Lawn Care Forum banner
1 - 20 of 52 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
420 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was thinking this week while cleaning my house. I spent about an hour and I did it by myself. I didnt get dirty or sweaty and I used a $5.00 mop and maybe $.50 worth of cleaning solvent. I busted out my $80 vacume and boom I was done. I then went and mowed my lawn. Only took 45 minutes but I used over $3000 worth of equipment. Well actually that is the depreciated value. Retail way over $5000. I was hot, sweaty and dirty.

I dont think a maid requires less skill and I dont think there jobs are a 100% easy but I have seen maids making 85 an hour.

I think the fact we run 3 person crews and can do a lawn in 10 minutes because we have very professional equipment that makes our lives easier is the reason why we dont get what we deserve. I think dropping a maid instead of a LCO would make more sense but you see it the other way around.

I really do believe people want to see you work hard and long for your money. And I have started to notice my customers want me and not my crew on their lawn because they dont like the idea of me making money threw someone else. I guess what I am trying to say is how come cleaning a house gets $85 an hour, a plumber gets $100, and electricitan gets $150 and we are trying to get $60 but we have higher grade equipment then all of them. Our skills are all mostly self taught.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,182 Posts
I know what you're saying, and the gayest part is that right when you arrive at a house, the 1st thing you notice is the lawn, so why these people can go without a nice lawn because they cant afford it, instead of hiring a plummer and going without the toilet that Johnny clogged is ********.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Here are my thoughts and these are not exact (just what i think lol).

1. A plumber, and electrician all require some sort of certification.
2. As an industry, i think the above two have done a better job unifying their charging. Of course you can find the plumber who will work for 30.00 and the same with the electrician, but come on...would you want that in your walls or pipes? Something about the whole certification thing makes people feel more secure.
3. The above two do require some equipment, not sure how expensive but they do. Maids, unless they provide it all, they require minimal.

I think the key to this industry would be some sort of requirements. Any joe blow can get into it and some use minimal equipment. I have seen a guy with a pretty large service have 4 guys, 4 push 21's and trimmer, etc all crammed into a van. They can knock out a lawn pretty quick with minimal investment on his part equipment wise. Is it efficient?? I dont know, only he knows his cost. And is he legal....i have no clue. There are no markings on his van or his guys.

Lots of people think they can make a quick buck doing lawns with minimal investment only later to find out it wont work that way and they go to the wayside....problem is, there is someone right there to start the process over...and they charge the same low price only to find out again....and the process goes on and on.

I am a part timer. I know i have done several bids and i charge a fair rate, but i am not the cheapest guy...this is extra money for my family. Anyway, i tell them my price and some say WOW. I then ask them why they called me and usually get the "last guy did a terrible job". Well i then explain what i do and can usually show them as most of mine are because they see me doing another in the neighborhood. Anyway, i believe that if you do a great job you should be able to charge what it is worth. And if they dont like my price, i move on. If circumstances were different in that i depended on this for a living then it may have to change, or i would have to shop the right customers who would appreciate my work.

Ok, rant over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,552 Posts
A electrician or a plumber don't have the reliability that cutting lawns do. Cutting the lawn is usually a weekly thing vs those two it might be busy one month completely dead the next. How many times have you had to call in a plumber or a electrician to do work?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,568 Posts
The fact that the kid down the street can do a basic mow and blow for 20 bucks doesn't help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
701 Posts
It's also about perception. People percieve that a plumber or electrician has a profession. Kinda hard to argue when you don't see many kids getting out of school for the summer and deciding to pick up some money installing a toilet or wiring a house.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,306 Posts
The fact that the kid down the street can do a basic mow and blow for 20 bucks doesn't help.
Yeah, and they make most of that as profit too. Even if they use their own equipment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
884 Posts
Tacoma200----you just answered your own question.The kid down the street can mow your lawn but more than likely he cannot replace the service on your house or troubleshoot an electrical short in your kitchen.I was the kid 37 yrs ago mowing lawns for $5,but I did not know a hoot about electricity.I went to a 2 yr college to be an electrician then on to a 4 yr apprenticeship to be a journeyman electrician.How long does it take to learn to start a lawnmower and mow a semi-straight line----maybe 10 minutes.lets be real the only talent mowing lawns is the business end of it,not the actual job of doing it.As for the maids there may be a how would you say it---security typbe of thing if you have someone cleaning and possibly snooping around.You may or may not have a more sense of security with a professional cleaning service rather than Betty's mop and wipe service.Alot of people just want their lawn mowed---and thats it.Higher end properties are different though.But no matter what you have invested in equipment a lawn guy will never be in the same category as a licensed electrician or plumber---just face the reality.If you want to make more money with less invested in equipment go be an electrician tomorrow---you could not do it.BUTTT you could run to Lowes tomorrow and buy a couple of lawnmowers and call yourself a lawn care guy.See my point ?????
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,100 Posts
All the points previously brought up are correct. Now I have a headache from reading everything...darn.

The few industry certifications and membership groups don't usually mean to much to the average customer. You can be registered with planet, maybe your local BBB, and ICPI but whats it worth?? Don't get me wrong, being certified is great but I think it is more of a way of how you individually market yourself and your company to your clients.

I usually pick up several lawns during the summer from people who can't take the heat. I usually stand out a bit and get people walking up to me when I am working. They comment on how I always show up, same day and relative same time. Some customers like this, some don't care. JMO
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
884 Posts
That right.Appearance means alot and doing it on time means just as much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,395 Posts
As said above, there is almost no "barrier to entry" into the lawn business. Let's face reality...a 12 year old with a $149 mower can easily compete with the best of us.

Luckily for me, many customers will pay more for reliability, insurance, stripes, sharp blades, monthly billing, complete service offerings, and so on.

Regardless, I lost a customer this season to "the kid next door" charging $25. It happens. I have leaned to live with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
227 Posts
Your guys are right but, there is more to lawncare than grabbing a home depot mower and mowing. I think you get what you pay for. I live in a blue collar town, and everybody gets mad and quit at the factorys they work in so they run to home depot buy them a john deere or cub cadet and a small trailer and mow yards and yes a lot of people hire them. Not to brag but there is a big difference in what my yards look like compared to theirs. I have the professional equipment to do the jobs and I have also studied lawn care as far as what I do such as aerating, seeding, fertilizing, etc.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,484 Posts
I was thinking this week while cleaning my house. I spent about an hour and I did it by myself. I didnt get dirty or sweaty and I used a $5.00 mop and maybe $.50 worth of cleaning solvent. I busted out my $80 vacume and boom I was done. I then went and mowed my lawn. Only took 45 minutes but I used over $3000 worth of equipment. Well actually that is the depreciated value. Retail way over $5000. I was hot, sweaty and dirty.

I dont think a maid requires less skill and I dont think there jobs are a 100% easy but I have seen maids making 85 an hour.

I think the fact we run 3 person crews and can do a lawn in 10 minutes because we have very professional equipment that makes our lives easier is the reason why we dont get what we deserve. I think dropping a maid instead of a LCO would make more sense but you see it the other way around.

I really do believe people want to see you work hard and long for your money. And I have started to notice my customers want me and not my crew on their lawn because they dont like the idea of me making money threw someone else. I guess what I am trying to say is how come cleaning a house gets $85 an hour, a plumber gets $100, and electricitan gets $150 and we are trying to get $60 but we have higher grade equipment then all of them. Our skills are all mostly self taught.
I agree this takes skills and capital investment, but the skill level here, even for fertilizing and full service care, with all the horticultural knowlege needed, is not as easy to obtain as what an electrician has to know. And electrical work is more than boring holes and pulling wire and hooking up connections. And unlike our work, the job actually gets more complex and difficult on repair/maintenance work vs new installs.

They also, unlike us, have to schedule each job on the fly. No signing a customer up for 30 hours of labor in one swoop. They waste a lot of time doing estimates and driving around. And per hour of labor they have to deal with a TON more hassles with customers than we do. You haven't seen PITA until you've had to arrange to meet a customer to let you inside the home, then try to get them to pick out fixtures.

It's all supply/demand for labor and trade offs. We might make half the hourly rate but we can stack work up back to back and get more billable hours in, and know that we have work booked for 9 months out. An electrician might not have anything booked more than a couple weeks out. So that phone is always ringing.

We "use up" more equipment and maybe more gas than an electrician. But he will have more insurance costs and unpaid go-backs than we have. They also climb some insanely dangerous ladders.

House cleaners from what I read and have heard about do not make a ton, and have to deal with some pretty darn particular people, often hovering over them as they work. It's all trade offs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,301 Posts
Your guys are right but, there is more to lawncare than grabbing a home depot mower and mowing. I think you get what you pay for. I live in a blue collar town, and everybody gets mad and quit at the factorys they work in so they run to home depot buy them a john deere or cub cadet and a small trailer and mow yards and yes a lot of people hire them. Not to brag but there is a big difference in what my yards look like compared to theirs. I have the professional equipment to do the jobs and I have also studied lawn care as far as what I do such as aerating, seeding, fertilizing, etc.
Unfortunately 90% of the customers out there wont feel that you are worth a dollar more than the guys you describe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
256 Posts
there is also an over abundance of people in our profession, that keeps the prices low. Plumbers and electritions all require training($$$$). Most people have a mower, and weed eater, and just like that they're in business. Of course this is how i started my business many years ago too, and i think most other do as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,265 Posts
There are sooooo many "right" reply's. My opinion..... until there is a type of union (which there will almost never be) the prices will be all over the place. Another thought, this is a service that is done usually once a week all summer long unlike a plumming or electrical problem. As far as getting more money per hour, Ive learned this is almost like trying to find a good employee. You have to go through and weed out 10 dead beats to find one good one. Ive raised my prices to a comfortable rate which is fair to both us and our customer's. A lot of it is educating customer's or potential ones about the differences between a legit service or the fly-by-night ones. Ive learned over the years its best to try and meet with potential customers and sit down with them for 20 minutes or so vs. just driving by, calling them back and saying "X" amount to mow every week. One other thought, a big part of it is self image. If you pull up in a beat up piece of crap truck, nasty dirty equipment along with nasty smelly clothes what do you think people will think of you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,178 Posts
The funny thin is you are describing house cleaners like most people describe us. How long do you think your $80 vacuum would last if you used it all day every day. I know our vacuum was 2-K so like everything there are different price points. I could go on but I think you get the picture. A "professional " could go in and rip your housekeeping work apart but you are happy with it. Sound familiar?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,208 Posts
There are some customers willing to trade a little quality for a substantial savings. Lawn cutting sometimes falls into this category with some customers.

Another problem is that grass grows back relatively quickly. Think about it this way. A bad cut can be corrected the next week. Even the neighbor kid will get better the more times he/she cuts it. It's not like a hair cut that takes longer to grow out so it can be corrected.
 
1 - 20 of 52 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top