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View Full Version : Minimum charge per lawn?


shaunster
07-30-2009, 02:57 PM
What should the minimum charge be per lawn..

I have it set at $35.00 ??

Cut, Trim ,Bagged..

Cheers,
Shaun:)

mark123
07-30-2009, 04:29 PM
The way I set my minimum price is with a stop charge which I add to the amount I ask per 1000 square feet. The stop charge is the amount I want to drive there, unload my equipment and load it up again to go to the next one. I doubt you'd sell a city lot at $35. I do some houses that are 800 square feet each. Each one takes me about 10 total minutes including weed whacking and blowing. Even asking $14 each that extrapolates to $84 per hour.

The stop charge plus certain amount per 1000 square feet makes the smaller lawns more profitable especially if you line up more than one at one stop.

Why are you bagging?

shaunster
07-30-2009, 04:39 PM
The way I set my minimum price is with a stop charge which I add to the amount I ask per 1000 square feet. The stop charge is the amount I want to drive there, unload my equipment and load it up again to go to the next one. I doubt you'd sell a city lot at $35. I do some houses that are 800 square feet each. Each one takes me about 10 total minutes including weed whacking and blowing. Even asking $14 each that extrapolates to $84 per hour.

The stop charge plus certain amount per 1000 square feet makes the smaller lawns more profitable especially if you line up more than one at one stop.

Why are you bagging?

When I say bagging..On my mowers we have bags..so we just remove all the cuttings..no racking..

Some say you should price each lawn by the minute..??

Shaun

mark123
07-30-2009, 05:12 PM
When I say bagging..On my mowers we have bags..so we just remove all the cuttings..no racking.. I have no idea what racking is but bagging the clippings is detrimental to the and is more work. I can't see an upside to doing it.

Some say you should price each lawn by the minute..??
By the minute or by the square foot. Each square foot takes a certain amount of time so area is time and time is area, right.

Steve
07-30-2009, 05:19 PM
Hi shaunster,

Have you gotten a chance to play around with our business calculators (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?p=43299#post43299) yet?

They will get you thinking about how much your overhead is and how much you need to charge per hour.

Ultimately you want to know what your expenses are. Then you want to figure out how much you need to charge per hour to cover those expenses and make a profit.

When you are first getting started you see a lot of business owners not sure of what their expenses are so they shoot for a $45 to $60 an hour range when they are bidding. But as you are in business longer you learn more what YOU need to be profitable and you base your prices on what YOU need. Not what others need.

Does this help?

shaunster
07-30-2009, 05:28 PM
Hi shaunster,

Have you gotten a chance to play around with our business calculators (http://www.gopherforum.com/showthread.php?p=43299#post43299) yet?

They will get you thinking about how much your overhead is and how much you need to charge per hour.

Ultimately you want to know what your expenses are. Then you want to figure out how much you need to charge per hour to cover those expenses and make a profit.

When you are first getting started you see a lot of business owners not sure of what their expenses are so they shoot for a $45 to $60 an hour range when they are bidding. But as you are in business longer you learn more what YOU need to be profitable and you base your prices on what YOU need. Not what others need.

Does this help?

Thanks guys for your response..

And yes Steve this whole forum has been a great spot for guys like me that are just starting out..I'm up here in Nova Scotia, Canada so the season is short..

I may be over pricing some of my jobs and in return is why I'm not getting them..I'll take a look at the business calculators ..

Thanks again,
Shaun

Steve
07-30-2009, 05:48 PM
I may be over pricing some of my jobs and in return is why I'm not getting them..I'll take a look at the business calculators ..

Well if you want to experiment, when you give your bids, do it in person. See how the homeowner reacts to your bid. If they sign up on the spot, great! If they don't, try and figure out why they aren't. Ask them what you could do to get them to agree.

The more you ask your potential customers, the more you will learn.

Don't let this be a mystery. Ask them what you need to do to resolve the issue so you can perform their yard service.

I'd love to hear what happens from this.

Keep me posted.

shaunster
07-30-2009, 05:52 PM
Well if you want to experiment, when you give your bids, do it in person. See how the homeowner reacts to your bid. If they sign up on the spot, great! If they don't, try and figure out why they aren't. Ask them what you could do to get them to agree.

The more you ask your potential customers, the more you will learn.

Don't let this be a mystery. Ask them what you need to do to resolve the issue so you can perform their yard service.

I'd love to hear what happens from this.

Keep me posted.

We will..

Cheers!,:)
Shaun

justin_time
07-30-2009, 07:18 PM
Thanks guys for your response..

And yes Steve this whole forum has been a great spot for guys like me that are just starting out..I'm up here in Nova Scotia, Canada so the season is short..

I may be over pricing some of my jobs and in return is why I'm not getting them..I'll take a look at the business calculators ..

Thanks again,
Shaun

I welcome another Canadian onto this forum :D I am from Northern Ontario, just to let you know :)

ritchiem
07-30-2009, 07:28 PM
I charge a minimum of $35.00 per lawn...never any less. There are some companies in my area that charge $50.00 minimum...which is ridiculous IMO. If you have the quality to back up what you are charging you'll never have a problem.

timtrexler
08-10-2009, 11:20 PM
Great advice Steve! I have experience bidding HVAC installs and I can definitely recommend handing the proposal to the customer rather than mailing or faxing. Just as you say it gives you the opportunity to gauge their response and discuss the bid. I also believe in the good - better - best bid. Good being a basic job, and best being the premier. I believe this would work with lawn service as well.

Steve
08-11-2009, 12:03 AM
I have experience bidding HVAC installs and I can definitely recommend handing the proposal to the customer rather than mailing or faxing. Just as you say it gives you the opportunity to gauge their response and discuss the bid. I also believe in the good - better - best bid. Good being a basic job, and best being the premier. I believe this would work with lawn service as well.

Hi Tim,

What has been your experience in the past with this. Do you have any stories that stand out of different situations you have found yourself in when dealing with customers?

Did you try to upsell the customer who only wants the cheap service? Or how do you handle all this?

When it came to presenting bids, what worked best and what didn't work too well at all?

jasonw
08-11-2009, 01:38 AM
I also believe in the good - better - best bid. Good being a basic job, and best being the premier. I believe this would work with lawn service as well.

Should all our work not be Premier? We are not cable TV for crying out loud. I simply give an honest price for good honest work. I don't even offer contracts as being a consumer myself if someone wants me to sign a 2 year agreement "Dish network, ATT exc exc" I tell them to shove there agreement. If I paid someone to do a service and it was not to my liking because I didn't pay for the premier package there but would be down the road and have a bad name to boot. I would suspect someone who would offer such a package would be because they really don't want to work.

jasonw
08-11-2009, 01:44 AM
Did you try to upsell the customer who only wants the cheap service? Or how do you handle all this?



Steve. Personally I find good honest work up sells itself. When I normally do a bid my clients ask all sorts of questions. Basically I tell them it will cost X amount to get the lawn taken care of and all other work will be on a per hour basis with a 2 hour minimum depending of course on the hourly rate I would charge. For example a $20 per hour rate would have a minimum but a $70 or so for running the chipper or whatever would have no minimum. Basically I find that when you do good work and show respect and care for your clients and there property they really don't care what your rates are, they like you so they pay you. A thought comes to mind. A lack of options is not a good thing to be in our industry. I have found if you take just 10 minutes to talk to a client about the weather they will be your client for life.

golfnpreacher
08-11-2009, 09:32 PM
There is a difference between what a person charges and what a person makes. On the same yard it is possible that one person would charge $35 and make $25 and another person would have to charge $50 to make $25.

I believe there are a lot of people doing "lawn care" that have no idea what they are making. They "think" they are making decent money. But what they are really doing is living on borrowed time. They aren't putting money away for repairs and/or replacement of equipment. They aren't putting money away for the winter when things get slow, but payments are still due. They may not be carrying business insurance, they may not be declaring anything on taxes.

In a nutshell, total up all your fixed costs, get a good estimate on your floating expenses, add some for equipment repair and replacements and then add 10% for all stuff you forgot. Now these costs are basically going to remain the same if you work part time or full time. (yes you are going to have to replace something sooner if you use it daily as opposed to twice a week, but that is why we added the 10%) Now, break this cost down to a weekly basis. (Example, if insurance is $520, it is $10 a week, easy uh)

The number you get is what you have to make each and every week to cover your cost. Okay, you're almost done. Now, add to your cost what you want to make that week and you've now got a number to work with. With this number in mind, ask yourself.... how many of this type of lawns could I mow in day? If you can do 5 in a day and are going to work 6 days... then 5 X 6 = 30 so your needed number divided by 30 gives you what you should be charging for that particular size lawn.

I admit this is an over generalization, but it will point you in the right direction.

turfmaster
08-11-2009, 10:56 PM
I had a conversation with my brother in law today about what to charge for mowing.

He is laid off and is doing cash side jobs. He is doing some mowing and 1 job he spends 3 hours mowing with his Simplicity lawn tractor for $15.00 per hour cash.

He didn't understand when I told him he was really working for about $12.00.
Even though he's working under the table I told him the wear and tear, gas and oil he was using probably cost him at least $3.00/hour. He replied that he never gave that any thought.

There are more guys out there like that in this bad economy then I have ever seen in 23 years doing LC.

The good thing is most of these guys will not be around when the economy turns around. :D

majoe7
08-11-2009, 11:46 PM
The good thing is most of these guys will not be around when the economy turns around. :D


Most down here in Florida don't last past July with it being so hot and humid. Temps reach about 105* index then add your body temp with your movement when doing a job, equates to them hanging it up. :D

timtrexler
08-12-2009, 01:13 AM
Hi Tim,

What has been your experience in the past with this. Do you have any stories that stand out of different situations you have found yourself in when dealing with customers?

Did you try to upsell the customer who only wants the cheap service? Or how do you handle all this?

When it came to presenting bids, what worked best and what didn't work too well at all?

No real standouts, other than I know the guy that hands in the quote personally gets the job over an impersonal mail or email quote. He is there to review his proposal and answer questions. This puts a customer at ease. Plus he feels more familiar since they have now seen him at least twice.

Let me clarify. Good might be a mowing, better adds another service, best adds even more services. When presented with this type of proposal a majority of customers will, at least, opt for the middle service. It is an upsale technique. Always sell up by selling down. Start with the best service then present the better and finally the good.

When presenting the proposal hopefully you listened to the customer's "pains" and have addressed them in the quote. Sit at the dinner table and present as I said above and then SHUT UP!! He who speaks first loses they say.

Thanks,
Tim

sasquatchmonk
08-14-2009, 08:22 AM
I just get anymore, I am tired of stressing out about my 'man hour rate.' I am just going to start charging by the job. I know what a 30 yard is, a 40.00 yard, and 75.00 yard.....etc. I think that way to many people put emphasis on a man hour rate. Sure you probably need a set amount about how much you need to make, but there is no reason in going to a bid and looking like a total dumba** because you don't know what to charge. I just take my own yard and visualize it in my mind, and compare that size to the one I am bidding. Its not rocket science. Now when it comes to other stuff besides mowing, maybe I will figure in my rate, but I am just tired of losing sleep over it.

MikeO
08-14-2009, 02:43 PM
the battle of bids i personally hate it myself here is why. You just got the people who have been laid off so there just charging 15-17 bucks a yard because there used to that wage which again, makes the bids go down once again. Then you have the guys who have the zero turns who can do 20 lawns per hour and can afford to do them at a reasonable rate because they have 200 accounts and it doesnt matter to them. then you have the guys who put ads in the paper saying half acre's for 35.00 bucks. then you have you people who are just starting out willing to do anything to get there name out there that have no idea what it really costs. my highest mow job is 55.00 i do it twice a week. my lowest is 25.00. whats my time worth out there is the question how much is gas insurance maintenance? whats a good profit? How much do you want to make a week or month? I like $5,000 a month personally. In this economy can you get that? I think so. What else can you do besides mowing? can you do gutter cleaning? can you install dirt around houses and tree's? Remember some of these guys only mow lawns while others have other offers as well. Do you want 40 bucks a lawn? then ask for it. if you cant get it move on find somebody thats willing to pay 40. thats my opinion.

jasonw
08-14-2009, 03:51 PM
I just get anymore, I am tired of stressing out about my 'man hour rate.' I am just going to start charging by the job. I know what a 30 yard is, a 40.00 yard, and 75.00 yard.....etc. I think that way to many people put emphasis on a man hour rate. Sure you probably need a set amount about how much you need to make, but there is no reason in going to a bid and looking like a total dumba** because you don't know what to charge. I just take my own yard and visualize it in my mind, and compare that size to the one I am bidding. Its not rocket science. Now when it comes to other stuff besides mowing, maybe I will figure in my rate, but I am just tired of losing sleep over it.

I have to agree. Most people at least in my area see lawn care guys as scrubby high school dropouts that cant get a real job. The few clients that I am close to were amassed to learn I actually made more than them and really don't have to mow lawns at all. I can not stand dealing with hourly rates. As I said most are seen as people that cant get real jobs and when you say $35 per hour or something they definitely raise a brow to you. On top of that we have all these kids on summer break mowing lawns for $20 a pop. Its very hard to compete. Most of my better clients get charged 40-50 per mowing, I find myself tossing in a lot of extras such as spraying weeds around the house for free just to keep them happy. I think for most I would be hard pressed to raise my prices again. Because of this I keep massaging myself doing better work and working on better equipment to get my per lawn times down so I can do more in one day and therefore stay in the black. I am hoping when school starts back up I will be able to move in on some more clients. I was crunching some numbers though and found I need to raise my prices about another %20 to afford an employee to work when I can not.

turfmaster
08-16-2009, 12:02 AM
I just get anymore, I am tired of stressing out about my 'man hour rate.' I am just going to start charging by the job. I know what a 30 yard is, a 40.00 yard, and 75.00 yard.....etc. I think that way to many people put emphasis on a man hour rate. Sure you probably need a set amount about how much you need to make, but there is no reason in going to a bid and looking like a total dumba** because you don't know what to charge. I just take my own yard and visualize it in my mind, and compare that size to the one I am bidding. Its not rocket science. Now when it comes to other stuff besides mowing, maybe I will figure in my rate, but I am just tired of losing sleep over it.

No it's not rocket science so why are you stressing out. If you know your overhead costs and what you need to make per hour for mowing you should be able to look at a property and figure how long it will take. I like the dollar a min.
rule. $30.00 yard your at that property no more than a 1/2 hour.

Never ever discuss your hourly rate with customers. A lot of them may think differently if their paying you $60.00/ hour to cut grass even though your charging $30.00 for a 1/2 hour job which is the same thing.

sasquatchmonk
08-16-2009, 10:13 AM
No it's not rocket science so why are you stressing out. If you know your overhead costs and what you need to make per hour for mowing you should be able to look at a property and figure how long it will take. I like the dollar a min.
rule. $30.00 yard your at that property no more than a 1/2 hour.

Never ever discuss your hourly rate with customers. A lot of them may think differently if their paying you $60.00/ hour to cut grass even though your charging $30.00 for a 1/2 hour job which is the same thing.

I just don't see the dollar a minute thing working, to me its to technical. I know what what I have to do and I am charging by the job. And I never discuss my hourly rate, I don't think I said that though but thanks for the advice.

turfmaster
08-16-2009, 11:31 PM
I just don't see the dollar a minute thing working, to me its to technical. I know what what I have to do and I am charging by the job. And I never discuss my hourly rate, I don't think I said that though but thanks for the advice.

The dollar a minute charge is not carved in stone. It is just a good gage for approximately what I like to get for mowing and trimming.

The bottom line: Long as your making money it doesn't matter how you charge.