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How do I price my lawn maintenance services? {Setting Hourly Rates and Billing Models}

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New to the lawn care industry?

Or perhaps you are looking to learn more about your competition so you can grow your lawn care company.

Either way, you want to know how you should price your lawn care services.

Well, you are on the right track, due diligence is an essential part of starting a lawn mowing company.

And below you will find EVERYTHING you need to know about charging for your services.

Including tips from other lawn care pros.

Enough talk!

Now let's get your lawn care business moving forward!

How to charge for my lawn care services

Deciding How to Price Lawn Mowing Services

Hands down, most lawn care providers will simply charge for lawn care services on a per-cut basis.

More often than not, this means you will charge your client per cut of the lawn each week. While some lawn care companies opt to cut grass on a biweekly basis.

I would not recommend doing bi-weekly lawns beyond our first year or two in operation.

Why?

It's simple, bi-weekly lawns can be a real pain. Twice as much grass for less money, and worst of all, a poorer cut will reflect on your services.

But there is still one lingering question...

HOW DO YOU KNOW HOW TO PRICE A LAWN?

Well, first you have to set your hourly rate.

Setting Your Hourly Rate

Setting your hourly rate is one of the most important decisions you can make when it comes to your lawn care company.

Set your rate too low, and you won't make any money. Set your rate too high and you won't get any work.

So what is a good hourly rate? 

Well, it depends on a few factors including your local market. But the average hourly rate for a lawn care company ranges between $55 and $85 per man-hour.

We conducted a survey a few years ago to see what lawn care pros charge for their services. We found that 78% of lawn care pros charge at least $60 per man-hour.

what rate do lawn care pros charge for their services

However,  ultimately you will need to dig into your local market a bit deeper to see what your rate should be.

Now with that hourly rate in mind, let's take a look at how to price a lawn based on that rate.

Pricing Lawn Mowing Services

Now, this part takes a bit of investigating and experience. It's a bit of a catch-22.

Here's the aim. You have to know how long it will take you to cut, weed eat, edge and clean up one acre with the equipment you have.

This means you may need to cut a few lawns for free.

Once you have this number, you can calculate your rate per acre and start to submit competitive bids.

Let's say, for example, you cut your neighbor's 1-acre lawn and it takes you one hour and 30 minutes to cut, edge, and trim the lawn. Then suppose your hourly rate is $60 per man-hour. So your rate for a one-acre lawn would be $90 for a one-acre lawn.

Now, when you are bidding on a half-acre lawn, you know your bid should be about $45.

Establish your rates wisely

Establish Your Minimum Price

In my experience, I don't charge less than $30 for mowing a lawn, no matter how small.

For example, if we apply the previous pricing model to a lawn that is .3 acres, I would simply bid my minimum of $30.

While this may not immediately seem fair, you have to keep in mind that you have to drive out to the property and unload your equipment.

None of which was calculated in your hourly rate

So you have to be sure you aren't losing money while transporting yourself and your equipment from lawn to lawn.

Mowing a lawn at a good rate

If You Want To Be a Baller, Don't Be a Low Baller

Look, one of the biggest mistakes some lawn care company operators make is trying to undercut the competition.

Don't get me wrong, competitive pricing is a strategy, but if you go too low, no one wins in the end. And you will be shooting yourself in the foot before you even begin to get anywhere.

While you may be able to cut a favor or two to get your initial clients. You should aim to be within $5 of your market's average for the lawn you are bidding on.

Pro Tip! Don't undercharge for your services to bet out the competition. You will likely find yourself in a position that is difficult to get out of.

How To Bill for Lawn Mowing Services

Ok, so pricing is one issue, and billing is another. 

There are a few strategies lawn care professionals use when it comes to billing for their lawn mowing services.  And choosing the right one can save you the headache of collecting debt from a client that won't pay.

Aside from always having a credit card for each of your clients on file, one strategy some lawn care pros utilize is subscription-based, monthly, or seasonal billing. 

do you charge for lawn mowign services as a motnhly or seasonal subscription

How many lawn care professionals charge a monthly or seasonal subscription?

We wanted to know how many lawn care professionals charge their clients on a subscription-based model rather than per cut, so we asked them. 

Here's the deal, we found that 55.1% of lawn care pros charge per cut. Which we expected to find. 

What we did not expect to find was how many lawn care pros bill monthly or offer discounted seasonal rates. 

On the other hand, nearly 45% of specialists we polled billed monthly or offered discounted monthly/seasonal pricing. 

How do lawn care pros bill for lawn mowing services?

According to our research 27.5% of the lawn care pros, we polled said they bill on a monthly basis. 

But what we also found was that 14.5% will offer weekly billing but will charge a premium for doing so. And a further

2.9% offer a flat monthly or seasonal rate.


Offering a monthly or seasonal discount for lawn care

Pricing Out Other Landscaping and Lawn Care Services

It's true, if you are in the lawn care and landscaping industry long enough, it's unlikely that you will only be cutting grass.

But how do you charge for other landscaping services such as leaf removal?

Well, the bottom line is that it will really take some getting your feet in the water to quote jobs accurately.

For jobs that only involve labor and no material such as:

You can simply tell them your hourly rate, and charge after the job is done. At least until you are confident enough to be a more accurate quote upfront.

Pro Tip! If the job involves materials, always take a deposit of 50% upfront, as repossessing a landscaping project is not always a possibility.

Charging for Materials

Finally, if your job involves materials such as fertilizer, grass seed, or plants, you will need to charge for materials. 

How do lawn care pros charge for materials? Well, it really all depends. 

For example, most landscapers will simply charge for mulch by the yard rather than worrying about all the pricing details. Most simply charge a flat rate of somewhere between $80 and $110 per yard. 

On the other hand, when it comes to fertilizer and grass seed, many landscapers opt to add an upcharge on the cost of the materials required

However, this is really an article onto itself.

Confused about lawn care service pricing?

Confused about lawn care service pricing?

This guide covers everything you need to know, from setting hourly rates to billing models.

Key points:

  1. Set an hourly rate: $55-$85 is average, but research your local market.
  2. Price by the job: Estimate time to complete each task and charge accordingly.
  3. Minimum price: Don't undervalue your time, even for small lawns.
  4. Offer subscriptions/discounts: Attract loyal customers with monthly or seasonal packages.
  5. Charge for materials: Add a markup to cover costs and avoid losses.

Bonus Tip: Don't be a "low baller"! Competitive pricing is good, but undercutting hurts everyone.

Pricing Your Lawn Maintenance Services At the End of the Day

The easiest way to price your lawn maintenance services is to first establish your hourly rate

Once you have your hourly rate established, you are able to bid on projects by simply estimating the time it will take you to complete.

If the project involves materials, you would simply add those materials to the cost of the quote. Most lawn care pros add a premium of at least 10% to the cost of materials.

By following this simple pricing strategy, you can rest assured that you will have your lawn maintenance rates are competitive, all the while remaining profitable. 

Looking to read more? Check out our blog for lawn care professionals.

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