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$10 a Lawn and making a profit!


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  #31  
Old 05-09-2010, 02:17 PM
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It is not lawn care and small engine repair that I am trying to compare here. It is the thought of being willing to allow other businesses we do business with to make money. That is especially true for the local small businesses we deal with every day. Personally, I try to do business with individually owned businesses (as opposed to chain stores like Wal-Mart, TSC, Rural King, Westlakes, Orscheln's, etc). These chain stores take out money out of the community.

Back to topic. My point is, if you guys need to take a mower or other machine to a shop to have some work done on it, and it ends up being something small (but something you can't do yourself), will you be upset if they charge you $20 or $30? Let's say there is some adjustment that needs to be made that you don't have the expertise to do and it takes them 10 minutes from the time you pull into their driveway to the time you pullback out. They charge you $20. You do the math and you determine if they make this much for an entire hour they will make $120 per hour, more than a automotive shop. Will you be upset?

Finally, let me just say, they will NOT average that much per hour. Yet, Jason said he usually averages $160 per hour. How would you feel about a small engine shop averaging that much per hour? I am all for you making that much per hour, I just want you guys to think about it when you take your machines to a shop, they have to make money too. Just remember, the shop probably has well over $100,000 invested in parts and tools alone. Then, you have the building, new equipment, and utilities (among other things). It is not that hard for them to have $200,000+ invested. How many of you who only mow have even $30,000-$40,000 invested, including your truck/trailer?

Sorry for the rant, its just that many times we take a lot of lip for charging so much, yet, we have a much greater investment than the complainers do.

Think about it.

P.S. Jason, this is not directed at you personally, just asking a question to the readers here as a whole. I simply want you guys to think about it that typically your small engine shop has a LOT MORE of an investment than the commercial lawn care guy does and needs to make a living too.
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  #32  
Old 05-09-2010, 02:54 PM
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I would not go to a shop but if I did I would not even ask there price, I would have the work done and pay the bill. Now if an engine rebuild ran me &59.99 you bet your but I am going somewhere ells to have the work checked. I would question the quality of anyone's work who comes in more than %50 lower on a bid no matter what the service is. I would rather pay more and have it done right than save a buck and do it over again myself a week later.
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  #33  
Old 05-19-2010, 06:34 PM
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I just got through this whole thread, and it's quite the rant.

I like to support small businesses, and the repair guy I use is a nice guy, and runs it out of his house. I don't know enough about mowers to work on them myself, so I go to him. Soon I should be able to do my own work on the rainy days and such.

Now, to comment on the $10/lawn debate. I charge a minimum of $20 per lawn, but I usually don't get lawns above the $30 range. Now, just to clarify, I am making $1/min on these lawns. I don't feel I am underbidding, but at the same time I can be more competitive because I have less overhead. But that doesn't mean I lower my price, it just means I make more money.

Where I feel I underbid is with lawn maintenance. That's where I screw myself.

But as far as overhead does go, I try to not take any clippings. I either try to mulch-mow, or use their debris container, but when a customerís lawn requires that I take the clippings...well, what about that overhead? I estimate it costs $1 just in clippings from one yard.

Also, what about the customer who ask you for extra stuff? "Hey, can you spray the weeds?"...What's your answer going to be? "No, I don't do that, call another company". Hell no. I started getting requests for that, so I went out and bought a sprayer.

Then I got people interested in edging...so I got an edger.

I don't foresee someone charging less staying in business, because the moment their mower breaks, their business stops. I'm scared to death of my mower breaking on me, and I can afford to replace it, I would just rather keep saving for a motorcycle, a new trailer, and a bachelor party (yes, I'm saving to buy/do all that in less then a month).

And I can afford to save like that because I don't cut my own throat by charging too little. How do you expect to keep a customer for next season when you tell them: "Oh, just so you know my prices have gone up...ya, last year I only charged you $10, but this year I have to charge you $20". That's a huge jump, and will just leave the customer thinking that they can just find another $10-guy.

Lets be real, I would pay a kid $10 to cut my lawn, but I wouldn't cut someoneís lawn for only $10.

I could keep going, but I'm starting to rant myself, lol.
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  #34  
Old 05-19-2010, 09:29 PM
JP Landscaping JP Landscaping is offline
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So I was talking to a guy in town I know, who also mows lawns and this is what he had to say:

His average lawn is about $15...That's A lawn I would charge 30-35 for.
His truck is a 79 Dodge. He says his insurance is almost free. He uses a self propelled push mower (Toro) not commercial... A trimmer from Home depot, and a leaf blower he got for free. (he is also a mechanic so he works on his own equipment).

So he adds, his insurance is really low because he is old with a good record and his truck is old. Plus he uses that truck personally so even if he wasn't using it for business, he would still have all those expenses.

He told me he has 20 lawns and he does them in the evenings during the week. So for a couple of hours in the evening time he's making an extra $300 or so each week.

My question to you is...out of those 30 you charge to mow a lawn, how much is profit?
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  #35  
Old 05-20-2010, 02:42 AM
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I use stuff that isn't really commercial, aside from maybe the new Echo blower, but I have a Toro mower, and a $70 Sears trimmer, and some other Home Depot stuff.

My lawns are in the $20-$30 range, not counting the lawns that I maintain, which could technically run in the $30-$40 range. I spent about 25% on expenses last month, with (strangely) only about 10% in expenses this month, but the month is not yet over, and last month I bought some equipment.

With a lower fee your cost to run a business doesn't go down, it goes up. You still have to pay the same amount in gas as the other guy charging double, but his profit is greater, IMO.

As I see it, if you make $2,000 this month, but spend $500 in expenses, you are better off then the guy making $1,000 and spending $500 in expenses.

Also, there are people who think that $20 is over-priced to mow, but those are the people looking up and down the street for a kid to mow for $10. But then there are people that think $20 is too little.

I have had so many people not flinch when I tell them "Ya, it's pretty over-grown, I can cut it for $60". Yet I have had only a few people comment about a high price, but those are usually the people who go: "Yea, I'm not looking to spent more then $25 or $30 to get it cut". So I walk around and then say: "Hmmm, I can cut it for $40". They say no, and I walk away.
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  #36  
Old 07-25-2010, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP Landscaping View Post
Take this scenerio for instance:

What do you guys think??

Lets analyze this: what would be his costs?
- basically his operating costs (variable)
gas, maintanence, administration, ??
- his fixed costs would be pretty low
: registration, insurance, adv, what else??
I did not read the many pages of replies!
If you would like to read the entire quoted post, please scroll to the last page and look at the last post, which is post #1 that started this thread!

My analization:
His fixed costs could be more if:
Assuming his grandpa owns an equipment shop, his mower/equipment shouldnt cost anything if it breaks
But if
his truck motor blows up..
his transmission malfunctions due to pulling a heavy load in OD for too long..
He has a flat tire!!! Sidewall(unfixable) can cost a new tire or a $20-30 dollar used one!
Then:
If he is uninsured as many know, a lawsuit can be costly!

Then with these unfortunate scenario's he is broke or in debt ;(
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  #37  
Old 08-06-2010, 08:56 PM
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I live in Wisconsin near Miliwukee, where there are alot of small city lots, (i live in the country, so im not able to do this), but anyways on craigslist there is someone selling there, $10 a mow landscape company. now i have no idea how this is workin out for them, heck for all i know it mite just be a kid. All i know is that i sure cant compete with that.
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  #38  
Old 08-26-2010, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP Landscaping View Post
So I was talking to a guy in town I know, who also mows lawns and this is what he had to say:

His average lawn is about $15...That's A lawn I would charge 30-35 for.
His truck is a 79 Dodge. He says his insurance is almost free. He uses a self propelled push mower (Toro) not commercial... A trimmer from Home depot, and a leaf blower he got for free. (he is also a mechanic so he works on his own equipment).

So he adds, his insurance is really low because he is old with a good record and his truck is old. Plus he uses that truck personally so even if he wasn't using it for business, he would still have all those expenses.

He told me he has 20 lawns and he does them in the evenings during the week. So for a couple of hours in the evening time he's making an extra $300 or so each week.

My question to you is...out of those 30 you charge to mow a lawn, how much is profit?
WOW $15 per lawn would barely cover my vehicle and liability insurance. I am willing to bet he has no liability insurance so at $300 per week if he puts a rock through a windshield he will lose a months pay replacing it. Not only that once the clients and city find out he is not insured they will more than likely put a stop to his business. For those 20 laws I would be doing them every 2 weeks in my area and taking in $1,800-2,000 per month for them. If I did them weekly like him it would be $3,600-$4,000 per month. That is going with the average of $45-$50 that I get in my area. I dont really work on my own equipment. I change the oil and air filters and stuff like that but everything I have is new and under warranty so I dont have to work on any of it. When the warranty is gone and I have trouble I will more than likely haul it to the bone yard on my farm and just get a new one. I also use only residential grade equipment so if my push mower blows up I am only out $200 for a new one. $2,000 tops for the tractor.
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  #39  
Old 08-26-2010, 07:00 PM
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Some chick called me out today to "trim" her yard from my craigslist ad, i made her my last stop since first service calls can be HOURS of work to make them worth a damn and not a killer... which, this ladies yard looked like a grass Nome took a dump all over the place...

I told her over the 25$ service it would be an additional hour worth of labor to complete it, so, two hours for 80$ CHEAP! She said it was too expensive, i handed her my papers (Tax ID, insurance card, fuel fill ups) and showed her this wasnt a low cost industry and making sure she was covered cost me money, you pay for quality...
She talked with her husband and he came out all huffy and puffy "I dont want anything special, i just want it cut and the hedges done" I walked him to the hedges and grabbed a hand full of morning glory from the cap and walked 12feet from him pulling the weeds out, his jaw hit the floor "Wow, i thought that was part of the hedges" Pulled out his wallet and handed me 150$ and told me to do as much as i could in his yard on that. I wrote him up for the 80$ in labor and two additional cuts and a spray treatment. He was STOKED, i hooked him up since he realized i wasnt f-ing with him and he realized HE f-ed it up.

People get what they pay for, i can use 55$ in gasoline a day just in my truck and mowers... doesnt include my mix fill ups every other day. Insurance, LoJack on the trailer, Fuel, Blades, Tune-Ups...

I want to hire this kid that is making 10$ a lawn and put him on my route, give him 2.25$ a lawn and call it a Business deal .

matt
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  #40  
Old 08-27-2010, 01:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAKLawnCutter View Post
Some chick called me out today to "trim" her yard from my craigslist ad, i made her my last stop since first service calls can be HOURS of work to make them worth a damn and not a killer... which, this ladies yard looked like a grass Nome took a dump all over the place...

I told her over the 25$ service it would be an additional hour worth of labor to complete it, so, two hours for 80$ CHEAP! She said it was too expensive, i handed her my papers (Tax ID, insurance card, fuel fill ups) and showed her this wasnt a low cost industry and making sure she was covered cost me money, you pay for quality...
She talked with her husband and he came out all huffy and puffy "I dont want anything special, i just want it cut and the hedges done" I walked him to the hedges and grabbed a hand full of morning glory from the cap and walked 12feet from him pulling the weeds out, his jaw hit the floor "Wow, i thought that was part of the hedges" Pulled out his wallet and handed me 150$ and told me to do as much as i could in his yard on that. I wrote him up for the 80$ in labor and two additional cuts and a spray treatment. He was STOKED, i hooked him up since he realized i wasnt f-ing with him and he realized HE f-ed it up.

People get what they pay for, i can use 55$ in gasoline a day just in my truck and mowers... doesnt include my mix fill ups every other day. Insurance, LoJack on the trailer, Fuel, Blades, Tune-Ups...

I want to hire this kid that is making 10$ a lawn and put him on my route, give him 2.25$ a lawn and call it a Business deal .

matt
HAHA trust me you dont want to hire someone that cheep. He probably cuts laws with his teeth.
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