If you have a teenager looking to make some extra money during the summer, or you’re just a go-getting with a good lawnmower who is looking to make some money on the side, you might be thinking about offering your mowing services around the neighborhood. It’s a great way to make some simple cash or get a little walking-around money. Not to mention it helps young people learn about the value of a good work ethic!
Though you might be wondering just how much to charge for lawn mowing?
In a small suburban housing development where all the lawns are roughly the same size, you might want to just charge a flat rate per yard. If your neighborhood has some larger yards mixed in with small ones, you might want to charge by the square foot or the acreage.
If you have the equipment you might want to also think about adding other services like weed pulling, trimming branches, and cleaning up landscaping features. Chances are if someone is willing to outsource lawn mowing to you, then they are also looking to get other yard care of their plate.
If you are going to offer additional lawn care services, then you might want to think about offering a flat fee or each. Another angle would be to charge by the hour. Though if you’re going to do this, you want to make sure you are doing your best at every project. A client who thinks you’re being too slow and taking your time to up the final bill might not hire you back again.
Determine Your Costs
Before you can even think about what to charge for your lawn mowing services you’ll need to take an accurate accounting of all your costs. This includes upfront costs like purchasing a lawn mower, gas cans, and perhaps a trailer, as well as operating costs for things like fuel and periodic maintenance. It helps to be meticulous.
Consider things like oil changes that need to be performed after every 50-hours of operation. How much gas you will use in a single hour of mowing? If you’re going to be covering a large service area or turning it into a small seasonal business, you might want to also consider the cost of a business license and insurance as well.
Other Services People Expect With A Lawn Mowing Service
Cutting the grass with a lawn mower is only one part of the equation. Most people expect you to take care of other things like trimming around trees and retaining walls as well as edging around flower beds. If the grass clippings are thick, chances are your clients will expect you to rake them up or blow them away with a blower. This is where investing a little more money in a mulching or bagging mower can come in handy!
Leaving someone’s lawn neatly manicured and clean is a great way to ensure repeat business and referrals.
First Time Mow vs Regular Maintained Lawn
When the lawn has had regular work performed prior to you starting, there is likely much less work for you to do the first time going on. It’s this reason why the first time you should charge a bit extra because it takes you much longer than normal. You could always work out a seasonal commitment and give a refund at the end of the season if a new customer is a bit leery of the extra costs.
Attracting & Retaining Repeat Customers
There is a fair amount of salesmanship that comes with running your own lawn mowing service. Ask anyone in sales, and they’ll tell you that the majority of the work goes into getting a new customer. Repeat customers take the least time and effort.
Ultimately, you will save a lot more time if you can secure repeat customers. Not only does this translate into more time spent earning money cutting grass, but it also makes it easier for you to set up a consistent schedule.
Cost For Weekly, Monthly or One-Time
Offering customers a discount for subscribing to weekly lawn mowing can save you a lot of time. You don’t have to knock on doors with a smile to give a sales pitch. You simply know that you’re cutting that person’s grass every Tuesday afternoon. They subscribe and maybe they get an extra $5 off per mowing session. It inspires people to commit long term.
You can also save money by recruiting neighbors through referrals. Let’s say you offer a $5 off referral discount for the next mowing session. So, when Mrs. Johnson tells her neighbor, Mr. Anderson, about what a great job you’re doing, you already have a foot in the door. Then you try to sell Mr. Anderson on a lawn mowing subscription.
In a situation like this, you might have five yards on one block, that you are mowing every Tuesday afternoon. The next day you’re moving over a block and mowing six subscriber’s lawns. Maybe you’re making a little less per lawn by offering these discounts, but you’re saving time by not having to pitch yourself over and over again. Of course, time is money!
Should You Charge Hourly?
A smaller company may wish to charge per hour that can include travel, equipment and labor. Just be sure you set proper expectations of everything that is included in your time. For example, you may not wish to include trimming, and that is an extra charge. Hourly is usually good for a demanding customer who has many various tasks for you to do that change week to week. This way you know you are compensated for your full time.
How Much To Charge Per Yard For Lawn Mowing
Let’s say that your service area is full of cookie-cutter housing additions with yards that are all around the same size. Usually just under a quarter acre. You’ve plugged in your own costs to get a ballpark of how much fuel it will cost and other important maintenance items.
In a scenario like this, it’s usually best to offer a per-yard flat rate. That way when neighbors are chatting and having a coffee they aren’t wondering about why you’re charging one person $50 and the next $35.
With a per yard rate, the average to charge for a quarter-acre lot is going to usually run right around $25 per yard. This will cover your fuel and maintenance costs, as well as pay you for your time, which should be right around half an hour from the time you pull the cord to the moment you turn off the mower.
How Much To Charge By Size Of The Lawn
Lets say that your intended service area has lawns of all different sizes. Some might be as big as half an acre to an acre, while others might be standard quarter acre suburban lawns. In a scenario like this, you’ll want to come up with a sliding scale.
- A Quarter Acre Lawn = $25
- A Half Acre Lawn = $50
- A Full Acre Lawn = $100