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View Full Version : Hourly Rate for Push Mow VS. Larger Mower


aaron2100
08-18-2011, 09:28 PM
I'm just about to start my mowing business. I'm starting out with just a push mower, and am wondering if it makes sense to charge a lower hourly rate when using a push mower vs ZTR or walk behind because the job will take longer. On the job now, we use all ZTRs, so I'm not sure how to rate push mow jobs in comparison.

Thanks

Hedgemaster
08-18-2011, 10:15 PM
Still a noob, but in talking to a neighbor of one of my clients, I commented on how nice his lawn looked.

"They do a nice job" I told him. He mentioned that they had been using a zero turn, but he wasn't happy with how it looked and requested that they use a push mower instead. "They charge me more to do it that way, but I like the way it looks now", he said.

I don't know anyone in the business that uses a zero turn, so I don't know if that's standard practice to charge "more" for a push job.

I'd imagine the reason they charge more is because it takes more TIME. I'm at the point with my push mower that I'm seeing the value in having larger equipment to get more done in a day. You get more done, you can probably even lower your price and still make a profit - "slowing down" for one or two jobs with a push mower eats into that profit.

Make sense? LOL

aaron2100
08-18-2011, 10:23 PM
Yes, makes sense. My thought was that because I don't have the option to use large equipment, it almost penalizes the client if I charge them more at this point when they don't have a choice of what they want me to use. Definitely though, when I have larger equipment and they want me to push mow, I will charge for the extra time. Maybe I should charge more for push mowing now too. I'm not sure.

shadrach
08-18-2011, 11:04 PM
I don't know anyone in the business that uses a zero turn, so I don't know if that's standard practice to charge "more" for a push job.


I use a 36" or a 61" most of the time & my hourly rate is based on using those mowers. If someone wants me to use a push mower to do something & it will take me twice as long to do then I am going to charge my same rate & it is going to cost them twice as much. Doesn't makes sense for me to spend more time doing it their way & getting paid the same.
There is a limit to what you can charge for a lawn & it is mostly based on the size. You can sell yourself & get a better price on some cases & some people are willing to pay more than others but there is a limit. If you are using push mowers to start then go after the smaller lawns, the ones with lots of obstacles, the ones with smaller gates to back yards & the ones that have the hills that you can't use the larger mowers on. Charge what you need to charge - just know where you are going to be competitive.

Hedgemaster
08-18-2011, 11:26 PM
Yes, there seems to be a point where people won't pay any more, regardless of how you plan on cutting. The time you spend and the money you invest in equipment is irrelevant to the client. Once you reach that "threshold" you have to decide if it's worth busting your a$$ using a push mower, or leaving it to the "big boys". They still get paid the same as you will, but can get it done in 1/4 of the time.

Time is money.

Steve
08-19-2011, 12:51 PM
"They do a nice job" I told him. He mentioned that they had been using a zero turn, but he wasn't happy with how it looked and requested that they use a push mower instead. "They charge me more to do it that way, but I like the way it looks now", he said.

This makes you wonder, if you start off mowing a customer's lawn with a push mower and then scale up to a ztr, I could imagine how a customer may not feel they are getting the same level of service because you can mow the lawn faster with a ztr. Because you are faster, they may feel they are overpaying and request you use a push mower. But if you start the job with a ztr, they won't have a comparison to how long it took you to mow with a push mower.

Do you think it comes down to the actual quality of the cut when customers complain and want it mowed with a push mower or do you feel it's all a mental issue where they dont want a lawn care business owner coming in and zipping through the mow and then leaving?

nickeckes
08-22-2011, 12:29 AM
i mow almost every single residental lawn with a 46" cut rider, havent had one complaint yet. .or i use my 36" walk behind. The neighbor guy of one of the houses i mow, him and i became good friends, he always laughs when he sees me backing my rider off the trailer. . he says " your using your rider for that small lawn? which a laugh"


Saves so much time and money useing a bigger mower. . . i think my rider uses less fuel then my 22" toro push mower. . One sunday my partner and i mowed 32 lawns in 9.5 hrs and i used 3 gal. of fuel in my rider and he used about 2 gal almost 3 in the push. . .


As for bidding a lawn, when i go over the lawn, you will know off the bat, what mower you can use to mow the lawn, or if you have to use a combination of your mowers to do the lawn. . When i first started 5 years ago i started with a push, and every year bought new and bigger equipment. . now i have about 10 mowers for just my partner and I.

CHEESE2009
08-22-2011, 01:04 AM
I wouldn't recommended having different prices that vary depending on what kind of lawn mower you have.

The entire point of having a zero turn mower is to increase your productivity.



If I do a lawn with a push mower for $100 per month, doing it with a Zero Turn doesn't mean I'd charge a lower rate. It's business man!


EXAMPLE:

Shoveling a Driveway
$50.00
50 minutes

Your theory
Using a tractor to clear snow
$5.00
5 minutes

-

You should be doing;

Using a tractor to clear snow
$50.00
5 minutes







If I buy a tool to make my job easier, the clients will still pay the same amount regardless. I bought the tools so that I can make that money faster, easier, and hassle free - not to shoot myself in the foot!



Charge what you would, if you were to have the lowest end equipment. Do not raise it regardless of what fancy equipment you purchase.

Steve
08-22-2011, 12:09 PM
I'm starting out with just a push mower, and am wondering if it makes sense to charge a lower hourly rate when using a push mower vs ZTR or walk behind because the job will take longer.

As Scott was saying, having a wider and faster mower allows you to perform the job faster and make more money in a shorter period of time.

As the market gets more competitive, lawn mowing prices will go down. As they go down, the only way to compete and still make money is to be more efficient. To be able to mow faster and better over a shorter period of time. Then you have the ability to lower your prices and still be able to profit while others who use slower and smaller equipment, can't get the job done at the competitive price and still make a profit. When they can not compete anymore, they will cease to be in business.

aaron2100
08-23-2011, 09:33 AM
Thanks for the insight guys. Very helpful.

psparaco
09-05-2011, 11:50 PM
I have the same issue with one lawn i cut (waterfront) . I used to use my 30 inch craftsman tractor on the back yard only. They fired their last lawn care guy cause he used a big 60 inch ZTR on the front and they complained about ruts and bald spots and what not. The beginning of 2009 we used 2- 22 inch push mowers on the entire property. When i got a trailer late last year. they wouldlnt allow me to use the tractor on the front. Now they let me use it only when we havent had rain for a week and the front wasnt soggy and only to bag the grass.

Here is the problem I have.... I just purchased a Toro Timecutter Z series 42 inch deck ZTR. Now if i used the ZTR I could knock out the lawn a hellalot faster than if i just use the push mower on their front. Their concern is the weight. The tractor plus me on it weighed about 597 lbs. It would leave a clean cut but the lines were As nice as the push mower did. The new mower plus me weighs 780 lbs. I know if i attempt to use it they'll come out and complain. Maybe If we havent had rain i could call them and simply ask but I cant wait to use it on alot of my client's lawn where i used to use a push mower and tractor combo to see how better my time is. As soon as I can I will snap a pic of my trailer and ZTR. MY ZTR is exactly identical I think to the one CHEESE aka Scott has on that video he made.

Ryan's Lawn Care
09-06-2011, 11:25 AM
i started out with just a push mower and then wen i was in high school got my first riding mower. i still charged the same amount even tho it took less time. also look at wat your prices are in comparison to other large lawn services. The big ones in my neighborhood were charging like 45 bucks a cut and i was charging 35 and doing a better job.

and honestly sometimes certain people aren't worth dealing with u may wanna just cut your lose and tell them no push mowing it takes 5 times as long.

CHEESE2009
09-06-2011, 04:22 PM
MY ZTR is exactly identical I think to the one CHEESE aka Scott has on that video he made.


I am so excited to see it!!!

You will have a lot of fun with it, it's a great machine!


If you want to use the side discharge, lift the chute up as high as possible using a bungee cord... Tie the chute to the bottom notch of the height adjustment system so that it is lifted.

If you leave the chute as is, it can leave a mess (grass trail). If you do it my way, the grass spreads evenly and doesn't leave clumps or trails of grass. It gives a lawn a very clean look.


*** Always raise the deck to the highest height when going up the trailer ramp***



I hope that helps!!!


TAKE PICS!!!!:D