Consider yard size and overhead when determining your pricing
Pricing lawn mowing fairly and competitively comes down to knowing how much lawn care professionals are charging in your area. And you won’t want to price all jobs the same, or you’ll risk losing money. Take a look at some factors that determine the average cost of lawn care.
How Much to Charge for Lawn Care Services
On average, professionals charge between $50 and $250 for lawn mowing. When it comes to landscape maintenance costs, like weed control, trimming, aeration, fertilization, and pesticide treatment, most pros charge between $125 and $430.
When customers book complete lawn jobs, they understand they're paying for both time and expertise. As a lawn professional, your experience can turn lawns into park-like settings using the right equipment, blades, and edging techniques.
Take a look at the lawn mowing pricing models below to find the one that’s right for you.
Different Lawn Mowing Service Pricing Models
You'll need to price each lawn care job based on its individual factors. For example, it’s perfectly acceptable to charge a premium for larger, complex, or time-consuming jobs. Just make sure you're transparent about your pricing model when you provide an estimate.
The first step to deciding how to charge clients is determining how much you need to make per hour across all jobs. That doesn't mean you're actually charging hourly. It just means that you have an idea of the hourly breakdown that makes a job worthwhile.
You'll need to know how much each job will bring in per hour, while factoring in your overhead costs, even if you charge a flat or project-based rate.
An hourly rate is the most straightforward option. This model means you're charging a set hourly rate for each hour it takes you to complete a job.
Most pros charge between $25 and $60 per hour for mowing services. Let's say you charge $50. The average lawn in the United States is somewhere around 10,000 square feet. If it takes you two hours to mow the entire lawn, you're looking at $50 x 2 = $100.
The benefit here is that you're compensated for your time if some lawns take longer due to complicated terrains. You also don't have to try to work out how long prep and cleanup times will take ahead of time like you would with a "package price." Instead, you'll be charging for all the time spent at the property.
Charging hourly can be a smart move for new lawn professionals. This is because it’s hard to estimate how long it will take you to complete a job at first. If you rush into flat rates or project rates, you risk losing money on clients if you underestimate how long projects will take.
Per Square Foot
Some lawn care professionals prefer to charge by square footage. They sometimes use aerial footage of properties when creating estimates to get a feel for how complex the job will be. This is important because it's very easy to lose money by charging the same rate per square foot for each customer when terrain can vary wildly.
Make sure you get your desired hourly rate when creating estimates based on square footage. Let's say you want to make $50 per hour and a customer with a lawn that's 10,000 square feet contacts you. You'll need to have a really good idea of how many hours it would take you to get that much square footage mowed.
Let's say you know it takes exactly two hours to mow 10,000 square feet. You'll need to charge $0.50 per square foot to reach your goal of making $50 per hour.
The perk is that customers love this no-nonsense approach to lawn mowing pricing. You'll like that you can predict how long it will take you to complete each job based on lawn size while enjoying predictable revenue.
However, the problem with charging by square footage is that it doesn’t account for special circumstances. For example, you could run into a situation where a specific 10,000-square-foot lawn takes you an extra 30 minutes due to hilly terrain. Unfortunately, you’ll have to eat that extra $25 in labor if you didn't take a look at the property first to increase your price per square foot.
That $25 loss may not seem like a big deal. However, you can lose hundreds per week if you miscalculate several times.
A flat fee allows you to charge a single price for a complete project. This can work a few different ways.
First, flat fees are great for recurring lawn mowing jobs. Customers will appreciate the consistency of paying a flat monthly or weekly rate for regular mowing. This also allows you to set up auto payments for recurring customers.
You might also want to provide flat fees for larger projects to make it easier for customers to budget their projects.
Again, being successful with this comes down to knowing how much you need to earn per hour to make a job profitable. If you're looking for $50 per hour, you need to know two things. First, how much work you can do in each hour; and second, how many hours the job will take.
Here's a sample project:
Mowing time: 55 minutes
Trimming: 15 minutes
Edging: 10 minutes
Blowing: 10 minutes
Say this is a 90-minute job. If you need to make $50 per hour to be profitable, you'll need to charge at least $75.
The downside to the flat fee is similar to the downside of charging per square footage. You could lose money if you're not totally on the ball with your estimate. What's more, you could be losing money day after day if you've charged a flat rate that's too low for a big project.
Lawn Mowing Pricing Chart
Providing a pricing chart is one way to break down your costs for potential customers. That way they can look at the cart and consider their lawn care needs and budget.
The lawn mowing pricing chart below is an example of how to break down lawn mowing costs by lawn size.
|One acre||$150 – $200|
|Two acres||$250 – $350|
|Three acres||$350 – $500|
|Five acres||$450 – $650|
|10 acres||$500 – $750|
Additional Mowing Services to Consider
Lawn care companies that offer premium services can charge more both hourly and per job. Consider adding value to your service by bundling even more useful services into your packages.
Here are a few service-based strategies to set yourself apart from the competition:
Use eco-friendly materials
Offer waste removal, weeding, and fertilizing services
Install landscape lighting
Upsell with insect, disease, and pest control
Offer snow and ice removal in the winter
Don't forget about rewarding loyalty. Most of your revenue will come from a small fraction of your customers, so it’s important to keep them happy.
Offer incentives for customers who book regular mowing, such as $5 off per week
Provide discounts to repeat customers, like free weed pulling after 20 mows
Give small gifts (like a flower bulb) to customers once they’ve reached a certain milestone
Rewarding loyal customers with lower prices helps keep the competition from swooping in with a deal. Loyal customers are also easier to upsell, which can be more profitable than always pursuing fresh leads.
What to Consider When Charging for Lawn Services
When you decide on the price per hour needed to be profitable, make sure you're accounting for all necessary costs, from lawn size to overhead.
Here are some crucial lawn mowing business costs to consider:
When you run a lawn business, you must factor overhead and operational costs into your price per hour. Start by actually determining what your monthly overhead adds up to based on your expenses. This includes everything from equipment costs to monthly premiums for business insurance.
Next, determine how much of that total cost for overhead you need to factor into each job. You can do this by essentially dividing the overhead number by the average number of jobs you book per month.
Equipment purchases and rentals, miles driven, depreciation, wages to employees, and payments to independent contractors are all tax-deductible. In fact, almost every business expense is tax-deductible, including phone and internet bills if you’re using them for your business. Be sure to keep detailed records so you can get the most deductions come tax time.
If you live in a colder climate, you already know that landscaping notoriously has a low season in the winter. Unfortunately, many of your overhead costs related to maintaining vehicles, owning equipment, and keeping insurance will still apply when the calls aren't coming in. You may need to bake costs related to the slow season into your rates during peak seasons.
Try to "winterproof" your lawn care business by providing services that go beyond mowing.
Here's some inspiration for services that can keep you afloat when mowing demand slows:
Wrapping trees in burlap
Many landscapers also offer plowing and sidewalk shoveling. Clients who don't mow their own lawns often prefer not to shovel their own driveways. It's possible to turn summer regulars into winter regulars every time it snows.
Prices of goods and services vary by state. That means you have to price your services by regional average instead of national average. If you work in an area with a consistent climate, you can charge less because you don't need to buy equipment that's compatible with all four seasons.
However, the flip side is that mowers and trimmers are likely to get worn out faster in places where mowing is necessary for most of the year.
If you have a crew, a big portion of your overhead is wages. You're looking at the total cost based on the number of hours needed times the number of people needed when providing estimates.
When you deliver estimates, make sure you include the number of workers in your itemized list to justify what you charge.
Charge the Right Price for Lawn Care to Grow Your Business
As a lawn care professional, charging the right price is essential to making a profit and growing your business. Use these tips to determine how much to charge, upsell customers, and stay busy year-round.
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