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Production #'s for 20K or bigger lawns

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by BeautifulBlooms, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. BeautifulBlooms

    BeautifulBlooms LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    I am having a hard time getting any of the large lawns I have been bidding on.

    I specifically am concerned my production #'s that I use for lawns 20K or smaller just dont work when the lawns are much bigger.

    I figure I can mow just about any property (within reason) that is 20K or less somewhere between 20-30 minutes. But say I have a 40K lawn with the second 20K part of the lawn pretty much just back and forth with minimal obstructions, minimal trimming, and minimal blowing I think my #'s just dont work. Can someone give me some guidance here.

    I have a 52" Ferris IS 1500 and my typical production for that mower are between 680 - 1100 Sq. Ft. per minute. SO I am using 1100 as my production # for the outer areas or more wide open areas, but I havent gotten any properties greater than about 24K. I think my price just ends up too high.

    Someone help em figure it out, because I would much rather be ont he larger properties than a bunch of the little ones!
  2. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,632

    When you determine the amount of time you spend on a 20K lawn vs. a 40K lawn, you need to consider load/unload and travel.

    Lets say a 20K lawn is 30 mins working on site...plus 15 minutes to load/unload and travel, giving you an actual time of 45 minutes. Maybe you price that at $45.

    A 40K lawn will take less than 60 minutes. A big mower will be more productive (sq. ft. per minute) on a large lawn because you will probably be taking longer runs, providing fewer turns per sq. ft. But to keep it simple, let's say it takes 60 minutes on site...plus 15 mins to load and travel. So to be consistant with your 20K pricing, you would price it at $75.

    So if you are just doubling the 20K fee ($45) to price a 40K lawn at $90, competitors may be coming in at $75 and getting the customer. If the competitor knows he can mow it in 50 minutes, they might price it at $65.
  3. BeautifulBlooms

    BeautifulBlooms LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    I do my lawn pricing like this
    Travel Fee $10 unless I have an existing customer inthe same neighborhood or if the property is more than 10 minutes from my previous customer ont he route
    Load Fee $5 covers mowers and trimmer load and unload, refueling equipment etc
    Mow Fee $x based on a range of 680 sq. ft. per minute to 1100 sq. ft. per minute based on my 52" Ferris and depending on technicaility of the lawn
    Trim Fee $y usually around $10-15 can be higher for some properties if there are long fences
    Blow Fee $z usually also around $10-15 but can be a lot higher for lots of paved areas or if I need to spread out a lot clippings in the lawn
    Miscellaneous Fee $A this comes into play when i have a family with a lot of kids who leave stuff lying around, garbage pickup as needed (more on commercial properties) This fee is usually $0 but I have it on my bidding sheets I use when measuring a property in case there are certain circumstances that will keep me from mowing right off the trailer

    I add all of these up and that is my total.

    For last year again on lawns ranging from 8000-24000 I averaged about 800 sq. ft. per minute on my Z turn. The smaller technical properties were as low as 680, and my wide open mowing was up around 1100 sq. ft.

    My blowing and trimming fee was usually around $10 each on average, the 24000 lawn was arund $15.
  4. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,632

    From your response...
    Travel Fee $10
    Load Fee $5
    Mow Fee $15 (?)
    Trim Fee $10
    Blow Fee $10

    So it sounds like you have a $50 fee for a 10K sq/ft lawn. What are you charging for a 40K sq/ft lawn?
  5. BeautifulBlooms

    BeautifulBlooms LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    A 10K lawn can range from $35-55 depending on trimming requirements and will take me anywhere from 35-60 minutes about including my travel and load times.

    I have been quoting out about 75-110 for the 40K lawn depending on the property and havent gotten one back yet. I am not sure if I am just shooting too high or if they are just getting the lowballer to come in and give them a low mow fee. I would be glad to drop my pricing for mowing if I was guaranteed to get other work like mulch, weeding, shrub trimming, SCU, FCU but most of these people only requested mowing.
  6. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    I think an acre is about 56,000 sq. feet, isn't it ?? Another test of reasonability for your pricing is to evaluate it based on the total fee per acre mowed. Around here an acre would go for about $ 55-60 including trimming and blowing ... so I'd say you may be a little high !!
  7. BeautifulBlooms

    BeautifulBlooms LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    an acre is 43560
  8. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,632

    In my area, a 40K sq ft lawn would cost about $70 or $80. A 10K would be more like $40. Average lawns here are about 15 to 20K sq ft. My average fee is $45.

    Why don't you call back some of those customers, and ask why they chose another company? At this point we are only guessing that it is a price problem.
  9. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    Thanks for the correction !!
  10. milkie62

    milkie62 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    An acre is 208' x 208' ---- around 43000 sq ft

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