How to price mowing for an average sized lawn.

Coming up with a price to mow an average sized lawn can be a difficult process for a new lawn care business. If you are having troubles bidding your mowing jobs, consider this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. As you will see, there are various methods you can employe to get your bidding to become a more accurate process than just guessing.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I’m starting out with just a simple push mower, weed trimmer, leaf blower, as well as some basic garden/yard tools, shovel rake, etc. Starting out with average size lawns you can mow using a basic push mower. The thing I am wondering is it too much to charge $35 dollars as a minimum charge for these average size yards? If it is too much, what’s a good starting point? I don’t want to overcharge and drive possible clients away yet I also don’t want to short change myself either. Any advice would be great.”

A second lawn care business owner said “I have been going with $40 per visit for mowing and edging a regular city size lawn. Basically anything I see as city size is no more than 20′x20′. If its larger I may charge accordingly. Thus far I have yet to have anyone question my prices. I had a customer call the other day saying they wanted a quote without me seeing the lawn. They said they had another quote for $15 per hour and wanted to know if I could do them a favor. I waste no time with these people. I told them if they got a bid for $15 per hour, to take that offer and call me back when their lawn is all torn up or the guy doesn’t show up.”

A third owner said “we started that way too. You can’t charge the customer more just because you don’t have a better mower. So you have to figure that if someone can come in there with a walk behind and charge $30 you need to charge $30. We had a lawn we were push mowing at first that was an acre. It took 2 guys quite a while, but we couldn’t get more than $65. Now we have a nice walk behind mower and the $65 is ok. So figure that in.

In your shoes I would price jobs to get them now so you can get some income that will enable you to buy your walk behind and be way more efficient. You can choose to raise your prices later when you have more overhead and ditch the less profitable customers.”

A fourth lawn care business owner said “I price mowing at $1 a minute per man. It’s very simple, so we can estimate a lawn quickly, on the fly. This gives me $60 per man hour which is what I have decided to get for my mowing services, based on costs as well as desired income.

Now I use a mixture of methods to estimate each lawn. Where we work, every yard is a little different. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that there is NO typical yard or lawn! I start with a $30 minimum if we can do the whole lawn with a commercial walk-behind or ztr. $50 if we have to even THINK about breaking out a rear bagging push mower. From there, I take an educated guess as to how long the job will take based on ‘comparing’ it to other lawns we have. In other words, if I have a similar lawn across town that I charge $30 for, but this one has 5 extra trees and a fence, I might charge $33-$35 per mowing.

Now if you don’t HAVE any other lawns yet, this method won’t help. So here’s a quick bullet list of times based on size of lawn. We mow weekly: If the client wants it every ten days or bi-weekly, we then charge by the hour or say goodbye.

Follow these guidelines, and you won’t get in MUCH trouble; and you can tweak this system as you go. I STRONGLY recommend that you put a clause in your agreements stating that you can increase mowing price with a 30 day notice. Finishing a ‘one time’ job that you under-bid is one thing. Showing up week after week to mow a lawn for $25 that you should be getting $40 for is quite another, and I don’t personally believe you should be locked into that. 30 days is plenty of time for them to decide to keep you or find someone else.

1/4 acre: Minimum. $30.00
1/2 acre: Minimum. $40.00
3/4 acre: Minimum. $50.00
1 acre: Minimum. $60.00
Trimming and blowing should run approximately 50% of mowing time. So figure:

  • Mowing time
  • + PLUS
  • Trimming, edging and blowing (50% of mowing unless there are ditches you need to mow, fences, more than 10 trees, etc.)
  • + PLUS
  • travel (5-10 minutes - any more and you need to question whether the account is worth doing) TIMES hourly rate equals mowing price.

There are so many variables that frankly, it’s impossible to give you a clear formula. But trust yourself. A BUCK A MINUTE PER PERSON, $30 minimum period, $50 minimum if you’re going to start a push mower.”

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