Knowing the costs to operate your lawn care business.

What is more important to know as a new lawn care business owner? Is it more important to what your competitors are pricing jobs at or is it more important to know what your operating costs are and what you need to make per hour in order to keep growing? That is the question posed to members of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. Think about your answer before you read further along.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I am planning on starting mowing in the spring this year and was wondering how I would go about getting my competitors rate so I don’t low ball. I was thinking about calling them and just asking but I haven’t decided yet.

Initially I want to mow only residential properties. I’d like to buy a commercial grade lawn mower in the future however all I have for now is a self propelled 22″ push mower and a riding mower that is 33″ wide. A trimmer and blower is also on my list of thins to get.”

A second lawn care business owner responded “knowing what others are charging is good but you need to know your costs and how long a job will take. You also need to know what level of service you will be able to perform. Can you make a lawn look great or will you just be focusing on a quick rough mow to keep the township off the homeowner’s back? These factors can effect what kind of price you can charge.

Keep in mind spring will be here sooner than you think. Most of us are already putting together our ads to distribute, so you better get on this.”

A third shared “I can’t stress enough the importance of  knowing your costs and what your cost is per man hour. Even a start up business can figure this out. Put a list together of all your expenses. If they are monthly bills, like insurance, divide them by the number of days you work in a month and you will get the cost per day for insurance. Then divide that figure by the amount of hours you work per day and you will get your hourly cost of insurance to operate. Do that with gas expenses, what kind of salary you need to survive, the cost to maintain your equipment, etc.

Then… the only best way to know what competitors are charging is calling three different companies in your area and have them do a free estimate on your yard and/or a friend’s as well. You should keep in mind what you think you would charge for the job and then wait and see what your competitors are charging.

I do this at least once a year to keep up to date on what my competitors are charging. This will definitely help you out.”

A fourth said “you gotta figure out what your rate is first. When I started in my neighborhood it ended up being $20/hr and I tried to make SURE I made at least $10 an hour. When I have a worker helping, the rate goes up to $40/hr. I don’t know what your situation is but I started in high school and my goal was to make more than I would make at McDonalds. My income has grown since then.

The only prices I know about competitors is from a company my friend works at. To me it’s really not that important. As I push ahead this year, I plan on expanding into commercial lawn maintenance. Knowing what my costs are and how much I need to bring in should make the bidding process relatively easy. If I bid a job and win it, good for me. If I can’t do a job because the company got a low ball bid, I don’t want it.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.”

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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