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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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Old 02-21-2013, 12:39 PM
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Steve Steve is online now
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Hi Eric,

Welcome to our forum.

Why not keep this simple.

How many hours are you planning on working this year?

Divide your expenses by those hours and come up with an operating cost per hour.

When you estimate the properties, figure out how long the job will take and multiply that by your hourly cost?

You will also need to look around and see what competitors are charging to help mold your ultimate price.

WALK MOWING AT 4ft/s WITH A 30 MOWER = 10sqft/s
with this number, to mow a 1000 sqft area should take 1.66 minutes.
round up to 3 minutes.
At $1/min and 1000sqft taking 3 minutes = $3/1000sqft
This is great you are thinking this minute, but I think trying to be this specific before you get out there is an exercise in futility. This may be more the type of cost breakdown you want to do after you have been out there and you have recorded some real world variables.
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Old 02-22-2013, 07:30 AM
krzys666 krzys666 is offline
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steve is totally right.
take everything into an hourly rate.
a 3k lawn you should be in and out in 20-30 minutes doing everything.
even at 60 an hour your only looking at 30-40 dollars depending on drive time.
your insurance estimate is high.
Zawadzki Landscaping
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:01 AM
EricS EricS is offline
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Thanks, you have a great site here and thanks to you and krzys666 for the replies. Steve, I like your method a lot... It is really simple. Let's see if I have this right...?

I based everything off of working 20 hours per week for a 32 week season. That gives me a season total of 640 hours divided by my estimated total of expenses for the same time period $3650 gives me an operating cost of $5.70 per hour. I always like to round up for padding, so we'll call it $6/hr.

So if a 3000sqft property for mowing, edging, trimming and blowing should take about 30 minutes, so at $60/hr, my grand total for that customer should be $36 before factoring in any driving time. Correct?

So now I'm curious as everyone seems to have a minimum, up to what square footage do you change your pricing? eg. $30 up to 2000sqft? then $5 per 1000sqft after that?
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Old 02-22-2013, 11:17 AM
LawnBoy0311 LawnBoy0311 is offline
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[quote=EricS;122340]Steve, I like your method a lot... It is really simple.QUOTE]

DING DING DING! Thats what I was trying to tell you! But you had this crazy math formula you were stuck on using!

The square footage doesn't matter a whole lot. What matters is how long it will take you. Consider it this way:

You pull up to the customers house and unload your gear. You have a push mower (or a slightly higher walk behind), trimmer, and blower. How long do you think it take you to cut the property???? Then take your hourly rate and apply it. If it will take you an hour to unload, mow,trim, blow, and pack back up, then you charge them $50. If it takes you 30 minutes, then it's $25. Get it now???????? If it's a fairly decent drive between one customer to the next, add on a couple dollars for drive time.

95% of the time no 2 properties will be the same. Thats why every property is prices different. If a neighbor says "Why is my price higher??" Explain to him/her the property is different. More trimming, or mowing, or blowing, or your just plain old tired of stepping in his dogs crap.

Estimating is not rocket science. But KEEP IT SIMPLE! There's no need to give yourself a headache every time someone wants a quote because you have this big formula down to the penny of what it will cost. Walk the property, look at the amount of trimming and blowing off, then ask "How long will this take me?" You will also get quotes delivered much faster to the potential client. Faster quotes = better chance of a new client.

The more quotes you do, the better you'll get. Practice it. Take a walk around your neighborhood and look at front yards.
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