my $350 dollar husqvarna makes $20 an hour, that money goes in the tool fund, ie... The cigar box, it needs $500 (emergency fund) any extra is saved up and reinvested into the business, So I don't buy new tools, the tools buy new tools. Really, the tools like used tools that are like New for half price, as my tools are cheap, like me. Sometimes the tools buy me beer, when I clean and work
    on them. Get a compression tester and a leakdown so you know what life is in the tool/engine. I just picked an echo 2100 out of the trash...I took the carb off and shot carb cleaner on the insides of the carb...$3....and used the fuel repair kit from HD ... $12.... And it runs like brand new.... I have $15 bucks in it. It will be the unit I run first... I want my ROI back... My $15 bucks. Then it's free. I will charge the. Business $10. An hour and that goes into the equipment I can buy another 72 inch scag walkbehind that I'll never fix for $500. Cash. LOL. I want / will take a small engine repair course and thats what I'll do When I'm old....
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. wildstarblazer

    wildstarblazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,058

    Problem with turning here is that you'll get a different answer with each poster. :laugh: good luck.
  9. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,746

    shoot for $50-$60 per hr of work and you'll do fine.
  10. dodgegmc1213

    dodgegmc1213 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 199

    ok since everyone is pricing for mowing what would leaf clean up roughly cost for most of you guys. just looking for ball park figures. as i desribed it before everything gets blown to the woods, no removal, push blower and back pack, takes 1hr. like i said shes a friend of the family, i never gave her a price for leaf clean up i just did it, she ends up paying me $100 for doing it. so maybe $10-$20 in gas between truck and blowers. my brother helped me but he owed me money so he was working it off, as he will be this summer. so everything else goes in my pocket. other than that im a one man operation just doing it one or two days a week. the only expenses i will have for this season is paying off for new equipment, few trimmers, few blowers, gas, and maybe another mower. then if this season goes great i would like to go into business (as in legal) for next year, then ill have more expenses to worry about like insurance and what not.

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