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  • Edging?

    Hi,

    I just started my lawn care business. Right now I have 14 customers and have basicly leveled off this year with growth. I was looking to see how I could increase my productivity. I traded in my 36 inch rider for a 48 inch and that has helped out alot. I was thinking of splitting up my customers and edging there lawns every other week. I know it looks really good if I edge every week but if I do it every other week that would save me time. I want to keep a good level of service for customers but I also want to make money as well. Anyone out there what is your take about edging every other week or every week. I do work by myself so I don't have a partner to help my out. Anyone input would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Tom

  • #2
    Keep In Mind You Are In The Buisness To Make Money........make Shure Every Time You Are Getting Paid. You Should Edge Every Time You Cut The Yard. Charge Extra For Every Additional Drive Out There To Do Work.............hope This Helps............a.m.

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    • #3
      I always edge every week, it just makes it look so much better, although a few lawns I cut don't need edging cause they are in such crappy shape. I've found now that I'm in my second year, my productivity has gone way up. Once you're at it for awhile, you can keep up nice straight lines and a clean cut at higher speeds, especially while trimming/edging. Last year, I couldn't do more than 8 lawns in a day, now I can easily handle 11-12 without sacrificing quality.

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      • #4
        Are you edging with an ol fashion edger or a stick edger?
        I don't even own an edger.
        I use a trimmer every time,to keep the edges clean.
        if its a yard I just picked up and its over grown I let them know that I don't edge, but I can cut it back , and once its cut back to the side walks edge turn your trimmer up and just maintain it .
        I personaly think the edge looks cleaner when done right with a string trimmer.

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        • #5
          I know it looks really good if I edge every week but if I do it every other week that would save me time. I want to keep a good level of service for customers but I also want to make money as well. Anyone out there what is your take about edging every other week or every week. I do work by myself so I don't have a partner to help my out. Anyone input would be appreciated.
          Great question. Here is my immediate thought. Ideally you should perform the service more often than less because you can make more profit in the month of service.

          So then I was wondering, do you feel you are charging enough for your services? If you were charging the ideal amount, would you want to service it more often than not?

          Is that potentially the problem? That the service fee is too low?
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          • #6
            Well,

            This is my first year cutting so when I bid my accounts I gave them a flat price for edging and cutting. Like $25.00 per week. Last week for the first time my edger broke so I didn't edge. I noticed that I must have saved a few hours at least just cutting and weed trimmiing. After I got my edger fixed I definated went around and got all the lawns edged on my next cut. No one questioned why I didn't edged but the time I saved made me wonder if I should try it every other time? I don't charge and extra fee for edging should I charge extra for that like a cutting fee and and edging or just give a flat rate and include it all?

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            • #7
              I'm with Blaine on this one...

              I don't own an "edger", I just tilt my string trimmer up and edge with that. I rarely, and I mean rarely, see anyone using an actual edger on lawns unless they're cutting a new edge, everyone around here uses a string trimmer, and I have never even considered buying an edger...in my mind it's a useless tool. If you have a decent gas powered trimmer with square line in it, then it can still cut a decent edge even if the lawn hasn't been edged in a while. I use a Stihl FS 55R with .095 square line, and it will hack through longer grass on the edges and throw away a decent amount of dirt...do that 3 or 4 times and you've got yourself a nice clean edge with that little trench and then it's a piece of cake to maintain.

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              • #8
                This is a great discussion so far! It hits two of the major questions. 1st are you using the right tool to be most efficient and 2nd are you charging enough to do the work so you are feeling you make enough of a profit?

                Tom, what is your view on all this now after hearing from everyone?
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                • #9
                  Thanks for all your respones. First I am using an Echo PE-200 its a good edger. I got the head changed out becausue the old head was getting clogged with dirt. So the equipment I am using is fine.

                  The person I used to work with would always edged everytime he cut grass. He would charge alot and he said he could command it given his service. Since this is my first year I think I will continue my premium service and next year I will have to re-evaluate my pricing. I guess this really goes back to the type of Landscaper do I want to be? Since I am in a richer community I do everything so the lawns look their best. I know I didn't quote my highest prices at first and next year if I raise my prices I should be able to get the price raise due to my service. If I stop with the edging now next year my customers might shop around. But if I continue to do what I am doing my customers should pay a little bit higher of a price for the service I offer.

                  What do you guys think?


                  Tom

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                  • #10
                    Tom these are a lot of good thoughts.

                    What would be your ideal fee to charge these lawns for the service you are providing? What would you like to raise it up to next year?
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                    • #11
                      I think I should probaby raise my prices on a case by case basics. I have 2 customers who are women in there 90's. I know they are on a fixed income so I will keep their prices the same next year. However, I called around other grass cutters to get an idea about their prices in the neighborhood. They are charging between $27 and $35. I am charging $23 to $25 I think I should raise my prices to about $25 or $26. I want my customers to know they are getting a great service with a good price. The combination of those factors will ensure that if they shop around they will continue to stay with me.

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                      • #12
                        Tom,

                        What price would you feel comfortable with performing top notch service each and every time?

                        I wonder if $35 a lawn would be a price you would feel more comfortable with.

                        It sounds like you really enjoy performing top notch service, but if you don't feel justly compensated for it, you won't want to continue doing it for long.
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                        • #13
                          Steve,

                          I think your right I am going to have to increase my prices so I can feel the service I am doing is worth the price. Becasue this was my real first year cutting I was an unproven contractor so I didn't have a leg to stand on when it came to commanding a top notch price. But after one year out there and eveyone compliments me on what a nice job I do. Next year I should be able to get more for my cuts. I think if I increase my prices $25 to $30 that would make it worth my while. Also I work a full time job right now so all the money I am making this year is to pay off all of my equipment. If I can break even in my first year next year I could afford to hire a kid part time. I think just getting enough customers my first year was the hardest part of starting out. Next year hopefully I should be able to grow at a nice pace.

                          Tom

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                          • #14
                            Price it correctly from the beginning.

                            This is a great thread because it examines a trap many people starting out fall into.

                            No offense to Tom but I have seen this time and time again. A new guy starts out and feels the only way he can compete is by dropping his prices to underbid all the competition. Customers flock to the new guy. He works his butt off providing full service for $10 less than the going rate. Somewhere around mid-season, he starts to do the math of the money he's leaving on the table...$10/week x 10 customers is $100/week. Yikes, underbidding can add up fast especially when you are trying to pay off equipment.

                            Tom, tell me a few things? What is the difference between a $23 customer and a $25 customer? You say you live in a rich neighborhood. How big are these lawns? What is your total time spent on a $23 customer vs. a $25 customer? How much equipment expense do you have?


                            Keith
                            Start a profitable lawn care business.

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                            • #15
                              Keith,

                              When I started passing out flyers and quoting customers the only customers I got were people who previously didn't have anyone last year cutting their lawns. The competition quoted a higher price so they said they went with me because of price. I didn't have anyone who previously had someone who cut there lawns call me. I know every customer now personally and I know next year there is no way they would change; with unless they can get someone do to it cheaper. Since I see my competition on a daily basis they edge and mow just the same as I do they just charge a little more.

                              The difference between $23 and $25 on 14 lawns is going to be $28 per week that like and additional lawn per week. I know my customers and if I raise my price to $30 right off the bat I am going to lose them. One of my customers a friend of mine asked me to cut for $20 a week he has a gate which I couldn't get through with my mower so I had to do it by hand. At the end of 2 months he said he thought that the price was too high. I told him for 45 minutes its way to low so we both decided to drop the service.

                              I do a top rated job in the community that I cut in but so does everyone else. If its not broke don't fix it thats how most of these people are. So why would someone go with my grass cutting over someone who is doing a good job for them for the past 10 years????

                              My break even point on my equipment is 15 months of cutting so I should be able to break even in 15 months. I know that might be a long time but this is not a get rich quick business.

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