But This All Depends On Your Pricing Structure Of Course
The right prices can help you earn new business, retain customers, and grow in your market. On the flip side, a bad pricing structure can cause your business to go under and fast. No pressure, of course
But seriously, I want to help you set up your lawn care business for success. To help, Ive put together a guide for pricing lawn care services. Ready to get started? Get your pen and paper out!
Free Lawn Care Flyer Templates And Examples
Advertising is how business owners get the word out about their services or products, and it should be no different for a lawn care business. If you run such a company, you can use Lawn Care Flyers to get customers excited about your services, promotions, and events. You can also incorporate them into your marketing strategy, where they will help you turn potential leads into loyal, long-term customers. Are you interested in growing your lawn care business? Read on to learn more about these flyers.
Its Not Always About The Money
Senior Landscape Designer Karl Naegler from Rochester, NY has seen it all in his 20+ years of experience.
“If you take care of your employees, listen to them, treat them fair and as equals to one another, give them at least two reviews, have a clear set of goals you would like them to perform, and have an open-door policy on any topic, then you will retain them. Higher pay is just one item.”
– KARL NAEGLER, CNLPVP NEW YORK STATE NURSERY AND LANDSCAPE ASSOCIATE BOARD
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Rates Vary A Little By Location
Much of this depends on what part of the country you live in.
For example, pricing for lawn maintenance services in warmer climates such as Florida or California are more competitive than they are as compares to cooler climates.
You might be wondering why this is?
Well, think about it. The lawn care business is more stable in climates where the grass needs cutting year-round. Naturally, in an area where grass grows for shorter seasons, lawn care services have to figure out how to make ends meet, during the wintertime.
Put another way, lawn mowing services are treated more as a commodity in warmer climates.
And more as a luxury service in Northern climates.
Landscaping And Groundskeeping Workers
As of 2011, general landscaping and groundskeeping workers reported an average annual income of $25,650 and an average hourly wage of $12.33. Half of all general landscaping and groundskeeping workers earned hourly wages of between $9.28 and $14.29. In general, those who were employed by the government or by elementary and secondary schools tended to make more money than the employees of private contractors. Those in the Northeast and on the Pacific Coast reported higher average wages than the rest of the nation, and those in the Southern states reported some of the lowest.
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The Best Incentives To Keeping Local Top Talent
So far, weve discussed about the various ways to properly pay lawn care employees as well as various payment models.
Now, lets talk about the best incentives for keeping local top talent.
Take a look at a few different types of perks lawn care businesses can offer to remain competitive:
- Company events
- incentive program
I have done all sorts of things . My favorite was handing out scratch-off tickets if the crews hit their quota for the week. If all met it by noon on Friday, then a lunch party was provided at 1:00 PM, and they got paid for it. It helped keep overtime down, yet they were being rewarded. They also got the big scratch-off $10 ticket, and we had fun hanging out, talking shop at the end of the week. I had a ton of respect for my employees, and I tried to keep it on a professional level.
Karl Naegler CNLPVP New York State Nursery and Landscape Association Board
For more ideas on rewarding employees, check out Chad Reinholzs incentive ideas for the green industry.
Remember, salary and pay are still very important to employees but many consider benefits to also be in the conversation.
As you determine how much to pay lawn care employees, keep these numbers in mind:
- 80% of employees prefer new or additional benefits over a pay increase
- 90% of millennials prefer benefits over a pay raise
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So What Is A Fair Rate
No doubt about it, the consensus among the lawn care services who participated in our poll is that the average charge for professional lawn mowing services is around $1 per minute of grass cutting.
Put another way, lets say it takes your lawn mowing service 30 minutes to mow your yard by himself. You can figure the $30 per lawn mowing is a fair price to pay based on average market pricing.
Now lets say he has a helper and there are 2 men on the lawn care team?
Well, then he needs to be in and out of your lawn in 15-20 mins for that $30 price.
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Why Should I Start A Lawn Care Business
A lawn care business could be the best and easiest step towards self-employment you could ever make. With a lot of businesses you require vast amounts of capital wheres with a lawn care business, you could start with as little as a pickup and a used lawnmower and line trimmer and a blower. In fact, you could lower your costs even more by using the line trimmer as a blower. When I first started mowing lawns, there were no blowers so for the first ten years, or so I used to turn the line trimmer on its side to blow grass off paths and such. Using a line trimmer for this can work but it is not easy to do, and you can only do small areas.
One of the best things is that lawn care is a low entry-level business. You can start off with very little money invested. The low entry cost will turn out to be a blessing and a curse for you. The good news is that this will enable you to get started very quickly. The bad news is that everyone else can do that too. If you stick around for a while, you will get used to seeing people come and go.
Another great thing about this industry is that the cash flow is consistent. When you start off with any business cash flow can be a worry. However, in this industry, you get a reoccurring income from day one. You book a lawn, and you turn up every week or fortnight to cut it. A regular income like this is the nearest thing to a regular pay packet you can get being self-employment.
Have A Startup Budget For Your Lawn Care Business
Work out in advance how much you want to invest in your new business and how long it will take to generate the income you need to cover your living expenses. Do remember that it is a sliding scale as well. The more income you make at the beginning, the less of your savings it will cost you to cover living expenses. I will give you an example here.
I am assuming that you already have a vehicle for this scenario.
You spend $1000 on equipment to start your business. It could be new lower-end commercial equipment or slightly higher-end but second hand.
Your savings are $4000 and your living costs are $500 a week.
If you could increase the growth of your business by $50 a week and pay yourself 60% of turnover then your first few months then it would look something like this.
- Month one = Turnover $500 Income $300 Living expenses $2000 = $1700 loss
- Month two = Turnover $1300 Income $780 Living expenses $2000 = $1220 loss
- Month three = Turnover $2100 Income $1260 Living expenses $2000 = $740 loss
- Month four = Turnover $2900 Income $1740 Living expenses $2000 = $260 loss
- Month five = Turnover $3700 Income $2220 Living expenses $2000 = $220 Profit
It is going to take you five months to reach BEP , and it is going to cost you $3920 out of your savings.
If you could increase the growth of your business by $100 a week and pay yourself 60% of turnover then your first few months then it would look something like this.
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How Much Do Lawn Care Jobs In Cincinnati Ohio Pay
In order to start dispelling some of the notions that all lawn care jobs pay poorly, we want to be upfront about what lawn care technicians at Oasis Turf & Tree can earn. We have always been transparent about our payscale, which is something that our team members appreciate.
At Oasis, we offer a guaranteed base pay rate of $15 per hour.
That increases to $16.50 per hour when licensed and to $18 an hour when NALP certified.
But lawn care technicians also get paid based on their production, earning a percentage of their daily revenue. We do have some technicians who really hustle and make $20 to $30 an hour. But even if you arent hitting those percentages, you cant make less than $15 an hour.
We often hear a general misconception that people believe theyll never have the opportunity to earn more and thats not the case here, at all.
Research And Apply For Financing
Starting a lawn care business can get expensive, especially if you have to start from scratch when buying equipment. Several financing options exist, from business lines of credit to using your retirement funds as capital without tax penalties . Evaluate your available options and choose the one that make the most sense for you.
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Financing A Lawn Care Business
Getting the necessary tools and training to start a lawn care business can be an investment. Since the majority of individuals dont have such large sums of money readily available, many choose to apply for small business financing. Good funding options for lawn care or landscaping companies include:
- Equipment leasing. With so much high-value equipment needed to start a lawn care business, equipment leasing can be a great solution. Rather than buying equipment outright and paying a large sum upfront, this option gives you access to the equipment you need by paying a monthly fee thats a fraction of the cost.
- Small business loans. The most common type of business loans is offered by the Small Business Administration. These loans boast low interest rates and long repayment terms, making them ideal for business owners, and theyre also guaranteed by the federal government, meaning banks will be repaid up to 85 percent of the loan even if it defaults.
- 401 business financing. Once a little-known method of business financing, this method is becoming more popular. It allows business owners to use funds from their 401, IRA, or other pre-tax retirement plan to start or buy a business without incurring tax penalties.
- Unsecured loans. Similar to a credit card, this option allows business owners to borrow money and repay at will, without needing to put up any personal property as collateral.
Critical: Test Your Lawn Care Pricing
This is the lawn care pricing strategy for many lawn care business owners:
- They count their operational costs
- Then, they add 5% or 10%, depending on how they feel
Many of your competitors never test their prices, which is why it feels like the green industry constantly undercuts itself.
People are afraid to try anythingâ¦ Theyâre afraid to talk to their clients, and nobody tracks data to figure out where they can make more money.
However, you can do better.
Make pricing part of your culture!
- Get regular pricing feedback from your clients
- Evaluate your prices on a set basis
- Keep the value you can give to your clients at the forefront of your mind
Do all of these things, and youâll be well on your way to becoming a richer, happier lawn care business owner.
Now, comes the next partâ¦ the hard part the part that makes so many lawn care business owners squirm in their seats
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Calculate Your Hourly Labor Rate
How much are you going to charge per person, per hour for the average job? This number should be based on things like the going rate in your area, how much money you want to earn per hour, and how much youre paying your employees.
If youre just starting off, look at the work and estimate the time it will take you to complete the job. Then consider how much you want to make per hour.
Pricing by the hour makes sense because lot size isnt always an accurate pricing metric. For example, garden homes might take you half an hour to complete, even if they are the same size as a quarter-acre lot, which could take you 45 minutes to complete.
Jason Creel explains that your hourly rate is important, but you shouldnt communicate it to your clients.
Lets just say that your hourly rate is $60 per hour. Now, youre not going to speak to the customer and say, hey, I charge $60 an hour, so Im going to time myself when I cut your grass, and then multiply that by 60. Youll quickly learn how to estimate and then multiply that in your mind.
Pro tip: if youre just starting out and not sure about how long a lawn will take, keep track of the time it takes you to complete the job using time tracking software or a stopwatch. From there, find the average of your labor hours over time before figuring out exactly what speed you work at.
Prefer watching a video? Jason Creel talks about pricing out lawn care services below:
General Liability Costs Depend On Your Landscaping Profession
Businesses with large premises, such as a commercial tree service company, typically pay more for general liability insurance than smaller businesses like a landscape designer. Your industry risk, building maintenance, years in operation, and your location will also affect your premium.
The annual median cost for a tree service company is $1,650, while the median for a landscape designer is $507 or less than $45 a month. As you can see, the cost can vary significantly across professions.
Learn how to save money on your policy, which coverage limits to choose, and more on Insureons general liability insurance cost analysis page.
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Factor In Overhead And Equipment
Once youve got labor sorted, its time to add the cost of general supplies and overhead.
Overhead can include phone bills, office space, internet, vehicle payments, and gas. But, one of the most overlooked costs is maintenance and equipment.
Equipment should be factored into each job as an expense. Its expensive to purchase and maintain equipmenteven a basic mower needs its engine repaired, spark plug replaced, and oil changed. If you have more expensive equipment, then costing this into your price is critical.
Edward explains, the fact is that equipment has to drive revenue. It could cost you $20,000 to buy, and thats $20,000 to replace down the line, plus maintenance. We include all this in our final price.
So, how do you cost that into your lawn care pricing?
Edward explains, I think of it this way: I need to be making $100 an hour to use expensive equipment to make it worthwhile for commercial and residential work.
Youll want to buy something new again eventually, he says, so you do need enough profit to do thatmaybe its a couple dollars a job over the course of a year. Maybe its a percentage of all jobs, or the jobs you use that equipment on. The rule of thumb for me is that I charge two times the hourly rate of labor just to have the equipment on the site.
Pro tip: some professionals tack on an additional 15%-20% on top of their estimate to account for overhead costs.
Why Is Lawn Care Important
As most of us know, appropriate and consistent lawn care is essential if you want a beautiful lawn.
Your grass can eventually die, as well. You dont want to end up in this situation, so make sure you learn about all the care your lawn needs and the steps you can take to make sure it gets it.
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There Are Opportunities For Everyone
Another aspect that can be really appealing about this industry is the diversity, not only ethnically, but related to gender, as well. At Kingstowne, we have team members with all different backgrounds and we also employ many women and people of different ages.
In fact, two-thirds of our management positions are held by women including our Operations Manager, our COO, our CFO, and our Director of Client Satisfaction. While we recognize that not all landscape companies are quite this diversified, we do see the industry as a whole headed in that direction and were committed to helping lead the way.