Let’s say you are going to price a mowing job. You would obviously want to measure the square footage of the lawn you need to mow. But it’s not quite that simple. When it comes to mowing, it’s important to separately measure the areas where you can use a zero-turn rider, and the areas where you’ll need to use a 21-inch push mower, for example. That’s because you will have different production rates and hourly operating costs for each of those pieces of equipment.
You also want to measure the square footage of lawn you’ll need to string trim, in addition to the linear footage of the property you will need to edge. Measure the size of the beds you will need to weed and mulch, along with the square footage of hard surfaces you will need to blow off.
With a production rate-based estimating system, you also want to account for varying site conditions. For example, if part of your maintenance offering is shrub pruning, set up three classifications—small, medium and large—because you will allocate a different amount of time to pruning each type of shrub. It’s also a good idea to set up classifications such as easy, average and difficult for mowing. No two properties are alike. Some are wide open, some are hilly, and some have a lot of obstacles. It’s important to take these variables into consideration.
It Is Your Decision
Business conditions are improving, but it’s still very competitive out there. Whether or not you raise or lower your prices is up to you. After all, it’s your business and this is a free-market economy. My suggestion: Consistently invest in your business education.
The strategies discussed in this article can help you become more price-competitive, and in many instances more profitable. They are based on accurate, scientific methods that worked for me when I was a contractor, and continue to work for the many contractor clients and customers I work with today. Implementing these strategies takes discipline and hard work—and again, it’s up to you to make them happen in your company. Good luck!