Screwed Myself!!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by miltthemower, May 5, 2005.

  1. miltthemower

    miltthemower LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    I agreed to perform lawn service for a client. Quoted them a price based on a rep from the the Home Owners Associations whom I have been subcontracting with. Client paid me up front. When I get to his property, it is more that I was told. Now how do I go back and tell the client it will cost more. I will need to bring another worker with me to complete his lawn. If I do it myself it will take at least three hours.

    Charging a flat fee for fertilizing is a good or bad idea. Is $25 to much or to low to charge. I use a hand held aeration. I have to walk and firmly plant it in the ground. Yes very laborous. Should I charge a flat fee of $25. I do not want to lose out to the competition that may have the equipment to do it quicker and cheaper.

  2. pagefault

    pagefault LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    If this is recurring service, I would tell the customer that there was a miscommunication about the size of the property, but you will do it the first time for the agreed price, but after that, it will be $XX.XX, if he elects to continue service.

    I have had a couple of people call me a few days after I have been in their neighborhood, knocking on doors, and I tell them "Most of the properties on that street are about x,xxx square feet and we mow them for $xx weekly or $xx bi-weekly. If you want to sign up for regular service, we can do it the first time at that rate and if it turns out that your lot is larger than we expected, we will give you an updated price. They like this and it saves me about $5 in gas, plus my time, to go out there and confirm the lot size when I am already 95% certain anyway.

    It's not as easy to do it after an agreement has been made, but you should be able to pull it off if you honor the price on the first visit. Of course, I am assuming that this is not a 10 acre property you quoted as 1 acre or something.
  3. miltthemower

    miltthemower LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    I want to say it is about an acre and a half. It would take me about an hour or so to just cut the lawn. I have a 21" push mower. It would take about 45 minutes to edge. I use my trimmer to edge. About an hour to areate.

    I then have to fertillize the lawn. Total cost I charged was $40 for the lawn then I charge $12 per hour for aeration and fertilization. I think I am better charging a flat fee of $25 to fertilize and $25 for aeration.

    What do you think?
  4. pagefault

    pagefault LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    I'm just guessing, but I think it will take a good three hours just to push a mower over 1.5 acres.
  5. nocutting

    nocutting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 530

    Hi, are we talking about fertilizing 1,1/2 ac, of lawn or about 60,000sqft? Doesent a bag of fert. cost about $7.00 at the home depot? If it covered 10,000sqft you'd need 6 bags x $7.00=$42.00 + tax, isnt $25.00 alittle low?....Generally speaking I like the entire material cost paid and alittle something to cover my labour cost, and if I'm a sport, a dash of profitability couldnt hurt?....Thats just me though? :dizzy:
  6. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,586

    no way you are going to cut that grass with a push mower that fast...>>>>
    do you have any experience at you have a license to apply chemicals....

    im not being a smart a$$, it seems if you've been in business 1 year you would know this.... this is my first year and i know those numbers are way off,

    21 inch mower and one and a half acres is about 4 to 6 hours of cutting depending on the terrain????
  7. gwwilson

    gwwilson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 89

    prices in my area for 1 1/2 acres
    mowing $65
    fert only $ 168 plus grass seed ~~~ $ 256
    aeration $ 12 / k or $756

    damn you must be NUTS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:
  8. Tider6972

    Tider6972 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 649

    I hope this post is a fishing expedition . Heck, the prices can NOT be serious! Most ridiculous thing I've heard of in , oh, forever!

    If the property size was mis-represented to you, you are under NO obligation. Quote the property based on what it actually IS, not some (perhaps deliberate?) misrepresentation !!!

    gwwilson is correct, but I'd charge at least $90 for the mowing with that much trimming and edging.
  9. miltthemower

    miltthemower LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    Thanks for the feedback. It took me hour and a half to cut the lawn this morning. About 20 minutes to edge. I now have to areate and fertilize. I have learned a valuable lesson.

    I will never accept a job unless I look at the property. Even though I have been in the business for one lawn season, I am still learning as I go. Only frustrating part is when you tell people the price they say Oh I will do it myself. I am not in the business to lose money but damn!!! There has to be a median.

    I will now charge accordingly.

    You guys are a blessing to us newbies. Good luck to you all.

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