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Pricing Question

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by magicmike, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. magicmike

    magicmike LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    Hey whats up havent posted in a few weeks, I got a call for an estimate today and they want weekly service, Fall/Spring Clean up, Fertilizer/Weed Control, Aeration with overseeding (ill be using a broadcast spreader) and dethatching (with bare spot seeding). Im gonna recommend the dethatching in spring, and aeration in fall with overseeding.

    I never priced any jobs for other than weekly maintenance service. I would have to rent the equipment.

    The Turf area is about 3250 sq ft. the plot of the property is around 7500. I got a slow start and I really need this house, so I want to keep my prices competitive but not low ball (but I do have a lot of lowballers in my area :nono:)

    This is what I came up with...
    Weekly Service: 35.00
    Spring/Fall Clean Up: 60 per man hour (I dont know if this is a good idea to give the customer a estimate like that I just started and I dont know how to estimate without seeing what is on the ground lol)

    Please give me some input on the prices above

    Now where I really need your help is on the following services
    Aeration and Overseed: (Fall) I would like to price for 2-3 passes. For a 4 hour rental it is about $60.
    Dethatching w/bare spot seeding: (Spring) I havent had a chance to sample the turf to see how much thatch is actually there but my goal is to get it to a half inch. Rental Fee is $45 for 4 hours
    Fertilizer/Weed Control: I would say about 35% of the turf is clover and other broadleaf weeds. I would like to do 4 applications of fertilizer

    Thanks in advance for any help.







  2. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 576

    Ill throw you a bone. First i'd NEVER give out the hourly on any mowing or lawn care. Most people think of this as an easy job and would have a cow knowing they are paying $60.0/MH for someone to pickup leaves.

    Second I'd really try and pickup a dethatcher. We use JRCO dethatchers. they arent heavy duty dethatchers but do not rip up the turf as much and you can double or triple up if needed. also everything is bagged right after with the mower. BIG time saver. Youll be losing a lot of profit in no time if you have to go to the rental shop all the time,

    For spring/ fall cleanups, we will charge more in the spring if no FCU has been done. Spring is one trip, mowed at 2.5" dethatched if needed and leaves blown from landscape beds and bagged while dethatching. FCU is 2 trips leaves blown, and taken off site. Usually well use the mower tobag, sometime other ways.

    For Fert, make sure you have a applicators license. 4 apps of fert seems too much, recommended rate for cool season is 2-3lbs of actual N per season, spread between 2-3 applications. We do 5 applications for the season, first is fert/PE, then slow release fert WC, WC, fert WC, WC. Dont want to be applying fert during drought unless they have irrigation. It will not used as the plants arent growing if there dormant and the fert is lost unless they are slower release

    Aerating and seed is best in fall like you have. Try and get a used aerator, again you dont want to be running to the rental shop every time you have a job to do, it will eat your profits. You may think you can fit all of them in a couple days but chances are youll be missing out on business because you have to rent one whenever a late comer wants it done.

    Mowing price seems low if there is push mowing, id be at $40. SCU-195, FCU-330, fert/WC-$40/app, aerating + seed- $120. May give discount if they prepay.

    and to edit my post, We stopped taking any push mowing. In my area about 1 in 10 houses needs push mowing. Its just worth the labor. Also that house looks like a trimming nightmare in the back
  3. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Turf is small though for the size there is a lot of edging. Thirty Five sounds good. Is that tax included or plus tax?

    I do not dethatch.

    Aerate in spring or fall depending on conditions.

    Usually most equipment rentals are $90-99 a day. I charge $99 plus the mow rate. In your case $134 to aerate.

    Problem was when first starting out if you had four aerate jobs in a day and you split the cost of the rental over the four jobs I would charge $60 a job.

    Problem was next time if i had to rent the aerator for 2 jobs the cost per job would increase and the customer that was charged $60 the last time would now say why are you charging me $75 this time.

    After you do one aerate job you will realize that doing any aerating for less then $134 is not worth it. Time, mileage, fuel spent to get the aerator, do the job, return the aerator and the job is not worth it.
  4. Colaguy

    Colaguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 599

    Charge more than $35, lots of edging & trimming there. I'd recommend they put a border 1' out from that pool, so u dont slice that pool wall with your weed eater or you'll end up paying big bucks if you damage pool.
  5. magicmike

    magicmike LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    Thanks for the reply

    I think i should charge more than 35 too maybe 38, but in my area there are so many low ballers. I got called for an estimate for a 4800 sq ft lawn I said 38 weekly and they told me they paid 25 a week (even thought they were unhappy with them).

    Im a new business and I really need more accounts than what I have right now (3 :weightlifter:)
  6. magicmike

    magicmike LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    Your clean up seem high to me there arent many trees around this property I am wonderings what you would include in your fall and spring clean ups? Thanks
  7. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 576

    SCU run at a starting price of $195 for almost all of our customers, less for tiny lawns or ones that had a FCU done and no Oak trees to drop more leaves.

    This is our starting price it leaves us room in the future. Lady wants 10 perennials trimmed back? No problem. Lawn has a wind tunnel that pull everysingle leave around into over winter? No problem. Very excessive thatch in the yard? No problem, well go over it 3 times.

    SCU for us is dethatching, multiple times if needed, None if it is thin or doesnt need at all, blowing out EVERYWHERE for leaves, including street, SW and drive. mowed at 2.5", everything bagged and taken offsite. All debris including sticks and stuff from winter taken also. No trimmers even brought during SCU times.

    Most of our properties are 10k + so this is a good number to start at for us. Smaller properties might get a break. After the first FCU and SCU prices are adjusted, usually up, if needed. I'd say 10% of our prices change.

    Biggest thing for us is to get 100% of the leaves, 100% not 95%. With that price it also leaves us wiggle room to do extra things on smaller properties for free, IE cutting back or taking piles of brush.

    One thing to remember with SCU and FCU. For us we are using more equipment, gas, and most of all, our bodies, like jumoing into the dump to dump the bags 10x per property . that $700 dethatcher or that $1400 bagger. That gallon of gas used for just blowing the leaves. etc etc or maybe that $65 dump fee at the end of the week. All has to be worked into our hourly rate. Mowing wise were at $40-50/ MH, SCU/FCU were usually at $65+/MH.

    Do a fantastic job and people will be happy to pay!
  8. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 576

    I don't know your area but if there are alot of smaller lawns, I'd probly invest in a 34" WB to keep prices down on mowing. Any push mowing for us is an addition 2.50 minimum, and we stopped even taking those as its just another piece to bring.

    $35 is the bare minimum for us. Only time we will go lower is if there are 3+neighbors at the same stop.

    Next time they say they paid $25/mow but were unhappy. Use that against them in a sort of way. Say something like "We do our best to make sure it is looks prestine when were done so we price accordingly."

    I understand you only have 3 now and want to grow, but I've seen FAR to many people lowball to get accounts then go under because they cannot upgrade their equipment. Take the chance on estimating without giving your hourly out.

    I was at a house giving an estimate on some landscape work. She was saying how the other company was charging $45/mh for labor and she thought that was crazy high. If only she knew we charge more than that!

    People don't seem to get that for $45/mh, we have to pay for labor, taxes on that labor, that shovel he is using, the new rake we had to buy because someone broke it, our gas, time spent finding employees, fixed and variable overhead, that $3000 bed edger, $600 blower, $10k mower, not to mention the hour and $10 in gas im spending to come here ***** about you talk about $45/mh being high. /vent
  9. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 576

    one more thing, our prices on aerating, seed and fert are all the same up to 4k sq ft. At 4k the aerating price is actually cheaper then what it should be.

    If you havent aerated before, get ready. My friend, who had a terrible weedy thin lawn and now has one of the best because of us. couldnt understand how we were charging like $360 to aerate and seed his lawn (12k ish i believe) untill he rented his own aerator, bought his own seed and spreader and did all of his own labor. After words he was happy to pay us to do it.
  10. gulfjoe

    gulfjoe LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,638

    I wont go within 2 feet of those type of swimming pools. The $50 I charge them is not worth paying for a $2000 POS, and I tell them that in a lot nicer way though:laugh:

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