Im New To The Industry How Do I Learn To Price Lawn Mowing Jobs So That I Can Win Bids And Be Profitable
Pricing is really difficult. When I got started in the business I didnt have the faintest idea how to price commercial or residential. I was clueless. I remember the challenge and the difficulty. I remember struggling to figure it out.
As Ive matured in business and learned more, I often say that I do not like copying what other people are doing. I dont like copying their marketing. I dont like copying how they run their business. I dont like copying how they price. However, the reality is, when you dont know what youre doing, what else do you do?
Lets talk about this from a realistic standpoint. Im going to use mowing as the example but, it could apply to lawn care which is fertilization and weed control, aeration, year long ant treatments, pest control, and irrigation. All these different services.
In your market, and in my example here, most companies start in residential lawn mowing. Its the easiest one to get started in. Most companies that dont really know how or have never been in the industry dont start in commercial. Well just use the residential mowing example.
In your market most people charge $50 to mow a lawn. How do you know that? You know that because theyre putting out door hangers and theyre advertising pricing on their website. You just start to figure it out. The mowing is one of the easiest services to figure out what everybodys charging because they all lead with that in their marketing piece. They talk about price.
Getting A Feel For The Work
Some of these may or may not be applicable to you, but theyll all hopefully give you some ideas
Cut a few lawns for friends and family:
When you first get started youll probably end up doing this anyway. Go to your parents home, a relative or two and maybe a couple of friends and offer to cut for them. You can give them a family discount and maybe even do a few cuts for nothing.
The idea is to establish your eye for estimating work time. Make sure that for each of these lawns, you measure out the square footage of the yard and note how much of the yard is actually grass to be cut. Also note how much trimming is required and how many edges need done.
Lets say that your moms house sits on a 75 X 75 lot. Finding the square footage is easy you just multiply the width times the length like this:
75 / 75 = 56,25.
Of course you have to account for the house, driveway, a pool, walkways, a patio, etc.
Then kind of look around and see how many bushes or planters need weed whacking.
You can even measure the edging lengths by walking along and counting steps. Figure on 3 feet per step.
So your moms house is about 2,000 square feet, has a double driveway, a curving walk to the front door and a screened in porch on the back. Theyve got hedges all around the house and a small flower bed in the front lawn. After cutting, trimming and edging and then blowing, heres what you find:
Mowing time: 20 minutes
Edging: 8 minutes
Blowing: 7 minutes
$52 X .75 = $39
First one is free:
Protect Your Lawn Care Business From Potential Liability
Since the best clients care about lawn care businesses being licensed, bonded, and insured, theyâre willing to pay more for your lawn care services.
Plus, mistakes happen and just one lawsuit can break your business.
In other words, you have zero excuses to avoid it, and you NEED to get your lawn care business licensed, bonded, and insured BEFORE you service another property.
Plus, if youâre licensed, bonded, and insured, you can easily charge more for your lawn care service.
After all, the best clients donât want to hire a lawn care business that doesnât protect itself.
To find out more about protecting your lawn care business, read our complete guide.
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Include References And Testimonials
Add a section to your bid that has references, if you think the potential client desires it. If you’ve done work for someone else and they were pleased, find out if they are willing to take calls from potential customers seeking references. Always ask a customer’s permission before offering him or her as a reference if they say yes, include the reference as a standard attachment to all your lawn care bids.
Is Lawn Care A Good Business
A lawn care business has much to offer and can morph into something much bigger if thats what you choose to pursue. Stable and Repeat Business: Lawn care accounts are perpetual, meaning ongoing and consistent. Your customer base will need their lawns mowed once a week, making for a stable book of business.
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How To Bid Your Next Commercial Lawn Care Contract
Getting a commercial lawn care contract means one thing: big money.
But it can also mean a big headache if you do it wrong:
- Charge too much, and you lose the contract.
- Under bid, and you could lose money.
The goal is to WIN the account and make a PROFIT, right?
In this guide, I will show you EXACTLY how to bid more commercial lawn care contracts FAST, which means big money for your lawn care company. Let’s do this:
Is Trugreen Worth The Money
TruGreen is worth the money only if you dont find any cheap local lawn care companies nearby. However, most people across the U.S turn to TruGreen as its a popular lawn care company at the national level. The high-end plan of TruGreen which is called the TruComplete plan would cost you over $700 on a yearly basis.
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Highway Obstruction By-law
Richmond Hill’s Highway Obstruction By-law No. 17-87 regulates the placement or dumping of equipment, materials, rubbish, or garbage on any street or roadway. This includes the boulevard and unpaved areas of the roadway.
For more information please view the Highway Obstruction By-law.
Open Air Burning By-law
Richmond Hill’s Open Air Burning By-law No. 51-05 regulates open air burning and allows residents to apply for a permit from the Chief Fire Official.
For more information on open air burning please visit our Open Air Burning Page.
Park Use By-law
Parking Regulation By-law
Property Standards By-law
Richmond Hills Property Standards By-law No. 79-99 sets minimum standards for the maintenance and occupancy of properties.
For more information on property standards please view our Property Standards page or view the Property Standards By-law.
Site Alteration By-law
Trees on City Streets By-law
Tree Preservation By-law
How To Bid On Commercial Lawn Care Contracts
To bid on a commercial lawn care contract, you need to submit a formal quote to your potential client. This should include all the items discussed during your walkthrough as well as taxes, fees, discounts, etc.
Commercial lawn care contracts work like this:
Dont overlook the importance of providing an accurate quote during this process.
The property manager will use it to determine which bid is the best choice for their budget. In addition, your quote will set the price for the entire contract. If youre off by a couple dollars, it could mean that you lose out on a lot of money throughout the duration of the job.
At the end of the day, Ed explains,
commercial clients really care about the price. Some want the lowest price possible, some want a balance between the quality of work they get for that price.
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The Standard Bidding Unit The Man Hour
In order to take the big mystery out of bidding for jobs, were going to help you to create a standard unit of measure.
Something that you use as a guide whenever you price a new clients weekly lawn mowing visits or a shrub pruning job for example.
The biggest key behind this unit is having a fairly good understanding of how much time something is going to take.
Thats the tricky part at least in the beginning. But thats what your first 10 customers are really for they allow you to get a good feel for the work and how to gauge the amount of time a lawn or other project will take. A little later on, Ill go into some ideas thatll help you better guestimate your time and how to really hone your instincts so you can be right on the money.
Now I know that Ive mentioned before that thinking of yourself as an hourly employee is no longer acceptable. Youre in business now, and its not how much money you make per hour, its how much your business makes per hour. Its a subtle difference but its an important one. The difference between an hourly wage and a man hour can mean tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to you.
The reason that you use the man hour as your basis or as your standard unit of measure is that this will always be your basis.
So how do you figure this out?
Well, lets start with your $5,000 per month salary or $60,000 per year. At a regular 40 hour per week job, you can figure out your yearly salary by multiplying your hourly wage by 2,000.
How Low Can I Bid Before I Lose Money
Winning a bid is often a matter of offering the lowest prices. But some victories are not worth it.
Take the scientific approach.
Measure the property yourself.
Note all of the irregularities that will slow you down or cause you problems.
If you cant win a bid without underpricing yourself, then its not worth it.
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National Average Mowing Cost
Lawn mowing price per acreLarge lawns are usually priced a bit differently than small yards. The cost per acre will decrease as the number of acres increases. Prices vary from $70 per acre to $40 per acre .
Lawn mowing cost per square footFor smaller lawns, the mowing costs are usually calculated by the square foot. The average price per square foot is around $0.02.
St Goal: Meet With The Decision
Right now, your 1st goal is to get your foot in the door usually. For small and medium lawn care, networking is the only reliable way to bid more commercial lawn care. You have to approach them.
One reliable strategy is to send an email or a letter for each business you want to bid. When you start sending these emails, hanging them up in HOAs, and get your name into the right hands. They will go ahead to respond to you. Another option is to head over to the specific local networking events:
- Local businesses: You will get to talk directly to the owner, instead of a broker. This makes sales, upsells, and profit easier.
- HOAs: Talk to Home Owners Association and other Real Estate groups. You can find these by searching HOA or other Real Estate Groups in your city.
- BOMA: Manage a meeting with your citys Building Owners and Managers Association
- Chamber of Commerce Meetings, CEO Forums, and other networking events will help you meet potential clients, especially if your town has a commercial district or sector that fails above-average commercial density.
When all else fails, its time for some cold, hard knocks. Drive around and look for properties that need fixing. When you see a business that could use your services, knock on their door, and introduce yourself. This one works very well if you are good at in-person sales.
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Your 1st Goal: Meet With The Decision Maker
Right now, your 1st goal is to simply get your foot in the door.
For small and medium lawn or landscaping companies, networking is the only reliable way to get a commercial lawn care contract.
In other words, you have to approach them.
One solid strategy is to craft an email or a letter for each business you want to bid.
When you start sending these emails, try hanging them up in HOAs to get your name into the right hands and get them to respond to you.
Another option is to head over to the right local networking events:
- Local businesses: You’ll get to talk directly to the owner , which makes sales and upsells easier.
- HOAs: Talk to HOAs and other Real Estate groups. You can find these by searching HOA or Real Estate Groups in .
- BOMA: Set up a meeting with your citys Building Owners and Managers Association.
- Chamber of Commerce Meetings, CEO Forums, and other networking events will help you meet potential clients, especially if your town has a commercial district or sector with above average commercial density.
When all else fails
it’s time for some cold, hard knocks.
Drive around and look for properties that need fixing. When you see a business that could use your services, go knock on their door and introduce yourself. This one works very well if you are good at in-person sales.
What Should I Beware Of
One thing to be mindful of when comparing lawn-mowing prices is whether the quote youre getting seems reasonable.
Also, keep in mind that a lawn-mowing professional or company might try to bump up the price simply because you live in a fancy neighborhood. Why? Because they think you can afford it, Farley says.
Regardless of what sort of neighborhood you live in, there are some things you can do to avoid lawn care rip-offs. The Better Business Bureau, Better Homes & Gardens, HomeAdvisor and the National Association of Lawn Care Professionals offer these tips:
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How To Price Lawn Mowing Jobs
Pricing lawn mowing jobs is difficult. We walk you through how your equipment, hourly rates, minimums, experience, frequency, route density and more can affect your pricing.
Would you believe that many lawn care operators are underbidding yards by 20%, costing them potentially thousands of dollars every single year? In my conversations with dozens of operators, Iâve unfortunately found this to be true.
If youâve been mowing grass for a while and feel like thatâs you, itâs not too late! Keep reading and we can walk through this together.
If youâre just starting out, then letâs get this right from day one so you donât leave money on the table. And be sure to read our Ultimate Guide to Starting a Lawn Care Business if you haven’t already.
Fortunately, there are a few simple best practices weâre about to unpack that will be helpful guide rails as you get experience pricing yards.
Using these tips, I have been able to get 20%, and sometimes 50% OVER my target rate. Iâll explain how below. Toward the end of this article, weâll take all of the tactics and boil it down into an example to show how this all works.
To stay on topic, weâll give pointers on how to price lawn mowing jobs, not landscaping jobs.
Letâs dive in.
Types Of Lawn Care Jobs: Residential And Commercial
Residential Lawn Care
When you are new to the lawn care services and do not have much experience, it is wiser to start with residential lawn care jobs. Residential lawn mowing is the easiest to get started within this business.
In this case, you will work with individual homeowners so you might face different special requests sometimes.
First, you need to figure out what others are charging for lawn mowing in your neighborhood, and then you will select a midpoint.
Commercial lawn care
Commercial lawn care services are more abundant in scale. They require more experience and also generate higher payouts. In this case, you will work with property managers and real estate boards.
Most commercial clients are straightforward and outline their expectations in their contracts. You will have explicit knowledge of what your responsibilities are and what isnt.
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Get Experience And Have Fun
Just a fair warning: youâre going to make mistakes and thatâs okay. Remember to cut yourself some slack . Youâre the one out there grinding and working hard. Youâre the entrepreneur that is showing ambition and building something for yourself. Even though it can be stressful at times, it can also be extremely fun if you let it be. Way to go. Seriously, way to go.
If youâre looking for a way to alleviate some of the pressure of running this wildly successful business youâre building, take a look at our app that helps you get organized, increase efficiency, and get paid faster. It also does some of those fancy things I mentioned above like tracking time and generating a daily route. You can sign up in less than a minute and use the free version forever if you want. Iâll leave that up to you 🙂