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jasonw
01-16-2011, 07:29 PM
Ok so I got sick of ether always bidding low or bidding high so I devised a plan to bid the same for every single lawn. I got a measuring wheel today. I use my lawn as an example. I pay myself $20 to mow and edge my own lawn, it is 700SF according to the wheel which breaks down to about $0.03 per SF. Is $0.03/sf a good price to charge or am I wrong? I figure if its like mine, just a quick mow and go then $21 which is $0.03X700 is a good price. Any comments?

mark123
01-16-2011, 07:32 PM
My lawn in 11513 square feet. According to your formula how much would you charge me?

jasonw
01-16-2011, 07:46 PM
My lawn in 11513 square feet. According to your formula how much would you charge me?

$345.39 dose that sound about right?

mark123
01-16-2011, 08:07 PM
$345.39 dose that sound about right?

No! 11k sqft is 2 small city lots (about a quarter acre). I charge $30 takes about 35 minutes. :D I think I see a bit of a flaw in your plan. ;)

jymie
01-16-2011, 08:09 PM
$345.39 dose that sound about right?

ouch! That is really steep...

TNT Family Lawn Care
01-16-2011, 08:20 PM
I look at the lawn and estimate how long its gonna take me to complete the mowing trimming blowing edgeing. Then I bid a dollar a minute this has never failed in getting anything I quote.Try it see if it works for ya


TNT

jasonw
01-16-2011, 08:30 PM
I look at the lawn and estimate how long its gonna take me to complete the mowing trimming blowing edgeing. Then I bid a dollar a minute this has never failed in getting anything I quote.Try it see if it works for ya


TNT

I tried the whole $1 per minute thing but it did not fly up here. I dont know what the deal is with people. I have had several of them call me back after crying about $35 per hour for something only to find I was the cheapest.

wellbiz
01-16-2011, 08:36 PM
Ok so I got sick of ether always bidding low or bidding high so I devised a plan to bid the same for every single lawn. I got a measuring wheel today. I use my lawn as an example. I pay myself $20 to mow and edge my own lawn, it is 700SF according to the wheel which breaks down to about $0.03 per SF. Is $0.03/sf a good price to charge or am I wrong? I figure if its like mine, just a quick mow and go then $21 which is $0.03X700 is a good price. Any comments?

Pricing by the square foot works great if you are cutting empty lots with no side walks or obstructions. It falls apart really quickly on a lot with lots of trimming, edging and tight places that depending on your mower size may end up being cut multiple times as you transverse the property.

You might be able to tweak your formula and add a multiplier depending on how difficult the property is. Of course the calculators on this site pretty much take care of that for you.

Is your calculation based on actual lawn or the size of the lot?

jasonw
01-16-2011, 08:36 PM
No! 11k sqft is 2 small city lots (about a quarter acre). I charge $30 takes about 35 minutes. :D I think I see a bit of a flaw in your plan. ;)

Thats not 2 small city lots, maybe where you are from but like I said I am judging of my lawn which is 700sf, about the same size as every other lawn in town. I do have about a half acre but i am not estimating the entire thing, only the green grass outside the front door. I have not attempted this on any large areas yet, I normally will charge $50 per hour to do the larger areas out here. Maybe the formula for SF has to go down with size, for example the little front lawns here would be good at $0.03/sf but maybe something like 11,000sf would be better charged at $0.01/sf for a total of $110? Dose that sounds better? Maybe the $0.03 is good for everything up to 2,000sf or something then you go to $0.02 up to 6,000sf then go down to $0.01 for anything larger than that.

I know there is a formula to use sf for billing, its just a matter of massaging it to figure out the proper price. I think I am getting somewhere with this lowering it a penny every couple few thousand square feet though.

mark123
01-16-2011, 08:44 PM
... maybe something like 11,000sf would be better charged at $0.01/sf for a total of $110? Dose that sounds better? ...
No. That's still about 4 times too much. About $30 is my price for 11k. If you charge about $50 per hour then your price should be somewhere around $28 for 11k.

mark123
01-16-2011, 08:52 PM
I look at the lawn and estimate how long its gonna take me to complete the mowing trimming blowing edgeing. Then I bid a dollar a minute this has never failed in getting anything I quote.Try it see if it works for ya
THat's not a bad plan but how do you take into consideration longer services due to overfertilizations by other companies or the customer themselves? How do you handle double cuts or bagging clippings in these cases?

jasonw
01-16-2011, 08:53 PM
No. That's still about 4 times too much. About $30 is my price for 11k. If you charge about $50 per hour then your price should be somewhere around $28 for 11k.

How do you make any money doing it that cheap? One of the properties I did last weekend was an acre and I did it for $200, maybe its just the difference in area that we are in but this acre needs to be cut as low to the dirt as possible and takes about 4 hours time to hit it with the tractor then go all the way around the fence with the trimmer. I mean for $30 I could not even load the tractor up and drive the truck out there. I know my price for that particular property is good to because I know the people and know what they paid before having me do it which was about $480 for 3 Mexicans to do a half a$$ job. Thats why I got the job because I was cheaper and do it how they ask for it to be done. I know after adding it up for the property size my price is only $80 more than yours but I like to have money left over after paying for gas and insurance and licensing and all that fun stuff.

jymie
01-16-2011, 08:56 PM
To be honest, use the wheel to measure beds for size when your doing mulch jobs to figure how much product you will need. Estimate how long it will take you to cut the lawn and quote what you feel it should be. Using a $1 a minute is a good way to look at it. That would include the time to do the trimming.

jasonw
01-16-2011, 08:59 PM
To be honest, use the wheel to measure beds for size when your doing mulch jobs to figure how much product you will need. Estimate how long it will take you to cut the lawn and quote what you feel it should be. Using a $1 a minute is a good way to look at it. That would include the time to do the trimming.

How would using that method work on larger jobs? For example for my yard that would cost the client about $30 which is not bad but for the larger one I did last week it would cost the client $240 which is actually $40 more than I charge them. Dose that mean I am under bidding that big job or would you drop the time/min for larger properties?

jymie
01-16-2011, 09:06 PM
Its really how you feel. You may have gotten $240 for that job or maybe not. People will pay if they like the quote. Even $200 was probably a good idea, I usually round off also. Depends on the situation, if there is a lot of trimming to do etc, if its an easy mow.

TNT Family Lawn Care
01-16-2011, 09:09 PM
The going rate is different in other areas, states here in michigan the going rate for 1 acre is around 30-40 a acre you go any higher they will laugh and tell you they can get it done for cheaper

jasonw
01-16-2011, 09:11 PM
Its really how you feel. You may have gotten $240 for that job or maybe not. People will pay if they like the quote. Even $200 was probably a good idea, I usually round off also. Depends on the situation, if there is a lot of trimming to do etc, if its an easy mow.

Well that particular job is super easy. The trimming sucks on the back but most of it is just a matter of driving the tractor in circles for a while. Now that I think of it I quotes $150 to cut the back of the property, its a vacation house. They showed up one day and the guys said "How much to do the front as well" I said $50 more and its been that way ever since. I have done it this way once per month for a little over a year now. What kills me is the smaller properties around town here. I remember one guy whose yard would take me about 45 minutes here in town wanted it done for $10 per week, that's 45 minutes every week for $40 per month. Needless to say I left my card and walked away from that one. I mean I am all for making deals and helping out the elderly and doing anything I can but I need to eat at the same time.

jasonw
01-16-2011, 09:12 PM
The going rate is different in other areas, states here in michigan the going rate for 1 acre is around 30-40 a acre you go any higher they will laugh and tell you they can get it done for cheaper

$30-$40 for one acre? WOW. "Reaches over and crosses Michigan off list of potential places to move" LOL that's crazy.

TNT Family Lawn Care
01-16-2011, 09:21 PM
tell me about it but back in the day before the bottom fell out the rate was 50-65 per acre an when everyone lost there jobs for down sizing or got laid off they all went out and bought mowers an started under cutting just to get money coming in. There still is a company mowing out here in my town 25$ a acre its tough out here but make your work stand out from everybody else

TNT Family Lawn Care
01-16-2011, 09:32 PM
THat's not a bad plan but how do you take into consideration longer services due to overfertilizations by other companies or the customer themselves? How do you handle double cuts or bagging clippings in these cases?

this just happen to me this 2010 season there grass grew so fast within 5 days i had to cut it 3 times before i felt it looked good an i could leave my name on the front yard i charged them the 1 dallor min for all the time i was there they had no problems paying then i told them if it keeps growing that fast i will be here twice a week to cut did this for 3 months. it was a pain in the butt, but easy money picked up the nieghbor also they loved the work

jasonw
01-16-2011, 09:33 PM
tell me about it but back in the day before the bottom fell out the rate was 50-65 per acre an when everyone lost there jobs for down sizing or got laid off they all went out and bought mowers an started under cutting just to get money coming in. There still is a company mowing out here in my town 25$ a acre its tough out here but make your work stand out from everybody else

I just cant believe those low prices. I would lock up shop and find a new business if I had to charge that low. Thats like minimum wage earnings there. I get some jobs out here even though I charge more because I am big in the local business environment, always supporting and preaching local business, attending meetings and or keeping communication opened with business organizations who help me preach about local business. We find most of the people out here who are undercutting can do so because they are not licensed and have no overhead. Licensing is a requirement here and we are always working to push them out of town and let local businesses who to business legitimately take over their jobs. Nothing is worse than trying to compete with an unlicensed operator who is mowing lawns for $10 a pop.

jasonw
01-16-2011, 09:34 PM
this just happen to me this 2010 season there grass grew so fast within 5 days i had to cut it 3 times before i felt it looked good an i could leave my name on the front yard i charged them the 1 dallor min for all the time i was there they had no problems paying then i told them if it keeps growing that fast i will be here twice a week to cut did this for 3 months. it was a pain in the butt, but easy money picked up the nieghbor also they loved the work

About what size was the lawn you did three times? How long did it take and what was the bill?

TNT Family Lawn Care
01-16-2011, 09:41 PM
I just cant believe those low prices. I would lock up shop and find a new business if I had to charge that low. Thats like minimum wage earnings there. I get some jobs out here even though I charge more because I am big in the local business environment, always supporting and preaching local business, attending meetings and or keeping communication opened with business organizations who help me preach about local business. We find most of the people out here who are undercutting can do so because they are not licensed and have no overhead. Licensing is a requirement here and we are always working to push them out of town and let local businesses who to business legitimately take over their jobs. Nothing is worse than trying to compete with an unlicensed operator who is mowing lawns for $10 a pop.

most of the fly by night so called lawn cutters out there are just about moved on we dont see them around to much more but yea tnt is insured&licensed and we have to have a DOT# truck is all decaled we are here for the long run i love what i do i love my job

jasonw
01-16-2011, 09:46 PM
most of the fly by night so called lawn cutters out there are just about moved on we dont see them around to much more but yea tnt is insured&licensed and we have to have a DOT# truck is all decaled we are here for the long run i love what i do i love my job

I find a lot of people dont understand that half of what I charge pays for being a legitimate business person here. They dont understand that I have licensing to pay for or anything ells. One of the reasons why I started this topic is to be more consistent in how I bid jobs, Basically at the $0.0?/sf everyone is paying the same price one is just paying more because the lawns is twice the size. This way if they questioned the bill I can break it down to them "$0.03X700sf=$21" I do agree according to that formula the 345 some od bucks for a quarter acre is steep but that's why we are talking to figure it out. If I knock it down to $0.01/sf for larger properties like a quarter acre then its just about on par with what I already charge per acre divided by 4, its actually a little higher but not much.

mark123
01-16-2011, 09:46 PM
... mean for $30 I could not even load the tractor up and drive the truck out there. ...
$30 is my price for 11k square feet. My price for an acre is $70.

You'd go out of business here faster with your high prices than anyone has by charging too little. Can you really get $345.39 for an 11k property? Tell me where you live, I'll do the lawns for half that and you can sit at home and do the billing.

TNT Family Lawn Care
01-16-2011, 09:47 PM
About what size was the lawn you did three times? How long did it take and what was the bill?

the lawn was 3/4 acre and it took 45 min per cut this house had so many beds all over there yard then it took awhile to all the blowing the final bill was 155$

jasonw
01-16-2011, 09:48 PM
$30 is my price for 11k square feet. My price for an acre is $70.

Mark, is that the industry average for PA? Thats crazy low compared to here in Ca.

mark123
01-16-2011, 09:54 PM
Mark, is that the industry average for PA? Thats crazy low compared to here in Ca.

I'm not sure I understand what you're asking. PA is a big place and I can't really speak for everyone here but I'm pretty close to average price in my area. I could probably stand to add a few dollars per stop.

Your area's cost of living is approximately 43% higher than mine.

mark123
01-16-2011, 10:07 PM
Your quoted price of $345.39 for an approximately 35 minute job works out to about $590/hour! That's pretty sweet if you can get it.

jasonw
01-16-2011, 10:09 PM
I'm not sure I understand what you're asking. PA is a big place and I can't really speak for everyone here but I'm pretty close to average price in my area. I could probably stand to add a few dollars per stop.

Your area's cost of living is approximately 43% higher than mine.

Yeh the cost of living more than likely has something to do with it. A lot of houses here are vacation houses for people that live in the bay area or elsewhere also.

jasonw
01-16-2011, 10:11 PM
Your quoted price of $345.39 for an approximately 35 minute job works out to about $590/hour! That's pretty sweet if you can get it.

$590 per hour, WOW I am in the wrong business...... wait no I'm not lol. I have been trying to stay away from an hourly rate, its not what you make in an hour its what you get done and what its worth to the person paying you there for if someone was going to pay you $1,000 per hour to pick your nose then get to pickin.

mark123
01-16-2011, 10:15 PM
the lawn was 3/4 acre and it took 45 min per cut this house had so many beds all over there yard then it took awhile to all the blowing the final bill was 155$
If they request the extra cuts then I charge them for it. If I do it to satisfy myself then it's on me. I do often spend the extra time on a lawn for my own personal satisfaction.

jasonw
01-16-2011, 10:25 PM
If they request the extra cuts then I charge them for it. If I do it to satisfy myself then it's on me. I do often spend the extra time on a lawn for my own personal satisfaction.

I agree. If you cant be happy with your work then whats the point. I find myself spending more time than I want to with a lot of jobs but I just cant see myself driving away until it looks like I would want it to look if it were my house.

optra23
01-16-2011, 10:31 PM
I am thinking of starting a business. I have most things in order at this point. I called a few places to get their estimates, one was 65 bucks for my lawn which is 1/4 acre or 11, 000 sf, $65 was to high but then i got another and the guy said 25 bucks which is a good price (for the customer) but i think that is unfair to other lawn mowing businesses undercutting them like that. I was going to charge 34 dollars for each 1/4 acre and then for every 1/4 acre after the first i do a 20 percent discount. I think those are fair prices for me its not to high and not to low, you've got to keep things competitive i wish all businesses could get on the same track but with greed and ppl just needing the money it probably won't happen.

jasonw
01-16-2011, 10:35 PM
I am thinking of starting a business. I have most things in order at this point. I called a few places to get their estimates, one was 65 bucks for my lawn which is 1/4 acre or 11, 000 sf, $65 was to high but then i got another and the guy said 25 bucks which is a good price (for the customer) but i think that is unfair to other lawn mowing businesses undercutting them like that. I was going to charge 34 dollars for each 1/4 acre and then for every 1/4 acre after the first i do a 20 percent discount. I think those are fair prices for me its not to high and not to low, you've got to keep things competitive i wish all businesses could get on the same track but with greed and ppl just needing the money it probably won't happen.

Undercutting will never stop. It will get a lot better when jobs come back to America and this economy improves, the bottom line is there are to many desk jockeys out mowing lawns now and dont care if we stay in business or not.

Hedgemaster
01-16-2011, 10:43 PM
I can't follow what's being discussed in this thread. It's as though everyone is on a different page with these calculations. Something does not compute.
I realize that California rates are going to be higher than here in PA, but by THAT much??? I don't get it.


Honestly, I'm too new to this to know what a 1/4 acre lot looks like. (or even what the dimensions are) When you say "1/4 acre", is that a ballpark figure for an entire property, including the house, or do you just "count" the grass area?

I tend to think of it in "time needed to complete the job", as opposed to "size" at this point. It takes me about 30 minutes to do my lawn and I'm told that the average cost to cut a lawn my size/in my neighborhood is around $35.

jasonw
01-16-2011, 10:53 PM
I can't follow what's being discussed in this thread. It's as though everyone is on a different page with these calculations. Something does not compute.
I realize that California rates are going to be higher than here in PA, but by THAT much??? I don't get it.


Honestly, I'm too new to this to know what a 1/4 acre lot looks like. (or even what the dimensions are) When you say "1/4 acre", is that a ballpark figure for an entire property, including the house, or do you just "count" the grass area?

I tend to think of it in "time needed to complete the job", as opposed to "size" at this point. It takes me about 30 minutes to do my lawn and I'm told that the average cost to cut a lawn my size/in my neighborhood is around $35.

A 14 acre for me dose not count the house, only what I am cutting and I charge for the most part $50 for it unless its impossible to use my tractor because of a steep grad or to many rocks then we go hourly to use trimmers.

Hedgemaster
01-16-2011, 11:14 PM
A 14 acre for me dose not count the house, only what I am cutting and I charge for the most part $50 for it unless its impossible to use my tractor because of a steep grad or to many rocks then we go hourly to use trimmers.

Assume you meant 1/4 acre...

To give me some perspective, how long do you think it would take you to do that same lawn using a push mower (not a walk behind - a standard push mower) instead of the tractor?

jasonw
01-16-2011, 11:24 PM
Maybe 1.5 ours. The only thing I can compare it to is I mowed a half acre 2 years ago with my push mower and the mowing and edging took 3 hours, The next day I got the tractor lol. Yes I meant a 1/4 acre.

Edward36
01-16-2011, 11:38 PM
Calculation Form here said it would take 25min. to mow 11000 sq.ft. so call it 30 for loading/unloading and take what you want to make an hour divide it by 2

mark123
01-16-2011, 11:46 PM
Calculation Form here said it would take 25min. to mow 11000 sq.ft. so call it 30 for loading/unloading and take what you want to make an hour divide it by 2
Sounds about right.

If I made $590 I could work for one week and skylark the rest of the year. So if I come out to california and work for two weeks, Jasonw keeps half for doing the billing. Then I can go home. :D

tom
01-17-2011, 04:52 PM
Ok so I got sick of ether always bidding low or bidding high so I devised a plan to bid the same for every single lawn. I got a measuring wheel today. I use my lawn as an example. I pay myself $20 to mow and edge my own lawn, it is 700SF according to the wheel which breaks down to about $0.03 per SF. Is $0.03/sf a good price to charge or am I wrong? I figure if its like mine, just a quick mow and go then $21 which is $0.03X700 is a good price. Any comments?

sounds to low i would do a minimum of 30.00 from what your describing , u really have to bid each job different u need to look at how much edging or blowing , they could have 3\4 of there property paved u would spend 1\2 ur time blowing especially when the pollen is falling , also do they have a gate can u get the bigger mowers back there , time is money i dont know how established u are but before u know it u will b payin high insurance and high taxes . on top of the high grass dont sell ur self short
tom

irvinjr
02-07-2011, 12:42 AM
Thats not 2 small city lots, maybe where you are from but like I said I am judging of my lawn which is 700sf, about the same size as every other lawn in town. I do have about a half acre but i am not estimating the entire thing, only the green grass outside the front door. I have not attempted this on any large areas yet, I normally will charge $50 per hour to do the larger areas out here. Maybe the formula for SF has to go down with size, for example the little front lawns here would be good at $0.03/sf but maybe something like 11,000sf would be better charged at $0.01/sf for a total of $110? Dose that sounds better? Maybe the $0.03 is good for everything up to 2,000sf or something then you go to $0.02 up to 6,000sf then go down to $0.01 for anything larger than that.

I know there is a formula to use sf for billing, its just a matter of massaging it to figure out the proper price. I think I am getting somewhere with this lowering it a penny every couple few thousand square feet though.

I base my price on the sq. ft. of the property 'Example' Up to 8,000 $20, 8001 to 15,000 $25, 15,001 to 25,000 $35 etc. I live in Fl. With those prices i'm not the lowest or highest in my area. I'm competitive (smiling) Bye the way i'm licensed n insured n registerd through sunbiz

Fisher
03-05-2011, 06:25 PM
Could try $15 just for showing up and then multiply the footage by about .0014. This seems to get you within a few dollars of the quarter acre and full acre rates. However I think I would have to determine how long it takes to top, edge, and blow to work that into the formula. Maybe .0009 per square footage mowed, a multiplier for edging, $.50 for each tree to go around and so on.

mark123
04-16-2011, 12:00 PM
How do you make any money doing it that cheap? One of the properties I did last weekend was an acre and I did it for $200, maybe its just the difference in area ...
I can only tell you what happened to me on Thursday. I mow a commercial lawn and as I was doing it the secretary came out and asked me to give her an estimate on her mother's lawn for one cut every other week. After I finished the cut, I drove over to do the estimate. It came to $22 so since I was done for the day I went back to tell her.

"$22??! She is not going to spend that kind of money!" I've never in my life heard $22 called "that kind of money". LOL

So, yeah. I'd say it's the area.

cruzgardening
04-16-2011, 12:44 PM
I can only tell you what happened to me on Thursday. I mow a commercial lawn and as I was doing it the secretary came out and asked me to give her an estimate on her mother's lawn for one cut every other week. After I finished the cut, I drove over to do the estimate. It came to $22 so since I was done for the day I went back to tell her.

"$22??! She is not going to spend that kind of money!" I've never in my life heard $22 called "that kind of money". LOL

So, yeah. I'd say it's the area.

I Live in So Cal and this happens to me all the time people think because we are a lawn care company we need to undercarge them...
2 days ago i got 2 estimates for 2 homes in a new area, Monterrey park is the name of the city, we are located northwest of that place it would take me about 20 minutes to get there from my regular maintenance area but i want to get a foot on that side of town. i arrived at the first property the owner seem to have started laying sod but stop half way through he asked me how much would i charge for the clean up, overgrown shrubs, grass and weeds, i always charge 3xthe regular fee i told him it would be $135 for the clean up and $45 a month, i had to go up about 20 steps to get to the top of his property. He stopped looked at me and said... Are you serious? i can get another guy to do it for half that!... i really don't think is the area but the people you deal with some are just plain cheapos :P well i left my card and told him good luck! i went up the street for another lead his lawn was flat and about the same size as the other guy i told him the price would be $45/ cut he said when u start? lol so yeah cheapos are everywhere my company weeds them out all the time haha.

Ok so I got sick of ether always bidding low or bidding high so I devised a plan to bid the same for every single lawn. I got a measuring wheel today. I use my lawn as an example. I pay myself $20 to mow and edge my own lawn, it is 700SF according to the wheel which breaks down to about $0.03 per SF. Is $0.03/sf a good price to charge or am I wrong? I figure if its like mine, just a quick mow and go then $21 which is $0.03X700 is a good price. Any comments?

i think you will be able to come out with a better formula i mean i can bid a lawn by just looking at it and here in California reputable businesses do charge a bit more then the guys who mow because they have to make money... Eventually you will get the feel of any lot and will know how much to charge but man this are hard times to charge $340 for a big lot i bid $250 for a lot the other day and the lady almost felt backwards haha i ended up charging here $150 with a 1 year contract to come twice a month for $50 bucks a pop... i think you just need to work with the clients and test the water before u say any number to them.