Did you decide to take the plunge and finally start your own lawn care business?
If you have a natural talent for turning even the most basic lawn into a living work of art, your friends and neighbors won’t be the only ones who are excited about the beautiful artwork you can create with a lawn.
While you have been charging your friends and relatives a small amount to beautify their lawns, the question is how much should you charge clients to do their yards? Hopefully, with the information about the average price of lawns below, you will be able to figure out exactly how much to charge for your hard work.
A Note About Geography
The United States is a huge country. While mowing a lawn in Alabama may cost one price, mowing a lawn in either New York or California may be way more expensive. Midwestern and Southern states have lower costs of living than either coast. You need to do a little research up front after reading this information to get an average price in your area of lawn care and landscaping services. This is tricky, because if you overprice your services, you will price yourself right out of the market, but if you underprice yourself, you run the risk of doing too much work for not enough money.
Pricing Lawn Care Services
In addition to thinking about geography with regard to pricing your lawn care, you will need to think about pricing specific services. In addition, your services will need to be based on several factors including:
The size of the yard you are trying to price, because small yards are not priced the same way as big yards. Big yards take more time, manpower, and equipment than smaller yards, and should be priced higher. Some lawn care specialists price services by the foot, and some individualize to the specific yard. You will need to think about how you will price by yard size. In addition, think about whether you would price residential or commercial properties differently.
The services you offer.
Full service lawn care companies offer landscaping services in addition to lawn care. In addition, many lawn care services offer care for lawns year round. These services might include fall leaf cleanup and preparing the lawn for the coming winter, preparing plant beds for the winter months, planting of bulbs and other plants, or cleaning off driveways and walkways of snow and ice.
The more services you are able to offer, the more customers you will reach, and the more you can afford to discount your prices at one time or another, depending on what clients might need, or offer a two for one service to draw in more clients.
Your experience levels.
You can also base your pricing on your experience and expertise in the field. If you have a degree in horticulture, landscape architecture or agriculture, you may be able to command a higher price than those lawn care services who don’t have a degree hanging on the wall. Also, if you have a lot of experience in lawn care and landscaping, you will be able to charge more money than someone with little to no experience.
We discussed the geographical location previously, and how important that is to pricing, but you also need to think about how many other lawn care and landscaping services are in the country, and price accordingly. If you are the only landscaper or lawn care person in the business in your small town, you will probably be able to charge more money than if you are one of several landscapers or lawn care businesses in the area.
If you’re insured and bonded.
If you carry lawn care insurance, landscaping insurance, or you are bonded for projects, this makes you much more attractive to clients as a legitimate business than it does if you do not carry insurance. Think about it for a second. Suppose your high-powered lawnmower throws a rock into a window of one of your clients, shattering it. You want to be able to get your client’s window fixed right away, right? While you can probably cover a broken window without too much trouble, carrying your own insurance helps just in case your riding lawnmower runs amok and busts off all the sprinkler heads in your client’s front yard.
Think about pricing for your clients based on the frequency they want their lawn mowed, because the more you have to cut the yard, the more expensive it is for the client. This also has to do with geography, because grass grows more slowly in Alaska than it does in Alabama. Many clients in the South expect their yards to get cut every week, because if they aren’t, their yard will quickly overtake them.
Cost Of Lawn Mowing
The cost of lawn mowing is probably the most basic job in the lawn care industry. While small lawns can take a few minutes to mow, large lawns can take a couple of hours, even on a riding lawnmower. The average price for an average sized lawn (usually given to be about .25 of an acre) is about $60 per visit. Most lawn care companies will include mowing, edging, blowing leaves off the driveway and basic lawn clean up in that price.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, think about giving clients control over how they pay – by the week or by the month, and allow them to pay online, through the mail or in person. In addition, you might want to consider bundling a couple of services for your clients for extra savings for them and extra work for you. An example of bundling services would be lawn mowing and bush trimming.
Tree, Bush and Hedge Trimming or Pruning
While many clients might overlook their trees, bushes, hedges and shrubs, if they want a beautiful yard, they need to be sure that all of their trees and bushes are trimmed and healthy looking, because not only is tree trimming essential for a healthy yard, they are also essential for a safe yard. First, trimming bushes and hedges is considered an add-on service by many lawn care and landscaping companies. Depending on the size and number of bushes, lawn care companies can charge between $50 and $250 dollars on bush and hedge trimming. This may be one of the services you can use to discount for your VIP customers, and offer them bush and hedge trimming at a reduced rate.
Trees, of course, are a little more expensive. If you are qualified to prune trees for clients, the average cost of tree trimming can be anywhere from $250 to $650, again depending on the number of trees to be trimmed and how big the trees are.
You may also want to offer tree maintenance as well. Tree maintenance would include spraying trees for pests and fertilizing trees as well as watching the trees for disease. Tree maintenance service could be an add on to lawn service for customers as well, especially since tree maintenance does not need to be performed as often as lawn services do.
Your clients may want you to aerate their lawns in the spring of the year in order to keep the dirt from becoming compacted and allowing fertilizer and other nutrients to get into the lawn to make it full and lush. You may want to charge by the square foot or through a flat fee, but since this is a once a year job, be sure you are getting your money’s worth, as it is time intensive. The average cost to aerate a lawn ranges from $75 to $300 as a flat rate, or between 10 and 35 cents a square foot. Keep in mind that for some of your clients with large yards, a flat fee may make you more competitive.
In addition to aerating lawns, many clients may want you to fertilize their lawns as well. While you only aerate a lawn once a year, many experts recommend you fertilize a lawn three times a year: once when the lawn starts to green, once when the calendar reaches late spring, and a final time in early summer.
Before you can quote a price for your customers, you will need to take into account (again) the size of your yard and the type of grass used in the yard. Because each type of grass seed is different, it will require a different type of fertilizer, which also means that fertilizers are priced a little differently depending on the type of lawn.
The minimum cost for fertilizer is about 10 cents a square foot, while the maximum cost is around 45 cents a square foot. If the client wants you to spread fertilizer, the average cost to spread fertilizer on an entire yard is about $60 to $150.
Seeding a lawn isn’t cheap, because it is time intensive, and requires at least two applications. Again, while the prices are related to size, type of grass and complexity of the job, a lawn seeding job could run your client anywhere from $750 to $1400. Some landscapers recommend aerating the lawn prior to seeding, and seeding bare ground is more expensive than seeding a lawn with some grass on it. Some lawn care companies do not charge their clients for repairing small bare patches in their lawns during their lawn care service.
Weeding of Beds
In addition to seeding, many lawn care companies offer weeding of flower beds as part of their service. If it is used as an add-on to other services, most lawn care companies charge between $12 and $40, depending on the number of beds and the size of each bed. Some lawn care companies also spray the plant beds to control bugs and also to keep deer away from the beds, which has become a huge problem in the South as well as the Northeast.
Leaf Removal, Winterizing and Snow Removal
Customers want the beautiful fall leaves on the trees, rather than in their yards, and you really can’t blame them. For those homeowners who want their leaves removed when they hit the ground, depending on the mess, lawn companies charge between $100 and $350. Many lawn care companies combine leaf removal with winterizing their clients’ lawns, and therefore combine the price for their customers.
Of course, winterizing the lawn is also dependant on the growing season where you live as well, because many Southern lawns are not winterized, because the South as a whole does not get a lot of snowfall. However, in the South many lawn care companies use the dormant months to prune and reshape lawns as well as adding pinestraw to keep their plants warm year round. Snow removal is also essential in some areas of the United States, and is a service that lawn care companies offer, both to keep their clients happy as well as to keep busy during the winter months. Usually, snow removal prices vary depending on the amount of snow the area receives and the size of the area, but in general, snow removal costs between $50 and $80 per time. In areas where it snows a lot during the winter, lawn care companies may offer a package deal for the entire season.
Now that you have an idea on pricing for basic lawn care services, you will be in a better bargaining position to begin charging your clients for your expert knowledge.
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