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trying to get a few accounts

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by smitty012, Mar 30, 2007.

  1. smitty012

    smitty012 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5


    I cut my lawn which is about an acre, I also cut a property that is 3-4 acres, and recently purchased a Gravely ztr. I am looking at getting another commercial account and/or a few residential accounts. I am not a landscaper, I work as a police officer on 12 hour shifts, so I have alot of days off. I just want a few accounts as a small part time business. My question is, I don't have the first clue on how to bid jobs. I have 2 people wanting me to give them a price on cutting their lawn. The houses are in a nice development, approximately half acres lot sizes. Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
  2. TNT LawnCare Inc.

    TNT LawnCare Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,157

    Hard to tell without really looking at the property ,1\2 acre lots here bring in as much as $55.00 dollars. Things to consider are how much trimming,slopes flower beds and on and on. Hope this helps.Good Luck
  3. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    How long does it take you to mow those 3-4 acres? That gives you a base production rate for mowing. Then kind of do the same thing for line trimming. That will give you an idea of how long the jobs will take based upon production rates. The decide how much wear and tear you put on the equipment and what it cost purchase and repair.

    Then how much money you want for your time plus uncle sames cut. Also, should you buy disability insurance? I mean what happens if you get hurt and then can not do your regular job?

    Add all this up and get an hourly rate. Example, You want to make and extra 15 bucks and hour free and clear.

    15 X 1.3 ( covers taxes, insurance, cloths ) Plus 12 and hour for your Equipment = $31.50 hour.

    That would put you on the low side or the market. So I would say 50 to 60 for a half AC lot is fair.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Tax-wise, so long your earnings do not exceed 1,000 / year you should be ok as you can likely declare this as a hobby. And I suppose if you're married you might can stretch it to 2,000 should your wife acquire a hobby as well...

    I guess it might depend if you file jointly or not, but say it works out and some creative accounting on top of that, but you have to know where you're headed, once you get up towards 3k / year you'll have to so seriously consider getting a business license, 'k?

    That's assuming the IRS still has this, I used it many years ago myself, the hobby thing, plus you can earn up to 599 / year undeclared (and so can your wife) but I really don't want to encourage this, so 1 maybe 2 thousand as a hobby probably can fly, and later if things get busy you might can squeak out of one year earning 3k while declaring 1000 x 2 + 599 x 2 but man that's really pushing your luck lol. That having been said, if you can get away with not paying taxes (really under 2k / year between you and your wife if you can work it out on the tax forms), then you might give a small discount to your customers to make things fair (this helps keep it under the limit as well), you'll of course still have expenses but you can and should be able to declare that under some section of the 1040-A as well. I'd recommend at least ask an accountant some questions, too.

    Another rule of thumb might be, 4 or 5 customers ok, but 8-10 is getting to where you can afford a license, 6-7 is that grey area you might start thinking about it. But yeah, I'm steering towards asking either a tax expert or an accountant before you get too far.

    Anyhow, some basic rates follow (before discount):
    Grass Cutting Services:

    - 1/4 acre lot: Min. $30.00
    - 3/8 acre lot: Min. $35.00
    - 1/2 acre lot: Min. $40.00
    - 5/8 acre lot: Min. $45.00
    - 3/4 acre lot: Min. $50.00
    - 7/8 acre lot: Min. $55.00 (discrepancy on next line, sorry i have acre lots on special this year lol)
    One acre: $55 (12/100 cents / sq.foot)
    1.25 acres = $65
    1.5 acres = $75 (11/100 cents / sq.foot)
    2 acres = $90 ($45.00 / acre)
    2.5 acres = $110
    3 acres = $130 ($43.33 / acre)
    4 acres = $150 ($37.50 / acre)
    5 acres = $170 ($34.00 / acre)
    6 acres = $190 ($31.66 / acre)
    7 acres = $210 ($30.00 / acre)
    8 acres = $225 ($28.12 / acre)
    9 acres = $240 ($26.66 / acre)
    10 acres = $255 ($25.50 / acre)

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