Owning a lawn care business is not only pleasing just because you get to be your own boss, but also because it can be financially rewarding--especially today when most families have two working parents who don’t have enough time to properly care for their lawns themselves. If you have decided to delve into the lawn care business yourself, you might be struggling with deciding on a proper pricing method. The process is easy once you break it down.
Decide how you want to price lawn services. Do you want to get paid by square footage or by the hour? Most business set their prices based on the size of the lawn, but you might be more interested in receiving an hourly wage. A square footage price might be more favorable, though, so the customer doesn’t think you're dragging your feet to get the job done because of charging an hourly rate.
Check out the rates of competitors in your area. The price to mow an average lawn is generally about $30 but can vary based on your location. Competitors aren’t going to hand over their price list when they know you’re trying to break into the business, but an easy way to go about obtaining this information is by getting several lawn care companies to view your lawn and give you an estimate.
You can then break this price down by square footage to determine what their rate is. There are also a variety of professional organizations and publications that serve the lawn care industry and publish reports that you can read to determine the going rate. For instance, you can check out the Lawn Care Association of Pennsylvania, the Association of Professional Landscapers or the Connecticut Ground Keepers Association. See "Resources" for link.
Don’t set the price too low. You don’t want customers to think they will receive poor service because your price is so far below the competitors. Also, you don’t want to put yourself out of business by charging a rate so low that you can’t cover your overhead expenses. When determining your rate, be sure to factor in costs for things such as helpers, replacement parts for mowers, trimmers and blowers, truck and trailer expenses, fuel, oil and any office expenses. You should also factor in travel expenses. If you have a customer who lives on the outskirts of town, you should factor in the costs of having to travel there and include that in your estimate.
As your business grows, consider adding additional services to increase your profit. Some could include bush and hedge trimming, fertilizing, sod installation and flower bed maintenance. The typical services that you should include with your flat rate are basic mowing and trimming. Any extra services should be listed at a separate price that is comparable to competitors. Consider offering packaged prices at a discount for loyal customers. You could set a price for a monthly package for customers whose lawns you service on a weekly basis. Even saving a few bucks can go a long way in the eyes of the customer.