It is amazing how your ability to price lawn care jobs properly can be the single most defining factor in whether your company succeeds or fails. As we will see from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, pricing your jobs too low can leave you in a panic. But if you raise those prices a bit, it can make all the difference in the world.
One new lawn care business owner wrote “I recently started working a lawn care route previously owned by someone I knew. The problem was, this past owner was getting overwhelmed. After talking to him for a bit, I decided I could make it work and I bought the route along with the lawn care equipment. It’s a 27 customer lawn route.
At first, I went with him to see all the houses and all but 2 are less than an hour worth of work. Most of the clients are mow and blow clients, so I knew I could handle it. The transition took place a few months ago and it’s going well so far, but like with everything, there is always room for improvement.
When the previous owner was showing me around his business, I was trying to figure out where he was going wrong and why he was getting so overwhelmed. After a short time I could see that he was working another full time job when he first started and his plan was to go full time in his lawn care business. After he got 15 houses and he cut back his hours at his main job to part-time. Once he did that, he got 12 more houses and that’s when he started to realize he could not take it anymore. The money he was making with his lawn care business was no where near what he was making at his full time job and he started to panic. He began to look for a way out and that’s when I showed up.
The thing I could see was this owner was undercharging almost all of his customers. His average lawn mowing price was $25, which was not a good price. Once I took over I raised the rates for everyone and only 3 clients complained and left me. That wasn’t a big deal because I was reading quite a bit on how to get more clients. So far I created some flyers and advertised with a local newspaper which easily replaced those 3 clients. With 28 customers now, I don’t feel overwhelmed in the least and in fact, I feel like I can handle a lot more.
Underbidding jobs can really cause a lot of problems. That is one of the biggest business lessons I have learned so far. Instead of that $25, he should have been charging at least $35 a lawn. That is the going rate for the area where we are at. Even though there are some lawn care companies charging $20 you need to remember a profit has to be made per hour or there is no point performing the service. The past owner use to spend 45 minutes per lawn on average and at $20 a lawn, it leaves you no profit margin.
I think if he had done what I am doing now, offering more services, higher quality, at a higher price, he would of made a lot more money. It would have also helped him in the transition of getting out of his full time job. He could have charged what I charge now with no problem and that would have been about a 50% increase in income from the same customers! But for whatever reason, he must have been scared to attempt to raise his prices. It’s kind of sad to think that his dream of going full time with his business was possible and within his grasp if only he raised his average lawn mowing price by that $10. It should give us all something to think about.”
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