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    My Name is Chad I started my lawncare and landscaping company 9 years ago. Graduating up for the neighbor kid down the street the mows the lawn. Everyone liked the work I did and I saw more and more interest in it so I decided to jump in with both feet and run with it. The most challenging hurdle for me has been pricing jobs so they are profitable. I didn't have any kind of guidelines on what I should be charging so I just had to wing it. Its been a bumpy road but I have survived so far. A couple years ago I was forced to find a second job in a factory to make ends meat, after a couple slow years. My goal is to re-grow my company and get out of that factory. I dont like working inside, and there is too many limitations on how you can do things. I am used to production and working hard, and nearly everone there works at a snails pace if they do anything at all. I love the lawncare industry though, even more so the landscaping side of it. I love creating beatiful places for people to enjoy. Last year we opened a small nursery, we started off pretty slow but I am hoping this year will be much better.

  • #2
    My Name is Chad I started my lawncare and landscaping company 9 years ago. Graduating up for the neighbor kid down the street the mows the lawn. Everyone liked the work I did and I saw more and more interest in it so I decided to jump in with both feet and run with it. The most challenging hurdle for me has been pricing jobs so they are profitable. I didn't have any kind of guidelines on what I should be charging so I just had to wing it. Its been a bumpy road but I have survived so far. A couple years ago I was forced to find a second job in a factory to make ends meat, after a couple slow years. My goal is to re-grow my company and get out of that factory. I dont like working inside, and there is too many limitations on how you can do things. I am used to production and working hard, and nearly everone there works at a snails pace if they do anything at all. I love the lawncare industry though, even more so the landscaping side of it. I love creating beatiful places for people to enjoy. Last year we opened a small nursery, we started off pretty slow but I am hoping this year will be much better.
    Welcome to the forum, you will find alot of useful information here and everyone is very helpful. What type of lawn service do you have? What are you going to change differently when you get back into doing the lawn service that you didn't do previously to help you stay successful?

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    • #3
      I have been pushing to become a full service lawn care and landscaping company, or a one stop shop if you will. Spreading out that much can be kind of hectec, but I live in a small rural area with a moderately poor economy. So a large volume of just a couple things is not really in the playbook. I do need to get more organized though so I can schedule my time better. When I first started I would buy equipment with the mindset I was going to grow into it, which I realized not long after was a terrible mistake. Now I have learned its better if I can rent it, to do so until I can justify buying that extra equipment. My biggest problem I still struggle with today is trying to be a nice guy. Both when bidding jobs and with employees. Trying to give someone a deal never works out for me, I am getting better at looking at what its going to cost me to do the job and what I am going to be left with in the end, but its still a work in progress. With employees I try to hard to make sure they have enough work to keep them around, which is good if your trying to retain good employees, but I need to focus on doing it in a way that is best for the company. Last summer for instance, I had a guy that came back to work for the 5th year, and we both knew it was his last because he graduates from college this spring. It really helped having him around to help train the new guy as I already had alot on my plate, but later in the summer he really slowed down and wasn't very productive for the crew anymore. If I would have payed a little more attention and hoped in the truck a little more, I would have seen this sooner and could have lit a fire under him to get a move on or hit the road. I guess its as the saying go, "nice guys always finish last".

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      • #4
        The most challenging hurdle for me has been pricing jobs so they are profitable. I didn't have any kind of guidelines on what I should be charging so I just had to wing it. Its been a bumpy road but I have survived so far.
        Welcome to our forum.

        Can you explain to us how you come about a price to charge when you are called to a lawn to mow?

        What processes do you take to calculate that price?
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        • #5
          for pricing mowing jobs, try to be at the same level as those around you or even higher.

          75% of residential mowing jobs I bid, I always get told I am $5 or $10 more than the last jose, but that they would rather go with me.

          Its all in the way you present yourself to your customers. If you look like you are a clean, neat person they would rather pay you $5 more to keep their yard clean and neat. You show up looking like a slob with the mustard from the hotdog you had at lunch on your shirt, they are expecting to pay a lower price for sloppy work.

          Its like what do you expect from a Mercedes vs. Hyundai?

          You expect better comfort and quality out of the mercedes, as opposed to the hyundai, and you have to sell yourself on that note.

          When i go bid a landscape job, I always have on starched blue jeans and a polo shirt with embroidery. Sometimes i even wear shirts from company i do business with that have their logo on them. And when someone mentions it say, yes we do their property maintenance.

          When you go bid job, any job, you have to sell your quality and ability before you even start the work. That means showing people through the way you handle yourself that you are capable of meeting or exceeding their expections on the job site, and as a person.

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          • #6
            for pricing mowing jobs, try to be at the same level as those around you or even higher.

            75% of residential mowing jobs I bid, I always get told I am $5 or $10 more than the last jose, but that they would rather go with me.

            Its all in the way you present yourself to your customers. If you look like you are a clean, neat person they would rather pay you $5 more to keep their yard clean and neat. You show up looking like a slob with the mustard from the hotdog you had at lunch on your shirt, they are expecting to pay a lower price for sloppy work.

            Its like what do you expect from a Mercedes vs. Hyundai?

            You expect better comfort and quality out of the mercedes, as opposed to the hyundai, and you have to sell yourself on that note.

            When i go bid a landscape job, I always have on starched blue jeans and a polo shirt with embroidery. Sometimes i even wear shirts from company i do business with that have their logo on them. And when someone mentions it say, yes we do their property maintenance.

            When you go bid job, any job, you have to sell your quality and ability before you even start the work. That means showing people through the way you handle yourself that you are capable of meeting or exceeding their expections on the job site, and as a person.
            That's a good way to explain it, all of newbies should hear this one, because this is pretty good advice.

            Comment


            • #7
              I have been pushing to become a full service lawn care and landscaping company, or a one stop shop if you will. Spreading out that much can be kind of hectec, but I live in a small rural area with a moderately poor economy. So a large volume of just a couple things is not really in the playbook. I do need to get more organized though so I can schedule my time better. When I first started I would buy equipment with the mindset I was going to grow into it, which I realized not long after was a terrible mistake. Now I have learned its better if I can rent it, to do so until I can justify buying that extra equipment. My biggest problem I still struggle with today is trying to be a nice guy. Both when bidding jobs and with employees. Trying to give someone a deal never works out for me, I am getting better at looking at what its going to cost me to do the job and what I am going to be left with in the end, but its still a work in progress. With employees I try to hard to make sure they have enough work to keep them around, which is good if your trying to retain good employees, but I need to focus on doing it in a way that is best for the company. Last summer for instance, I had a guy that came back to work for the 5th year, and we both knew it was his last because he graduates from college this spring. It really helped having him around to help train the new guy as I already had alot on my plate, but later in the summer he really slowed down and wasn't very productive for the crew anymore. If I would have payed a little more attention and hoped in the truck a little more, I would have seen this sooner and could have lit a fire under him to get a move on or hit the road. I guess its as the saying go, "nice guys always finish last".
              Keep your head up and think positive, and stay educated and I am sure you will do well this time around. Most important thing though is don't lowball your prices just to get business. Good look to you.

              Comment


              • #8
                Can you explain to us how you come about a price to charge when you are called to a lawn to mow?

                What processes do you take to calculate that price?


                I have always tried to base it on how long I think it will take to mow the property on average, but usually lean more towards how fast I can possibley do it. When I was first getting started I read somewhere the nationwide average was $40/hr so thats what I went with for a couple years but seemed to be headind no where fast. I have since gone up to $45/hr as a base rate for lawn mowing but everything is priced by the job based on how long I think it will take. I have gotten pretty good at judging how long it will take to do a lawn, but still have a few discrepencies every once in a while like yards that are too rolly poly or a bunch of stumps at ground level that take special attention to mow around. We mow every week through out the mowing season which really helped us start in the right direction because the speedy mowing in the dryer part of summer helps make up for spring time when its growing super fast. When I got started some fast growing lawns would get cut every 3-5 days in the spring but there just isn't enough people that are willing or can afford that kind of service in my area, and I cant afford to a special trip into town for a couple small lawns.
                I also have a problem with low balling landscaping jobs, not intentionally of course but I have a tendancy to forget certain things that are needed for the job, and dont work enough extra in for unseen problems that may arise.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Can you explain to us how you come about a price to charge when you are called to a lawn to mow?

                  What processes do you take to calculate that price?


                  I have always tried to base it on how long I think it will take to mow the property on average, but usually lean more towards how fast I can possibley do it. When I was first getting started I read somewhere the nationwide average was $40/hr so thats what I went with for a couple years but seemed to be headind no where fast. I have since gone up to $45/hr as a base rate for lawn mowing but everything is priced by the job based on how long I think it will take. I have gotten pretty good at judging how long it will take to do a lawn, but still have a few discrepencies every once in a while like yards that are too rolly poly or a bunch of stumps at ground level that take special attention to mow around. We mow every week through out the mowing season which really helped us start in the right direction because the speedy mowing in the dryer part of summer helps make up for spring time when its growing super fast. When I got started some fast growing lawns would get cut every 3-5 days in the spring but there just isn't enough people that are willing or can afford that kind of service in my area, and I cant afford to a special trip into town for a couple small lawns.
                  I also have a problem with low balling landscaping jobs, not intentionally of course but I have a tendancy to forget certain things that are needed for the job, and dont work enough extra in for unseen problems that may arise.
                  I'll try to help you one time. But after you need to deposit money into my paypal account for tips AKA beer money.

                  The first thing you need to do is know your costs...without them you can't give a realistic estimate. Don't worry what others charge, everyones costs are different. When quoting a job, the easiest way is to go by minute. $1 per minute. You calculate the WHOLE job ( trimming, mowing, blowing, unloading, loading, and drive time). Picture yourself with a 21" push mower going a little faster than usual. How long will that take you????

                  The reason behind that is any mower you upgrade to will help you go faster, doing more lawns per day, making more per hour, etc. The same is true with a helper. A helper is designed to make you go faster. If a lawn takes you 40 minutes by yourself, and 35 minutes with a helper....it would be time to fire the helper.

                  Sell your services based on the customer. I offer weekly, every other week, or one time cuts. Everything is priced accordingly. I push for weekly, but some prefer every other week. Cater to your customers.

                  As for lowballing your jobs, ask us for advice. Theres guys here that have TONS of experience that can help you out. I always found padding my estimate always gives me a little extra to work with incase I underestimated.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It very rare that I will allow anything 2 weeks anymore. Cemetary's can usually get away with it because around here they are usually in sandy soil and dont grow very fast. The school that we cut has reduced what I can do because of financial reasons. So we cut it weekly until the end of June then every other week after that, but its just a loosing battle. I have been trying to hold on to them because it is a big account and did pay good for a few years but these last couple seasons have been hard to handle and make money at it.
                    I do one time cuts for people and even have a couple customers that I cut for before they come up in the spring and after they leave in the fall. I cater to the customer as much as I can but if its 2 weeks they want then they cant afford me because its been nothing but a loosing battle.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Bidding a lawn mowing job is a lot. You have to think about a lot of things.

                      Let's say your mowing an acre with 2 guys and one mower. One mows for 30 minutes, and the other weed eats for 20 and blows for 10 and they are done. You have one man hour total, and charged $60.

                      But then let's say, guy wants you to now and acre and you have 2 guys and one mower, customer says don't weed eat. Well you still are gonna have 1 man hour involved, with one guy sitting in his arse for 20 mins. Your price has to be the same.

                      When you bid a job, you have to think what equipment will be used. Are there lots of corners your big zero turn won't fit? That's more time weed eating. How many flowerbeds are there to edge around? How big is the driveway? Do they edge around the beds that have a rock border, if not that eats up a lot of string trying to get the grass in and between the rocks. Does the septic system leak, or they have a low spot that stays wet that you cant now? There are lots and lots of things to look at and missing small details, can really bite you. I always ask property owners to show me the property lines, and I walk and look and see exactly what needs to be done. I reccomend you not just give a price because its a small lot.

                      I bid a job because I could use my ztr. That didn't work. Push mow ONLY. So a yard in thought would take 10 mins max, takes 40. But I told her I was raising the price from 30 to 40 to pushmow. I really want $50 but its my fault for not asking.

                      Cover all the basis.

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