One of the best advantages of working for yourself and running your own gardening business is the ability to set your own rates.
It’s good to be free from other people’s price expectations and be allowed to establish the standard however you deem appropriate and profitable. However, there are times when deciding which price guide is appropriate for you can be a bit difficult.
How much is too much? What is a reasonable price for the client? What pays your expenses in full?
From the viewpoint of a new lawn mowing business, we highlight the key elements of pricing in the following guidance.
What factors to consider when pricing your gardening services
Like many businesses when they first start out, deciding on pricing is a difficult one. With gardening, there are 3 key factors that will determine how you price a job. Whilst you can have some set pricing for general tasks, the actual cost of a job will be influenced by these key factors. These include:
- The current state of the garden and yard
- Equipment you will require
- The frequency and urgency of required gardening services
Let’s take a look at each one in more detail.
1. The current state of the garden
The are many factors to a gardens current state or condition that can affect how you price a job. As not every garden is the same, you will need to factor these into your pricing. They include.
- The size of the garden. Because it takes less energy to mow and manage a small yard, it will cost you much less than one with a large back yard. As a result, many garden care companies adjust their prices according to the size of the yard.
- Height of grass, trees and shrubs. Tall grass takes more effort to manage than shorter grass and may require a whipper cutter before being mowed. This also applies to trees and shrubs. Additional time is required to trim larger bushes as there will be a requirement for ladders.
- Density A lawn mower may need to be used multiple times to cut tough grass. Dense grass will require more effort to cut, so it is worth taking longer.
- Garden terrain. Terrain should be considered as a flat garden with no obstacles is easier to manage than one that has been broken up into sections or terraces. Additional effort will be charged accordingly.
- Obstacles in the garden. Other factors that can make lawn mowing more difficult include garden features, pools and trees that might pose a problem. Any extra effort or time required to manage these gardens will be added to the cost.
2. Gardening equipment required to get the job done
When starting your gardening business you will need to invest in a range of products. These should be suitable for most jobs, however there may be jobs that require specific equipment, and if you do not have these then you may have to purchase or hire this equipment to get the job completed and this will incur additional costs.
- Lawn Clippings Capturing capabilities. Lawn mowing businesses often charge more for clippings that need to be collected. The reason is that the catcher must be cleaned out regularly, which can take longer than if the clippings are left on the lawn.
- Lawn Edging work. It depends on the accessibility of the lawn and obstacles. To create a neat finish, it is necessary to edging any trees, patios, paths, or swimming pools. Additional work is required. A whipper snipper, which is required in addition to an edger is more costly due to the additional expertise and time it takes to operate across the lawn.
- Lawn painting and Striping . This service should be priced as a specialty on top of basic lawn mowing.
- Green waste removal. You can charge an additional fee if you need to take the waste to a local tip, or just to remove it from your lawn or compost bin.
- Ride-on lawn mower. A ride-on lawn mower is a good choice if the size of the lawn is large. Because the equipment is more costly to purchase and maintain, these mowers are more expensive than push ones.
- Additional garden care. Sometimes, mowing the lawn just isn’t enough. Lawns need services such as weeding, spraying and pruning weeds, hedging, fertilization, and pruning. These services come at an additional cost.
3. Garden care frequency and urgency
The frequency and urgency of lawn mowing services is the 3rd factor to consider. If a customer would like their lawn mowed more regularly then you can customise a lawn care package to suit their needs. This can include a discount due to the more frequent lawn mowing required. Being more frequent, there will most likely be less to do each time as the grass shouldn’t have grown too much in that time. If someone requires an urgent lawn care service, then you can offer a “rush fee” and charge more for the service.
- High priority lawn mower. Additional fees may be charged if a lawn must be mowed urgently.
- Off-peak lawn care. It’s a good idea for lawn mowing services to be charged a surcharge if there is an emergency or high demand on weekends and holidays.
- One-off lawnmowing jobs. Most lawn mowing professionals prefer to have a regular mowing contract than one-off jobs. As a result, it is not unusual to charge more for one-off lawn mowing jobs.
- Take care of mowing jobs. These jobs can be very difficult, especially if you don’t have any previous maintenance. You will need to do a lot of work from scratch which takes a lot of time and effort. Other services such as pruning and weeding might also be needed. All of these services should be considered carefully.
Other costs associated with gardening to consider
The costing of the job is only the beginning. You should also consider other aspects of the job. These are:
- Accessories and gardening equipment. Your clients will have to pay for the cost of quality machinery and equipment. This covers everything from whipper snippers to chainsaws. Maintenance of each piece of machinery should be considered, as well as the leverage needed for repairs or replacements.
- Business expenses. Administrative fees are another charge that you should include in your lawn mowing rates. These fees could include accounting and bookkeeping, taxes and staff costs.
- Vehicle and travel costs. Client charges should cover transportation costs to and from lawn-mowing businesses, depending on the distance traveled. This applies to all trips to the tip to pick up green waste.
- axes. All Goods and Services Taxes must be added to your invoices.
- Lawn-mowing insurance. To cover any premiums, this should be included in your lawn mowing rate.
- Market demand. This will depend on your client base and location. You would expect your lawn mowing rates to be higher if you are located in an area with high income. To ensure steady business, you might need to be more competitive with your rates.
- Seasonal demand. It may be wise to charge more in summer, when the demand is higher. To be more competitive and have a greater chance of getting the job, it is a good idea to charge a lower rate in winter when there are less lawn mowing jobs.
- Franchise costs. A franchise may allow you to charge slightly more for lawn mowing due to your brand reputation. This is to pay the initial out payment for joining the franchise.
Find out what other garden businesses are charging
In the end, it is the gardening care company that will determine the rate they charge. Each one will be different. While some require a minimum rate, others charge a call fee to evaluate the lawn and give an accurate quote based upon the work being done. Some may give an estimate based on their experience, judgment, or both. Others will use a systematic system to factor in all the charges and factors.
Jump onto sites such as Airtasker, Gumtree, or even your local Facebook page and check out what other gardening companies are charging. You could even just make a post on Facebook groups to see what customers are willing to pay. This will help you get a good idea of what you can charge.