How to bid a lawn renovation job.

Job costs can play a large part in a lawn care customer’s decision making process when it comes to what services they will hire you to perform. Some customers will want top of the line service and be willing to pay a top of the line price. Others will want the most bang they can get for their buck as long as it doesn’t cost too much. Here is a discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, on how to bid a lawn renovation job for a customer that wants their lawn to look better but wants it performed within a reasonable price range.

One lawn care business owner wrote “how should I handle pricing a lawn renovation job? What I have been doing up to this point is typically I kill the weeds, thatch if needed, aerate, spot patch and top dress with seed and soil. Does this sound right?

I just had a lawn care customer call me about a 1,500 square foot lawn renovation job. I was figuring 1.5 yards of dressing seed mix that includes patching the bald spots and a 1/4″ layer added to the rest. I know the lawn should just be totaled and redone but the customer just wants a renovation so I said I’d do what I could. I am guessing at bidding the job for around $375.00 but am unsure if it is way too cheap, or too expensive. I really want to get this right because I know that pricing jobs too high or too low can kill a business.

I know my over head costs but I have found my pricing to not always be  competitve so I am trying to figure out how to bid this job.”

A second lawn care business owner wrote “I have yet to see any two lawns that were the same when it came to what they need in the form of turf dressing.  So I quote each job based on the amount that needs to be done, and I created a simple rule to price such jobs. I simply double my costs to do the job and that gives me a pretty accurate figure.

For thatch and aeration I use organic sprays that take care of it and that service is based on sq/ft, however I do add to the mix a weed control, fertilizer and other products to make a healthy lawn.

My cost on organic turf dressing is $52.00 a yard so in this case if the job required 1.5 yards of dressing, it would cost the customer ($52 per yard x 1.5 yards ) x 2) = $156.00. For seed, I use a cold climate Kentucky Blue Grass and it costs around $148.90 a bag and covers 10,000 sq/ft. I use a landscape rake pulled on the back of a small tractor to spread the turf dressing so it goes super fast. If the job site is big enough I can spread 15 yards an hour. The landscape rake works excellent and has hydraulic angle and pitch settings. This saves time on many lawns depending on what I am doing. The rake also does an amazing job at removing thatch.

At times I will mix rye grass in with the dressing as it responds so quick and the client sees the results within days but the down side is that it doesn’t last long. When the rye grass is starting to die off the Kentucky Blue Grass will have already taken hold and generally taken over. There is a lot of trial and error and it can be a pain to get the right mix. I have experimented with that ‘grow anywhere grass’ we all see advertised and the results were very poor at best.

My cost for this job would be around $120 plus fuel to get there. I would bid this as a one person job. It would take me about 45 min to an hour to complete and the total billed to the client would be about $290.00 plus tax.”

To improve your lawn care estimates, try using the Gopher Lawn Care Business Estimation Calculators.

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