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Starting Up Again

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by FatherandSon, Feb 28, 2002.

  1. FatherandSon

    FatherandSon LawnSite Member
    Messages: 70

    Just love this site. Am the "new guy" here and appreciate all the information. I retired 2 years ago as Chief of Police. My son talked me into starting a lawn mowing business up. Had one in the 70's when I was a young Patrolman trying to support my family. Loved the work. Back at it again with my son now and it is GREAT. Started last July and have 14 customers.

    Two Questions?

    1. Trying not to "undercut" the competion, could you give me advice on how much per acre is the going rate?

    2. We bought a new Scag Turf Tiger 52". Looks like we will need another maching this season. Any opinions on the Scag or what maybe a better mower?

    Thanks to all of you for making this such a great site

    Flemington, NJ
  2. slplow

    slplow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 354

    I say stick with scag if you have a good dealer. If you have hills in your town I would get scag 52" hydro walkbehind . If you do a lot of small lawns (5,000'- 10,000' sq) that you have to pick up clippings a walker rider would be best. Welcome back to the bizz.
  3. Ground Master

    Ground Master LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    Acre rate will vary imensely depending on number of acres ( 1 or 10), difficulty (trees, hills,little kids,etc), catchin' clippings or not catchin' clippings, amount of trimming/blowing involved.

    Start at a rate you feel is fair and keep accurate notes of the jobs you do so that you can determine the rate at which you mow. Use that rate for future bids.

    2 guys mowing should be able to produce $480 (low end) to $720 (high end) per day.

    You might also want to factor in the day of the week you mow. Thursday and Fridays are popular---so charge more. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, seem less popular so maybe charge a little less.
  4. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    I'm 10 minutes north of you. I charge $65 per hour for mowing regardless of the size job I'm on. If you want to send me an email for any further info for Hunterdon and Somerset County, you can find me at rspronck@aol.com.

    Welcome back!
  5. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    i thought i saw u in this are, east brunswick area?
  6. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    No, we're 15 miles east of Phillipsburg NJ/Easton PA area, right off Rte 78.
  7. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    1. Charge based on the time to complete a job, not acreage. Lawns vary. A flat, wide open space is obviously faster to mow than a small one with lots of obstructions. Also, they vary on the amount of trimming/edging, etc that needs to be done, so any acreage rules of thumb won't work everywhere. Also, be sure to factor in growth rate of the grass. Heavy growth takes longer to cut of course, and a sparse lawn may not look good but they're easy to mow.

    2. I use an Exmark Lazer Z HP. This mower has a 48" deck, which I find ideal for a mix of big/small lawns, a height adjust handle for 'on the fly" raising of the deck when needed, it bags well with a cloth bagger (though it lacks a big capacity like the walker) and it's rugged and reliable. It can get through many gates than the 52" models can't. Cut quality is superior to my 36 and 44 inch walk behinds, which amazed me. No real breakdowns in about 1,000 hours of use so far, except for when I stupidly did a lawn with huge rocks laying about and they cut a belt. It's (and the full size version) wildly popular here in Atlanta, if that says anything. Riding mowers are heavy and will tear up turf if you're not careful, so think before getting too huge a model. Walkers are well made, but I heard that they are heavy, and some of them look a little top-heavy in design. For walk behinds, I prefer the Toro steering system, though there are better decks out there. Anything but pistol grips. Especially if you're older. They'll give you arthritis!

    3. As for the comment on charging more for late week mows. I agree that if someone insists on that, charge a little extra. But I would strongly advise not promising a certain day of the week to mow on unless they bring it up first. As you fill up your schedule you will of course have rain days and various delays. Having to be someone on a specific day will really cause you to have to jump through hoops. I promise something along the lines of every 6-8 days, and never have any complaints. Not every lawn is mowed weekly, some go 10 days, so my day of the week will vary anyway. But once you set the expectation of being there on Thursday, for example, you will find yourself getting worried calls if you think you'll just do it on Friday. As for Friday mows....explain to customers the wisdom of Thursday instead. If it rains on Friday, you're bothering them on the weekend or maybe not getting to it at all that week(I never mow on weekends as a principle)

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