price per square foot

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by gamoose, Mar 10, 2003.

  1. gamoose

    gamoose LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Do any of you remember the thread about bidding and pricing jobs per square foot. It was done around June and July of last year and had some great tips on it. I've been frustrated by my search efforts thus far. A gentleman from Florida had a formula wit sq. footage = so many cents. If you can't remember the thread I would appericate some range in values. Thanking you in advance.
  2. Hawkeye5

    Hawkeye5 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    There have been a bunch. The one I remember was entitled "lets put square foot pricing to the test" I think.
  3. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822


    I price all my yards based on sq ft...starting with 10,000 sq ft = $ you can do the math....10,000/30=334 say if i have a 12,000 sq ft yard 12,000/334= $35.93... see how sinple it is? 9,725sq ft/334=$29.17 again very simple and this way every property is priced the same... oh yea those figures are before tax....this works well because it maximizes your dollar on every property. basically it works out to 2.99 per 1000 sq ft. +tax.

    good luck

  4. mikesjumpingin

    mikesjumpingin LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    ...schedule of rates and where my brain is at for now...

    $3.00 per square foot? But isn't the $ 30 for 10,000 sqft. including a chunk for transportation and to unload/load equipment?

    I'm totally new at this, but I'm struggling to get a guideline formula.

    I'm thinking the increase of sq. footage should discount for the fact that I am remaining at one location; i.e., charge $30 for first 10,000, then apply a rate for every 1,000 sqft after that.

    for example, 20,000 sqft:

    first 10,000 = 30.00
    additional 10,000 @ 1.50/sqft = 15.00

    Of course, my numbers are just for example. I'm trying to figure this out.

    The formula I'm playing actually starts @ $25 for up to 5,000 sqft.

    Ideally, I think a rate schedule should have a higher sqft rate up to one half acre, and then a better discounted rate for sqft from 1/2 to 1 acre plus.

    So I might figure $25 for first 5,000, plus 1.50 sqft for up to 1/2 acre, then 1.25 for sqft after that.

    But this seems crazy. Maybe I should just find out going rates in my area, figure a 1/4, 1/2, and 1 acre guideline rate, and then walk the property and go from there.


  5. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822

    Why short yourself for the work you do...The customers that dont want to pay for quality lawn care arent worth having anyways. Basically my price is 2.99 for every 1000 sq ft. so for 20 000 sq ft you better believe im getting $60 to cut it....I have some lawns that are $100 cuts....then you dont have to factor in so much for travel/gas unloading time etc etc...those are also numbers that are really out of your control...say your driving from site to site and you hit traffic, is that factored into your price?or you get a flat?or stop for food and a drink?or just a lil extra tired that day so yur moving a lil bit slow?what about if a belt breaks on a machine and your have to spend time fixing it?well while your getting 45 on that 20,000 sq ft lawn im getting 60 for the same cut. Oh and by the way i wont drop the gate for less then $25.

    Good Luck,

  6. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    The way I do my fertilizer pricing is so much per SQ ft plus a stop fee. Stop fee depends on amount and difficulty of cleanup etc..

    This could be applied to mowing. take the examples give

    but $2 per 1000 plus $10stop fee:

    10k X $2 = 20 + 10 =$30
    12k X 2 = 24 + 10 = $34
    20k X 2 = 40 + 10 = $50
    9.7k X 2 = 19.4 + 10 =$29

    This might work for smaller or larger lawns, let try:

    3acres =130.7k X 2 = 261.4 + 20(lets assume there's more cleanup involved here) = $280
    37.5K X 2 = 75 + 20(split rail fence to trim around) = $95

    7.5k X 2 = 15 + 10 = $25
    5k X 2 = 10 +10 = $20

    How do those prices look?

    They are all alittle high for what I am getting but close. You can adjust the "Per SQ ft" price up or down depending on difficulty and adjust the "per stop" price up or down depending on trimming and cleanup involved.

    This just might work.

    I have been guessing average mowing time on new accounts and averaging last years time on the old ones. By area seems more consistent at least for the new ones.
  7. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    Keep in mind....mowing and fert are two different beasts.... pricing by the square foot for mowing can get very tricky....

    you can have a 10,000 lawn with no gates, no obstacles and little trimming to do.... you could have another 10,000 sq ft lawn with a slope, a gated back yard, swing-sets, dog houses (and dog leftovers), etc....

    I'm not saying that charging by the sq ft is wrong, but there has to be things built in, which ultimately seems to lead to time anyway....

    If you know your needed hourly rate, and know how quickly you can unload, mow, trim, edge, blow and load then time will keep your numbers true.
  8. wayne volz

    wayne volz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49


    Sean is on the right wave length here. Rather than pricing per square foot, you may want to consider knowing your cost per hour of operation.

    Too many contractors have no idea why they charge what they charge. Even if you want to use a square footage methodology, you must know what the cost per hour is as a basis and then break that number down to a productioncapability per hour based on equipment being used.

    95% of the contractors have no idea why they charge what they charge other than they are pricing based on their competition. This type of pricing is ok if you have a base rate per hour and you knopw why. Otherwise, you may spend a lot of your time thinking you need more work instaed of charging enough for the work you already have.

    Just a few thoughts!

    Good luck and have a profitable year
  9. Bigfoot

    Bigfoot LawnSite Member
    Messages: 167

    I'm with Sean & Wayne, obstacles such as fences, lots of shrubs & trees, steep slopes, rough ground, etc. will take more time & more work which should mean a higher estimate. A square foot basic charge plus factoring in obstacles should help.
  10. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    I agree, you need to able to cover your cost per hour. The problem is with new properties it is often hard to know how long it will take. The SQftage is a measurable thing but mowing time isn't until you've done it. I have been trying to estimate times by comparing to similar properties, but that isn't exact either. If a formula can be put together with several of the measurable variables, an estimated mowing time/price can be calculated. I know a lot of people like to go with there gut on estimation mowing time or can guess mowing times just by looking at it. But others like to calculate things more exact, or need to break things down into measurements.

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