Lawn Care Pricing Tips
Pricing a lawn fairly and winning bids is one of the most important aspects of running a successful lawn care business. Newcomers to the industry should put some time into developing and refining their approach. Below I have set out a number of general lawn care pricing tips that may help you to set fair and profitable prices for your services.
Compete on Factors Other than Price
Don't make the mistake of making price your unique value proposition. Try to develop some other competitive advantages that distinguish your lawn care business from your competitors. Highlight the value that you bring to your customers in your marketing. Never compete on price alone!
Set a Minimum Price
It is important that you set a minimum price for your services. This would be the rate which would be your absolute rock bottom price for a lawn mowing job no matter how small the lawn was. When you figure that you have to drive to the customers home, unload your truck and put your gear away again after a job it makes sense to set a limit. Most lawn care business owners in the US would not take on any job for less that $20 and some set minimum rates that can be as high as $30 or more.
Prepare a Price Chart
Put together a price chart based on a variety of lawn sizes that you can present to customers. Such a price list should set out your minimum rate and it should note that prices could vary due to factors that are unknown prior to inspection. You can also include other services that you offer on your price list.
Price per Mow or Seasonal Pricing
It is common, especially in the residential market to charge the customer on the basis of how many times their lawn was mowed. However it is also possible to charge on a monthly or seasonal basis. Under such a seasonal or monthly plan you would simply charge the customer monthly in return for maintaining their lawns to a specified standard. Customers may want to know approximately how many visits you will make on a monthly basis but you are basically free to come and go as you wish provided that the job is done properly. This approach is more common in the commercial sector but can work out well for residential lawn services as well.
There is no reason why you have to charge the same price to every customer. If you are quoting a price to a wealthy homeowner you may consider pricing higher than you would for someone in a working class area. Keep in mind that the demands of the rich are often a lot higher than those of the middle and working classes though so the higher price may end up being justified.
Businesses are sometimes prepared to pay higher prices than households for lawn care services. This is especially true if you have a purchaser or building manager making purchase decisions instead of the business owner. Find out what it takes to impress those with the responsibility to make such decisions and you could easily end up with a few profitable commercial accounts.
You should encourage customers to sign up for your lawn care services for a full year or season in return for a reasonable discount. Lock them into making a commitment to your business by having them sign an agreement or pay a small deposit for a year's worth of service.
It is important that you review your prices regularly. You should make sure that they are still allowing you to be profitable and that you have not become too 'out of whack' with market rates. Customers understand that prices rise over time due to inflation and most of them will understand if you have to increase them slightly every one or two years. Larger price rises have also become necessary for many lawn care businesses at certain times throughout the last decade due to rising fuel costs.
The best way to handle a price rise is to call and tell the customer in person. Make sure that you contact them well before making a price change and give them a good reason why change has become necessary. Show empathy for their situation and apologize for having to charge more.
Lawn Care Estimate Software
Some of the lawn care business software packages include features that help with estimating. If you buy a general software package and get an estimating program thrown in then you may find that this is useful. However, I would not recommend going and buying lawn business software just to get estimating software.
Software can only really help you with the basic formulas. It cannot inspect a property for you, tell you local market rates or come up with an accurate list of costs. Computers are still fairly poor at setting prices unfortunately. A good program will streamline the process of making estimates but it still won't help you if you don't know what you are doing.
Get a Preview with Google Earth
If you are new to the lawn care game why not get a preview of what a property is going to be like before you go and do your inspection. With Google Earth you may be able to get a fairly good look at a lawn from above and start working on your pricing strategy before you meet the prospect in person and inspect their property. Any information that you get from Google Earth should be taken lightly though as those images can be years out of date and they are not always clear and detailed.
Avoid Psychological Pricing
You would think that consumers would be too savvy to respond to $9.99 style pricing these days. While this kind of 'funky' pricing may still work for retailers I would not recommend that you mess around with this when you give estimates to prospective customers. Some people will feel that you are insulting their intelligence if you quote a price like $49.99 for their lawn. The best idea is to round quotes up or down to the nearest five dollars.
How to Price a Lawn Mowing Job - Pricing Methods
The Importance of Pricing Lawn Services Right
Lawn Care Estimate Guide - Visiting the Property
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