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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by MILS, Nov 11, 2013.
If that is the case, then you are 50% higher than the other guy.
I didn't realize that you had a helper when I wrote my response so, actually, you're working for $10/man hr cheaper than I am as a solo operation. If some idiot wants to do that lawn for $200 a month then by all means let them. My money says they won't be mowing that lawn for long. Let it be their problem. When I started mowing one of my accounts for a realtor I bid $100.00/mo for complete care (mow, edge, trim, blow, take care of flower beds, trees etc) and she thought I was ridiculous as the last guy was doing it for $60 a month. He also just quit showing up and hadn't mowed in a month... I can only imagine why. I got the job and she now uses me to maintain multiple rental houses for her; I just explained what she was paying for. I sell my self.
$50 per man hour. 2 guys x 3 hrs. $300
Maybe spend less time, for instance, maintain half of the flower beds one week, and the other half the following week. That way you can come down in the price.
Educate them on the benefits of mulching instead of bagging and hauling off. Make sure to explain the difference between true mulching with sharp mulching blades & mulching kit and the typical cutting once while discharging to the side. Many under informed homeowners mistakenly believe that the results they see from side discharging is the result of mulching the grass. Stress how side discharging can leave large clippings and unsightly clumps on the surface of the turf. Then stress how your much finer mulched clippings enable those tiny pieces of cut grass to fall beneath the surface of the turf where it decomposes and adds nutrients back into the soil. Give them a small free demonstration if they need to be further convinced…let them see and touch a quality mulching cut.
Also, consider separating the charges for leaf clean-up and the plant trimming & flowerbed work. With mulching every week and every other week in the winter you will reduce the time spent on leaf clean-up since you will be shredding those leaves every week which also has the added benefit of returning nutrients to the soil. The plant trimming/pruning will only be done a couple of times a year so you can explain to the client that you will bill that separately after each time you provide that service…what you can also do is while you are working the yard, take note of any of those plants that occasionally seem to be getting out of hand and next time you are in that area give it a few clips to get it back under control. You could also do the same sort of thing with the flowerbeds and keeping the weeds under control…bill separately for a full de-weeding only if they require a full de-weeding. Keep a small spray bottle of weed killer on you when you trim…scan the beds and if you see a weed, give it a spritz.
This year a customer with a half acre property where the front yard was all beds, and so was the side yards. The back yard had a small oval lawn about 30x15 feet.
They had a professional gardener (woman) that got to old and retired. They called in three landscapers that advertised in the paper. One had a large ad with a laundry list of services offered. Including Topiary.
This big outfit said we do not do this work when they showed up to do the estimate. They said they send in a large crew and knock out jobs fast. Which is totally opposite of the image that their advertisement. So they declined to take on the job.
Second landscaper looked never called back.
I was honest.
I said the scope of the work is no problem.
I said that to be honest I never had to estimate a job with so much beds to maintain. This leaves me unable to bid the work because I can not come up with a time frame of the hours involved. I do not want to over price or under price.
So my offer was to perform 2 man hours a week until the work is caught up. If more time is needed I can add more hours, and if less time is needed I can cut back time as well. It would cost you $60 per man hour. And will include all bed maintenance, pruning, hedge trimming, weeding, planting annuals, mowing the small lawn, etc.
I got the job for 2 hours a week. And they said bring your son because there was a lot of work to catch up on.
Billed them 4 hours a week for $240 plus sales tax. For seven weeks over the summer.
Do not be afraid to ask to ask what the job is worth. You will lose some bids and win some.
Nothing is worse then winning a bid because you low balled. Better to lose the bid and walk away.
If you know your numbers it's easy to walk away, knowing you wouldn't have made any money!
You may have bid high but I would not have bid low, that was a high maintenance yard and it may be wrong to say this but that yard apparently comes with a high maintenance customer, sorry but when I heard that part about wanting the clippings bagged AND *raked* that was just a bit much. Now you don't lowball these or you will be crying tears it will make you so mad... I have had my equal share of customers turn me down as my turning them down in these cases, most of the time when I do end up with such a yard the customer has prior experience working with a landscaper and they either do a fair share of the work themselves OR they pretty much let me do my thing without interfering, just saying...
No, I mean, lose some win some.
If you keep losing, I'd say three or four in a row, then it might be time to lower your prices.