Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by LawnMowerMan2003, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    It's been a long time since I've been on the forum; but I'm excited because I'm ready to start my business up again. I've struggled with getting it started, and I haven't been able to do it the last couple of years, but I think I'm ready now, or least I've made a plan, and started saving for basic equipment.

    One thing that worries me is that I don't really know what to charge right now. If I call a lawn service in my area, they are going to want to see my lawn, but I live in an apartment. lol If somebody asks you for a general price over the phone, do you give them anything?

    I want to focus on small lawns, because I won't be able to afford a mower larger than 21" to start off with. Another reason I'm trying to focus on small lawns is to compete with lawn services that have more equipment: they may have a higher minimum than I do, especially if they have a crew, but I can't compete with them on larger lawns, because it will take me too long.

    I looked on Craigslist and I saw ads for "Starting at $25" so I don't know if that's just the front, or a really small lawn, or "$35 most lawns". I don't know how you can even have a price for "most lawns". I saw a few people that put $35, but I'm not sure how much that helps me.

    I understand people from different areas can't really tell me what the price should be, but I'm just trying to figure out some sort of system for determining the price. I don't want to be the cheapest person, but I shouldn't be too expensive when I need a lot of customers, either. I estimate I could manage up to 50 customers by myself, with small lawns, until I can afford a larger mower, at least. So it looks like I'm going to be passing out a lot of flyers soon. :)
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,428

    welp....I suppose I could spend 30 minutes with you on the phone.
    Ask you a bunch of financial questions and punch it into my spread sheet which will vomit back at you what you need to charge hourly to make the desired profit you are looking for....

    In another 10 minutes i could explain to you how to calc man hours per each lawn.

    Those two things would give you unlimited pricing knowledge.

    Yea I usually charge...but PM me if you want to spend less than an hour on the phone, and I can get it figured out for you.
  3. TTS

    TTS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 615

    Now that's an incredible offer that exceeds what I was going to type so I can save the time. Please teach him how to set up the spreadsheet so he can do it on his own when he gets his new mower. You can give a man a fish or you can teach a man to fish
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. Jcl4slc

    Jcl4slc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    That is mighty nice of you. May the lawn Gods bless you.
  5. nlmct

    nlmct LawnSite Senior Member
    from ct
    Messages: 423

    thats extremnly nice... can you do mine also lol
  6. B16bri

    B16bri LawnSite Member
    Messages: 101

    Im starting a new business also. If your willing ide love that spreadsheet also
  7. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    Thank you TPendegast. I started another job (assembling bbq grills, wheelbarrows, etc) but I wasn't making enough money doing that, so I'm still looking at starting a lawn service. I better do it now if I'm going to do it this year.

    I see your approach is different from what I was trying to do. I was trying to base my price on the market. If I base my price on how much I would like to make that doesn't guarantee that I won't price myself out of the market though.
    Is this a correct assumption?
  8. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Yes you need to be in your markets price range. Though if your costs are $25 hr, and a lawn goes for $30 hr. Can you live on $5 hr?

    Nothing stands alone.

    Do not try to be the cheapest guy to get work. You will only get pain in the butt low profit customers.
  9. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    I learned that lesson. First, I want people to be happy with my service, so I don't want to rush through the job and cut corners. Second, somebody who only cares about the price will not be my customer very long, because anyone can come along and do it cheaper. They will probably go out of business, but I'll still lose that customer.

    I suppose I could estimate what my costs are per hour. The fixed costs (and fuel) are going to make my cost per hour higher when I have less jobs, however.
  10. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    You are sitting home polishing you truck, trailer, mower, another beer, you are not using gas so your cost per hour does not change.

    Over the course of this year you work 500 hours. If your schedule was full you could of worked 1,000 hours. Though it does not count because you only count the hours that you worked. Not what you could of.

    Your costs were $10,000.

    So what is your cost per hour?

    The hours you worked divided by the costs. 10,000/500 = $20 hour.

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