Costing / Pricing - Unit Rate

I have just analysed our last ten thousand lawn mowing jobs and what is absolutely clear is that the Unit Rate (per Square Meter) is very low on small jobs, and the larger the job becomes the higher the UR becomes.

For example, (using 21" mowers), on a very small job, the area of grass cut can be as low as two square meters per minute, but on larger jobs the area cut can be as high as 44 square meters per minute.

This rule also applies to most other maintenance work, such as hedge trimming, leaf clearance etc, etc.

Knowing the UR for your work is essential if you you give a "price per job", but not so if you work by an hourly rate.

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    • PRO

      Does the price include edging Adrian ?   Personally i like to do the edging  , but i know many who specialise in lawns will just cut the grass and not edge , why is this , is it regarded as a separate job ?  , Out of interest how does the software calculate the cost of edging a lawn compared to the cost of the cut , can it calculate the time it should take using edging shears or strimmer . ? Thanks .

      • Hi John.

        Every quote we give for lawn mowing includes, edge trimming and blowing the cuttings and hard areas, otherwise known as "mow, blow and go"

  • I oversee every lawn myself so don't need to do any sort of analysis, but I can see how people sending out a few vans need some form of numerical basis for pricing. Of course, the pricing should be validated, regularly, as every lawn has it's own access issues, technical features to negotiate and so on.

    • Hi Dan.

      When you are a single self employed person the costs and prices are not quite so important as when you are a business that has employees, it is then that you need to be aware of what every action will cost, and what to charge the customer. As a rule of thumb, the price of labour should be about three times the cost. This is three times the labour cost during the time the work is taking place.

      Also, employees have to be able to earn the business enough to pay their wages and cover all the costs involved, so an employee has to earn the business about £40,000pa (£769 per week) on average. To make sure that you are on track to obtain this amount of revenue, the business needs to know exactly how many productive hours are budgeted for every day which will vary greatly from business to business. Some may only do 3.5 hours work a day and some may do as much as 6 hours a day if they have a high customer density.

      • How many employees do you have Adrian?

      • PRO
        What software do you use Adrian
        It would also be very helpful if you could give me some advice on how to price for different jobs e.g grass cutting, hedge trimming etc

        Do people charge 1 price to cut the lawn and another price to weed/maintain beds, or does the price include both
  • PRO

    Sometimes the bigger the mowers the less money you make... what do you guys charge for a cricket pitch or a football pitch ?

    • PRO

      I've always found our tight density £15-£20 mowing jobs as the most profitable. You can be at around £1 per minute. You're not going to get a £50 job done in 50 minutes. If you have you're seriously fast and have some big gear!

      I've turned away three acre + mowing jobs this year. The purchase, storage and transport of a mower that's only going to do 40 days a year at most doesn't make sense to me. 

      Being a cricketer myself, I know that some clubs will have a contractor that cuts the outfield weekly - maybe a total of 40 cuts per year at £75-150 - this could be for 2-4 acres. My view is that it's a price sensitive market of just cutting the grass so its fit for purpose. Personally I'm not interested. 

      • PRO
        You’ve definitely got to be using the big machines to make them worth having!

        That said once you have them you can do £500 a day on your own if you can get the work for them. And that’s not pushing yourself too hard either.
        Problem is getting the work for them. More price sensitive than walk behind work ime.
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