Pricing, please help

Discussion in 'Bidding, Estimating and Pricing' started by Mason L, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. Mason L

    Mason L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I have watched countless videos and read countless articles on pricing for lawn mowing. I just dont understand what people mean. Everyone I talk to says to charge by the hour but they also say you need to figure out your per man hour rate. That's confusing because they just told me not to charge by the hour now they are saying to charge by the hour. I just need a direct answer. Is it by the hour? Job? Square foot? Please help me. I'm pulling my hair out and losing sleep because this is the only thing stopping me from starting my business.
     
    Debbie Neese likes this.
  2. Hayduke

    Hayduke LawnSite Member
    from Oregon
    Messages: 95

    If that is the only thing stopping you from starting your business then you are in great shape. I had a lot more than that stopping me and I've made it 17 years. Such as....do I really want to deal with 50 different clients/bosses a year?, do I really want to be outside when its 99 degrees or better yet 38 degrees and raining?, do I want to come home at night after grinding thru a 9 hour day only to sit in from of my computer til bedtime emailing, texting clients who are peaved at me because I haven't called them in 24 hours, or I missed a dandelion that's growing out of their patio, and they are withholding payment until I come back and pull it out? equipment failures, warranty calls on product failures, desperate retired old ladies begging me to come adjust a sprinkler that's spraying onto their outdoor poodle bed...for free...because they are on a fixed income.

    These are the things y0u have to ask yourself if you are willing to take on for the next few decades if you are considering landscaping as a career. Pricing will come later, whether by the hour, by the foot, by the hectare, acre-foot whatever. I'm in this business and successful now for 17 years, and I go over my pricing structure almost every week. It is an everchanging animal. So good luck, stop worrying about pricing, get out there and mow some lawns....
     
  3. Mow-Daddy.com

    Mow-Daddy.com LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,939

    A quick answer to your question.
    You figure up your price by the hr.
    Only to yourself.
    Example:
    You look over Miss Smiths lawn.
    You measure it, or google earth it. Figure out how many hrs it will take you to mow, trim, edge, blow.
    Let's just say you figure 1.5 man hrs.
    So at your desk you decide you want $60 per man hr. So total charge would be $90.
    The $90 is what you show client.
    Nothing more.
    You DO NOT tell them how long it will take. They only need to know how much it will cost to service their yard.
    You DO NOT tell them. (I charge $60 per hr)
    You simple say, it would be $90 each time.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Mason L

    Mason L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

     
  5. Mumblingboutmowers

    Mumblingboutmowers LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    And in figuring out what you need per hour to operate you have to consider many things. I will name a few, but there are more.

    Cost to operate your equipment per hour. To figure this, price of equipment used plus expected repair costs divided by estimated life of equipment. Plus fuel costs per hour.

    Truck costs, repairs, maintenance, fuel, insurance.

    Liability insurance, billing costs, taxes, advertising, etc.

    And of course, your time.

    Make sure that your hourly rate is covering all things considered and leaving a profit in the end.

    As mowdaddy said, you never tell a customer your hourly rate, by the job is how to quote.
     
    fireball756 and Mow-Daddy.com like this.
  6. Mow-Daddy.com

    Mow-Daddy.com LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,939

    Yes, but do not tell them drive time also, just include it in cost.

    Figure you have 1 hr total drive time today. And 12 clients. Divide that 1 hr between each client. Or about $5 extra per yard.

    Presume you put in an 8 hr day.
    From shop in the morning to shop in evening.
    You try to recover ALL 8 hrs.
    You might not recover all hrs, but you try. If you can bill out at $60 per hr x 8 hrs that will gross you $480 for that day.
    In real life, you'll lose some time as unbillable. Gas stop, pee breaks, etc.
    Thats why you want to create as tight of route as possible. Work neighborhoods, or 3 stops on 1 road etc.
    Just starting out that is hard.
    But if you already have 1 house on elm street try to pick up one or two more.
    Makes the drive to elm street worth while.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Mason L

    Mason L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    That is something I can understand. Thank you so much
     
    Mow-Daddy.com likes this.
  8. OP
    OP
    Mason L

    Mason L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    So let's just say you charge 60 an hour. And you use a push mower and it takes you an hour. Obviously I would make 60 dollars. But what about when I upgrade let's say to a zero turn. And that yard takes me 25 minutes now. Now I only get 25 dollars?
     
  9. JeremyKuhn

    JeremyKuhn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 596

    Your hourly price is going to be different with a push mower than a zero turn. A zero turn is going to use more fuel and cost more per hour average in repairs.

    However there will be a minimum charge per house. My area had larger yards on average so I have a $40 minimum, some small city lots guys on here have a $25 minimum. My minimum is based on $5-10 drive plus a 30 minute time charge, which is roughly $40 for one or two employees.
     
    Cam15 likes this.
  10. shriver187

    shriver187 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 278

    with a zero turn your cost per hour will increase but the time it takes you will decrease, fuel will be more for mower and truck at that point. you may have to adjust your price a little but the time savings on each yard will counter the increased operations cost to some extent.
     
    GRANTSKI and Cam15 like this.

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