Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by DSL DOC, Dec 8, 2001.

  1. turfman99

    turfman99 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 212

    How many hours a year do you have avaliable to sell ?? Your own ?? Hired hours ??

    Minimum charge of one hour for anything you do on any site.

    Hourly cost is overhead, labor and any other costs,
    ( not materials) divided by how ever many hours you are going to sell.

    The one problem with the way you are doing it now, is that there are hours associated with on site production that you need to recover from each account. Very seldom can you do that by just charging an amount per hour and hoping you cover those times.

    Those hours would be drive time, shop and repair times, dump times, supply procurement and other mobilization times.
  2. Lance Takara

    Lance Takara LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73

    turfman99 hit the nail square on its head.
  3. brentsawyer

    brentsawyer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    I'll be pricing my Scag 52" Turt Tiger @$60/hr. My 52" WB @$45/hr. and weed eating @$30-35/hr. This keeps everything fair and simple. I do tell this to people and it takes a little selling on my part but once they agree, they always seem pleased with what they get.

    Try telling them what one of your mowers will do compared to their standard push mower. I like saying that my WB is equivalant to 5 push mowers or my ZTR is like having 7.5 push mowers. They start figuring that up and for them to do it, it is less than $10/hr. And yes I have compared my claim to a push mower before on a large scale so I'm not making that up if they push me.
  4. Gonzo

    Gonzo LawnSite Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 3

    i have read many of the posts for pricing. How much is to much for the consumer. This is my first time dealing with prices for aeration. For Ex. I have a 7000 Sq.ft yard i fertilize for $44.00 and i cut for $40. How much for the aeration? would charging double be to much? Thanx for the help!
  5. VRL

    VRL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    How much do you charge for using 21" mowers?
  6. Gonzo

    Gonzo LawnSite Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 3

    well i don't use 21'' mowers everything i ve got is 36''.So should you go by the cut rather than fertilizing price?
  7. richard coffman

    richard coffman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    well, let's see here. I generally charge by the square foot on each job site(for mowing, trimming and blowing off) i'f its a full service, I'm allready going to charge on top of the mowing, a cost for the extra's that they want(my customer service sells my company well)if it's trimming hedges, pulling weeds or anything they may want (but I'm kinda picky on what i do). I have a few diferent lawn programs that i offer and at the biggining of the year or with a new customer, I let them chose what special will be best for them and then give them the estimate right there. I don't try to do any less for them because I know what it takes to do the job, and my costs, when i figure everything out right, I'm usually putting $50-60 dollaars profit in my wallet and bring in $1,200 to $1,300.00 profit in mowing each day.Smart planning and bugeting makes a big difference at the end.;) :D :D

    I usually do the same for my fertilizing programs as well.

    Richard Coffman/owner
    Special Needs Lawn Services
  8. Atlantic Lawn

    Atlantic Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Outer Banks NC
    Messages: 950

    Those are some fantastic numbers there Richard are you solo or do you have crews ? You must have very low overhead or incredible workers.
  9. King City Lawns

    King City Lawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 43

    I bid all jobs on an hourly rate. I go to the site, make an wstimate of what I believe it will take to do the job and then bid at $50.00 PER MAN HOUR... I try not to make it a practice to let customers now my hourly rate. Some people do not understand the costs of our industry and therfore can not comprehend paying my cost. In talking to other services in my town $50.00 is right on with what we all want to charge. I have only been in biz for what will be 3 years this spring but am usually right on with my time estimates.
  10. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I say calculate what you think the market will bear for your time, factor in the productivity of your equipment, then adjust for degree of difficulty(hills, pita stuff, etc). Of course this isn't easy to deduce!

    Charging only by square footage doesn't account for properties with more obstacles, hills, etc, trimming, etc that require more time on site per foot. Sure, it evens out in the long run, but that's sloppy. You overcharge for some jobs, undercharge for others. You will eventually gravitate towards doing only tough jobs if you stick to this, since your higher bids will tend to be rejected more often, and your tough jobs will come in lower priced than the competition.

    Charging per hour needs to be tempered realisticallly by how good your stuff is. If you have push mowers and walk behinds, you can't charge as much as a guy with a ztr. If you work solo or with a helper, you are more productive than most unsupervised employee crews. I would say I am at least as productive working alone as any 2 or 3 man crew I have seen on residential lawns. Now on huge properties running 3 lazer z's...maybe not. But there is a LOT of wasted time with employees. And face it, they just won't hustle like you will.

    I charge $48/hour for mowing, plus a $12 trip charge, which is the average of my driving time costs. So, an hour on-site means $60. I will shave a few dollars off if a lawn is very desireable and closeby, but not too much. My minimum is $22 (back yard of cluster home, takes 10-15 minutes). If someone wants a lawn walk-mowed, they still pay my hourly rate for ZTR work. I'm selling my time, expertise, and equipment as a package. Their special needs are their problem, not mine. I charge $40/hour in winter and $60/hour when the grass is growing for other labor like shrubs, leaf cleanup, etc. This encourages them to request these services more in winter when it's easier on me, and it's worked well for years. Nobody has ever complained. But I work fast, and earn it. Everybody has their own system, but I find the key is to price ACCURATELY, based on time, effort, and skill required, and of course, the market.

    Some people charge monthly set fees, others per-mow. I would have a harder time here selling monthly, so I just charge per-mow with the understanding that I mow when it needs it. I give them an estimate at quote time of how many times each month I will visit, reserving the right to modify it slightly based on rainfall/temps/etc. Its an easier sell, and no misunderstandings about when I'll be out. It allows me to get a little more per-mow than monthly contracts, so I make more per hour of actual work, though maybe a little less than guys who charge people year round. I also just don't feel right charging in the winter if I'm not doing anything, and wonder how people get customers to go along with this w/o bailing out in December after getting a low monthly price during the busy times. (contract or not, people will make you take them to court, and this is costly and time consuming) I find that per-cut pricing really pleases people once they see they're saving a little money and not having to worry about you coming out as much as promised.

    That reminds me....I just saw two guys playing at blowing off a parking lot in the driving rain at 8am in waste of time...but they wanted that Winter money. It's total make-work, but if you can get it, more power to you. I prefer the time off in the winter to do other things. I sent a letter to my customers asking them to call if they needed anything done before March arrives (I've already done shrubs, etc) and have had ZERO calls. So obviously most people don't really want you out there in the Winter, at least in Atlanta. Maybe after a storm, but that's just to pick up debris (YUCK)

    The big negative of no year round contracts is it's difficult to hire full time employees.

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