Raising prices

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Lazer Cut, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. Lazer Cut

    Lazer Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 906

    I have been running numbers... I found that I am a complete idiot. My average yard takes about 45-55 minutes solo. I charge a average of $25 but have some $65-85. I do not think that I am charging enough. I would like to get $30-35 for the yards that I currently charge $25. They warrant the 30-35 but the customer shy'd away. I would like to at least get 30 how can I raise the price and present this to the customers... maybe raise it $3 for next year? I made $355 last week with cutting 14 lawns. That is roughly $25 avg. I'd like to make more to hire a helper with me so I can knock out more yards. Next year I plan on attaining 60-70 accounts. I currently have 29. Could use some help on budgeting also. I need to crack down on things.
  2. GreenmanCT

    GreenmanCT LawnSite Senior Member
    from ct
    Messages: 557

    gotta have the 35 minimum.
  3. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    My minimum charge is $25 and those lawns all take me less than 25 minutes to do solo, typically between 15 and 20 minutes. If I were going to be somewhere for 50 minutes, I would want around $50. The best way to increase price is not in the middle of the season. You will want to raise your prices at the beginning of the season.

    What you really NEED to figure out is how much it costs to run your equipment per hour. That will let you figure out how much you need to charge per hour to make money and still cover all of your expenses.
  4. Ronniecoleman

    Ronniecoleman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 133

    It sounds like you have some biweekly's, you need to start pricing those at a higher rate. For instance if you charge $30 for a weekly mow biweekly needs to be $40. I would wait until spring to raise any prices.
  5. pflasch

    pflasch LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 294

    $35.00 minimum charge! This is for lawns that would take less than 30 minutes to complete.
    If longer, you could figure $1.00 / minute... and that's "ramp down to ramp up" time!

    Depending on your area, you may have to adjust this number slightly.

    You should also figure in travel time to get there. i.e., if it's 10 minutes away from your last stop, figure in an add'l $5.00 - $8.00.

    There are several "Lawn Care Calculators" out there.
    You measure the property perimeter, how many obstacles (trees, swingset etc.) and the calculators give you (based on what you told it was your per/hour rate was) a price to quote.
    If you don't know what your "hourly rate" is... (based on ALL of your costs) you need to go back to the basics of business!
    You NEED to know this BEFORE you quote anything... otherwise you are guessing, and probably going broke doing it!!

    I'm going to guess that your main competition (I'm talking companies that have been around for more than 5 years... and not the "lowballers" in your area) might be charging $45 - $65 for the SAME property probably know what their costs are... and are making a good profit... and have nicer equipment... and will probably be around next year!!

    BTW, your numbers are WAY OFF!!!
    You say that you averaged $25.00 / lawn... but you had some properties that you charged $65 - $85? The question that I would have is "how long, in minutes, did those accounts take you"?
    AND, after EXPENSES, what did you actually put in the bank $$$$????... and don't forget about depreciation, gas, insurance (I hope that you do have insurance, don't you??? Truck, medical, workers comp etc) trimmer string etc.

    At this point, I'm guessing that McDonald's would have probably paid you more than what you may have taken home after ALL expenses?

    Do yourself a big favor... figure out EXACTLY what you need to charge for your TIME to be profitable!!!
    If you loose 1/2 of your $25.00 or less properties, so be it, because you will work less hard, and make more on the other properties that you end up with... THEN, as you get new clients, charge the CORRECT rate for their property, and grow your business that way!

    Good luck to you!!

    MOHUSTLER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,376

    I had a commercial cutter tell me that he does his bids at $1 a minute. I thought he was stupid and then I sat down and figured up some totals, and its really not to far outa line.
  7. pflasch

    pflasch LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Messages: 294

    In Virginia, some are now charging $1.10 to $1.15 per minute for the quote...
    Several years ago, $1.00 / min. was about average.

    Haven't YOUR costs gone up in the last 2 -4 years??? Your pricing needs to keep up... right?
    i.e. ZTR's have had at least a 15% price hike in the last 2 years alone!

    SNAPPER MAN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,443

    I do not understand a minimum charge. You guys would never get any work here in Houston. Our average residential is $30 a week and that is for mowing, edging, trimming, hedge trimming as needed, and raking and weeding flowerbeds weekly. You have to know your cost's to make money in this business. I do many yards for $25 also.

    If I were you I would not raise your rates. You are destined to loose customers if you do that. I have been doing some yards for 3 years and I have not raised the rate once. You can't. Just treat them right and they will treat you right by giving you mulch and landscape work. I wouldn't raise your rates. Just asking for problems if you do. It's better to have $25 rather than $0
  9. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    You'll probably have to raise them slowly especially at this point in time with a lot of people looseing hours at work and their jobs. I work solo, did 15 jobs this week (yawn) and made $600 plus one tiny little shrub job that paid $110. Not a bad week for a semi-retired guy eh?
  10. Lazer Cut

    Lazer Cut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 906

    Thanks guys for all the advice... I know I do not have the nicest equipment... but i think a 23hp 52" Grandstand and a 52" Toro Proline (2001 w/ 15 Kohler) is not bad... Others have nicer yes but mine does the trick and will continue for the long haul. I am committed to doing this for a long time hopefully my goal after next year will be to run a second crew. I am going to go to college for business (accounting CPA) I'd like to either make my company where I can have someone run it for me as in work I do the bids paper work etc. and have another job that handles the rest of the expenses. I have a new truck that I plan on running till the damn thing falls apart! I just wish I could put more in the bank. Almost all of my $25 people let me do their landscaping (mulch, plants etc.) which is great. I also work for two banks that give me decent amount of work. Next year I hope to be cutting most of the day care centers in my area. My expenses usually are-- truck payment=$190 --gas (weekly)$70 -- Insurance paid already was $450-- string,2 cycle oil-$may be $30 a month? (does that sound right)-- Yes I def. need to get the back to basics and figure everything out. I believe it is 49 cents a mile to operate my truck if I did it correctly.

    thanks for the help and any more replies GREATLY appreciated!!


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