How lawn care equipment costs effect what you need to charge to mow.

Overhead and operational costs are rarely considered when a new lawn care business owner is trying to figure out how much to charge to mow a lawn. But whether they are factored into a bid price or not, they still play a huge role in a job being profitable or a loss. Let’s check out a great discussion on this topic from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and see some real world examples of this.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I’m new to the lawn business and would like some advice. I started a mowing business with a friend of mind and he suggested that we mow lawns for, I’m embarrassed to say, $10.00 a yard. The average yards around here are about 1/2 acres. I think it is a stupid price, but I am not sure what I should charge.

Should I start my own business or just give up with the idea? I prefer to run my own business but I don’t know the first thing about running a business. I’ve always worked for a company.”

A second business owner shared “that price sounds way too low. Something to think about is that if you quote a low, low price people will think that the quality is going to be the same way.

You really need to figure out how much it costs you to operate per hour. Here are some things to figure in:

  • Cost of equipment (Mower, blower, trimmer, truck/trailer, edgers, etc)
  • Maintenance costs
  • Fuel to travel from job to job
  • Your wages to perform the work

When considering the costs of lawn care equipment, I know you probably already own most of this equipment but just remember, you will have to replace it eventually. Figure it as if you just bought the equipment solely for the purpose of the business. Then find out how much it will cost you to service it at least once or twice per year (based on the hours it will run). Don’t forget buying gas for the mower, trimmer, etc.

Let’s say that hypothetically you are using a $2,000 mower that you already own and use for your own yard. I would suggest that this this mower cost can be split up across a 2 year life span. That brings you to $1,000 in yearly mower costs.

Let’s then say the maintenance costs are going to be $350 per year, hypothetically. If you figure that you are going to be running your mower 400 hours this season, let’s estimate the gas at, say $350. Now you have $700 per year in floating costs for the mower. Your total per year costs are now $1,700.

$1,700/400 hours=$4.25 per hour of machine operation. This is figuring only while the machine is operating.

Now do that with all your equipment. If the trimmer costs $250 (divided by 2 years), maintenance costs, fuel, trimmer line, etc. costs you $125 per year =$250 in yearly costs (with maintenance and fuel). Let’s figure that your trimmer will run 50 hours per year. $250/50 hours = $5 per hour of operation.

Other equipment total costs $250 (divided by 2 year life span), maintenance costs, fuel, trimmer line, etc. costs you $125 per year =$250 in yearly costs. Let’s figure that this equipment will run 30 hours per year. $250/30 hours = $8.34 per hour of operation.

If a 1/2 yard takes you 45 minutes to mow, 15 minutes to trim, and 10 minutes with the other equipment, your out of pocket costs are:

  • Mower ($4.25 x (45min/60mins)) = $3.18
  • Trimmer ($5 x (15min/60mins)) = $1.25
  • Other equipment ($8.34 x (10min/60mins)) = $1.40
  • Total = $5.82 in out of pocket costs to mow that yard.

If you are only charging $10 a lawn, this leaves $4.18 for your vehicle insurance, wear and tear, taxes, salary, advertising, and gasoline. And you have not done more than cover your expenses, much less made any money for yourself. You need to pay yourselves at least $10+ per hour.

Think about all your personal expenses! Add all them up and see what you need to make per hour based on how many hours you feel you can mow lawns throughout the year. This is why it is so important to not lowball your bids. If you are going to own a business, you need to make money. If you don’t, you might as well just go get a job at a fast food restaurant. Think!”

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Check out the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum for great prices on new and used lawn care equipment:

Chain Saw

Dethatcher

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Hedge Trimmer

Lawn Aerator

Leaf Blower

Leaf Vacuum

Mower Blades

Mower Ride On

Mower Walk Behind

Multi Attachment Trimmers

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Shop Tools

Snow Blower

Snow Plow

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String Trimmer

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Sulky

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Trailers

Trailer Landscape Racks

Trencher
Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success