physically measuring lawns?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by DiSantolandscaping, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. DiSantolandscaping

    DiSantolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 345

    how many people actually take the time to go buy one of them wheel measures and walks around somones yard to figure out either the size or square footage to give estimates? I was thinking of buying one and measuring a few just to get an idea of being able to look at a yard and say ok ill mow it for 45 bucks or whatever it might be.
  2. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    I measure all my lawn estimates with a wheel. I also measure trimming, edging, flower beds etc. etc. I then punch all this info into my estimating software which includes a difficulty level. It keeps all my estimates consistent and accurate and allows me to schedule my work day to the minute. These systems allow me to run a very tight ship and monitor my time and expenses.
  3. DiSantolandscaping

    DiSantolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 345

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  4. DiSantolandscaping

    DiSantolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 345

    What software are u using
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  5. GMLC

    GMLC LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,345

    I created it with microsoft excel and access.
  6. DavidsonLandscaping

    DavidsonLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 304

    i maybe wrong to someone out there, most of the time i just eyeball it. i never go by what the landlord etc says about the size of the lot etc. i figure how long its going to take to arrive, cut and haul (lawns). Mulch, hedges etc i have a flat rate that goes by footage, height, materials and hauling if desired, but of course everyones different. but i always measure for materials, cant have too much and i can get crabby with too little.
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  7. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    Do you know of anyone that has something close?
  8. ralph02813

    ralph02813 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Charlestown, RI
    Messages: 1,041

    You can go to your local tax assessors web site and get the exact dimensions of a property, I then pace of gardens that need to be edged, I come pretty close, I use size to figure out the price, but never tell the customer the footage price -wheels run $50 -$150.00 it all depends if you think you need it, and there is room for it.
  9. TripleALandscaping

    TripleALandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    There are tools out there for larger jobs like pro landscape, but you would be greatly under using the tool for estimating say how much mulch you need and a few shrubs let's say.

    I feel there is too much variability in each job to rely on anything but something you have created yourself.

    With something home grown and simple as excel you can hit every aspect of your estimate easily once you get some templates setup.

    You can estimate based on labor, material costs, total hours worked/man, etc.
    Then compare each and and see if you are still bringing home the profit margin you want.

    I would suggest using a wheel, every time I have I've been spot on with my estimates and my take home, not so much when eying it up.

    Also, if you don't get accurate measurements how do you have any accurate historical data to compare to when estimating your next job?

    At the very least id start with getting the wheel and having one note book where I do all estimates from, referencing a predetermined price list.....I.e. $80/yd of mulch delivered and installed which usually takes at absolute most 1 hour, bed edging, weed removal are variable and differ per job. Based off of some concrete price list you have, variable, but accurate measurements should send you down a consistent path with your estimates....after some time you wont need the price list as you'll have these things memorized.

    I've been able to do on the spot estimates with just paper and pencil and my wheel based on my price lists and measurements, of course following up with a true estimate for the client.

    Good luck.
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  10. clc000

    clc000 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    For just mowing, I almost always eyeball it. I can usually tell +/- 5 min how long it will take. The only exception is very large lots (1+ acres). For those I use Google Maps' measuring tool. For hedges I charge by the bush depending on size. Landscape jobs are based on materials plus labor. To me, cleanup jobs (leaves, pine straw, etc.) are the most difficult to estimate, as they can get away from you time-wise pretty easily.

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