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CloseCuts
01-16-2009, 04:07 PM
Hey guys. I was wondering what everyone was charging. Your normal hourly rate and your minimum charge for cutting grass. Also what city and state your located in. Were going to start a poll that way we can all compare and help each other out.

CloseCuts
01-16-2009, 04:30 PM
I'm from Milford, Delaware. My hourly rate is $60 and my min. charge for grass is $45

Steve
01-16-2009, 04:59 PM
Hoss,

Maybe I could set up a database to help organize this. What services would you like to track and how should it be organized? Should the size of the crew come into factoring or do you just want to know the hourly price and the different services?

CloseCuts
01-16-2009, 05:09 PM
Steve,

I would like to know the hourly rate and where there located whether it be by city or state. state would probally be easier. also the min. charge for mowing

Steve
01-16-2009, 05:15 PM
Would you like to see other services? If so, what would be important for you to see?

CloseCuts
01-16-2009, 05:28 PM
yea that would be nice to i guess. I would say whatever services they have. from grass cutting to gutter cleaning any and all would be welcomed. That might help other people by showing them what there is to offer and what there not.

Steve
01-16-2009, 08:06 PM
Hoss,

I made a page to do this.

It's basic at the moment but potentially very powerful. Try it out and let me know how it works so far.

National Average Lawn Care Prices (http://www.gopherforum.com/uploaded-files/pages/average-price.php)

This could become very informative and helpful.

CloseCuts
01-16-2009, 09:20 PM
Yea I like that Steve. Now everytime you post on it do you have to exit out to go to a different part? I did lawn mowing and gutter cleaning and leaf clean-up but all i did is click the back button. will it still work that way. cause everytime i was finished it showed the national average for mowing

Steve
01-16-2009, 09:28 PM
Here is a screen capture of what I got so far with the pricing average.

http://www.gopherforum.com/uploaded-files/images/average-price-screen-cap.jpg

Well I am just getting this started. I wanted to get something very basic to start getting data inputed, so please tell everyone you know to enter the data, also let me know what services I should expand it to and what else I should add.

Yea I like that Steve. Now everytime you post on it do you have to exit out to go to a different part?
Right now yes. But I will change that. This was just a fast way to do it.

I did lawn mowing and gutter cleaning and leaf clean-up but all i did is click the back button. will it still work that way.
Yes, I will get that working better too.

cause everytime i was finished it showed the national average for mowing
That's all I have reporting at the moment but that will expand. I needed to get something up and running.

EasyPro
01-16-2009, 09:47 PM
I don't think this is too good of an idea. I mean my numbers are my numbers because of how i run my company I may charge $115 and hour per crew because they have uniforms, we know my numbers, we pay taxes, we are making an employee hand book, we pay ins., we pay to be in the BBB, we are licensed, We have nice/professional equipment and vehicles. . .the next guy does it for beer money so all he needs is gas money and some extra left over to spend at the bar . . . There are just too many variables

Steve
01-16-2009, 09:59 PM
I don't think this is too good of an idea. I mean my numbers are my numbers because of how i run my company I may charge $115 and hour per crew because they have uniforms, we know my numbers, we pay taxes, we are making an employee hand book, we pay ins., we pay to be in the BBB, we are licensed, We have nice/professional equipment and vehicles. . .the next guy does it for beer money so all he needs is gas money and some extra left over to spend at the bar . . . There are just too many variables

That is very true, but if you take your figures and you then average them with a guy doing it for beer money, then it gives the new startup a figure to consider. Otherwise they will most likely just shoot for the absolute lowest price they can come up with.

Why not offer them a higher price to shoot for? Then you don't have to worry about them coming in so low they just kill the industry pricing?

If they see they can make more money. They will charge more money and ultimately everyone will enjoy a benefit from a reduced pool of new businesses who lowball.

What do you think of that?

EasyPro
01-16-2009, 10:09 PM
That is very true, but if you take your figures and you then average them with a guy doing it for beer money, then it gives the new startup a figure to consider. Otherwise they will most likely just shoot for the absolute lowest price they can come up with.

Why not offer them a higher price to shoot for? Then you don't have to worry about them coming in so low they just kill the industry pricing?

If they see they can make more money. They will charge more money and ultimately everyone will enjoy a benefit from a reduced pool of new businesses who lowball.

What do you think of that?

Thats worse than a low baller . . .Steve i truely believe that you are like me and hate low ballers . . .

that being said a low baller is easily seen from a customers stand point because they offer the absolute insane low price . . .

now then, why would i want to give them something that is going to make them competitive when in the end they are still low ballers?

Low ballers don't mean just low prices - it means un insured, un licensed, un PROFESSIONAL !!!!

Steve
01-16-2009, 10:23 PM
now then, why would i want to give them something that is going to make them competitive when in the end they are still low ballers?

Low ballers don't mean just low prices - it means un insured, un licensed, un PROFESSIONAL !!!!

Well here is my view on this. When anyone starts out with anything, they have no idea what they are doing.

As we see on the forum, we have many many new business owners trying to figure out what is the going rate for certain basic services they want to offer.

When no one tells them or they can't find it, they tend to bid very low. Because they bid low, they can't afford to buy insurance. They probably aren't paying taxes on the money they make. Ultimately there is this class of small business owners who if they just had a little knowledge, would have an ah-ha moment and say OH I need to be charging around $X per hour in order to do this properly.

Now when other lawn care business owners are out giving bids, ideally they are no longer competing on price but instead on who seems to please the customer the most, provide the best service etc.

If we don't educate ourselves and others, there is no growth.

What's your view?

musician/lawnman
01-16-2009, 11:19 PM
Wow, Tuff crowd in here!
Ok, well I see both sides of this argument I suppose.

On one hand we have the lowballers, who yes if they are intelligent will reach out to learn & better themselves & eventually become a legitimate business. I have always helped & advised anyone who asked me for help & wanted to do the right thing as some others both in my area & on this forum did for me back when I really needed the guidance. though at the same time most half-assed low ballers don't stay in business long enough to make much a dent in my marketshare as far as I can tell (I could be wrong but business is good so I don' worry about it all that much) There are a good portion of the alchoholic lawn mowing crew sect that would only take such information (as stated above) & use it to charge more, while still not doing anything the right way. So I am not a fan of the idea of just posting my numbers for the world to see & for "Joe's drunken lawn service" to use against me.

On the other hand If somebody is seeking help, you should help them. For me I want to know WHO knows my numbers. I am in Florida, my figures will be useless to anyone outside of my area as we are in different markets so they don't need em'. Anyone in my region can reach out for help. If I feel after a short conversation that they are genuine in their desire to run their business properly or get off on the right foot, I offer them all the information & advise I can. From pricing, to policies & precedures, & from where to buy liability insurance to the best friggen trimmer line for the buck.
I have recieved help from tons of guys (Jamie-all aspects, Tim-real huntin', ritchiem, Steve, & on & on....) I have also helped a ton of guys out (Little's, Phil, Justin, Barry etc....)
But Steve, I am not filling out a "I charge $___x____ for mowing ____sq ft__
& $___Y___ for trimming ______ tree" chart man. Sorry bud , I'm not with ya on this one. Somethings with great intentions can be business suicide.

EasyPro
01-16-2009, 11:21 PM
Well here is my view on this. When anyone starts out with anything, they have no idea what they are doing.

As we see on the forum, we have many many new business owners trying to figure out what is the going rate for certain basic services they want to offer.

When no one tells them or they can't find it, they tend to bid very low. Because they bid low, they can't afford to buy insurance. They probably aren't paying taxes on the money they make. Ultimately there is this class of small business owners who if they just had a little knowledge, would have an ah-ha moment and say OH I need to be charging around $X per hour in order to do this properly.

Now when other lawn care business owners are out giving bids, ideally they are no longer competing on price but instead on who seems to please the customer the most, provide the best service etc.

If we don't educate ourselves and others, there is no growth.

What's your view?

I say don't give a man a fish so he can eat, give him a fishing pole so he can feed himself . .. Does that make sense?

When some one ask me how much to charge i tell them as much as they can get!

then I ask them what thier cost are . . . don't tell a low baller what price to charge tell him how to figure it out

In school they didn't teach us that two plus two was 4 they taught us that you take a number plus a number and it equals the sum of the numbers.

Teach them how to price not just tell them what is the "going rate"
the "going rate" is the going out of business rate

Steve
01-17-2009, 12:21 AM
Hi Chuck,

I have always helped & advised anyone who asked me for help & wanted to do the right thing as some others both in my area & on this forum did for me back when I really needed the guidance. though at the same time most half-assed low ballers don't stay in business long enough to make much a dent in my marketshare as far as I can tell (I could be wrong but business is good so I don' worry about it all that much)

Yes new lawn care business owners will come and go because they under price however there is always going to be a steady stream of them and one that fails is replaced by 2 or 3 or 4 or ...... others.

I would say think of this as a virtual union concept. The union comes up with a price and the factory pays it. The union protects it's employees with a collective awareness of bigger pictures that the individual is unaware of.

If your state shoots for an average of $35 per lawn and you know this, you would shoot for it too.

When everyone shoots for a collective price per service, ultimately you help take price competition off the table and you focus on other issues to sell a service. Like how is the service regardless of the price.

In the big picture you benefit from this.

That's my view at least. This is all a big experiment and we will see how it goes, but wouldn't you like to know how your prices compare with others? Wouldn't you feel pretty good if you knew you were above the normal prices and you could get that because of your service? Or what if you found you were below the average, wouldn't you like to increase your prices? Wouldn't anybody?

DJ,

When some one ask me how much to charge i tell them as much as they can get!

I agree, and then I would ask, how much can I get? What is the average in my area? I would like to know.

Regardless of my costs, I want to know how much I can get.

Knowing your costs helps you know if you are going to make a profit or take a loss but knowing your costs does not let you pick a price to charge in a vacuum without regard of competitors. You really need to know a range to shoot for.

If my costs are $100 per man hour and I decide I need to charge $120 per man hour to perform lawn care and the average in my area is $50 per man hour, I better have some super duper amazing service to justify. But customers are not going to care what my costs are when I charge them. Customers are going to see what the going rate is and then factor, how much they prefer me over others. How much better a job I do than others. etc etc

What do you all think of this?

justin_time
01-17-2009, 12:25 AM
I have also helped a ton of guys out (Little's, Phil, Justin, Barry etc....)

Thanks Chuck

Btw, I assume your a busy guy, you don't get the chance to chat to me anymore brother, what's up

EasyPro
01-17-2009, 12:36 AM
Dj,



I Agree, And Then I Would Ask, How Much Can I Get? What Is The Average In My Area? I Would Like To Know.the Average Doesn't Matter. Figure Out Your Cost Throw In Your 30% Owner Draw And 10 To 15 Percent For The Company Retained Earnings And That Is What You Have To Charge!!!!

Regardless Of My Costs, I Want To Know How Much I Can Get. it Doesn't Matter!!!! Your Numbers Tell You What You Better Get!!!!

Knowing Your Costs Helps You Know If You Are Going To Make A Profit Or Take A Loss But Knowing Your Costs Does Not Let You pick A Price To Charge In A Vacuum Without Regard Of Competitors. You Really Need To Know A Range To Shoot For.a Price Should Be A Strategically Figured Number.

If My Costs Are $100 Per Man Hour And I Decide I Need To Charge $120 Per Man Hour To Perform Lawn Care And The Average In My Area Is $50 Per Man Hour,then You Need To Stop Right There And Find Something Else To Do Or Decide If You Wanna Cut Corners Like Every One Else I Better Have Some Super Duper Amazing Service To Justify. But Customers Are Not Going To Care What My Costs Are When I Charge Them. Customers Are Going To See What The Going Rate Is And Then Factor, How Much They Prefer Me Over Others. How Much Better A Job I Do Than Others. Etc Etc

What Do You All Think Of This?

Great Thread Guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steve
01-17-2009, 01:57 AM
the Average Doesn't Matter. Figure Out Your Cost Throw In Your 30% Owner Draw And 10 To 15 Percent For The Company Retained Earnings And That Is What You Have To Charge!!!!

Is this a standard view and if so, why is this a standard view? Do you feel most lawn care businesses follow this concept?

musician/lawnman
01-17-2009, 08:39 AM
I agree with Dj in that " don't tell a low baller what price to charge tell him how to figure it out "

You have a great cost estimator on here now. Keep teaching them to use it or something similar.


Justin,

Sorry man, It's not that I've been avoiding ya by anymeans, it's just that skype seems to pops up with messages and spam & bimbetts named "candy" or "bubbles" who just wanna "chat" (get you to check out their **** site)about 400 times for every one time somebody I know contacts me on it. So I have it set as "Away". Things drives me crazy.

EasyPro
01-17-2009, 10:47 AM
Is this a standard view and if so, why is this a standard view? Do you feel most lawn care businesses follow this concept?

Thats a basic business model steve. . .

business is business no matter what your are doing the only thing that will change is the numbers . .. the percentages should stay close to the same

~30% to owner
~10%-15% equity in the company (net profit)
~25%-30% in labor cost
~20% for marketing and advertising
~10%-15% in supplies

*this is just a common business model these numbers do not reflect mine and they should be customized to fit your business*

EasyPro
01-17-2009, 10:48 AM
Is this a standard view and if so, why is this a standard view? Do you feel most lawn care businesses follow this concept?

Most small businesses not just LCO don't know their financial . . . that means they are a ticking time bomb and their clock is just winding down . . . eventually that will be the failure of their business

Steve
01-17-2009, 02:50 PM
I appreciate your insight into this. I think that each business tends to have their own standards.

Who knows, maybe that is why so many of them fail.

Can anyone share with us how their % compare with these?

moose24
01-19-2009, 10:19 AM
i just got a snowblower and wounding how to chage for did the job any help would be nice

Steve
01-19-2009, 04:22 PM
Hi Moose,

Are you offering snow blowing by itself or do you you also offer snow plowing?

Here is some information I found online. Maybe this will help you.

Commercial Properties
Loader Snow-Blower - $115.00 per hour
Front End Loaders w/ 20 ft blade - $145.00 per hour
Front End Loaders w/ 2+ yd bucket - $85.00 per hour
Front End Loaders w/ 3+ yd bucket - $105.00 per hour
Dump Trucks for Hauling - $85.00 per hour
Plow Trucks - $75.00 per hour
Walk behind Snow Blower/Hand Work- $40.00 per hour
Holiday Rates – Christmas Day and New Year’s Day – Time and _
(1 hour minimums on all prices)
Residential Properties
Foreman Labor - $50.00 per hour
Walk Behind Snow Blower/ Hand Work - $40.00 per hour
Dump Trucks for Hauling - $85.00 per hour
Sanding parking lots and driveways - $50.00 minimum
Liquid De-Icer – $1.75 per gallon
Snow Staking - $65.00 per hour (stakes included)
Holiday Rates- Christmas Day and New Year’s Day – Time and _
(1 hour minimums on all prices)
* Optional Holiday snow plowing services, please check if you would like snow plowing
services on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day at Time plus _ rates.

chevyboy321
01-29-2009, 11:08 PM
how do you or what do you go by on charging for landscaping maintenance only

bnclawncare
02-03-2009, 05:58 PM
I pretty much know exactly what I need to charge to make a good profit. One of the things that I am struggling with a little is how to "exactly" figure your overhead expenses when it comes to the equipment. I have seen some guys figure in what it would costs to replace their equip. in a fisical year and others who would figure it over the life spand of the equip. This is where I am confused. If you do large equip., this makes your overhead extremely high.

I am looking for a bullet proof way to figure my overhead costs!

CloseCuts
02-03-2009, 06:23 PM
Try this out. http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?p=43299#post43299

Steve
02-03-2009, 07:09 PM
Thanks Hoss.

I made a new post on calculating overhead costs of equipment here (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=8258).

VPS Lawn Care
02-04-2009, 12:10 AM
Thanks Hoss.

I made a new post on calculating overhead costs of equipment here (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?t=8258).

WoW! Great thread, but i will have to go with Chuck & DJ on this, every one has diffrent #'s that come into play to figure your operating costs.

If you want to know the average cost in your area, there are ways to do this, you can get estimates from other lco's on your own property , you can do a survey of your customers , friends, faimly that use lco's to do there lawns.
But each lco will have diffrent exspenses in operating there co. therfore a diffrent hourly cost of operation.

And yes i am one of the ones that Chuck went out of his way to help in the beginning, and that i will never forget, my lco would not have grown as fast as it has without his help and this site. Again Thank You Chuck for all your help in the past and i am sure the future

Steve
02-04-2009, 06:54 AM
And yes i am one of the ones that Chuck went out of his way to help in the beginning, and that i will never forget, my lco would not have grown as fast as it has without his help and this site.

Which advice do you feel helped you the most that you could share with newer lawn care business owners?

bnclawncare
02-04-2009, 07:38 AM
Thanks Hoss. But I am asuming the calculator figures the equipment expense in a fisical year.

I am looking to see what is the best method of doing this. I a fisical year or over the life spand of the equipment. Thanks for the reply.

VPS Lawn Care
02-04-2009, 09:52 AM
Which advice do you feel helped you the most that you could share with newer lawn care business owners?

Well Steve i would have to say:
1) stay stead fast & focused, like Chucks music, say what you mean, & mean what you say.
2) watch every penny
3) Plan,Plan,& do some more planning - Then always have a plan B
4) Make what your doing stand for something better. If you feel what you do, like what you do, take pride in what you do, it will show and every one around you will know it, and thats who the customers want doing there lawn , someone that cares as much as they do about it.
5) Know what you sell!! a big one.

You know there was a storey on the local news here that talked about un-employment and what alot of these people are doing to get by. They said in our state "Florida" that since july 08' there are more new lawncare co. applying for lic. then there has been since 1985, an increase of 122%. that is kinda scary, but remember the cream always floats to the top.

EasyPro
02-04-2009, 12:46 PM
Thanks Hoss. But I am asuming the calculator figures the equipment expense in a fisical year.

I am looking to see what is the best method of doing this. I a fisical year or over the life spand of the equipment. Thanks for the reply.

mower cost $8,000

you work 40 weeks a year for 6 hours a day
that is a total of 1200 hours a season (this is just hypothetical)

so $8000 for the mower you have and another $8000 for the new one in three years (replacement cost)

thats $16000 divided over three years of 1200 hours . . . Stay with me now


$16000.00 divided by 3 years = $5334.00
$5334.00 dived by 1200 hrs per year = $4.50 per hour

that will pay off your mower in three years and also build you up the cash you need to buy a new one

bnclawncare
02-05-2009, 04:05 PM
Thanks DJ. That was what I was looking for. Do you actually put aside the "$4.25" (hypothetical) into like a separate account for equipment? Is this included in your profit dollars? I am struggling with the fine details. What I have always done is been straightforward. Take your gross income, minus all of your expences and what is left is profit dollars. I feel like the when I include my overhead expence, minus true dollars spent on supplies, payroll, etc...I'm not getting a true profit dollar figure. Uncle Sam sees this as profit, unless I spend it on equipment, why shouln't I? Be patient with me please and thanks again for your assistance.

EasyPro
02-05-2009, 11:06 PM
Thanks DJ. That was what I was looking for. Do you actually put aside the "$4.25" (hypothetical) into like a separate account for equipment? Is this included in your profit dollars? I am struggling with the fine details. What I have always done is been straightforward. Take your gross income, minus all of your expences and what is left is profit dollars. I feel like the when I include my overhead expence, minus true dollars spent on supplies, payroll, etc...I'm not getting a true profit dollar figure. Uncle Sam sees this as profit, unless I spend it on equipment, why shouln't I? Be patient with me please and thanks again for your assistance.

supplies pay roll and even interest paid on loans are all tax deductions . . . Give me a call tomorrow and I will try to get you straightened out . . .Also it is a good idea for every business owner to take some type of accounting class or read a good accounting book

and no steve i don't have one to recommend lol You ask more questions than an attorney . . . gotta love you for it though lol

musician/lawnman
02-06-2009, 08:40 AM
And yes i am one of the ones that Chuck went out of his way to help in the beginning, and that i will never forget, my lco would not have grown as fast as it has without his help and this site. Again Thank You Chuck for all your help in the past and i am sure the future

You welcome bro. Glad the information helped you get going so well.