Overgrown Lawns - Holy moly.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by MowHouston, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. MowHouston

    MowHouston LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    FIRST: I know that a lot of guys are going to say "Drop these lawns" "Waste of time", etc. I've seen it and I know these are some BS lawns but I need the money for now before the season closes. Please just stick with what I ask for...

    So I got this account with a real estate broker. His last guy dropped out on him without telling him and it seems as though the guy was only mowing the front yard on most of these houses.

    I'm going to do these regardless of how rough they look right now because:

    1. I've got the time.
    2. I'll once they are cleaned up, they'll be a breeze since they are centrally located.
    3. This guy knows it is hard work, the condition of the lawns, and knows he is going to have to pay to get these yards back in shape.

    So what I would like from the veterans out there is to know how much you guys think I should charge on these. I can only do them with 21" mowers which is going to suck.

    Here they are:

    This one is pretty big. The back is about half as big as the front to give you an idea.

    Only the back on this one as seen.

    Only the front.

    Only the back as seen here.

    The next two are the front -and- back. You can see the property line on the left.

    And again, only the back.

    I'm in for a rough ride and I know it. I would like like to get these knocked out for a fair price. I will have one guy helping me with these as well.

  2. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    you could charge a certain amount per hour with the 21s. good luck.
  3. jiggz

    jiggz LawnSite Senior Member
    from jerz
    Messages: 646

    Maaaan 1 and 3 look like a lot of land.. 2 is fairly big aswell

    This is what I would do.. rent a walk behind you can probably grab a 30-48 inch for around 80 a day.. Charge 110 for each first cut.. 30-40 each after.. your going to kill your self with a 21 on them fcukers bro..

    Lol at that second house not having any front windows
  4. KS_Grasscutter

    KS_Grasscutter LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,335

    Ummm...you ain't cuttin that with a 21". I have tried that overgrown BS with a 21", almost killed my Personal Pace Toro doing that. I would probably just weedeat it down to about 3.5 in the first time, then go over it with the 21" at about 3" to clean it up.
  5. willjones4

    willjones4 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 123

    shiot dude. forget the 21 incher, you need to go rent something for those. You could get a 48" ZTR for about $110/day (at least in Louisiana) and charge at least $100/per. Good luck.
  6. bare spot

    bare spot LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,456

    don't see any grass laying down which is a plus (i think :confused: ) what kc grasscutter make sense and stihl makes attachments for their trimmers that cuts this stuff.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Oh let me guess, the guy's a realtor?

    I'm not sure if I should sit back quietly and snicker some...
    But obviously if you read this then I didn't...
    Not to scare you, he'll likely pay.

    But just so you know, that condition of turf, no wait...
    The whole picture, house, turf, everything...

    Is exactly what things look like after the customer who had it last stiffed me.
    Not the realtor, the person they bought it off of, or rented it to last.
    That or the realtor just let it go, but that's unusual I think, it's more like the other case.
    No, I haven't a clue as to who maintains it in between, but lets just say it ain't me.

    Now guy like me, come summer time I run my blades at 3.5 - 4.5" to compensate for the heat so it doesn't kill the lawn! It really works out dandy for most of my nice lawns, I think it might squeeze an extra cut a season in, but the cost of that one cut is worth the benefit of a greener turf... That is, assuming the owner cares.

    But as a bonus, the slower they pay or the more they want me to spread out the cuts, the higher I raise the blades.
    Because otherwise it clumps and I gotta spend more time there than they're paying for.

    And so THAT is the final result, when they finally get so tired of my game, they finally realize they can't win with me (i.e.: take advantage of me), that's when they give up... Unfortunately these folks have little in the way of nerve, and even more unfortunately my services continue unless they cancel, and since they can't pick up the phone to call and let me know, instead they stop paying. Then the service is interrupted, but it takes 30 days before I can send a late payment due letter, in the meantime the grass grows.

    Hint number one: Cut those things as high as you can or you'll never see the end of the cleanup.
    And if it clumps and you don't take care of that, the dead grass will kill what little lawn is left.
    Up to you, most newer Lco's AND the folks who hire them don't care, but ...

    Now here's what I would do if I were you:
    I would come up with YOUR estimate, whatever you think.
    Then ADD 20-40% to it.
    If you can do that...

    Because like the lawn I left just this month (BIG lot), I would've charged the customer 240-300 to bring it back in shape. But the realtor who bought the house, well these guys are as cheap as the person they bought it from, so there's nothing doing there.
    Instead, the realtor hires some 1st year Lco, such as yourself.
    Those guys, I guarantee they did it for 100-120.
    And what I'm saying is they should've, and could've gotten 140-160 for it.
    Sure it's still losing out, but then they left clumps everywhere and I wouldn't have, either way 140-160 is better than 120 from their end, and still better than my price from the realtor's side of the fence.
    So, after you get your price, feel free to add 20-40% to it.

    Here's the flipside of this thread (where I left it like that, and someone like yourself got to clean up the mess):

    It's kinda funny, but I'm still out the money.
    You, otoh, more than likely will get paid.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    And I could be wrong, maybe it's not like that at all.
    But if it is, then the last lawn mower that touched it cut it HIGH!
    So it's not just tall, it's got a thick base.
    And it will clump, thou that's regardless.

    You do as you like, if you need the money then just do the best you can.
    What I do if I'm not in the mood to start at 5.5" and then lower the cut 1/2" per pass and keep running over it until it's all good...
    Because that works, but you have to have a mower where you can adjust cut height via a lever or a notched wheel and it has to go high enough, I'd start 5.75" on that and go over it once... Then lower the cut 1/2" per pass, and run over it 3-4 times, keep lowering the height 1/4 - 1/2" each pass, beyond that you can't go much further because it will start to clumping, you'll have it down to 4" or so thou, then come back 8-10 days later and start at 4" and bring'er down to 3"

    But when that doesn't work, or I can't do it.
    What I do is windrow the clippings into piles with the Wb, then rake them onto a tarp and haul away.
    Take you 4 or so tarp loads, don't load it too heavy or you can't lift it, probably 1/2 a cubic yard of clippings per lot.
    I usually put it in my trailer or IF you can leave it on that property someplace that's even better.
    It's hard work, but a lot faster, a lot more effective than bagging.
    So whatever you do, don't bag it lol.

    Last method is to just run over it and keep running over it until it's as good as it gets.
    But the clumps won't dissolve completely, and a lot of lawn will die from that.

    I'd see if you can get 60'ish per lot, start there.
    That's not quite double 35, I likely would quote close to 100 myself, per each.
    So, well...
  9. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Messages: 1,657

    I would assume the owner is a cheap skate idiot and be done with it. 8 years in business and one of the most important things to learn is to pass on crap jobs unless there is serious money there.

    I didn't read anything I just looked at the pics though. (I'm drunk :()

    SCAG POWER LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    WOWOWOW those are nice and high. Top-sites has given some good advice.I have had lawns that look like that in the past year. Pricing is important and should be considered a clean up not any type of mowing . My rate has been from 190.00 350.00 depending on the severity of the lawn.

    This is what i would do , are they in the city or county , if so try too find out just what the fine will be if they are not cut. There was this city in the news that the local govt , tried too charge $ 1,800.00 dollars to mow what looked like one of your yards. Around here in the Orlando area they run about $ 350.00 depending , just how bad it is.

    Getting paid on all that mite be a stretch , depends on just who is footing the bill. You can try too get some of it up front , have them meet you at the site , some times they will.You need to ask who is going to pay for this . If the Realtor. It may take some time too get your money as all over it is slow.

    Rent a walk behind and put new blades on it , and the blades will be shoot after you are done with it.:waving: :hammerhead:

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