Question about pricing for a lawn service (could be any service though) - KickRunners.com
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#1 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 11:55 AM - Thead Starter
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I mow lawns for extra $$$ during the summer. Almost all of the people I mow for live within my neighborhood. I walk to all of those jobs, so there's no travel expense involved.

I charge $25 per lawn and it takes me about 1 hr. to do the job. Last year I was about as busy as I could handle and we were in a drought.

This year, I've noticed some of my regular customers have either switched to someone else or started doing it themselves. I haven't asked anyone why they've switched, so I'm in the dark on why. The people that do use me seem very happy with the service though.

I know times are tough, so maybe price is pushing me out although I've never seen anyone offer to do the same work for less money.

At what point should I drop the price to $20 to attract new customers and possible bring some of the old ones back?
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#2 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 12:00 PM
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Here on LI the local landscapers were charging approx 70$ per month last year, I heard this went up to about 90$. This doesn't include any chemicals, fertilizers, etc, just the cut

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#3 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 12:13 PM
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Are you willing to do it for $20 or are you satisfied w/ the number of lawns you're cutting at $25 each. If the drop off in your lawn business is related to the economic down-turn, I'm guessing that a $5 price decrease wouldn't have much impact.

If you're concerned that your prices are not competitive, you could call a few services out to quote your own lawn.
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#4 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 12:14 PM
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The ones who are doing it themselves are probably trying to save $. I'd ask them why they are doing it themselves. Perhaps they got a good deal on a mower, or need exercise, or can't afford it. The ones who switched, I'd ask. Maybe it's price, maybe it is how often, maybe they got a solicitation, etc.

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#5 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 12:15 PM
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Now. Due to the economic downturn, your demand curve has shifted to the left. Price and quantity supplied are going down.
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#6 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 12:22 PM - Thead Starter
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I'd do it for $20. Heck, I'd do it for free or next to nothing if I knew someone was really down on their luck. I don't need this money, I just put 100% of the income into a savings account for a rainy day.
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#7 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 12:24 PM
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What are you mowing with?
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#8 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 12:26 PM - Thead Starter
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push mower.

If this year is as good as last year, I'll buy a commercial walk-behind next year.
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#9 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 12:30 PM
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I'm guessing that you might be a little high on pricing, but that's because you're doing a heck of a lot more walking than the other guys. Don't give your services away - that wrecks the market for everybody.

I'd guess the guys with the 48"+ commercial mowers have a 5X+ productivity advantage over you (although they've also got to cover the overhead, taxes, transportation, etc.)

Talk to some bankers - around here, there's lots of commercial equipment getting repossessed.
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#10 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 12:32 PM
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I'd chalk it up to a sign of the times and talk to each client as if their personal situation is unique. And, in many ways it probably is. It could be any number of different things.
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#11 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 12:34 PM
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The thing with residential is that $100/month for a mowing service x 5 months = $500, which will buy you a pretty nice mower.

:shrug:
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#12 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 02:38 PM
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The easiest thing is to check with the people about why the switched. If the people are doing it on their own it might be economic related. Good Luck.
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#13 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 02:45 PM
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What are your competitors charging?

Speaking of lawn services, may I hijack for my own quick question? My lawn service started up prior to when I authorized them to. I said start on X day, and they started at X-10 days. I did have them around doing some other yard stuff, but I specified I didn't want the lawn done until X day.

Should I pay the day that they serviced prior to when I wanted them to start? I was out of town, so I don't even know for sure that it happened (although I trust them and believe it probably did). Or should they eat the charge since they came out prior to when I said I wanted to start the service?
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#14 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 02:53 PM
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That was my first thought too.

Could you send out an anonymous survey to all the customers you had last year, and get some more info that way?
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#15 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 05:01 PM - Thead Starter
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That was my original thought, but I've only got one email address. Everyone else would be a phone call and I don't won't to come off as pushy.
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#16 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 05:02 PM - Thead Starter
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If you can be sure that they did the work, then I'd pay them. Most residential lawn service companies around here are pretty small and pretty honest.
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#17 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 05:29 PM
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You could drop off a paper survey with a sase - no names required.

No help on the pricing, sorry.
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#18 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 08:06 PM
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Yeah, this is what I was thinking.

But secretly code a number into the corner of each paper so it's not really anonymous.
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#19 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 08:11 PM
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My 11 year old started his own business last year

"Liam's lawncare...the best lawn care in town." At first people did not take him seriously...so he was not getting work so he offered the first mow for free.

He charges 20$ and includes all the trimming. He is only 11 years old though.

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#20 of 27 Old 06-12-2009, 08:13 PM
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Around here...it costs about 400$ for the season if you hire a service...the season goes from end of May to mid September..and there are always weeks where it is very dry where he doesn't mow...so they get a great deal with my kid

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#21 of 27 Old 06-13-2009, 07:49 AM - Thead Starter
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I just happened to be out in the yard working when one of my former customers turned around in the cul-de-sac. She stopped to talk for a little bit, so I asked her why she stopped using me. She said the her on-again-off-again boyfriend had started doing it but she wanted me to stop by today to trim it up and make it look better and that she'd probably use me more in the summer when it got too hot for him to mow.
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#22 of 27 Old 06-13-2009, 07:53 AM - Thead Starter
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My nephew (he's also 11) got job mowing the lawn for the church this summer. He gets $150/mo for 6 hrs. of work (aboot $28hr CAD).

Next year he's taking on a little more work for them and they're bumping it to $200/mo.
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#23 of 27 Old 06-13-2009, 08:24 AM
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Start mowing shirtless!

Problem solved!!
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#24 of 27 Old 06-13-2009, 08:25 AM
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The teen who does my dad's lawn charges more than that. I doubt a $5 swing will cause a huge change
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#25 of 27 Old 06-13-2009, 11:40 AM
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Back when i had a house the cost was 100.00 a month for the front yard only. I was to buys working 70+ hours a week andworking out to cut the grass. Now in the new place it takes no longer than 3 minutes to cut the grass and i ain't paying for that. I home the landlord doesn't bitch about the edging though.
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