No contracts and flat rate prices?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by smallstripesnc, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    I've been mowing grass all summer off of craigslist and one thing I've noticed is a lot of people really like not having to worry about a estimate.

    Flat rate prices keep things simple but at the same time is it worth it to do the whole "estimate" thing?

    I do get burned on a few lawns but not that many.

    My ex is this.

    1/2 acre or less: $25
    1/2 acre to 1 acre: $35
    1 acre to 1 1/2 acre: $45
    1 1/2 acre to 2 acres: $55

    You get the idea.

    Is this a good idea or will it cause my business to completely fail.

    Also not adding contracts into the mix seems to keep customers happy as well. A lot of my customers say they get screwed on contracts and wouldn't ever sign one again.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated!
  2. fireman gus

    fireman gus LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 517

    On the other hand I have had people, without a service agreement form, take advantage of me because of what they thought we had agreed upon. With an agreement form everyone know what is expected and the price for that service.
  3. guitarman2420

    guitarman2420 LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Midlothian, VA
    Messages: 612

    How can you "drop the tailgate" for $25.00? I don't see how you can eke out a living with your pricing. An acre for $55?
  4. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    I wanna say that's what bigger company's around do. But they might start at 30 and be 5 dollars or maybe even 7 dollars each so 1 acre would be 50 dollars or so. And these guys have 2 60" mowers and guy trimming so they fly thru lawns. I heard one of the bigger companies like Andover landscaping has somewhere around 250 accounts so pricing them cheaper works when u have a lot
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  5. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    If I was going to do that I would start at $45 and go up from there, You are in this to make money, not give away your services for free or be the cheapest guy out there, I've learned a lot over the past year, it's more about quality and superior service than price, at least for me. I have service agreements not contracts. It's for you and the customers protection!
  6. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I can see using a pricing schedule like that as a general guide but not as an absolute pricing structure. Some properties just take a long time to service because of access, layout, rate of grass growth, the amount of trimming etc. The correlation between the size of a lot and the time it takes, and therefore the amount it should cost, is not absolute, so I don't think the pricing structure should be. I have a 5k sq foot lawn that takes me as long as a 15k sq foot lawn. Both are $40 and take about 25 minutes. Why would my 25 minutes of time be worth less money on the 5K lawn?

    My first impression of the description of your business and pricing is that you are doomed to failure.
  7. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Flat rate shows one is too lazy to do estimates or doesn't know how to do estimates.

    How can anyone do a half acre for $35 and then do one acre for $35 at the same price with double the work?

    Something wrong with that pricing system.
  8. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    Good point!
  9. smallstripesnc

    smallstripesnc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 717

    Thank you for the honest responses.

    The going rate where I'm at is $25 (What others have quoted them) for a lot of the yards I currently cut. A lot of them are 1/4 acre or so and take about 30 minutes or less with a push mower.

    I do agree maybe I should re-think the whole "no estimates" think and just use my price guide as a base to start with.

    I knew when I posted I would get the truth and thats what I want.

    Now my question is since a lot of the other lawn care company's seem to be super cheap (quoting a lot of my yards at $20-$25) is it because they are trying to be the "cheapest" out there? And I need to be different and actually give them a realistic quote and value my work?

    I need this business to work for my family and I know I can do it but need honest opinions.

    OH I saw the worlds craziest thing on CL. Now just think this is my competition.

    NAME YOUR PRICE LAWN CARE! They let the customers tell them what they want to pay and go from there. I just think thats crazy.
  10. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    ABSOLUTELY!! Just so EVERYONE is on the same page.

    Find these customers and sell to them, not to joe schmoe.

    Put your blinders on and focus on what you need to do to make your living. Following an unsuccessful model just makes you well, unsuccessful. Just because someone has lots of equipment and trucks doesnt mean they are rolling in it. People want you to be accountable and do good work. When you meet a potential customer ask them if they had a lawn service. If so why did they not continue with them? I've had answers to that such as "He never trimmed along the fence", "They never returned my repeated calls for extra work", "They never showed up after a few weeks" (the classic quantity problem with a single op business). This is the simplest way to get those customers and keep them happy. I have a guy who told me the previous company never returned his calls or emails. He gets a response in 24hrs to anything he questions. Never have a problem with him.

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