Starting a lawn care business requires more than just having the right equipment and knowing how to mow lawns. Opening a new enterprise requires owners to do their homework to lay the foundation for success, and one of the most critical homework assignments to lay the groundwork for success is to create a useful pricing model.
Lawn care pricing should be both fair to customers while at the same time produce a profit for the business, but establishing reasonable pricing is often easier said than done. To help you get it right, we’re going to discuss the basics of lawn care pricing.
Lawn Care Standards for Quote Estimating
New lawn care companies can look to the industry standards for guidance on establishing lawn care quotes. The national average for lawn care ranges from about $214 to $322, which includes lawn mowing and maintenance. Weeding and trimming services are generally covered, whereas services like aeration, fertilization, and weed control are usually optional.
While the national average can be a helpful starting point, remember that it’s merely a guide. To better understand your target market, research competitors in your area to see what potential customers are willing to pay. These prices may be above or below the averages mentioned.
Your Salary Needs
Your salary needs are the driving force behind your pricing, and it’s critical to factor in all overhead costs that you need to cover every month to keep your business open. Some standard overhead costs include:
- Employee or Contractor Labor
- Equipment maintenance
Remember to include the cost of labor in your overhead costs—even if you’re the only person in your business, this number still figures as part of your operating costs.
Property Size and Condition
Lawns of different sizes take different amounts of time to mow, which is why property size is a vital factor in determining pricing. You should take time to measure each lawn scrupulously before giving an estimate. This step is critical because more often than not, lawn jobs are recurring, and you don’t want to cheat yourself in the long run.
Measuring the area in person also gives you a chance to assess the site, another critical factor in pricing. Not all lawns are created equal—not even two lawns with the same square footage. Certain yard features make mowing more challenging and increase the time needed to maintain the yard, such as:
- Play structures
You should also pay attention to the condition of the property. Things like brush that needs clearing require more time (and higher pricing), as do mowing lawns on hills, which are more challenging.
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If you know the exact size of the lawn, you can figure out how long it will take your machinery to cover this area. The mower is one example. The manufacturer should indicate how much space the mower can cover, which allows you to get an estimate of how long it would take your company to maintain lawns of varying sizes.
You’ll also need to know lawn size to ascertain how much product you’ll need to treat the area, so you can be sure to have the right amount of fertilizer or weed killer on hand. Most lawn care product brands include use estimates.
How to Determine Lawn Care Pricing
1. Define Your Situation
To get the pricing that is best for your business it’s best to use the particulars of your situation to create a personalized lawn care estimator.
2. Determine Profit Margin Needed
We already mentioned overhead and how vital it is to have the monthly figure you need to reach at the forefront. Once you know what this number is, the next step is determining the best profit margin. Profit is the money leftover once a business has paid overhead, materials, and labor. Check with trade associations in your area to get a firmer idea of the standards, and look to your competition as well to figure out what pricing model will be profitable for your business.
There is no one-size-fits-all lawn care estimate calculator, which is why consulting with an accountant is often the best way to get your pricing—and therefore profit margins—right. And don’t be afraid to revisit pricing on a quarterly or annual basis, as well as ask your clients for feedback.
3. Consider Seasonality
It’s also worth mentioning that lawn care tends to be cyclical. This industry experiences a surge in the spring and summer and usually drops off significantly in the fall and winter, so factor that into your calculations as well.