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  #1  
Old 02-17-2008, 10:17 AM
musician/lawnman musician/lawnman is offline
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This might be a little self destructive if I have competition in the area reading this but I'm curious anyway...

I live in Southern Florida
Lots here in our area are 80'x125' *& if on a corner they're a little bigger. *Last summer provided it's a normal house * * * * * (normal amount of landscaping, fences, ditches to line trim around) I would quote $25/cut or $85/mo year round. *I didn't specify much as far as frequency other than to say during growing season I'd be there weekly & out of season It's usually about twice a month. *on a corner lot It was usually $30/cut or $100/mo.

A couple months ago as things slowed down with the per cut customers I really learned the value of those annual accounts & I need to stack on more annual accounts over the summer to be in better shape next winter. *So Found a way to get the pricing more competitive & lean the cards so I would get more annual accounts than per cut ( in theory anyway we'll see ). *Part of my new proposal form looks like this:


This proposal is for: the property at the address above. *Normal services include mowing, line trim, edging, blow off all concrete walkways/driveways * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In this proposal the Monthly Fees are based on 34 services (visits) per calendar year as follows:
Month = # of visits to be made under this agreement :
Jan.= 1, Feb.= 1, Mar.= 2, *Apr.= 2, May= 3, June= 4, July= 4, Aug.= 5, Sept.= 5, Oct.= 3, Nov.=2,
Dec.=2 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Billing options: *Per cut (weekly In summer months) $ * * wk *or Monthly billing with annual agreemnt $ * * * Month
So for example the same lawn I had been quoting $25/cut or $85 /mo. * before I would now do this.

If I want $25/ cut: *$25 x 34 services/yr = $850 Divided by 12 is $70.83 * *Rounded up I quote $25/cut ot $71/month

My prices is more competitve & I still make $25/cut when all is said & done.

If they need an extra cut in there its just that... extra!

So:
* * 1) how do you guys price basic lawn care ?
(cut, line trim, edge & blow off)
* * 2) how big are your average lots?
* * 3) do you think I'm over or under priced? *Or about on target?



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  #2  
Old 02-17-2008, 08:41 PM
Dzielak51 Dzielak51 is offline
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I just started a lawn business in south florida also....the competion is real tough. Ive seen people charge as low as $20 a month. I dont see how they do it.

My average customer pays $70 a month or $30 a cut. The way i see it is i can offer $30 per cut and do it twice a month for a while and make $60 total but when wet season gets here and i do weekly cuts, my customers wont stick with $30 per cut and shell out $120 a month when they can just pick up the phone book and call someone else that will cut it for $20 a month. So its a risk to lose your customer that way.

My strategy is just to give them discounts on the first couple cuts to try to lock them in, then charge them $70 a month.

I dont know, im still learning alot though. I think properly bidding a job to you make as much as possible and still make it fair for the customer is the hardest part about this business.
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  #3  
Old 02-17-2008, 10:23 PM
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$20 a month? *That is nuts! *I wouldn't unload my gear for $20 /cut! * From what I can tell most of my clients biggest complaints about their previous company was on of these:
a) *The guy did good work but was unreliable & went to long bettween cuts.
b) *I signed the contract with him for monthly billing & he started scalping the lawn so he didn't have to come nearly as often.
c) *I signed the contract with the guy & never saw him personally here again & none of his employees speak english!

I show up & do every job as if I lived there, How would I want it to look if it was my home *(which is ironic because I hate doing my own lawn & it usually ends up looking worse than any of my clients homes). *I think there is a good percentage of people who will pay honest money for good relaible work. *

I figure to be profitable it is those clients I need on my roster. *I tell customers " I don't claim to be the cheapest, My prices are competitive... *but my quality is 2nd to none! "
If you do everything legitamate, claim what you make for taxes, have the right workers comp & liability etc. *I don't think you could afford to be that guy that low balls every job.

I started with that schedule of 34 cuts so my monthly prices would be lower & I though customers would value knowing exactly what they'll get for their money, Though I have yet to sign anyone under that new contract style. *I think it might be too much info!? * or maybe it's that people are hesitant to to sign up & pay $70-100 per month to you when they just met you & the next few months the grass doesn't grow much?

But I seemed to have better luck during the summer with simply saying verbally:
I also offer monthly billing, I know mrs. smith that $30 a week is alot to pay for lawn care & this time of year that can mean $120 -$150 a month! so here's what I do, I'll do it for $100/ month year round. *It's more budgetable for you & I can better budget my business knowing exactly what's coming in. *Basically, I agree to make less during the summer & fall *& you agree to help me feed the wife & kids in the winter time. *Either way it's up to you mam. *Which way would you prefer?

I did pretty well, No I didn't get every one. *but I'd say more than half! *

So my other question is this, *Do you think I'd be better to use my old way or the new way of presenting montly billing?

Thanks for your replys on this one in advance, *I really need the input here to decide which way to go.



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  #4  
Old 02-18-2008, 01:58 AM
Rouskey Landscaping Rouskey Landscaping is offline
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I would say your right about on target. Im up in Illinois so pricing can be different. I usually charge per square foot (area x .0015) but its best to find out what you can afford. Take overhead into account. If you have insurance, workers' comp., equipment costs, etc.
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  #5  
Old 02-18-2008, 08:24 PM
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thanks Rouskey Landscaping for the reply.

Any one else care to key in? I'm hoping to get a few opinions!
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Old 02-18-2008, 08:31 PM
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Hi Chuck,

This is a great post.

Could you share some insights on this.

What is the average amount of time it takes you to service the average yard.

What are your total costs for servicing that yard in that time frame?

What profit would you like to hit per yard?
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  #7  
Old 02-18-2008, 09:31 PM
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AS far as time, *I work by myself most $25 / cut lawns I get done in 20-25 minutes.
(once I have done it a few times & have the lawn under control & "trained" The way I cut it, meaning the grass isn't too long, the trimming never gets out of hand & the edging has been done before so I don't have to dig out the edges of a driveway that have been covered over 2 seasons ago! )

I have a few I can rock in about 17 minutes. - Check the time, get out of the truck, mow, weed eat, edge & blow off, Trailer closed ready to roll, back in the truck. * I hussle like #### though. *I kinda get in a mode like a machine & keep going all day til my cut list is done. *I should say though, I've gotten very used to using a line trimmer to do edging, Kind of an artform to do it right but it saves lots of time, the machine is in your hand & running already!

I can't really say what profit I'm shooting for per lawn, I've always kinda tracked it by time. *when I'm out mowing I shoot for a $35-40 / hr. *mark including travel time (& my routs are not as tight as I'd want them. *As I go down my cut list I check em off & mark what I made on that lawn today... (Keep in mind my monthlys in the summer, If I get $85 / month & I have to cut it 4 times that month I count it as $21.25 for that cut. Some months are 5 cuts) so I rely on the per cut accounts to keep that figure up in the summer time. *last summer I shot for & usually hit about $225 (gross billed ) per day. * The most I ever did in a day by myself & it happened to be the hottest day of the season (103 deg., 98% humidity, & 106 deg. heat index) was 15 lawns (4 overgrown) for a gross of $650. *

As far as cost per lawn I don't know, If I could do a month with x# of lawns (the same lawns) every week I could figure it out, but it varys alot I'm sure. *I do remember when my father was running his business (1990-1998) avg. price per cut was around $20 but fuel was only .98 cents a gal. *& I'm sure most expenses we're less then. *Avg. price now is around $25 bucks so I'm sure profit margins are less now than they we're then. *Plus the job market really, REALLY sucks here so every guy in the world that got laid off threw a craftsman tractor in the back of a little pickup & declares himself in the business. *(might be good for you though! More software sales!)
* * Lots & lots of low ballers & fly-by-night morrons.



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  #8  
Old 02-18-2008, 10:43 PM
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Do you think $59 for a 7500 sq ft lot would be to much? Mowing, trimming, edging and blower
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Old 02-18-2008, 11:06 PM
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Sounds a bit high to me if it's on a regular basis.... like I said about lots here are 80x125 = 10,000 sf subtract the average house, garage/driveway..... 7500 sf is about right. I do have some vacant lots I mow for a customer (3 lots) once a month so she doesn't get fined. I run a 52" yazoo kees. the 1st time I had to remove my mulch kit to do it (which I charged $250 for the 3 lots to knock em down) after that I mow once per month with deck all the way up at 5" . I sold it as "field mowing" & let her know it wouldn't be perfect, I'd make 1 pass (flying) & keep the county off her back but that I wasn't going to abuse my machine like that (it's not really that bad) for less than $50 / lot. So I go once a month & make $150 in about 45 minutes. So if it's something like that.... no I think your good.
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Old 02-18-2008, 11:45 PM
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Well my mom was charged $45 for just a mow but it was left uncut for awhile. With the sq ft prices I came up with for just a mow is $25 then extra for trimming and so on. maybe if I take the charge of the blower clean up off and just do it for free it might be a better price.....$44 each cut?
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