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Hourly Rate for Push Mow VS. Larger Mower


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Old 08-18-2011, 09:28 PM
aaron2100 aaron2100 is offline
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Default Hourly Rate for Push Mow VS. Larger Mower

I'm just about to start my mowing business. I'm starting out with just a push mower, and am wondering if it makes sense to charge a lower hourly rate when using a push mower vs ZTR or walk behind because the job will take longer. On the job now, we use all ZTRs, so I'm not sure how to rate push mow jobs in comparison.

Thanks
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:15 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Still a noob, but in talking to a neighbor of one of my clients, I commented on how nice his lawn looked.

"They do a nice job" I told him. He mentioned that they had been using a zero turn, but he wasn't happy with how it looked and requested that they use a push mower instead. "They charge me more to do it that way, but I like the way it looks now", he said.

I don't know anyone in the business that uses a zero turn, so I don't know if that's standard practice to charge "more" for a push job.

I'd imagine the reason they charge more is because it takes more TIME. I'm at the point with my push mower that I'm seeing the value in having larger equipment to get more done in a day. You get more done, you can probably even lower your price and still make a profit - "slowing down" for one or two jobs with a push mower eats into that profit.

Make sense? LOL
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:23 PM
aaron2100 aaron2100 is offline
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Yes, makes sense. My thought was that because I don't have the option to use large equipment, it almost penalizes the client if I charge them more at this point when they don't have a choice of what they want me to use. Definitely though, when I have larger equipment and they want me to push mow, I will charge for the extra time. Maybe I should charge more for push mowing now too. I'm not sure.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgemaster View Post
I don't know anyone in the business that uses a zero turn, so I don't know if that's standard practice to charge "more" for a push job.
I use a 36" or a 61" most of the time & my hourly rate is based on using those mowers. If someone wants me to use a push mower to do something & it will take me twice as long to do then I am going to charge my same rate & it is going to cost them twice as much. Doesn't makes sense for me to spend more time doing it their way & getting paid the same.
There is a limit to what you can charge for a lawn & it is mostly based on the size. You can sell yourself & get a better price on some cases & some people are willing to pay more than others but there is a limit. If you are using push mowers to start then go after the smaller lawns, the ones with lots of obstacles, the ones with smaller gates to back yards & the ones that have the hills that you can't use the larger mowers on. Charge what you need to charge - just know where you are going to be competitive.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:26 PM
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Yes, there seems to be a point where people won't pay any more, regardless of how you plan on cutting. The time you spend and the money you invest in equipment is irrelevant to the client. Once you reach that "threshold" you have to decide if it's worth busting your a$$ using a push mower, or leaving it to the "big boys". They still get paid the same as you will, but can get it done in 1/4 of the time.

Time is money.
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
"They do a nice job" I told him. He mentioned that they had been using a zero turn, but he wasn't happy with how it looked and requested that they use a push mower instead. "They charge me more to do it that way, but I like the way it looks now", he said.
This makes you wonder, if you start off mowing a customer's lawn with a push mower and then scale up to a ztr, I could imagine how a customer may not feel they are getting the same level of service because you can mow the lawn faster with a ztr. Because you are faster, they may feel they are overpaying and request you use a push mower. But if you start the job with a ztr, they won't have a comparison to how long it took you to mow with a push mower.

Do you think it comes down to the actual quality of the cut when customers complain and want it mowed with a push mower or do you feel it's all a mental issue where they dont want a lawn care business owner coming in and zipping through the mow and then leaving?
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Old 08-22-2011, 12:29 AM
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i mow almost every single residental lawn with a 46" cut rider, havent had one complaint yet. .or i use my 36" walk behind. The neighbor guy of one of the houses i mow, him and i became good friends, he always laughs when he sees me backing my rider off the trailer. . he says " your using your rider for that small lawn? which a laugh"


Saves so much time and money useing a bigger mower. . . i think my rider uses less fuel then my 22" toro push mower. . One sunday my partner and i mowed 32 lawns in 9.5 hrs and i used 3 gal. of fuel in my rider and he used about 2 gal almost 3 in the push. . .


As for bidding a lawn, when i go over the lawn, you will know off the bat, what mower you can use to mow the lawn, or if you have to use a combination of your mowers to do the lawn. . When i first started 5 years ago i started with a push, and every year bought new and bigger equipment. . now i have about 10 mowers for just my partner and I.
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Old 08-22-2011, 01:04 AM
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I wouldn't recommended having different prices that vary depending on what kind of lawn mower you have.

The entire point of having a zero turn mower is to increase your productivity.



If I do a lawn with a push mower for $100 per month, doing it with a Zero Turn doesn't mean I'd charge a lower rate. It's business man!


EXAMPLE:

Shoveling a Driveway
$50.00
50 minutes

Your theory
Using a tractor to clear snow
$5.00
5 minutes

-

You should be doing;

Using a tractor to clear snow
$50.00
5 minutes







If I buy a tool to make my job easier, the clients will still pay the same amount regardless. I bought the tools so that I can make that money faster, easier, and hassle free - not to shoot myself in the foot!



Charge what you would, if you were to have the lowest end equipment. Do not raise it regardless of what fancy equipment you purchase.
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Old 08-22-2011, 12:09 PM
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Quote:
I'm starting out with just a push mower, and am wondering if it makes sense to charge a lower hourly rate when using a push mower vs ZTR or walk behind because the job will take longer.
As Scott was saying, having a wider and faster mower allows you to perform the job faster and make more money in a shorter period of time.

As the market gets more competitive, lawn mowing prices will go down. As they go down, the only way to compete and still make money is to be more efficient. To be able to mow faster and better over a shorter period of time. Then you have the ability to lower your prices and still be able to profit while others who use slower and smaller equipment, can't get the job done at the competitive price and still make a profit. When they can not compete anymore, they will cease to be in business.
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:33 AM
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Thanks for the insight guys. Very helpful.
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