What’s the best way to raise your lawn care prices?

Spring is a great time to change your prices for lawn care. Before you raise them up though, there are a number of factors you need to consider first. As we will see here in the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, there is a downside to raising your mowing prices on a large scale without putting much thought to it, so it’s best to take the following steps before you get yourself into trouble.

One lawn care business owner wrote “It’s about getting to that time where the new lawn mowing season is starting and I am thinking about raising my prices from last year. For those that have done it, how do your lawn care customers react when you raise your mowing prices in the new season just a hair because you’ve invested in either more equipment or a newer truck with bigger payments?”

A second lawn care business owner said “my NEWer lawn care customers would say no thank you and find someone else. A customer I have had for a while may be more willing to pay $5 more. However I would not tell them that they are paying more for your new equipment. If gas has gone up in price in your area that is the best way to raise the price (during the year). But when/if the price goes back down at all, the customers would expect your price to go down too.

The best time to raise your mowing prices is before spring starts, it’s easiest to tell them a higher price then. For example, if there is only 1-2 months left in the season and you want to raise the price to buy new stuff, wait untill 3/??/xx then buy everything and then raise the price $5 or even $10 depending on how loyal you beleive he/she is to your services.”

A third lawn care business owner said ” be careful when raising your lawn care prices while the economy isn’t humming along. With all the new competition out there, you may lose more customers than expected.

Check your calculations carefully first and plan out ‘just in case’ scenarios. For example, one scenario could be if I raise my price on average $10 and hour, how many customers am I expected to lose and how much extra money will I be pulling in with the ones that are left at this new price? Will that cover my new expenses?

In the end, you want to figure out if your net profit will increase, decrease, or stay the same with the new price changes. If you see your net profit decrease because of this, then it may not be a good time. Maybe staying as-is is best. On the other hand if your equipment is shot and you NEED to buy new then there is no other choice.”

A fourth added “in reality you should be able to perform a mowing job cheaper with better equipment. Why get a truck with bigger payments? Pay that sucker off asap. Get some good equipment and keep your prices competitive.

Most professional lawn care equipment will last a long time if you keep up on the maintenance. When you upgrade your mower, the job will go faster so you will be able to service more properties and make more money in less time.

Sometimes your rates should go up but I personally don’t feel that is the right reason to raise your rates. Debt free is the way to be.

What we do to increase the bottom line without jacking up our lawn mowing rates is we seek out other services we can perform on the property while we are there. Try out some upselling or simply ask for referrals, you’d be amazed at how much more money you could be making at the same stop.

We have expanded to offer such services as excavation, landscaping, pressure washing, and tree chipping services. With all these additional services, we can adjust the prices based on what the competition is doing as many of these clients are generally not repeat clients so they would not know the difference. I have had to increase our wood chipping prices simply because the chipper is so fast, excavation prices had to increase as well due to transportation costs, but these are by the hour job.

So take care in raising your prices. Plan it out first before you do it. Consider offering other more profitable services and last but not least, test your price raising on a small group of customers first to see how they respond. That way you can roll it out slowly and minimize the potential of your customers leaving in droves to the competition.”

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