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Edging?


Lawn Maintenance / Lawn Renovation

A great way to talk about all things lawn care related. Grass, turf, shrubs, trees, aeration, fertilization, reseeding, hydro-seeding, mowing, grub control, chemicals and pesticides. Ask questions, give answers. Grow!
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  #11  
Old 07-15-2008, 09:15 AM
tomcat172002
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I think I should probaby raise my prices on a case by case basics. I have 2 customers who are women in there 90's. I know they are on a fixed income so I will keep their prices the same next year. However, I called around other grass cutters to get an idea about their prices in the neighborhood. They are charging between $27 and $35. I am charging $23 to $25 I think I should raise my prices to about $25 or $26. I want my customers to know they are getting a great service with a good price. The combination of those factors will ensure that if they shop around they will continue to stay with me.
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  #12  
Old 07-15-2008, 10:53 AM
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Tom,

What price would you feel comfortable with performing top notch service each and every time?

I wonder if $35 a lawn would be a price you would feel more comfortable with.

It sounds like you really enjoy performing top notch service, but if you don't feel justly compensated for it, you won't want to continue doing it for long.
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  #13  
Old 07-15-2008, 04:19 PM
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Steve,

I think your right I am going to have to increase my prices so I can feel the service I am doing is worth the price. Becasue this was my real first year cutting I was an unproven contractor so I didn't have a leg to stand on when it came to commanding a top notch price. But after one year out there and eveyone compliments me on what a nice job I do. Next year I should be able to get more for my cuts. I think if I increase my prices $25 to $30 that would make it worth my while. Also I work a full time job right now so all the money I am making this year is to pay off all of my equipment. If I can break even in my first year next year I could afford to hire a kid part time. I think just getting enough customers my first year was the hardest part of starting out. Next year hopefully I should be able to grow at a nice pace.

Tom
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  #14  
Old 07-15-2008, 10:41 PM
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Lightbulb Price it correctly from the beginning.

This is a great thread because it examines a trap many people starting out fall into.

No offense to Tom but I have seen this time and time again. A new guy starts out and feels the only way he can compete is by dropping his prices to underbid all the competition. Customers flock to the new guy. He works his butt off providing full service for $10 less than the going rate. Somewhere around mid-season, he starts to do the math of the money he's leaving on the table...$10/week x 10 customers is $100/week. Yikes, underbidding can add up fast especially when you are trying to pay off equipment.

Tom, tell me a few things? What is the difference between a $23 customer and a $25 customer? You say you live in a rich neighborhood. How big are these lawns? What is your total time spent on a $23 customer vs. a $25 customer? How much equipment expense do you have?


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  #15  
Old 07-16-2008, 06:06 AM
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Keith,

When I started passing out flyers and quoting customers the only customers I got were people who previously didn't have anyone last year cutting their lawns. The competition quoted a higher price so they said they went with me because of price. I didn't have anyone who previously had someone who cut there lawns call me. I know every customer now personally and I know next year there is no way they would change; with unless they can get someone do to it cheaper. Since I see my competition on a daily basis they edge and mow just the same as I do they just charge a little more.

The difference between $23 and $25 on 14 lawns is going to be $28 per week that like and additional lawn per week. I know my customers and if I raise my price to $30 right off the bat I am going to lose them. One of my customers a friend of mine asked me to cut for $20 a week he has a gate which I couldn't get through with my mower so I had to do it by hand. At the end of 2 months he said he thought that the price was too high. I told him for 45 minutes its way to low so we both decided to drop the service.

I do a top rated job in the community that I cut in but so does everyone else. If its not broke don't fix it thats how most of these people are. So why would someone go with my grass cutting over someone who is doing a good job for them for the past 10 years????

My break even point on my equipment is 15 months of cutting so I should be able to break even in 15 months. I know that might be a long time but this is not a get rich quick business.
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  #16  
Old 07-16-2008, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by tomcat172002 View Post
The difference between $23 and $25 on 14 lawns is going to be $28 per week that like and additional lawn per week. I know my customers and if I raise my price to $30 right off the bat I am going to lose them. One of my customers a friend of mine asked me to cut for $20 a week he has a gate which I couldn't get through with my mower so I had to do it by hand. At the end of 2 months he said he thought that the price was too high. I told him for 45 minutes its way to low so we both decided to drop the service.
Tom, the purpose for my question is to determine the service difference between $23 and $25. How many minutes do you spend on a $23 lawn...how many minutes do you spend on a $25 lawn. Does the $25 lawn include a service that the $23 lawn does not include or is it merely a function of size of lawn, distance you have to travel, etc?

If you determine customers will pay $2 extra for ala carte services, develop a menu of additional services for customers to choose from.

You never know until you ask and you may be able to bump your customers to $30/week very quickly by simply offering a few extra minutes work on additional services.

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  #17  
Old 07-16-2008, 08:42 AM
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This discussion is getting better and better.

As I was reading all this I was thinking about how when McDonalds was getting going, they were growing pretty quickly and looking for ways to cut expenses. One of the ideas that came up was to serve burgers with meat shaped like a donut, no center. This would allow them to use less meat per burger.

In the book Ray Kroc, the owner, hit the roof and he said our basic product must be able to carry itself. If people think we are ripping them off with our burgers, then we have nothing.

So my point of all this is, if you ever get to the point where you are burned out from offering the services you sold a client, you need to do one of two things. Either increase the price so you feel you are being fairly compensated or drop the customer. Otherwise you end up selling burgers with the center of the meat cut out. This would lead to a lot of bad word of mouth.

Ok, sorry to break in here. Back to the questions Keith asked.
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  #18  
Old 07-16-2008, 04:36 PM
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Ok let me get back to my original problem. I work a full time job and my 14 customers take 2 days to complete. Right now if someone asked me to cut their lawn I couldn't because of time. Maybe 14 lawns in 2 days is way to slow. I have to figure out ways to become more efficient so I can do some more mid season marketing and sales. Its not a question of dollars and cents it a question of time. I want to be able to go after some more customers. I increased the size of my mower from a 36 rider to a 48 riding mower. I didn't sacrifice quality but I am able to get more done in less time. That helped out alot, I dropped a customer who was just to far out of the way which actually helped open up a time slot for me to add maybe one or two more customers. On some of the lawns that I wasn't able to edge the difference between missing one week and edging the next was noticable on others you couldn't tell I didn't edge. That's is what I am trying to get at do other high quality lawn services cut every week or every other week? I was ready for my customers questions about why I didn't edge I had a really good reason because of my edger problems. But no one asked so that made me think about spliting up my customers on an every other week basis. What do you guys think ?
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:36 PM
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What do you guys think ?

Steve's McDonald's analogy is the perfect answer to your question.

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Old 07-16-2008, 08:44 PM
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That's is what I am trying to get at do other high quality lawn services cut every week or every other week?
I would say they shoot for every week. That makes the most money.
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