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Starting a lawn care business. How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.

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Starting a lawn care business.

How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.
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  #1  
Old 01-20-2011, 12:50 PM
tricountylawncare tricountylawncare is offline
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Ok, so I'm just starting out in the lawn care business. I have been posting an ad on Craigslist for about a week and so far have gotten 5 calls. Yesterday I did my first job. It was trimming 2 hedges in the front of the house, redefining the flower beds, spreading pine straw that they already had bought in the beds and edging the drive and sidewalks. They only wanted the front done and the front yard was only about half the size of a normal lot, probably 1500 sq. feet, very small. I charged them $35 and they gave me $40. Does that sound too low for what I had to do?
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:12 PM
wellbiz wellbiz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tricountylawncare View Post
Ok, so I'm just starting out in the lawn care business. I have been posting an ad on Craigslist for about a week and so far have gotten 5 calls. Yesterday I did my first job. It was trimming 2 hedges in the front of the house, redefining the flower beds, spreading pine straw that they already had bought in the beds and edging the drive and sidewalks. They only wanted the front done and the front yard was only about half the size of a normal lot, probably 1500 sq. feet, very small. I charged them $35 and they gave me $40. Does that sound too low for what I had to do?
How long did it take you?? Seems really low to me, but is is hard to tell without knowing the size of the hedges. Did you also cut the grass?
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:24 PM
tricountylawncare tricountylawncare is offline
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Each hedge was only about 10ft. long and about 5ft. tall. They weren't bad, just needed a quick trim. I did run the mower over the yard even though they didn't ask for it because there were leaves and pinestraw in the yard from the work I did in the flower beds. It only took me 10 min. with the mower b/c the yard is so small. It looked like a million bucks when I was done and the owners were ecstatic. It took me over an hour to do it all because I was trying to do my best work even though I felt I under charged them, but am hoping to pick up business from the neighbors. They live in a cul de sac in a wealthy neighborhood. Plus the they want me to do their yard front and back for the rest of the year once the grass starts growing.
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:27 PM
950thomas 950thomas is offline
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you will never grow your business charging those kinda prices u have to figure drive time and so many other factors u should have a min service charge
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:09 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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I was told by someone local that I should charge $1 per linear foot for hedge trimming. If they are wide enough that you must to go on both sides in order to reach/cut across, or if they are higher than your chest - charge $2 per linear foot.

I can relate to "cutting them a break" for various reasons (hoping to get them and neighbors as clients, because it's a senior citizen, because that's the kind of person you are, etc.), but be careful that they don't tell all their wealthy neighbors that you'll mow their lawn for $x, when in fact, you need to charge them $xx.

I guess you could just tell them that was a "first time customer" discount.


Good luck. I'm new to this as well, and pricing is a tricky thing to "get right".
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:43 PM
wellbiz wellbiz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tricountylawncare View Post
Each hedge was only about 10ft. long and about 5ft. tall. They weren't bad, just needed a quick trim. I did run the mower over the yard even though they didn't ask for it because there were leaves and pinestraw in the yard from the work I did in the flower beds. It only took me 10 min. with the mower b/c the yard is so small. It looked like a million bucks when I was done and the owners were ecstatic. It took me over an hour to do it all because I was trying to do my best work even though I felt I under charged them, but am hoping to pick up business from the neighbors. They live in a cul de sac in a wealthy neighborhood. Plus the they want me to do their yard front and back for the rest of the year once the grass starts growing.
Every area is different, but it appears your clients got a great deal. Do you know your costs. How much money do you need to make an hour to cover all your costs *(truck payment, equipment, taxes, insurance, your salaray, profit, etc).

Industry average for landscapers is @$45 an hour. I would have broken up the work and priced it to the customer seperatly.

Maybe $40-50 for the hedges, $40 to put down the pine straw and maybe $35 to cut and edge the lawn. Of course these are just my estimates and your situation is completely different I am sure. However remember you are a professional and deserved to be paid as such.
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:47 PM
tricountylawncare tricountylawncare is offline
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Thanks Wellbiz! I guess I was so anxious to get my first job, I priced myself a little low.
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Old 01-20-2011, 03:25 PM
Growing Green Growing Green is offline
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I've priced myself to low 3 times in a row now. I'm getting better at it though. As I go I'm getting more confidence and understand that I really do a good job and deserve to be paid more. Fun gaining all the knowledge and skills!

Matt
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:38 PM
ritchiem ritchiem is offline
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How much should I charge?

That is the hardest question to answer in this industry. Why? Because the green industry is saturated and there are no standards.

I always get happy when someone asks advice on what to charge because it shows that they want to do right...for themselves and the industry.

wellbiz is correct on the industry standard being an average $45.00 per man hour. That is a good place to start. When you price a job, start off by estimating how long it will take you to complete. And make notes on how long certain tasks take. Over time you'll be able to add prices to services and break it down a lot better.
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Old 01-21-2011, 02:05 AM
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you will never grow your business charging those kinda prices u have to figure drive time and so many other factors u should have a min service charge
What would you suggest charging based on your experience?
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