why not

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by V.H. lass, Sep 22, 2001.

  1. V.H. lass

    V.H. lass LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    :confused: I haven't been here on this site for to long but from what I am reading. People are not willing to give out information on how much to bid on residential or commercial prices. I also notice that when someone new to the biz ( like my self ) ask how much do you charge? the replys are short and evasive at best. No one wants to tell the other guy how much he is charging for his work. My question is why is this. I would think that we all would want our prices to be around the same to make the industry standard high and more professional
  2. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    Many of us who have been here for at least a year and those who have been here for longer than myself have usally 2-3 times discussed how they bid or charge for services.

    There have been so many repeat questions about the same thing that many have just resorted to telling people to do a search. If members would just do the search first, or bring up their questions in another thread that pertains to what they have not found they would find a better response.

    I dont think its about being defiant, evasive or rude. But tell me honestly, how many times would you answer the same EXACT question before you got tired of people being too lazy to look up the answers to what has alreadyt been beat to death usually time and time again.


    Dont be afraid to look up your questions first, thats what Chuck has requested before you start a thread. Then if you dont find what your looking for, just mention that you havent found what your looking for and if you have either overlooked it, someone will post the thread that pertains to your questions, or they will try to help you out as best as they possibly can.

    Good Luck with your business this fall, and just be patient and you will see who changes their thoughts and prices from day to day like myself based on moods and who stay pretty much to the hard core textbook facts.

  3. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    Hi and welcome.

    This is quite a topic that gets alot of differing opinions from time to time and I will give you mine.

    A fact of this business is that it is not a McDonalds type operation.
    If you check you will see that some people in your area charge x amount to do a certain service and some charge y as well as some charging z. The cost of materials is relatively close from area to area but there still is some difference. Everyone has their own method of pricing that is typical for their area. If you are too high you won't work, if you are too low you will work for a while until you find out that you are not making any money so obviously the key would be to work and make a profit but don't be greedy.

    It is not fair for me to tell you that I get so much per mow or so much for laying mulch or so much to fertilize because you might use these numbers and expect to get that amount or that amount might be too low for your region.

    At times we will give out a price but I try and make sure tell that this is what I make for my market.

    I don't think standardizing the pay rate would do anyone any good because there are places where other variables come to play. The LCO's that live in California have a higher cost of living than the LCO's in central Wisconsin, thats a fact.

    You have to research YOUR market and see what it will bear. You must know your cost of doing business and know how to price from there. If anyone on this board gives you a price for something you have to be aware that it is for there market and it is not necessarly going to work for you.

    Remember, its your business.

    Good Luck
  4. 1grnlwn

    1grnlwn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,261

    Price comes up in a lot of threads. Some even give secrets. There are so many variables it is hard to compair.
    1. Location (this is a big one)
    2. What will market accept (tied to #1)
    3. Density of competition. On Sat. morning is there a traffic jam of rusty pickups pulling tilt trailers containing riders ranging from $500-$9567.99.
    4. Your confidence in your work to boldly submit a price that you would never pay someone else to do your yard.
    5. How much $ do you have in equip (fixed costs)

    There are many more.

    Started with dixon 42 com. & trim HH blower $32 an Hour

    Currently using 61" Ferris $45-$50/Hr.
    I have had jobs that grossed $25/hr to jobs that grossed$75/hr
    Most of the 25s have been canceled. You are able to do this once you get to the point where the phone rings and you tell the person I am sorry but I'm swamped. Thats when you can confortably start raising your prices and your minimums.

    6. Wife's Job

    Just remember. Not many people start this business with a 22 ft trailer $30000 of equip. charging $50/Hr. and $45 minimums. You have to work up to it. Look around and do your homework. Ask question and don't believe everything you are told.:cool:
  5. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    MOW ED is right on the money. Also, if you prepared a small business plan that would let you know your expenses, you will have the numbers you need. There would be no need to ask others what they are charging. It's great for us to compare our prices and discuss it here, but to just ask for numbers is foolish. That's the problem with this business, everyone goes into it half-cocked. They buy a mower and boom, they got a business. Only problem is they don't know what it takes to actually run a business. I am not implying you are this type of person, but you should know most of the prices you need before you even start cutting a blade of grass.
    There is no way we are all going to get on the same page as everyone is with pricing.
  6. Dochere

    Dochere LawnSite Member
    Messages: 137

    I'm with MOW ED on this one.

    It's up to every contractor out there to decide what his time is worth on an hourly basis. The people on this site are not business consultants, plan managers, etc. They are volunteering their knowledge. A broad question like "what to charge" is way to time consuming for anyone here to answer. If you want a general range that is acceptable per man hour, many will be between $35 & $50 for lawn maintenance. Some higher, some maybe even lower. Other aspects will command allot more.

    A more valid question would be if you have decided on a hourly base and have customers but find that you are not hitting your expectations. With the right input from you, many here would then be happy to help analyze your situation, and offer there .02.

    This is my .02
  7. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,087

    Its not helping you any, it can only hurt you. If I tell you to charge $25.00 an hour for a certain service, and I work out of my mother's station wagon, don't pay taxes, and don't own or maintain any of my own equipment, my price could hurt you. So I have 25 cents overhead every month and you have $xx.xx. We'll oth come out with a different profit (mine would be better of course, where as you could actually use money).

    When people asks questions on here on "how much to charge for ..xyz service" I usually break the job down for them and estimate how long it should take them (if they provided what equipment they would be using) and let them decide how much they want to make.

    Basically there are only 4 things that go into a final price if you want to keep it simple:

    1. DIRECT material costs (anything you use for this job and only this job.....i.e. mulch, potting soil, flowers, tree stakes, fertilizer)

    2. INDIRECT job costs A.K.A. overhead recovery (You have to factor in to get paid for your phone bill, internet service, utilities and rent for shop if applicable, fuel costs, equipment and maintenance, etc)

    Your pay and anyone's that works for you......YES, you should be paying yourself!!)

    4. Profit (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH YOUR PAY!!, its what the business makes after everyone else is take care of)

    Hope this helps some.....I know it doesn't really answer your question, but it kinda does. Basically what I'm trying to say, is I can tell you what I charge, but it doesn't really matter to you (and it shouldn't). I know some people don't post stuff like that because they are in a competitive market where their actual local competitors come on here and can know what they're charging on an account they may want to underbid them on, etc.

    Theres a million reasons....the only thing I can tell you is not to let it bother you because you can figure out your own price to make sure your getting paid and making a profit!!

    Hope this helps!
  8. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    To add to Dave's valid point, if you see somone who posts alot of knowledge about the different aspects of this industry but strays from the public posting of prices you can also try to send them an e-mail or private meassge "pm".

    I have asked some on here this way and although they may not directly give me their pricing structure for say Hydro-Seeding a 25m/sf lot, they can give me a formula with other figures that still add up the same way so that I can see and figure other quotes out as well using my own figures.

    Hope this helps.
  9. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    And how would you go about this?

    I disagree to some extent... I agree that the cost of living does vary across the nation but not to an extreme that a standard could not be accomplished. I think it should be based on X amount of dollars per 1000 square feet with a set minimum. Then add in for line trimming and degree of difficulty.

    I think this would help industry weed out lowballers and make it more competitive based on performance rather than price.

    I'm so sick of reading "what ever you think you are worth per man hour". Or "figure how long it will take you and charge 'X' per man hour". Everyone works at a different pace and uses different equipment.

    Let's say you have two identical 1 acre properties... Jim has a 36" walk behind and it takes him 1.25 hours to finish and Bob has a 60" Z and he's done in .75 hours. Both feel thier time is worth $1 per minute. Should Bob make less per property because he has better equipment and is more efficient?

    I think there shoud be a Landscapers labor/hour rate book...
  10. Butchs Lawn

    Butchs Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    I also agree with mow ed! every state has different types climate type grasses etc....getting to know your local competion prices is the best way to compete. i would feel kind silly telling a customer i have to charge him x amount dollars because my competion in other states is getting that much.:D

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