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No idea

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by noahb195, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. noahb195

    noahb195 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 993

    Alright ill admit it, im a newbie.
    How do you estimate how much money it is per month to do a lawn? I know size, time, and other factors come into play. But how do you know? And also if i was to bid on commercial property and other companies have already have put there bids in how will i out do them and get the propertt
  2. j-ville native

    j-ville native LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 349

    you answered your own questions
  3. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    Everyone, and I do mean everyone, who goes into this business faces the same issues when they start out. Some have just been doing it so long they tend to forget that, and most everyone looks for some kind of "magic" formula to use so the won't cheat themselves, or the client. In reality, there isn't one. In all likelihood, you will work too cheaply when you first start out, most do, because of the fear of having no business at all. Eventually, you will come to realize it is better to have no business, than to lose money on the business you do have.

    Some may laugh at this, but see if you can find a guy or two in the lawn business in your area that are willing to talk to you and give you some advice. No one is going to give you all the answers, or help you become a competitor, but if you tell them you are new to the business and don't want to step on toes, many will help. Tell them you want to be competitive in your pricing, but avoid being a lowballer, so need to know what kind of price range the lawns in your area are in.
  4. noahb195

    noahb195 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 993

    How do you go about estimating?
  5. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,133

    You have to know or guess how long a lawn will take, and then you have to know or guess how much you need and want to be paid for the time.
    There are also the costs and expenses and you have to account for that as well.

    If you search the topics you will find lots of discussions and explanations about estimating, but eventually you will have to estimate the time so you can calculate the cost.

    One thing I wish I had learned to do before I learned how to estimate lawns is tell the customer that you will mow their lawn the first time for a certain amount, and after you mow it and find out how long it takes, you might need to adjust the price accordingly.
  6. Ijustwantausername

    Ijustwantausername LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,719

    While their are 100 different variables to factor in, the most important are time, gas, time it takes to get to the property, etc.

    For instance, I would mow an average lawn slightly cheaper if I could do it with my Zero turn vs. my 21" push behind mower just to get the job. Like moturkey said, you will do it too cheaply for a while until you get the hang of things, that's just the way it is. Why don't you volunteer to mow your friends lawn and see how long it takes, how much gas it took and what you would've been satisfied with making.
  7. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,356

    Accept the fact you will underestimate a few and be sorry. You will also lose a few to overestimating. Don't beat yourself up about it. Learn and press on.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Remember bidding is not like going to an auction. You are not trying to beat anyone.

    You have your costs, your desired profit. Do bid less then you would normally charge it will only get you a job that you'll regret having because the profit that you wanted will not be there.

    You will win bids when you can work more efficien then the competition and your equipment is better suited to do the job then the competiton's quipment as well.
  9. FDJ

    FDJ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    Like many other members have said here and I have to agree, Bidding low will get you nowhere, but down.
    But that is not your question.
    Only experience will help you dial in correctly.
    What I'd suggest you is, since you are beginning it sounds, time yourself mowing a strip about 100' long (make it 2 passes so you can count in the turn),
    Now time yourself trimming those 100' again, than edging...
    When you get to someone's house have those figures in your head, and multiply that amount of time by the amount of passes, trimming, edging you'll do.
    That way you will have an approximate time of "mow" multiply that for your hourly rate and done.
    Prices are different everywhere in the country, here the average lawn (1/4 acre lots, don't forget that the house, driveway, sidewalk, flower beds... are within the lot and it is not all lawn) is about $37 and is done in about 10 mins by a crew of 3 men.
    Don't forget that if houses are far apart you'll have a lot of travel time.
    Expenses such as, gas, insurance (car, equipment, company..), car/equipment usage, employee wages, taxes... Should all be considered.

    Ideally you should have between 18 to 25 lawns/day (depending on their sizes).
    To find your expenses:
    Start out by adding all your monthly expenses/bills, such the ones I mentioned before, plus mortgage/rent, food, car payments... Multiply it by 12 (months in a year) and divide it by the amount of days you work in a year (here we lose 3 months of the year due to weather) 20 (days/month) * 9 (months that we work) = 180
    12*monthly expenses/180=workday expense
    Think of it, how many lawns will you have to cut per day to meet your financial needs, and then some and at what price?
    Again each and every location has their costs/prices... it is hard but if you follow these simple formulas your learning curve will be much faster
  10. diamondhedgelandscaping

    diamondhedgelandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    I agree, as a new guy my first year, Mr. 30 years in business Lanager didnt really consider me even competition. He was a real decent guy, helped me out, and 5 years later, i try to do the same by sub contracting work out to new guys who need it. Pick a guy who sells mulch and plants at a decent price, and maybe buy your supplies off him, and take it from there, you can learn tons by just small talk.

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