Pricing Lesson


LawnSite Fanatic
N.E. Wisconsin
After 5 years I am still learning the business side of the Lawn Care Business. <p>I was mowing an account ($45.00 aprox 50 min.) when the neighbor came out and asked me if I wanted to do his lawn starting the first week in July. I was quite excited because last year I talked to the guy who was mowing the lawn and he told me that he was retiring soon and he would recommend me for the job if I wanted it. This guy was using a Lawn Boy 21&quot; self propelled and it took him about 4 hours to mow this lawn. I got very interested when he told me he got $150.00 PER CUT!!!! I did the lawn and it takes 2 hours with me and 3 different mowers and trimmer. It has some of the steep banks, so steep that I turned my lawnboy on its side every time I mowed it. In short - the lawn is tough but I didn't mind.<br>When the property owner stopped me he said I could cut and we could &quot;talk price later&quot;.<br>Let those words be a clue. I gave him a bus. card and told him to call me. He is a busy guy (own an engineering and architectual firm) and I figured he would call at his convenience to discuss price.<br>He did - 2 days ago to fire me for billing him $600.00 for 4 mows. He said he was going to get other bids and he couldn't believe that I should charge $150.00 per mow. Oh ya, I didn't tell you that this was all on my answering machine. <br>I bill monthly and in my bill I had a nice typed note stating that I wasn't able to call him (because his number is unlisted and he was never home when I stopped to cut)and I based my rate on the previous guys prices. In his message he said that he fired the last guy for trying to charge this much and on top of that he knew that I got $45.00 for doing the neighbors lawn. (which is nowhere close to being as difficult as his)<p>In all honesty, had I bid this lawn without prior knowledge of price I would have bid at about $100.00 per mow but I figured that the guy was used to paying $150.00 and I took a chance on getting that amount.<p>So what would you have done?<p>I don't believe in written contracts but if that works for you thats fine. I will in the future state my price face to face before 1 blade gets cut. I had dreams of big $$$ and I think its human nature to get as much as you can. One thing I am proud of - I certainly didn't bill as a SCRUB would:)<br>I did resubmit a bill to him and knocked it down to $90.00 per cut which is in the range for here just so I don't have to have a pissing match with him. I'm glad to be done with that one.<p>Have a Good Day.


LawnSite Bronze Member
SE Pennsylvania
Under most circumstances I probably would have done the same thing. Although...&quot;if it looks too good to be true&quot; usually is. I usually get more for lawns that I acquire through attrition and shoddy workmanship by the prior service, but I know what I can get and usually start a little lower than what I would like (no more than $5/cut)for a new customer to show them what I can do for them then raise the price at the first chance. They usually have not much to say after they see the quality and you've become &quot;indispensible&quot;. I guess indispensible is not a good word as there are plenty of other companies which are willing to take a job, but if you look at it that way you become that way!<br><p><font size="1">Edited by: Scraper


Moderator, Friend, Angel
South East
I think the guy was a butte head for telling you all this over the answering machine. Without discussing it with you to see how you came up with that price. I would have done the same thing too. You had no idea that the owner thought he was pricing it too high. I wouldnt could it for less than he was in my first offer. Now that you know ,it was smart to rebid. If you get it great. If not, oh well other fish in the sea.

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