Pricing, please help

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

  1. OP
    Mason L

    Mason L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    Anyone willing to chat on the phone with me or something. Once I think I'm close to figuring out pricing something comes along and makes no sense to me? If so my number is 518-705-6048. I know it seems desperate but I really dont know what else to do. I lost my job and am starting this business with money I barely have. Any advice is worth more than gold to me.
  2. LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,100

    You normally won't get $60 per hr with a push mower. Unless you are doing micro lawns in a city.

    The ($60) per hr. Is a random figure that ppl shoot for.
    Assume you and 3 other LCOs are all bidding on the same property.
    "My Aunt's" property takes me almost exactly 1 hr. Give or take a minute or two. This is a real life example.
    I use a 72" ztr. I charge her $60.
    She gets a family discount btw.

    You on the other hand will take 3 hrs.
    You would never be able to charge her $180 and expect to win the bid.

    Nothing wrong with push mowing, but it only works on niche markets, and micro lawns. You can't compete with ztrs and such on anything more than about 10,000 sqft lawns.

    Whole different market.
    Mumblingboutmowers and Cam15 like this.
  3. DonaldL

    DonaldL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    Be careful here - I know it seems like it's being picky, but you aren't "making" $60 an hour. Your customer will pay you $60 for that job, but you have to account for all the other factors mentioned earlier in the thread and then some.

    Here's my thought, and it's just a thought - if you've lost a steady income you might be better off to go find something else to replace that income. Remember that you aren't going to be working 20,30,40 hours a week for awhile when you first get started. Unless of course you starting bidding jobs at a crazy price nobody can refuse, but then you aren't making anything anyway when you figure what it takes to actually do the job. If you can find steady income now, start looking for work on the side to supplement that income. That can give you an idea of pricing and how it all works, and what you are actually "making" when you work for an hour on a job.

    There is money to be made in the industry, but it also takes money to do it. To use it as a way to make immediate steady income you'll be hard pressed to make ends meet for the first season. If you can find something else, then work this in the evenings and weekends you'll get a much better sense for what the job is really all about. My .02 is that if pricing is giving you this much of a challenge, there may be other factors that you haven't even considered that will pop up pretty quickly too. A LOT of people are short timers in the industry because they jump in before they have much of a foundation to work from. Doing it part time can at least help to give you that foundation, or at least expose you to things with a lot less risk since it isn't your primary income.
  4. Whitehills Lawn Care

    Whitehills Lawn Care LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    A lot of customer might get scared off by a $60 per hour rate because they start thinking of how long it takes them to mow their lawn and trim it. If it takes them 2 hours to complete it, then they start thinking you are going to charge them $120, but in reality you can probably do the same job in 1 hour, so you would just be charging them $60 for the job. So it is better to just tell them $60 for the job... they then think it would be $30 per hour (because it takes them 2 hours to do it, but you 1 hour). So then they see it as a good deal.
  5. Oxmow

    Oxmow LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,092

    What you also have to look at is the market price. Sorry but it needs to be said. Most guys are mowing that (less than) 10000sf lawn for 35$. If you can’t do that in lest than 30ish minutes then you aren’t going to do it. You do want to make as much as you can, but you are going to have to work your butt off to do it.

    There are 2 ways to make it more profitable:
    1. Be more efficient. This may take a larger faster or bigger self propelled mower. i.e. commercial equipment.
    2. Charge more.
    Jeff@diyokc and Cam15 like this.
  6. Elite Lawn Pros

    Elite Lawn Pros LawnSite Member
    Messages: 105

    So I’m sorta in the same boat as him. I talked to some people and reading up on forms here had helped a bunch. My issue is I have a steady income so number crunching wasn’t in my view, it should have been. While I’m guessing for pricing, I’m still around the market price in my area. I wouldn’t unload for less than $40-$45. Well now I’m wanting to go full time and I’m needing help with the break down of the per hour (man hour rate). So this is what I’ve come up with and I’d like to know thoughts on it. My issue is some people tell me take my pay, helpers (Add to theirs,I pay them 12hr but charge 14hr for them) add that together and that’s my labor rate. Then I’ve been told do $1 per min for me $1.20-$1.50 for two of us and $2 for 3 of us. how I feel

  7. OP
    Mason L

    Mason L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I agree. It's really difficult to figure out. Like to me, what the hell is a profit of 6 bucks gonna get you. I know a guy in the paving industry and makes a ton of money and pricing is twice as easy to figure out. I love lawn care and it's what j want to do but the pricing is a nightmare. There has to be a way to figure it out though. I see these other guys in my upstate ny area driving around with brand new trucks and mowers and here I am struggling over pricing. Sucks.
  8. OP
    Mason L

    Mason L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I wish the best of luck to ya man. And if you figure out a way tell me lol. I still spend hours upon hours researching pricing.
    Elite Lawn Pros likes this.
  9. Oxmow

    Oxmow LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,092

  10. Capt J-rod

    Capt J-rod LawnSite Member
    Messages: 70

    By the hour works on cookie cutter residential but remember the smallest yard I mow takes about the same amount of time as the larger of my properties... Bagging takes longer, but you don't worry about the clippings going into the beds. The smaller yard takes just as long to trim edge and blow off as the bigger one. The Scag I run cuts grass like crazy. Be careful because if you need to push mow a section, it takes longer. Starting a company in mid June is gonna be tricky. Just get out there and bid a few. I do my own properties, but the older neighbors have now gotten me to hit their's too. I get about $50/hr, but I am there anyways. Once the motor is running I become a cash ***** and take the money. A nice city lot takes me about 30-40 mins by myself and I get $30. That is pretty cheap compared to other guys, but like I said I am already mowing my rentals, so I get their $$$ to buy my gas and make the mower payment. YES I am insured for liability etc...

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