Should I charge less since my new mower is faster?

If you mow a lawn with a push mower and it takes you a long time should you charge more than if you mow with a faster mower? Should your lawn mowing price be dependant on how fast you can get the lawn mowed? This was the topic we discussed on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. A member asked “I have recently invested in some new equipment. I purchased a trimmer, edger, blower, and a new riding mower. This thing is awesome.

Charge less for a faster lawn mower?

Charge less for a faster lawn mower?

Now that I have a riding mower, if I was charging someone say, $35 dollars for one hour when I mowed with the push mower. Then I go mowing with the riding mower it takes me less time. Should I charge less? Or should I just base my mowing on the push mower and charge that rate?”

One lawn care business owner suggested “estimating is a balance between cost per minute and cost per square foot. Once you establish a base rate you should not fall below that rate regardless if you are charging per minute or per square foot.

Imagine you started cutting the grass with a pair of scissors. It would take you all day (or days), right? Yet, you would still only be able to charge your base rate of, let’s say, $35 for the entire job. No customer is going to pay you $1,000 to cut their yard simply because you are doing it with a pair of scissors.

Now that you have upgraded to better equipment, you should still charge congruently with your base rate. The only difference is you are now able to do much more work in the same amount of time. Therefore, you make more money per minute by doing a greater amount of sq. feet per minute.

This is the incentive for you to continue growing your business and buying better equipment.”

Another said “in one word: ‘no’. If your equipment costs you an average of $2,000 to own and maintain per year you need to make sure that equipment brings in more than $2,000.”

As you buy larger equipment, your overhead costs are going to grow. If you buy a piece of equipment, it must pay for itself and make you a profit or it is a bad investment and you should have instead rented it.

If you buy a backhoe, you will be able to dig faster and you will charge more for the time you are using it than if you manually dug, but it improves productivity so ultimately the customer should be happier with the value they are getting.

A third business owner wrote “here is a basic way to calculate the price you need to charge per piece of equipment.

1. The price you paid retail for the piece  or equipment.
2. Then go to the manufacturers web site to find the recommended hours of use for commercial use before a major overhaul is required.
3. Allow what ever % the local tax laws allow for for depreciation ( this gave you the salvage cost). Based this on the recommended working hours because in my opinion if it’s going to cost money to be overhauled then it’s past it’s productive lifespan.
4. Once you have the salvage value, add in a figure for gas based on maximum prices /gal also the tank size and for the recommended life.
You may also want to add a figure in for trimmer cord, mower and trimmer blades and similar items used in the maintenance and repair of the item over the equipment’s lifespan.
Once you have that total just divide it by the manufacturers recommended lifespan.

What ever the rate comes out to be, that is what you need to charge per hour for that piece of equipment.”

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