Should I price lawn mowing by the sq.ft. of the yard?

How to price a lawn can be a tough question for many new lawn care business owners. Should they be priced based on the size of the property? Maybe even estimate mowing jobs by the amount of time it takes to mow the lawn? That is what this one lawn care business owner was interested in learning more about when he asked his question on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. Knowing the proper method to use can make a big difference in your quest for success.

He wrote “I started my lawn care business last year and got a pretty good response from the newspaper. It brought me 25 clients. I gave those customers quotes that I thought were reasonable, in the area of $15-$30 dollars a cut.

Now that I am going into my second year, I am wondering if that is too much or to0 little to mow an average sized property. I’m having trouble gauging the prices and I need help.

I was hoping someone could give me quote prices for 1,000 sq feet, 2,000 sq feet, 3,000 sq feet, and 4,000 sq feet yards. I usually cut these lawns 3 times a months. Am I doing this right?”

A second lawn care business owner said “some lawn care business owners charge by the sq. ft. and some by the minute. I charge by how much I want to make. There is no real sure fire way to price lawn jobs, at least I don’t think there is. The key to it is knowing your costs and being able to cover them while still making a profit.

To figure out prices when I got started, I called other lawn care companies in my area to see what they would charge to mow my property. I bet if you call 3 companies, you will get 3 different prices. That will give you some kind of range of how your competitors are pricing their services. Another tool you can use to help you estimate lawn care is these  lawn care estimation calculators. They are really helpful.

Also, why do you cut 3 times a month or every 10 days? I would think that would be hard to keep track of. What happens when it rains? Mowing 3 times a month, will really mess you up. I only perform either weekly or bi weekly mowings which makes my schedule much less complex.”

A third lawn care business owner shared “you need to create your prices off of time not sq. ft. Take for instance a 1,000 sq.ft. lawn with no trees, that will take you a lot less time to mow the same 1,000 sq.ft. lawn with many trees. One house could have a big back yard and little edging while another has a big front yard with a bunch of edging.

What about obstacles on the lawn? Do you have to move lawn furniture, trampolines, or other toys? All of these things take time. You need to know how much you are spending per hour to run your business, then you need to account for that by charging the appropriate amount.

Generally around here I find others and myself charge $1 a minute. I don’t tell my lawn care customers that figure but that’s the way it usually works out. Sometime I go a little lower to get a job if it’s going to involve profitable upsells.”

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