Taking the quess work out of pricing lawns

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DynaMow, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. DynaMow

    DynaMow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 570

    I have always wanted to come up with a better way of estimating lawns. Reduce the factor of overlooking items and being consistent with my pricing. I figured this system to my current lawns and it seems to me that this example is where I should be, not where I am currently at, as I do not charge enough for my service.

    So give me some ideas, thoughts, concerns, or opinions, please, and of course thank you. So many variables, the hardest part seems to be identifying those.

    0 to 10,000 sq ft $25.00
    10,000 - 20,000 sq ft add $5.00
    20,000 - 30,000 sq ft add $10.00
    30,000 - 40,000 sq ft add $15.00
    all above includes max of: 300' of trimming
    300' of edging
    1000 sq ft of hard surface

    Trimming add $0.50 per 100'
    Edging add $0.50 per 100'
    Hard surface (blowing) add $1.00 per 1000 sq ft
    Corner lot add $2.00
    mower add $0.50 per 100'
    whacker add $2.00 per 100'
    Chain link fence add $0.50 per 100'
    Roots (heavy above ground) add $0.50 per tree
    Stumps add $0.50 per each
    Edging add $0.50 per 100'
    Play set add $2.00 per set

    other considerations, rough terrain
    wet areas

    These prices are rough but I believe to be close. Your opinions is what I need to make them concrete.
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I have tried out something similar to this recently, but in the long run, it doesn't work out that great.
  3. MacLawnCo

    MacLawnCo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,847

    you are asking for opinions. responses will be just that, an opinion. (including mine)

    as long as your rates are driven by actual time required then you have a great bid sheet. I wont comment on your rates as each and every business needs a different hourly revenue to sustain their operation.

    However, I will say you are missing one large variable: drive time. How will you alter your bid to cover properties that are further than what you estimate? (BTW, what do you consider acceptable drive time?)
  4. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    I used to use something similar, for my eyes only, never let prospective customers see this. also, not to be critical but 10,000 is costing 25 bucks and the next 10,000 is only 5, seems a little off to me. better to figure how long it will take and charge accordingly.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    I would probably keep it a little simpler...start off with a "standard" lawn that will be your benchmark price. Then tack on additional $$ for things like...corner lots, fenced-in lawns, excessive trimming (whatever that may be), irrigated lawns that will no doubt be a royal pain to mow in the spring.
  6. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    I think it will only work if you mowing on quanity and not quility. That way what you lose on 1 you can make up on another
  7. befnme

    befnme LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,413

    when i bid , i walk around the yard and estimate the acreage and go from there . because i do most of my residentials in the country and then also large commercial i base my rate by the acre. then i add $x.xx for each tree to trim around. and $x.xx for edging and so on. by the way i do an acre of strait mowing no trimming or anything else for 40.00 then add $$$ from there.
  8. DynaMow

    DynaMow LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 570

    You seem to be one of the smartest guys on here and in my area I would consider it a pleasure to meet you some time.
  9. fool32696

    fool32696 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 993

    I think that if you have been doing this kind of work for any length of time you can look at a job and see how long it will take you. Then you just have to apply your hourly rate to the time. I'm starting to amaze myself with how accurately I can estimate the time it will take to do something. It's also a good idea to always give yourself a little buffer.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yeah you can use the chart as a guide but ultimately I base my estimate on experience. Like the previous poster said, you get pretty good over time... Even then, win a bit with some, lose a bit on some.

    Here's the thing: An estimate is exactly that - An educated GUESS based on my memory of how long it took the last time I did something similar. Because of this, the price fluctuates a bit and it isn't always right on the money but usually its close and that's as good as it gets.

    Ultimately I still frustrate myself when I price a 50-dollar yard at 40 but then I have a few that are the other way around... It adds out in the long run and I do my best to prevent too much of this inconsistency, but I can only do it but so good and the rest is left a bit to chance.

    The idea with the buffer is great, I have a longer explanation but yeah, that's what it is, 5 bucks extra for the larger lots can't hurt and even on the smaller ones I've had 1 or 2 over-priced you can ALWAYS come down the 5 bucks later if you feel bad (I have) but you can NEVER go up later, so that explains it.

    p.s.: I was using the old anger-control techniques earlier today as I busted my tail for 3 hours for 95 bucks... Yes you KNOW I was having a good time at $31.66/hour so as you can see, nobody is perfect but in the end it's all good, still made my 200+ for the day so I dun care lol...

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