Starting up after 10 yrs

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by teal1937, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. teal1937

    teal1937 LawnSite Member
    from SD
    Messages: 2

    I'm going to start mowing again after being in other businesses for 10 years. I had been in business for 6 yrs, then sold the business. We ran JD 725's w/ 54" deck and made good money at it. 10 years later equipment seems to be similarly priced other costs are up, but equipment is better and faster. I'm figuring I'll buy either an Exmark w/ 60" deck or JD 777 w/ 60" deck. I'll wait until I have contracts before I buy anything, but I need a little help. I know all the old prices that we charged and feel I would do alright there, but I also know that one of the larger customers is paying nearly twice as much (5 hour job).

    How much have prices gone up?

    How much faster is equipment?

    How much fuel do you burn (in general)?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
  2. robertsturf

    robertsturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    Unfortunately in our area the prices of what you can charge has not gone up at all. If anything they have gone down. There has been a steady stream of new business and part-timers that have been holding prices at 1990 levels. There are a few instances that may not be the case but at least in our area this is the case.
  3. teal1937

    teal1937 LawnSite Member
    from SD
    Messages: 2

    thats what I kind of figured, do you think equipment is quicker going to the ZTR... never was a fan 11+ years ago... all the other guys seemed to leave marks in the grass from turning to quick, but now it appears thats what everyone has and I don't see the marks anymore...
  4. robertsturf

    robertsturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    In our area most of the larger companies (us included) use Wright Standers. Very easy to turn, lighter, less expensive and take up less space on a trailer. You can tear up turf with anything though. Like I tell my guys all the time slow down when you turn.
  5. CoupesCuts

    CoupesCuts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 207

    Yea, I agree. Prices seem to be going down. Way too many uninsured weekend warriors out there. These guys throw a Scag in the back of their truck and do lawns after work for beer money. I get people telling me that Joe Blow does it for $25.

    "He never blows the walk, he trims every other week and sometimes he'll cut the side yard, but he's $20 cheaper than you, so I'll keep him"
  6. Marek

    Marek LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,388

    Robert you are right on.The equipment is alot faster and thier are alot more home owners using lawn services.Commercial accounts are doing more detailing .Around here you not only have the weekend worriors but alot of Latino guys that are going into business for themselves. Its alot easier for them to make it since the majority of these guys dont pay taxes or have insurance.They go into the nicer neighborhods and start knocking on doors asking to cut the grass.
  7. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,719

    I was just thinking that 10 years ago I was charging less and making more, boy how times have changed. I like to live by the old saying, "You can skin a sheep once but you can shear it for years".

    Every part of the country seems to be different on prices so all I can give you is mine, and I know in my area I am not the cheapest or the most expensive.

    On residential I try to avg 40 an hour, on privetly owned comm I try to avg 55 an hour and on the corporate or chain comm I try to avg 65 an hour. The reason I say average so much per hour is because in the spring and early summer a lawn might take me 1.25 hrs and later in the year 1hr and in late summer to fall only 45 min and I try to remember this when pricing.

    I know some will say that this is not enough and some might say it is to much, but for my equipement I can make a living off of these prices.

    I would also like to add that the properties I have now are ones with irragation and the people like them mowed even at times when they could probably be skiped. I used to have some places that seemed like they had more profit because the people did not care how they looked and just wanted them cut, but when summer set in these places went to 14 days are longer like twice in July once in Aug and once in Sept which is not very good for raising a family of 5.

    My advise to you would be to see what you need to get by on and also what type of equipement you will be using. Like you stated some of the mowers today are faster, but it still takes about the same time to trim and edge. I would try and see what the going rate is around you with the type of quality you want to offer.

    Good luck, Dawg
  8. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,650

    I sold my business in So California in 1992, Im finally able to start back 16 years later. Pricing is a little bit of a challenge as the yards are much bigger here in Alabama.
    What Im going to do is estmate at least twice what I used to charge in those days with a minimum of 35$ per week. Im going to error on the high side because I really only want 30 good weekly accounts.
    I have all my equiptment and have a Box Truck on the "HOOK". I will start advertising the first of next month.
  9. Wayne's Lawn Service

    Wayne's Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    Messages: 184

    Equipment is faster and more productive than it has ever been. However, as stated by everyone, the constant is "what should I charge?" In some cases, you know. In most cases, the answer is eithe rthat's what I think the market will bear, that's what the competition is charging, I'm small I can do it cheaper and the list goes on and on................

    I would recommend visiting and check out a CD called "KNOW WHY YOU CHARGE WHAT YOU CHARGE" This CD is in excel spreadsheet format and it calculates your costs per hour of operation for your company based on your equipment costs and use rates. Basically, it determines your break-even point and then you add to that what you think the market will bear in your area. It is not software and anyone can use it.

    Check it out or call me at 800-845-0499 and I will explain how simply it will take the guess work out of your bidding. I know it works!
  10. RonAyersMotorsports

    RonAyersMotorsports LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 854

    Hustler Super Z's will cut at an amazing 15 mph. That's a big difference from the old 8 mph speeds we used to see. But yeah equipment is higher and unfortunately for landscapers prices have stayed the same.:dizzy::cry:

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