Should I charge more to mow a property in a richer area?

Many of the first lawn care customers you get may be in lower to middle class neighborhoods and after dealing with a few of them, you will figure out what kind of price range they are willing to pay for lawn care. But what should you do when you start to make inroads into wealthier areas? Should you charge wealthier clients more and cheaper clients less? That is the question which came up on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

One lawn care business owner wrote “yesterday I was working on a landscape job in a wealthier side of town when an older gentleman came over and asked if I would give him a quote for his property. To my surprise, his property is the size of a full block!

I have never maintained anything like this so I am trying to figure out if I should quote the property as a commercial property or if I should stick to my residential pricing formula. I did not have anything to measure the lawn so I had to go out and buy a surveyor’s wheel.

The reason I am wondering if I should charge my commercial or residential rate is because they are different. For commercial properties I charge $75/hr where I charge $30/hr for my residential accounts.

The customer wants me to weed on the side of the hill along his property and go into the house and do some maintenance from time to time. He also wants plants to be potted throughout the year and needs the lawn to be cut, trimmed and weeded. The total property consists of two yards, each totaling 15k sq ft.

Each of his homes are about 5 times the size of the regular size homes I service and would take me 3 hrs longer than any regular home each time I come and with a crew of 3 to complete the job.”

How to bid lawn care.A second lawn care business owner said “I have had customers tell me to ignore their house when bidding their yard work usually when they are large (and possibly the person can’t truly afford the house or the landscaping that comes with it). My response is usually: I’m here to work on your landscape and/or lawn, the house and drive really has no influence on that. Really the more house, concrete, and other structures that are on the property, the less lawn there is to care for, and landscaping is landscaping.

If it wasn’t for the right to accept, reject, and issue bids however one wants I would fear a lawsuit for price gouging in some areas where by the above reasoning I would possibly charge one of my better residential accounts $750 for the same work done across the street that was performed for $300 with the only difference being the larger house.

A labor hour is a labor hour isn’t it? Commercial or residential my labor rates are basically the same. My variances usually are figured in for billing methods, (taking 60 days before getting paid for work in some cases), liability obstacles like vehicles, people and traffic, and then the way that they want the work done in the contract.

Just to be straight I wouldn’t charge more labor wise based on perception of wealth or how nice and big the house is. The $750/$300 comparison was an example based on your labor rates and not ours.

Big house, little house, gas station, or school grounds…. it doesn’t matter much as landscape is landscape, grass is grass and an hour is well it’s an hour. None of these are impacted by the square footage of a building.

I do not charge more if someone seems they can pay more for labor cost. However, I do seem to lower cost some times to help someone out that seems to really appreciate the help/work but may be struggling to afford what they would like done.

I do charge more to those that like to stand over our shoulders as we work.

My labor cost are per man hour, so regardless of how many guys are there I try to account for each one so 3 guys for 3 hours is 9 labor hours which would be either $270 or $825 for labor only on the same work and time with your rates depending on the size of the house/business.

Materials are a whole other issue and is never figured into our hourly labor though we will account for picking up and delivery of materials.

As far as the way I account for fuel or parts I always budget and account for a worst case scenario and base those overhead cost at whatever would be the highest regardless of where I am or would be able to get the gas/parts cheaper simply because having to buy gas/parts at the higher cost is more reliable than trying to count on getting them cheaper.”

A third added “I charge $50 dollars per hour for a 2 man crew. I don’t care how big the yard, how expensive the neighborhood, or what type of property it is. The rich get the same price as everyone else. The good part of this is I get some really good yards, big, open, and previously well maintained. I do not get the cheap lawns where the person does not want to pay for quality work.

My advice is to set your price per hour, do your best to figure out how many hours the job will take, and then offer the bid. If it is reasonable, and similar to what they were paying before, you’ll get the job. And you won’t get the crappy yards that you don’t really want and cost you more in maintenance than they are worth.”

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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