Lessons learned from first lawn care bid.

Anything you do for the first time will give you a lot to think about after the fact. This includes bidding on mowing lawns. As soon as you do your first bid, you are immediately going to be replaying the bid over and over again in your head, thinking about all the different things you could have or should have done differently. This discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum is no exception. There are a lot of great learning lessons to come out of this lawn care bid example.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I just submitted my first bid for a lawn care customer and I am very nervous.

I went to the customer’s house yesterday and she wanted an estimate from me for lawn care. She said she was also getting 3 or 4 other bids submitted to her from other companies. After looking over her property I told her I would go home and email her the bid in a couple of hours.

In the email, I sent her a three page document. The first page thanked her for the opportunity to bid her lawn and I gave her the price for the service requested. The second page shows my different lawn care packages as well as their prices. The third page shows the different services included in each package.

Lawn Care Bid Example Page 1

Lawn Care Bid Example Page 1

I worked on the bid for about a hour. This is my first time doing it so I’m a little bit nervous. It was a blast creating the bid, it made me have to really sit down and think. It’s crazy how much is involved with all of this.

I didn’t like that I had to go home to create the bid and then send it to her. The job though was just too big for me to figure out right then and there without a computer. My ultimate goal would be to have a measure wheel to measure the property area and a computer with me. Plug in the numbers and print it out in my truck and print it out right then and there and give it to customer.

Lessons I learned after a month:

Pine needles and pecan shells are hard to remove out of rocks. I had a really hard time with those. I will not make that mistake again. Oh plus we were having some gusts of wind that day. Made it really hard to blow the leaves together. LOL Was very frustrating at times, but this job is so much fun! Overall thought job would take me a little under 2 hours and it took me 3 hours. Not very much for the price I charged. I messed up, but at least I got the 1 year mowing agreement from them.

Lawn Care Bid Example Page 2

Lawn Care Bid Example Page 2

Knowing what I know now I would have completely changed my bid. I now only quote prices that include everything and don’t separate prices from the actual products. Plus I way underestimated my services for all the packages. Plus $35 for the clean-up was ridiculous. Especially, when it took me longer than 2 hours. I would have charged at least $100 if I were to do it all over again.

My ultimate plan is to only offer weekly services not bi-weekly mowing. Unfortunately, at this time I’m really taking everything unless it is a cheap price. I will not mow a lawn under $30 no matter how small. I do QUALITY work and I deserve to be paid. I take great pride in what I do and go above and beyond what the mow and go companies do. Once I get more customers I will start dropping the customers that want their lawn mowed once every 3 weeks, 2 weeks, etc… and only keep the customers that want weekly service.

These are the things I would tell the newer business owner to watch out for:

  • Don’t be afraid to charge more for fall clean-ups.
  • Charge more for aeration.
  • Have one price for all the services and products.”

    Lawn Care Bid Example Page 3

    Lawn Care Bid Example Page 3

A second lawn care business owner said “my first thought about your bid is why are you only mowing every other week? I have customers that I visit weekly, even in the winter. I have in our agreement that during the winter service is only every other week, but I still show up anyways. I figure if I was paying someone what they pay me, I want them to at least show up.

There is always something to do. I can walk around the property, make sure loose branches are off the lawn, and at the very least I can blow off the walkways, driveway, etc. If I notice some branches poking through a fence from a neighbors bush, I will trim those. If some blackberries are starting to grow, I will cut them back.

I would rather waste a few bucks in gas doing nothing, than sitting at home and have the customer cancel because they don’t think the lawn needs it.

It’s about perception. I’ve arrived on holidays and days where the grass has frosted over. Now granted, I live in an area where there is no snow, and very little frost.

I just feel that with the money they are giving me, even in the winter months, I would rather them think I was busy, then not show up and loose the account.

My second thought, your price is way too low. But you also say (in the fine print) that any products are going to cost more. As a business owner, and consumer, I don’t want hidden costs.

I give my customer 1 rate, and that includes everything (mowing, blowing, fertilizer, weed spraying, etc). It’s a hassle for a customer to budget in $85 a month for lawn service to be hit with an extra $30 for fertilizer, and $100 for mulch. Screw that, just give me one price.

About price, why did you bid a clean-up at only $35?! You said you expected it to only take 2 hours…$17.5 an hour for a company is nothing. If your company is making that much per man hour, you are paying yourself less then $6/hr.”

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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