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  • Turf Dreams
    started a topic Estimating based on Square Feet or time?

    Estimating based on Square Feet or time?

    I am starting a new lawn care business this spring and I have a question in regards to estimating jobs. What is the most common method for estimating a lawn care job? For example, my turf area at my home is 9000 sq.ft. Over the past few years I have paid anywhere from $29-$35 per visit on a weekly schedule. I realize many factors go into estimating but I am trying to figure a starting point to work from. Last year the average time it took to finish this yard was a 1/2 hour. What is the best way to scale this up in terms of turf area? Should I assume that an 18000 sq.ft. yard would be $58-$70 per visit or as the turf area doubles the price doesn't? Our service will be mow, trim, and blow the first year. I have purchased a 48" Gravely ZTR and an Exmark 30" push mower. From the research I did about 75% of the fences had 52" gates. The others either had no fences or had 36" gates. So it looks like 75% of my production will be with the 48" ZTR which I'm hoping will increase my productivity.

    I hope my question make sense. I just want to figure out as the turf size increases does the price increase equally with it.

    Thanks for the help,

    Brad

  • ExtremeLawncareServices
    replied
    Got ya now I always just see the members say its a $60.00 hour when I see no basis for it to be **$ 60.00 ** my mind goes how the heck can a guy ever survive NON-production hours at that rate. I mean here we average 180-210 of clean work days and the rest is working in the rain or crummy weather and besides that the half hour of yard talk while loading up in the mornings .
    Then that gets complicated when office workers are in the office.
    I just know its almost a given that most people don't have a idea of how many hours they log . I explain it to my managers this way when the develope a pricing strategy
    No one works a 40 hour week, so think like this you have 40 hours a week to pay these guys by or the time they are away from their families, then you will grasp wha he is really worth, now pay him that.

    My view is, if Jose or Jose comes to work and is rained out 3 hous late , to bad on me , it is My job(management) to pay him for his day, reguardless of the fact it produced 3 hours of field work. It is my privalage to have that employee because with out that individual it would be me working that spot.
    Besides that you don't ever know when Joey Jr said " dad we are off for school, can you stay home with mommy and me today I miss you. Now members put a price on your employee for showing up on this obvious rainy day.


    Now I will say this as record not just me throwing number on a site
    Because of this dedication of my guys I do pay everyone even the new guy as much or more then a lot of Owners think they make .

    I have a respect issue with guys who say things like I hired him and he works everyday even this winter at 8 am ( which was a shock as it was 8 degrees and he was building a block wall, boss told him to get his a** done and it was this employees falt why as 10 am not 1 but of work was done and the owner was onsite still trying to get the bobcat to start/
    Yet this employee never said a word back, then I here this owner telling his CLIENT all of this even referring to he can find American to work cheaper then mexicans(yes to the client).
    WHAT THE HEL*

    I seen this owner not again or anyone for the next 3 weeks ,
    I now laugh knowing my guys worked beside him , knowing my job manager had asked questions and he offered this employee a job as soon as this job is over....
    I am courious how it will work out for this guy when mowing starts and his main guy walks.
    Carma!

    Leave a comment:


  • rockymtnnut
    replied
    A $40 lawn is a $40 lawn regardless of what you use. If it takes you 30 minutes to finish with a 36 or 15 minutes to finish with a 60 it's the price per minute that goes into your pocket you made $80 an hour with this 36 you made 240 an hour with the 60. That's the point I'm trying to get across about equipment.

    Leave a comment:


  • rockymtnnut
    replied
    No sir , my prices are based per job and that job dictates the mower the square footage dictates the fee and on small lawns I have crews mowing at 210.00 a hour with a single small Ztr. And at the same time a 60" Ztr is a different per 1000 sq ft rate but higher production makes larger or numerous jobs possible
    Say it a open lawn at $2.10 per k and the lawns total 130.5k that bring in $ $274.05 per production hour so for my guys to mow this they must cover 2200 sqft of LOT SIZE A MINUTE
    Now a 5' cut mower cutting 8mph =211.2 k so now some real math
    The 130'500sqft of lot /5280/5= 4.94mph.

    So it is obvious to me a 60" mower capable of flat mowing 8mph should be able to maintain a average 4.95 mph over the area .
    Now 274.05/ 3 acres is 91.35 a acre which is high for a mow and go so how could I sell it? Either by targeting smaller lawns or by offering other included maintenance which is why I do just that in all my lawns. I charge a 1 price for everything that cost me nothing but time.
    I place the most productive size on a lot I can 1 mower and the operator then the second guy does the string trimming,spraying, trimming, weeding, limbing, debris pickup, bed edging,then the mower operator drops the bill off as the blowing is finished.
    My guy on most jobs keep the maintenance done so well it looks as if it's never in need of the maintenance only the grass cutting.

    The longest we allow on a job is 18 minutes gate to gate.
    I have a few pictures from last year at
    www.facebook.com/prop.prfect

    I can't post on sites so I found some old stuff from years back, nothing fancy but it gives you an idea why I can get high dollar jobs in our towns, why we don't lose customer and why I love this industry.
    I think you have misunderstood what I was trying to say. I don't go to a customer and bid a price per hr I bid the whole job complete. I have my target price per hour. I have to be able to look at a job figure out how long it's going take me to complete and go from there. I'm trying to help a guy out it's just trying to get started. You and I do it the same way

    Leave a comment:


  • ExtremeLawncareServices
    replied
    I honestly would guess we have jobs that reach a 4-5 dollar per minute rate.

    Leave a comment:


  • ExtremeLawncareServices
    replied
    How much time would you say you spend on average per lawn? I wonder if this is a factor in how much you can charge per hour as well.
    Time is the game indeed.
    I have even purchased a ferris 5000z 72"( production year one) just for mowing 1 acre lawns. I hated the mower sold it come years end to a guy for 5000 cash after giving $21,000 (it sucked so bad we named it the mole because of the dirt circles it left at every bump .considered buying Husqvarna 72"PZ mowers at 9800 cash and the dealer offered to trade back if it wasn't up to our standards , choose 61" mz units

    A 18 minute time limit is about it we like 1 acre or less and it is the mower and lawn layout. that determines how how much time the crew gets.

    We still charge for spring startup , fall clean up services , fertilize, weed control, and a lot more so upsales are nice as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • ExtremeLawncareServices
    replied
    One thing is certain your equipment will dictate your amount per hr we cannot show up with a 36 walk behind and expect to make $100 per hr. This figure is based on a modern 60 zero turn with a good trimmer and a strong back pack blower. That's why good equipment is so crucial!
    No sir , my prices are based per job and that job dictates the mower the square footage dictates the fee and on small lawns I have crews mowing at 210.00 a hour with a single small Ztr. And at the same time a 60" Ztr is a different per 1000 sq ft rate but higher production makes larger or numerous jobs possible
    Say it a open lawn at $2.10 per k and the lawns total 130.5k that bring in $ $274.05 per production hour so for my guys to mow this they must cover 2200 sqft of LOT SIZE A MINUTE
    Now a 5' cut mower cutting 8mph =211.2 k so now some real math
    The 130'500sqft of lot /5280/5= 4.94mph.

    So it is obvious to me a 60" mower capable of flat mowing 8mph should be able to maintain a average 4.95 mph over the area .
    Now 274.05/ 3 acres is 91.35 a acre which is high for a mow and go so how could I sell it? Either by targeting smaller lawns or by offering other included maintenance which is why I do just that in all my lawns. I charge a 1 price for everything that cost me nothing but time.
    I place the most productive size on a lot I can 1 mower and the operator then the second guy does the string trimming,spraying, trimming, weeding, limbing, debris pickup, bed edging,then the mower operator drops the bill off as the blowing is finished.
    My guy on most jobs keep the maintenance done so well it looks as if it's never in need of the maintenance only the grass cutting.

    The longest we allow on a job is 18 minutes gate to gate.
    I have a few pictures from last year at
    www.facebook.com/prop.prfect

    I can't post on sites so I found some old stuff from years back, nothing fancy but it gives you an idea why I can get high dollar jobs in our towns, why we don't lose customer and why I love this industry.

    Leave a comment:


  • Steve
    replied
    A 2 man crew would have billed 120 an hour in 1996 or 60 x2. Today it's closer to 100$per man hr when mowing.
    How much time would you say you spend on average per lawn? I wonder if this is a factor in how much you can charge per hour as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • rockymtnnut
    replied
    One thing is certain your equipment will dictate your amount per hr we cannot show up with a 36 walk behind and expect to make $100 per hr. This figure is based on a modern 60 zero turn with a good trimmer and a strong back pack blower. That's why good equipment is so crucial!

    Leave a comment:


  • rockymtnnut
    replied
    Were these commercial properties or residential yards or did it not matter?
    Residential

    Leave a comment:


  • rockymtnnut
    replied
    I can not grasp working for $60.00 a hour as a business or a solo/ 2 man crew.
    Nothing is directed at anyone here I just can't imagine it.
    I was higher then that in 1998 and Basicly I have reached far past since .
    Those prices were not based on increasing overhead or inflation , just because I said so was my reasoning.
    I will guess all of our rates are well over $100.00 hour($50.00 per man hour)
    and closing on $200.00 (100.00 per man hour) in many of our trucks with cheap equipment.
    A 2 man crew would have billed 120 an hour in 1996 or 60 x2. Today it's closer to 100$per man hr when mowing.

    Leave a comment:


  • rockymtnnut
    replied
    I can not grasp working for $60.00 a hour as a business or a solo/ 2 man crew.
    Nothing is directed at anyone here I just can't imagine it.
    I was higher then that in 1998 and Basicly I have reached far past since .
    Those prices were not based on increasing overhead or inflation , just because I said so was my reasoning.
    I will guess all of our rates are well over $100.00 hour($50.00 per man hour)
    and closing on $200.00 (100.00 per man hour) in many of our trucks with cheap equipment.
    That was 60$ per man hour in 1996ish yes it has greatly increased

    Leave a comment:


  • ExtremeLawncareServices
    replied
    I can not grasp working for $60.00 a hour as a business or a solo/ 2 man crew.
    Nothing is directed at anyone here I just can't imagine it.
    I was higher then that in 1998 and Basicly I have reached far past since .
    Those prices were not based on increasing overhead or inflation , just because I said so was my reasoning.
    I will guess all of our rates are well over $100.00 hour($50.00 per man hour)
    and closing on $200.00 (100.00 per man hour) in many of our trucks with cheap equipment.

    Leave a comment:


  • Steve
    replied
    I was able to charge $60 an hour by increased productivity.
    Were these commercial properties or residential yards or did it not matter?

    Leave a comment:


  • ExtremeLawncareServices
    replied
    We do it by the square foot. It does in fact translate into time by the hour if you want it to or let it.

    When we do it this way it allows every crew member to get it right by our figures as a minimum job, so if asked that crew can say " yes ma'am it will be about $xxx if you would like us to do it we will bill you when we get it done.

    And as for the price rising equal as the job size grows. This is correct but not practical, you will find it real hard to land larger jobs with everyone's prices being all over the board.

    The funniest thing I have ever seen is the My overhead is more then yours .. When all they do is mow and blow ( it matters but it's not as fearful as they think)

    I always bought new equipment , never borrowed money and I can say every by the hour guy is cheap and every sq.ft guy is to high
    The real reason why that is , is because everyone else wants to make more or less money..... And fail to realize the simple fact reguardless of rates we get what we are worth and what the client will pay.

    Leave a comment:

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