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Really tired of explaining why I cost more than others!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by KirbysLawn, Jul 19, 2000.

  1. Charles

    Charles Moderator, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 11,810

    Couldn't have said it better myself Kirby.
     
  2. Kirby wrote:<p>&gt;Lawrence Stone: Read above. Stone, $35.00 is my minimum<p>Too bad you have just priced yourself out of the all but the biggest residential work.<p>In the North East where the housing density is great a fortune can be had servicing<br>small homes in the built up areas.<br>But no one is going to pay you $35.<p>In fact you can't even service these accounts for you need 3 parking spaces to park your truck and trailer.<p>Real professionals have adapted to thier local market. Real professionals=contractors who actually make money. <p>If you are in a $25 min market and you charge $35 you are SOL.<p>And what's wrong with two guys making you<br>$500 per day?
     
  3. Kiby wrote:<p>&gt;The reason I have top of the line equipment is I want to separate myself from the others. Me comparing my equipment against yours or vise versa, isn't really relevant to this post. <p>Sorry but you were the one who started to complain about &quot;unfair&quot; competition.<p>Your equipment costs <br>are about $8 per man hour higher than your competition.<p>BTW my truck got 14.45 mpg on gasoline last fill up. All miles were work related pulling<br>a 2200 lb trailer (total gross) 80% of the time in the mountains.
     
  4. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773

    ::In fact you can't even service these accounts for you need 3 parking spaces to park your truck and trailer::<p>This caught my attention, Stone. How do *you* compensate for this? Since getting my new trailer, I've let two customers go simply because they're in a more rundown area where folks are parking their beatup cars up and down the street and I can't find decent, comfortable parking. I don't miss the accounts because I'm glad to get out of the areas they were in, but I'm curious to know how you handle accounts you can't service for lack of parking, or what you'd expect Kirby to &quot;adapt&quot; and do? Unhitch the trailer and load up the pickup??<p>-TGC
     
  5. greenlawncare

    greenlawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 105

    Two problems I see with your approach:<p>(1) The $350,000 home. We've seen this attitude before on this forum, and its scares me. How is that a factor of what the market will bare, your operating expenses, and your necessary mark up? <p>(2) I think you should be figuring in taxes at the very end.<br>Heres why:<br>&lt;B&gt;YOUR WAY: &lt;/B&gt;<br>Rev: $1000<br>AFTER TAX: $650 (35%)<br>EXPENSES: $200<br>&quot;PROFIT&quot;: $450<p>&lt;b&gt;THE RIGHT WAY:&lt;/b&gt;<br>REV: $1000<br>EXPENSES: $200<br>PROF CON: $800<br>AFTER TAX: $520 (35%)<p>Big difference. At least in my state we pay taxes on profit, not revenue.<p>It might help to invest in an accountant for a few hours a month.<p>
     
  6. OP
    OP
    KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Messages: 3,485

    Stone: &quot;Too bad you have just priced yourself out of the all but the biggest residential work.&quot;<p>Maybe up north, not around here. Most professional services around here have a minimum wither $30.00 or $35.00. The problem is the other services, you know the Ford Tempo pulling a trailer, and such. They get into a market and give these quotes and then customers expect those prices. If you bid the same price as children, what makes you better? Of course it's more expensive equipment, training (I hope), insurance, and other stuff mentioned above. Why shouldn't you charge a little more?<p>Two guys making $500.00 a day? Nothing wrong with that! My question was &quot;how do you do it? With an average of 18 min per lawn not including driving, breaks, lunch, how do you cut 40 lawns a day? Are the all in a row?<p>greenlawncare, the reason I posted the price of the home is to reflect the quality ogf the area. Some think mow, go, and hit the road. This is a nice home in a very nice area. On the taxes your right, still can't see mowing 40 lawns a day giving full service in 12 hours.<p>
     
  7. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    My truck and trailer combined measures 42 feet with the gate down, which lets me park in front of homes with 50 foot frontage without worrying about blocking the neighbors driveway. I thought long and hard about this before I bought my trailer. No fun pulling in a customers driveway only to have some prick park across the street effectively boxing you in like a turtles...you know.<p>Kirby, to answer your question, I wouldnt. I do lawns that size, and smaller, for $25 a pop but they are in clusters of 3, 4, and 5 per stop. I would be wasting my time loading and unloading for each of these individually. maybe some of you with lower overhead would like the solo accounts, but not for me. I also dont edge sidewalks every week, only when it starts to look ratty.<p>&quot;Since getting my new trailer, I've let two customers go simply because they're in a more rundown area where folks are parking their beatup cars up and down the street and I can't find decent, comfortable parking.&quot;<p>You really need some neighborhood kid to bounce a baseball off your hood so you can get over the new truck look and stop fretting about it, and get down to business using the vehicle as a tool and not an art object. Put it to work!<p>Bill
     
  8. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,211

    Ray,<br>Yes I did read your second paragraph. I also read your first paragraph:<br>&quot;Often I get an email or call for a prospective customer: &quot;I got several estimates from $90 - $100 for mowing, edging, trimming, and blowing, you are $140 what's the difference?&quot;&quot;<br>I'm sorry if I didn't have my definitions correct, but that statement that you wrote is what I consider mow & blow. According to your post you were competing for an 8,000 sf (I'm figuring that would be an average, as you did write &quot;or more&quot;) &quot;mow, trim, edge & blow&quot; against others who were charging a lot less. That's what I call mow & blow, and not full service, so I apoligize. You didn't say you were charging $140.00 vs. competitors charging $90.00 for full service on 8,000 sf. If that's what you meant, then I would tell you that you are both charging too low. If you were comparing your $140.00 for full service vs. competitors $90.00 for mow trim edge & blow, your comparing apples to oranges and its hard for us to make relevant comments for you. If that's what you meant then we're back to my comment that these aren't the type of customers that you want. And if you were comparing apples to apples, I'm going to say again that your business is not geared toward the mow & go customer, stick to what you do best. Other contractors are set up to do that kind of work and be professional & successful at it (and of course there are plenty of scrubs doing the same). Now on to your response to Stone about the 40 lawns. I do mostly commercial mowing but this thread made me think about the mow & go res. cust. that I have and they are in clusters of 3-5 & avg 6,000 - 15,000 sf and the longest cluster of 5 takes about an hour & 20 minutes to do. The other clusters take less than an hour and it does avg. 4 lawns per hour. 40 lawns in 10 hrs and the other 2 hours for traveling between clusters and breaks. He might just be right!
     
  9. OP
    OP
    KirbysLawn

    KirbysLawn Millenium Member
    Messages: 3,485

    BRl, I was wondering how long it would take for the &quot;S&quot; word to appear! :) Good post and you are correct, I did not make it as clear as maybe I should have. I do have my service geared toward the higher end customers, such as this one. I put the price of the homes in the area hoping to get it across it was a full service lawn. As stated above $140.00 is weekly service with $45.00 a month added for year round add-service. And I agree that if you are able to get small lawns in &quot;clusters&quot; a reduced rate may be appropriate. The problem is, do you get all of the lawns at a reduced rate at the same time, or do you pick up one today, one a few weeks later, and so on. If that's the case charging $25.00 for the first lawn caused the others to find out the low rate and it rolled from there and you may have caused the low price, make sense? If not how do you get 4-5 lawns at one time for $25.00?<p>One of the points of this post was if a company wants to charge $20.00 to &quot;mow and blow&quot; in a low maintenance lawn fine. The problem is this is a high maintenance lawn, in a high maintenance golf community, why are these &quot;cheap&quot; lawn companies coming in here giving &quot;mow & blow&quot; prices? They work the lawn one season, the lawn go to crap, and WE as a profession look bad.<p>I sure wished my A/C repairmen priced like this, just got charged $780.00 for about 2 hours work on my system. It sure would be nice for us, as a profession to have a standard pricing schedule, and for everyone to be trained, certified, and insured before they operate a business.<p>TheLawnGuy: Agreed, see my point though? If you find one lawn and charge $25.00, then the guy 2 houses down the street has a service charging $35.00, they switch to you because you are &quot;cheaper&quot;, the other guy gets kicked out and it snowballs from there. Basically by the first lawn getting charged so low, you have just lowered the bar for all others! <p>Ray
     
  10. Charles

    Charles Moderator, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 11,810

    If you are charging 20$ to 25$ per yard. You are still playing the customers game. These are the same prices of the mid 80s. Just what will 20$ buy you today? Around here you can get to large pizzas with 3 toppings for that. Granted, if you do enough volume and half kill yourself and wear out your equipment. You can make good short term money. I doubt if your body will hold up to 40 yards a day every day 5 or six days a week. Why should it not work in your favor to have a cluster of yards in the same neighborhood? Instead the owners are given a great discount. Because if you don't give it to them someone else will come along and do it. I understand this is a regional thing. Doesn't make it a right thing. Cost of living has gone way up. Even if you keep your business expenses way down. I don't even see how you people up north can afford your property taxes.
     

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