Lawn care. It’s a great business to get into. It’s flexible, can be done solo or with a team, and requires little to no formal training. It’s also a convenient business if you have another job, like teaching, and have time off in the summer.
The best part? In lawn care, there’s great earning potential. The more you work, the more you can earn. According to one source, you can earn anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 in your first year of business. Then, after a few years, you can earn up to $250,000! Talk about a huge chunk of change.
The right prices can help you earn new business, retain customers, and grow in your market. On the flip side, a bad pricing structure can cause your business to go under – and fast. No pressure, of course…
But seriously, I want to help you set up your lawn care business for success. To help, I’ve put together a guide for pricing lawn care services. Ready to get started? Get your pen and paper out!
Wondering how much lawn care costs, including mowing? Short answer, it depends. Here are a few factors that can influence what you charge:
Your experience: Seasoned lawn care professionals can charge more for their services. But when you’re building your customer base, you may need to start with a lower price point. Then, once you get a few customers under your belt, you can raise them incrementally.
The location of your business: There’s an amount that people in your area are willing to pay for lawn care services. Do some research to find out that amount. Higher-end neighborhoods and businesses will often pay more. Meanwhile, lower-income neighborhoods usually want lower prices—or they might not need your services at all. Call a few lawn care companies in your area. Ask their prices. Then use those numbers as a starting point on how to price your lawn care services.
If you work with businesses or residents: Most commercial businesses who value quality are willing to pay top dollar. Homeowners, on the other hand, may be more budget conscious. Caveat—all of this depends on your area, of course. Poke around. Do some research. Find out which clients are willing to pay more in your area.
The size of the property: This is a no-brainer. Larger lawns require more work, so you should earn more. You can try pricing a lawn care job by square footage or by how long it takes you to get the work done. Try a few practice jobs first. Bring a timer with you and see how long it takes. For example, if it takes you 3 hours to mow a large property, you’ll want to make sure you’re compensated for that time.
If you carry business insurance: Carrying lawn care insurance makes your business stand out. It protects your equipment and employees in case of an accident, injury, or loss. And, it demonstrates a level of professionalism to your clients. If you carry insurance, you can charge a little more. As a lawn care professional, you’ll want to get:
General liability insurance: This plan can cover your business if you or one of your employees causes a third-party accident or property damage while on the job. For example, if your lawn mower kicks up a rock and it breaks a customer's window, the policy could cover repair costs. If that customer decides to sue you over the damage, your policy could also cover legal fees (up to your policy's limit).
Workers compensation insurance: If you have employees, you may want to get workers compensation insurance right away. This insurance covers you if an employee gets sick or hurt while working for you. It can even cover part of an employee’s lost wages.
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How much you need to earn: Add up your overhead costs. This might include the cost of equipment, maintenance, fuel, and paying your employees. Add in your own salary. Then decide what rate you need to charge to pay for your expenses—and still earn a profit. Remember, this is a business. You’ll want to stay competitive.
An example in Boston’s suburbs: According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of lawn mowing for a medium size lawn (5,000 – 10,000 square feet) outside of Boston is between $40 and $80 per week. The cost goes up for a larger size lawn, of course. It also costs more if I add lawn edging, shrub trimming, and other services.
A lot of companies near me ask their clients to agree to a regular weekly, biweekly, or monthly schedule. This way, they know how much work to expect—and they can ensure a steady stream of income.
Lawn care professionals do much more than mow lawns. Depending on the time of year, you might also:
You should offer each of these services at a different price, based on time and effort. Similar to lawn mowing, it helps to investigate how much other lawn care companies in your area charge. Then, make a price list based on:
Every year, or even every quarter, look into how much other companies charge for similar services. Once you build your client base, you can also ask how they feel about your services. You’ll want to know if they think your prices are fair and reasonable, and how much they’re willing to pay.
If a few customers decide to leave you, ask them why. Take note if it’s because your prices are too high. You may want to make a change. Alternatively, you can also offer a seasonal deal or package.
When it comes to how to price your lawn care, do what you can to serve your clients, offer them great quality, and stay profitable. And above all, remember prices can change. Keep up with the market and you'll keep your business going strong.
I earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (go Bucky). After realizing my first job might involve carrying a police scanner at 2 am in pursuit of “newsworthy” crimes, I decided I was better suited for freelance blogging and marketing writing. Since 2010, I’ve owned my freelance writing business, EST Creative. When I’m not penning, doodling ideas, or chatting with clients, you’ll find me hiking with my husband, baby boy, and 2 mischievous mutts.
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