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  • Lawn care pricing

    This might be a little self destructive if I have competition in the area reading this but I'm curious anyway...

    I live in Southern Florida
    Lots here in our area are 80'x125' *& if on a corner they're a little bigger. *Last summer provided it's a normal house * * * * * (normal amount of landscaping, fences, ditches to line trim around) I would quote $25/cut or $85/mo year round. *I didn't specify much as far as frequency other than to say during growing season I'd be there weekly & out of season It's usually about twice a month. *on a corner lot It was usually $30/cut or $100/mo.

    A couple months ago as things slowed down with the per cut customers I really learned the value of those annual accounts & I need to stack on more annual accounts over the summer to be in better shape next winter. *So Found a way to get the pricing more competitive & lean the cards so I would get more annual accounts than per cut ( in theory anyway we'll see ). *Part of my new proposal form looks like this:

    This proposal is for: the property at the address above. *Normal services include mowing, line trim, edging, blow off all concrete walkways/driveways * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    In this proposal the Monthly Fees are based on 34 services (visits) per calendar year as follows:
    Month = # of visits to be made under this agreement :
    Jan.= 1, Feb.= 1, Mar.= 2, *Apr.= 2, May= 3, June= 4, July= 4, Aug.= 5, Sept.= 5, Oct.= 3, Nov.=2,
    Dec.=2 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Billing options: *Per cut (weekly In summer months) $ * * wk *or Monthly billing with annual agreemnt $ * * * Month
    So for example the same lawn I had been quoting $25/cut or $85 /mo. * before I would now do this.

    If I want $25/ cut: *$25 x 34 services/yr = $850 Divided by 12 is $70.83 * *Rounded up I quote $25/cut ot $71/month

    My prices is more competitve & I still make $25/cut when all is said & done.

    If they need an extra cut in there its just that... extra!

    * * 1) how do you guys price basic lawn care ?
    (cut, line trim, edge & blow off)
    * * 2) how big are your average lots?
    * * 3) do you think I'm over or under priced? *Or about on target?

  • #2
    I just started a lawn business in south florida also....the competion is real tough. Ive seen people charge as low as $20 a month. I dont see how they do it.

    My average customer pays $70 a month or $30 a cut. The way i see it is i can offer $30 per cut and do it twice a month for a while and make $60 total but when wet season gets here and i do weekly cuts, my customers wont stick with $30 per cut and shell out $120 a month when they can just pick up the phone book and call someone else that will cut it for $20 a month. So its a risk to lose your customer that way.

    My strategy is just to give them discounts on the first couple cuts to try to lock them in, then charge them $70 a month.

    I dont know, im still learning alot though. I think properly bidding a job to you make as much as possible and still make it fair for the customer is the hardest part about this business.


    • #3
      $20 a month? *That is nuts! *I wouldn't unload my gear for $20 /cut! * From what I can tell most of my clients biggest complaints about their previous company was on of these:
      a) *The guy did good work but was unreliable & went to long bettween cuts.
      b) *I signed the contract with him for monthly billing & he started scalping the lawn so he didn't have to come nearly as often.
      c) *I signed the contract with the guy & never saw him personally here again & none of his employees speak english!

      I show up & do every job as if I lived there, How would I want it to look if it was my home *(which is ironic because I hate doing my own lawn & it usually ends up looking worse than any of my clients homes). *I think there is a good percentage of people who will pay honest money for good relaible work. *

      I figure to be profitable it is those clients I need on my roster. *I tell customers " I don't claim to be the cheapest, My prices are competitive... *but my quality is 2nd to none! "
      If you do everything legitamate, claim what you make for taxes, have the right workers comp & liability etc. *I don't think you could afford to be that guy that low balls every job.

      I started with that schedule of 34 cuts so my monthly prices would be lower & I though customers would value knowing exactly what they'll get for their money, Though I have yet to sign anyone under that new contract style. *I think it might be too much info!? * or maybe it's that people are hesitant to to sign up & pay $70-100 per month to you when they just met you & the next few months the grass doesn't grow much?

      But I seemed to have better luck during the summer with simply saying verbally:
      I also offer monthly billing, I know mrs. smith that $30 a week is alot to pay for lawn care & this time of year that can mean $120 -$150 a month! so here's what I do, I'll do it for $100/ month year round. *It's more budgetable for you & I can better budget my business knowing exactly what's coming in. *Basically, I agree to make less during the summer & fall *& you agree to help me feed the wife & kids in the winter time. *Either way it's up to you mam. *Which way would you prefer?

      I did pretty well, No I didn't get every one. *but I'd say more than half! *

      So my other question is this, *Do you think I'd be better to use my old way or the new way of presenting montly billing?

      Thanks for your replys on this one in advance, *I really need the input here to decide which way to go.


      • #4
        I would say your right about on target. Im up in Illinois so pricing can be different. I usually charge per square foot (area x .0015) but its best to find out what you can afford. Take overhead into account. If you have insurance, workers' comp., equipment costs, etc.


        • #5
          thanks Rouskey Landscaping for the reply.

          Any one else care to key in? I'm hoping to get a few opinions!


          • #6
            Hi Chuck,

            This is a great post.

            Could you share some insights on this.

            What is the average amount of time it takes you to service the average yard.

            What are your total costs for servicing that yard in that time frame?

            What profit would you like to hit per yard?
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            • #7
              AS far as time, *I work by myself most $25 / cut lawns I get done in 20-25 minutes.
              (once I have done it a few times & have the lawn under control & "trained" The way I cut it, meaning the grass isn't too long, the trimming never gets out of hand & the edging has been done before so I don't have to dig out the edges of a driveway that have been covered over 2 seasons ago! )

              I have a few I can rock in about 17 minutes. - Check the time, get out of the truck, mow, weed eat, edge & blow off, Trailer closed ready to roll, back in the truck. * I hussle like #### though. *I kinda get in a mode like a machine & keep going all day til my cut list is done. *I should say though, I've gotten very used to using a line trimmer to do edging, Kind of an artform to do it right but it saves lots of time, the machine is in your hand & running already!

              I can't really say what profit I'm shooting for per lawn, I've always kinda tracked it by time. *when I'm out mowing I shoot for a $35-40 / hr. *mark including travel time (& my routs are not as tight as I'd want them. *As I go down my cut list I check em off & mark what I made on that lawn today... (Keep in mind my monthlys in the summer, If I get $85 / month & I have to cut it 4 times that month I count it as $21.25 for that cut. Some months are 5 cuts) so I rely on the per cut accounts to keep that figure up in the summer time. *last summer I shot for & usually hit about $225 (gross billed ) per day. * The most I ever did in a day by myself & it happened to be the hottest day of the season (103 deg., 98% humidity, & 106 deg. heat index) was 15 lawns (4 overgrown) for a gross of $650. *

              As far as cost per lawn I don't know, If I could do a month with x# of lawns (the same lawns) every week I could figure it out, but it varys alot I'm sure. *I do remember when my father was running his business (1990-1998) avg. price per cut was around $20 but fuel was only .98 cents a gal. *& I'm sure most expenses we're less then. *Avg. price now is around $25 bucks so I'm sure profit margins are less now than they we're then. *Plus the job market really, REALLY sucks here so every guy in the world that got laid off threw a craftsman tractor in the back of a little pickup & declares himself in the business. *(might be good for you though! More software sales&#33
              * * Lots & lots of low ballers & fly-by-night morrons.


              • #8
                Do you think $59 for a 7500 sq ft lot would be to much? Mowing, trimming, edging and blower


                • #9
                  Sounds a bit high to me if it's on a regular basis.... like I said about lots here are 80x125 = 10,000 sf subtract the average house, garage/driveway..... 7500 sf is about right. I do have some vacant lots I mow for a customer (3 lots) once a month so she doesn't get fined. I run a 52" yazoo kees. the 1st time I had to remove my mulch kit to do it (which I charged $250 for the 3 lots to knock em down) after that I mow once per month with deck all the way up at 5" . I sold it as "field mowing" & let her know it wouldn't be perfect, I'd make 1 pass (flying) & keep the county off her back but that I wasn't going to abuse my machine like that (it's not really that bad) for less than $50 / lot. So I go once a month & make $150 in about 45 minutes. So if it's something like that.... no I think your good.


                  • #10
                    Well my mom was charged $45 for just a mow but it was left uncut for awhile. With the sq ft prices I came up with for just a mow is $25 then extra for trimming and so on. maybe if I take the charge of the blower clean up off and just do it for free it might be a better price.....$44 each cut?


                    • #11
                      Well I was hoping to get a good cross section of people sain averge here for that size lot is x but I don't think thats happening...

                      Rick, yesterday I downloaded & started reading the free publication available here (stop lowballing), According to some of what I read so far, I may be falling into the upper end of the low ball catagory. Though I have heard of a few guys that are $30-35+ a lawn in the area I think the majority are priced around me or lower. I understand If you push quality & demand more money there will be some takers & eventually higher overall profits. But thats easier to do once your busy as ####.... raise your prices & don't take any new work unless at a better rate then slowly drop your less profitable accounts as you replace them or get them to raise up too.

                      I have a wife & 2 kids to feed, I can't really afford to miss 7 out of 10 estimates to get 3 at a higher rate ya know?

                      I do need to diversify more, I offer mowing, prunning, small tree trimming (20 ft tall or so) landscaping & design. I need to choose a direction or 2 to add. i.e. hardscapes, irrigation, aeration, pest/weed control etc.

                      Have you guys heard of lawn paint?


                      • #12
                        Hi Chuck,

                        I think you have brought up a lot of good points. Did you happen to see this post in our blog?

                        How your lawn care business should estimate mowing jobs.

                        Quote[/b] ]I do need to diversify more, I offer mowing, prunning, small tree trimming (20 ft tall or so) landscaping & design. I need to choose a direction or 2 to add. i.e. hardscapes, irrigation, aeration, pest/weed control etc.
                        You are hitting on something important here. The more you find a niche, the higher the profit potentials are. Why? Because less people are offering that service.

                        Have you looked around your area or talked to your current customer base and found that a certain service keeps popping up yet it's hard to find someone to offer that?

                        Quote[/b] ]Have you guys heard of lawn paint?
                        Yes. We were talking about this a while back. I remember there was a lawn care service provider that would use stencils to paint things on lawns like Happy Birthday or promote a certain team with a logo, if the customer had a child in a hs sports team or was a fan of a pro team.

                        What are you thinking about this?
                        - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                        Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.


                        • #13
                          NO no no.....

                          I mean this


                          • #14
                            Quote[/b] ]“They'll look at you about two or three times to make sure that's what you're saying,” said John Imand who owns Always Green Grass Painting Company in North Carolina.

                            Imand started the company last year and is now selling franchises across the country, convincing skeptical husbands and their wives.

                            Melody Teague and her husband will pay $465.00 for a single application

                            “I thought 'well, how much are you paying for this', how many water bills can we pay for this,” said Teague. “But it really does look good.”
                            That is AWESOME!

                            I can't believe people are paying that much for their lawn to be painted!

                            Are you considering starting that up?

                            Is there a need for it in your area?

                            Check out their website here
                            - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                            Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.


                            • #15
                              I don't thing I'd buy into a franchise for $20k ust yet... I did some searching online & found a very similar paint.

                              PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: Essentially a harmless dye which is used on
                              grass and plants mostly for cosmetic reasons. Once mixed with
                              water, you then apply it to damaged grass. The application
                              can effectively mask and hide damage due to fungus, insects,
                              animals and drought. Though commonly used on golf courses and
                              other landscaped public venues, Lawn Green can be applied
                              to any yard safely. It poses no hazard to people and pets
                              and will wash away over a period of 4-8 weeks, generally
                              the time it will take for new plant growth to replace
                              that which was damaged. Applications also serve to alert
                              you to any new damage which is happening. Once you coverup
                              all the damage with one treatment, you can then tell
                              where new fungus or other damage is surfacing by easily
                              spotting new brown patches.
                              WHERE TO USE IT: On any type of grass or turf.

                              RATE OF APPLICATION: This will vary. It is recommended that you
                              start with 4 ounces of Lawn Green to a gallon of water and
                              see if that creates a color dark enough. If not, keep adding
                              one ounce till you get as close a match as possible. Generally
                              a mix of 4-8 ounces is all that is needed per gallon if you
                              are spraying grass which is already mostly green. When treating
                              turf which is dormant or brown, it could take as much as
                              15 oz per gallon of water. Coverage should be in the 500
                              square foot range per gallon of finished product. That
                              means you should get 5,000 to 15,000 square feet of turf
                              treated per gallon of concentrate depending on the
                              strength you use. It is also recommended that you apply the
                              finished product with a sprayer which is able to "mist".
                              We have many that will accomplish this goal including our
                              2 Quart Sprytzer. It does a great job of this creating a
                              mist which is similar to that which comes out of a can of spray
                              paint. When mixing up product in our 2 Quart Sprytzer Sprayer,
                              (ITEM # 287747), you will only need to use 1-4 ounces per tank
                              since it only holds a quart of finished product. Again, for
                              thick grass like Bermuda, expect to get 500 sq/ft of turf
                              treated per gallon of finished product; for sparse grass
                              like bent or Fescue, coverage could reach 1000 sq/ft per
                              gallon of finished product.
                              $30 / qt
                              $100 / gal or 4 gal for $340

                              could be good margines here, & yes I think there would ba a market, no rain, drought conditions & limited watering schedule. Apparently I would need am helper though, from what I understand & it makes sence.... 1 man spraying he other holds some kind of large piece of plastic to guard driveways, landscape curbing etc. from getting painted.

                              I wanna get some & try my lawn first.


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