So much a sq yd for lawncutting.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by SW Landscape Maintenance, Feb 22, 2007.

  1. SW Landscape Maintenance

    SW Landscape Maintenance LawnSite Member
    Messages: 64


    I only had one reply back . Is it possible to have your lawn cutting broken down to so much a sq yd , so when you are looking at big properties you don't have to do a wild guess and hope for the best. I'm sure the guys who spray and fertilize lawns work from some sort of formula. They would have to. I've been guessing at my residential lawns for a long time now and I DON'T LIKE IT! Most of the time my price is accurate but theirs a few i'm losing out on. Some of the prices for lawn cutting in my area are just out of wack. For example one lawn was 65.00per cut and the customer was getting it done for 35.00 per cut and yep the guy doing it for 35.00 is no longer in business.
  2. 2menandamower

    2menandamower LawnSite Member
    Messages: 247

    Just goes to show that the low price was not right and therefore he was unable to stay in business... I just eyeball the lawns and give a price. If they say "I got it done for alf that last year", I ask them where is he this year??? Usually I get the job because they know I will be there week after week....

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    You can come up with sort of square-footage/price scale to use as a rough guide at least...if you have a lawn you make a nice profit on with 'average' trimming and edging, use that lawn as the benchmark...then you can tweak the rate up or down depending on trimming and degree of difficulty.
  4. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    I wouldnt use any square foot numbers. There are just to many things that effect your time. I mow some 50k sq ft lawns faster then some 15k.
  5. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    I disagree partly. Square footage is where you HAVE to start.

    Then you factor in things such as obstacles, hills, amount of trimming, etc.

    You really have to just get out there and do a number of properties before you'll be able to guess well.

    A measuring wheel never hurts either if you're unsure.
  6. jeffscap

    jeffscap LawnSite Member
    Male, from Western New York
    Messages: 160

    We,ve been using sq ft. measurements for years, sq.ft total turf,sq ft. beds, so you have some account on what you are working with. Our software we use keeps time and converts that to man hrs. on a particular job, in relationship to total turf area being serviced.It gives an average instead of eyeballing a job, sometimes your eyes are bigger then the turf.:waving:
  7. The Captain

    The Captain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    The area of the property is only a bit of information to factor in your price. Your real "pricing guide" comes with experiance. You will learn as you work, how long a certain size lawn will take you to do. It may take me or one of the other guys here less or more time. We are all differant in how we approach a site.
    Your geographic location plays a large part in what the market will bear, compared with other parts of the country or your state. I don't think there is a clear answer to your question because I asked about the same thing starting out. I didn't get an answer to what I was asking for then, but I know a lot better now.

    Best of luck my friend...

    The Captain
  8. LawnBrother

    LawnBrother LawnSite Senior Member
    from SW Ohio
    Messages: 867

    I feel like measuring is a complete waste of time. Take a look and your best guess, and don't underbid yourself under any circumstances. The only way I would measure every prop is if I were training someone how to bid. JMO, though, whatever works! My prices are almost always right on.
  9. McCallum & Sons

    McCallum & Sons LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    I started off eyeballing jobs for the first 2 years. During that time I compiled data such as time spent per service on each property and how many men on the job. Then I was able to average the times out between the 2 years to come up with an accurate fihure on how long it takes to mow or fertilize etc. Then I went out and measured square footage on beds and lawn areas for each property. I kept track of the square footage on a form I created called a property demographic form. Each customer gets one put in their file. It consists of sq ft of lawn, type of turf (Bermuda, Centipede), sq ft of beds, type of beds (mulch, rock, ground cover) and any special considerations including access of mowers, difficulty etc. Then I broke down how much my material cost was per sq ft. This could include fertilizers, mulch etc. Then I had to calculate how much I needed to charge per sq ft for each service. These calculations come from the data compiled earlier. Take the labor you calculated per sq ft and add it with the material cost per sq ft and use these number on estimating. I also created a form for this called a maintenance contract assessment. It is a table chart with all services included in our contract. It itemizes all charges based on the calculations. If a customer does not wish to subscribe to a complete maintenace contract, this assessment also serves as a customized price guide for them. They may choose to subscribe to certain services and not others. Finally, I have a maintenace tracking sheet. This sheet is completed by the foreman at the end of every day. It tracks actual time and materials spent on each property. Throughout the year, we can see how accurate are estimates were and make any adjustments needed when we renew our contracts. The only downside I have found with this is that there are certain services you can't use a square footage calculation for. Pruning, shrub trimming, spraying round-up etc... You have to just estimate blindly at first and track time on each property. After a couple of years, you will have a good idea what you need to charge. Remember, your hourly rate depends on your cost of doing business, how much profit you want to make and staying competetive in the market. Our profit margin is 30%. We charge $36 per man hour and the average for our area is $35 per man hour. Hope this helps and doesn't confuse you.

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