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Not sure........time

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Mid Rivers, Apr 9, 2001.

  1. Mid Rivers

    Mid Rivers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 209

    Thid is for the guy that have been around for awhile. Take a job that you are doing now, figure your time that it takes to do that job! .................... When you started, how much time would it have taken then? How much time can a person expect to cut after awhile?

    I ask this question because of the bids I come up against. I try to keep my bids at what I believe they are worth (figuring $45+/hr) I keep coming up higher than my competition. I am starting to wonder if the $45+/hr number isn't very high because the guys I am losing customers too are coming in way below that!

    Many people talk of SCRUBS and LOWBALLERS, but lets tell the truth. Help educate me so I don't keep getting disgusted and then give a low bid.

    I don't look to put anyone out of business. If I see a job that is being done poorly and I need the work (which I do) I will persue it.

    I hear guys talking about "giving away" secrets on this site. There is a much stronger need to educate people (like me) than to try to hide what you are doing and what is a fair price for doing it.

    Whether we like it or not we are co-workers and if we all can learn how to co-exist the business' will be that much better for it.
  2. skyphoto

    skyphoto LawnSite Member
    Messages: 221

    Hey Mid,

    I think you have the hard part figured out....you know what the competition is bidding......If you are constantly comin up higher then lower your per hour rates and markup until you become competitive with the market you are in....

    Others will say never do this but you will find a bottom then you can begin to work back up. This is how I have to do it or I WILL NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT LOWBALLERS OR SCRUBS because i will rot sitting in my truck doing nothing.

    If I cannot compete with the others bidding then something is wrong because every other lawncare company cannot be scrubs or lowballers.

    Just my 2 cents!

    Good luck Midrivers!

  3. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,183

    I think it all depends on how you get your hourly rate.

    If I tell customer x that I will mow his lawn 30 times per year for 87.50 per month that equals $1050.00 per year.

    I then estimate how long each visit will take, the average over the entire year. Lets say I average .7 hours each trip. Multiply .7 x 30 trips and I get 21 hours for the year. $1050.00 div. by the 21 hours gives me $50.00 an hour. I try to look at things over a years time and come up with an average. I never tell my customers what I try to acheive.

    I have one account that pays $75.00 a month..........sounds low but.........my average stop is 12 minutes. 12 minutes x 30 visits = 360 minutes or 6 hrs for the year. The account pays $900.00 per year so that works out to $150.00 per hour! Average that into a lower paying account and it gets your hourly average looking better.

    Does this make sense? I hope so.

    Don't get hung up on every single hour of the year, get hung up on the yearly average.
  4. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

  5. Mid Rivers

    Mid Rivers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 209

    OK back to my intended question before I started rambling.

    Say you have a job that takes 1 hour your first year. By getting more experience do you think you can expect to cut that time down to 45 minutes, 30 minutes?

    That was where I started with my question. Got off on a tangent, sorry. ;)
  6. AltaLawnCare

    AltaLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 961

    I set a minimum, which is competitive in this area, and stick to it.
    To get a job(if it looks fairly easy and in a good location) which is more than one hour, I'll prorate each additional hour.
    It costs less to cut one 3 hour job in one spot, than 3 one hour jobs not within walking distance of each other.
  7. HOMER

    HOMER LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,183

    Back to the original question:

    What takes you an hour one time might take 30 minutes the next. What took 30 minutes that time might take you an hour the next time...............too many variables to figure. Just use averages!
  8. Jerrys Lawn Service

    Jerrys Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    Messages: 155

    Mid, Get your bids down alittle so that you'll get some more work and concentrate on getting more efficient as you get more experence, then start up grading your equipment to the bigger, better, faster stuff. This in turn will make you even more efficient and more profitable.
    Good Luck!
  9. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,943

    I work solo, so perhaps my answer will be different. I will speak of mowing only - even though that was not what was said in the initial post, I think that what was intended (repetative visits for the same work scope).

    After a few visits to a new property, I soon settle on a time. I attempt to learn quickly the most efficient trimming routes, best mowing patterns, etc. I keep a log in a notebook of every visit, and use a stopwatch to keep the time (out of the pickup, back in the pickup). If my time varies a couple of minutes either way, I stop to wonder why. On some jobs where bagging is involved, a heavy crop (more bags) will add to the time. But, for non-bagging jobs, I have found variations of 1-2 minutes for hour jobs, 2-3 minutes for 2 hour jobs. In some cases, jobs of more than 2 hours have exactly the same time, every visit. I have concluded I cannot "squeeze" any more time on this property.

    I would be surprised if "final" times vary much after a few visits for anybody. Maybe when working with a crew, it is different.
  10. amoslawn

    amoslawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I work in the same area that you do. The price you listed as a reference is about the same that I base my work off of. Talked to my dealer today and he informed me that there is around 1200 lawn care companies in the area. I would not lower my prices unless you need the work.

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