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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.

Minimum charge per lawn?


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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  #11  
Old 08-10-2009, 10:20 PM
timtrexler
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Great advice Steve! I have experience bidding HVAC installs and I can definitely recommend handing the proposal to the customer rather than mailing or faxing. Just as you say it gives you the opportunity to gauge their response and discuss the bid. I also believe in the good - better - best bid. Good being a basic job, and best being the premier. I believe this would work with lawn service as well.
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  #12  
Old 08-10-2009, 11:03 PM
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I have experience bidding HVAC installs and I can definitely recommend handing the proposal to the customer rather than mailing or faxing. Just as you say it gives you the opportunity to gauge their response and discuss the bid. I also believe in the good - better - best bid. Good being a basic job, and best being the premier. I believe this would work with lawn service as well.
Hi Tim,

What has been your experience in the past with this. Do you have any stories that stand out of different situations you have found yourself in when dealing with customers?

Did you try to upsell the customer who only wants the cheap service? Or how do you handle all this?

When it came to presenting bids, what worked best and what didn't work too well at all?
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  #13  
Old 08-11-2009, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by timtrexler View Post
I also believe in the good - better - best bid. Good being a basic job, and best being the premier. I believe this would work with lawn service as well.
Should all our work not be Premier? We are not cable TV for crying out loud. I simply give an honest price for good honest work. I don't even offer contracts as being a consumer myself if someone wants me to sign a 2 year agreement "Dish network, ATT exc exc" I tell them to shove there agreement. If I paid someone to do a service and it was not to my liking because I didn't pay for the premier package there but would be down the road and have a bad name to boot. I would suspect someone who would offer such a package would be because they really don't want to work.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:44 AM
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Did you try to upsell the customer who only wants the cheap service? Or how do you handle all this?
Steve. Personally I find good honest work up sells itself. When I normally do a bid my clients ask all sorts of questions. Basically I tell them it will cost X amount to get the lawn taken care of and all other work will be on a per hour basis with a 2 hour minimum depending of course on the hourly rate I would charge. For example a $20 per hour rate would have a minimum but a $70 or so for running the chipper or whatever would have no minimum. Basically I find that when you do good work and show respect and care for your clients and there property they really don't care what your rates are, they like you so they pay you. A thought comes to mind. A lack of options is not a good thing to be in our industry. I have found if you take just 10 minutes to talk to a client about the weather they will be your client for life.
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:32 PM
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There is a difference between what a person charges and what a person makes. On the same yard it is possible that one person would charge $35 and make $25 and another person would have to charge $50 to make $25.

I believe there are a lot of people doing "lawn care" that have no idea what they are making. They "think" they are making decent money. But what they are really doing is living on borrowed time. They aren't putting money away for repairs and/or replacement of equipment. They aren't putting money away for the winter when things get slow, but payments are still due. They may not be carrying business insurance, they may not be declaring anything on taxes.

In a nutshell, total up all your fixed costs, get a good estimate on your floating expenses, add some for equipment repair and replacements and then add 10% for all stuff you forgot. Now these costs are basically going to remain the same if you work part time or full time. (yes you are going to have to replace something sooner if you use it daily as opposed to twice a week, but that is why we added the 10%) Now, break this cost down to a weekly basis. (Example, if insurance is $520, it is $10 a week, easy uh)

The number you get is what you have to make each and every week to cover your cost. Okay, you're almost done. Now, add to your cost what you want to make that week and you've now got a number to work with. With this number in mind, ask yourself.... how many of this type of lawns could I mow in day? If you can do 5 in a day and are going to work 6 days... then 5 X 6 = 30 so your needed number divided by 30 gives you what you should be charging for that particular size lawn.

I admit this is an over generalization, but it will point you in the right direction.
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Old 08-11-2009, 09:56 PM
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I had a conversation with my brother in law today about what to charge for mowing.

He is laid off and is doing cash side jobs. He is doing some mowing and 1 job he spends 3 hours mowing with his Simplicity lawn tractor for $15.00 per hour cash.

He didn't understand when I told him he was really working for about $12.00.
Even though he's working under the table I told him the wear and tear, gas and oil he was using probably cost him at least $3.00/hour. He replied that he never gave that any thought.

There are more guys out there like that in this bad economy then I have ever seen in 23 years doing LC.

The good thing is most of these guys will not be around when the economy turns around.
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:46 PM
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The good thing is most of these guys will not be around when the economy turns around.

Most down here in Florida don't last past July with it being so hot and humid. Temps reach about 105* index then add your body temp with your movement when doing a job, equates to them hanging it up.
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:13 AM
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Hi Tim,

What has been your experience in the past with this. Do you have any stories that stand out of different situations you have found yourself in when dealing with customers?

Did you try to upsell the customer who only wants the cheap service? Or how do you handle all this?

When it came to presenting bids, what worked best and what didn't work too well at all?
No real standouts, other than I know the guy that hands in the quote personally gets the job over an impersonal mail or email quote. He is there to review his proposal and answer questions. This puts a customer at ease. Plus he feels more familiar since they have now seen him at least twice.

Let me clarify. Good might be a mowing, better adds another service, best adds even more services. When presented with this type of proposal a majority of customers will, at least, opt for the middle service. It is an upsale technique. Always sell up by selling down. Start with the best service then present the better and finally the good.

When presenting the proposal hopefully you listened to the customer's "pains" and have addressed them in the quote. Sit at the dinner table and present as I said above and then SHUT UP!! He who speaks first loses they say.

Thanks,
Tim
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  #19  
Old 08-14-2009, 07:22 AM
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I just get anymore, I am tired of stressing out about my 'man hour rate.' I am just going to start charging by the job. I know what a 30 yard is, a 40.00 yard, and 75.00 yard.....etc. I think that way to many people put emphasis on a man hour rate. Sure you probably need a set amount about how much you need to make, but there is no reason in going to a bid and looking like a total dumba** because you don't know what to charge. I just take my own yard and visualize it in my mind, and compare that size to the one I am bidding. Its not rocket science. Now when it comes to other stuff besides mowing, maybe I will figure in my rate, but I am just tired of losing sleep over it.
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  #20  
Old 08-14-2009, 01:43 PM
MikeO
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the battle of bids i personally hate it myself here is why. You just got the people who have been laid off so there just charging 15-17 bucks a yard because there used to that wage which again, makes the bids go down once again. Then you have the guys who have the zero turns who can do 20 lawns per hour and can afford to do them at a reasonable rate because they have 200 accounts and it doesnt matter to them. then you have the guys who put ads in the paper saying half acre's for 35.00 bucks. then you have you people who are just starting out willing to do anything to get there name out there that have no idea what it really costs. my highest mow job is 55.00 i do it twice a week. my lowest is 25.00. whats my time worth out there is the question how much is gas insurance maintenance? whats a good profit? How much do you want to make a week or month? I like $5,000 a month personally. In this economy can you get that? I think so. What else can you do besides mowing? can you do gutter cleaning? can you install dirt around houses and tree's? Remember some of these guys only mow lawns while others have other offers as well. Do you want 40 bucks a lawn? then ask for it. if you cant get it move on find somebody thats willing to pay 40. thats my opinion.
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