Pricing is the #1 problem for most lawn care and landscaping owners.
This guide will show you how to make more profit on every service with very simple lawn care pricing strategies.
You will discover how to price services to increase your sales and improve your reputation. Plus, we included a free tool that will help you fix your prices in under 10 minutes:
This tool will help you achieve your perfect price.
Paired with this guide, you will fix your prices and make more money.
How Much Should I Charge for ‘X’ Lawn Care Job?
“How much should I charge for…”
- Mowing a yard?
- Trimming this tree?
- Removing bushes and adding flowers?
There is a very simple answer to every single one of these questions:
It depends on:
- Your equipment
- Your time on the job
- Your clients (and how much they are willing to spend)
This is why you should NEVER copy your competitors’ pricing. You will lose money.
(They probably copied their competitors, and they’re losing money right now.)
The only way to price is to know your numbers. This will give you the power to price and guarantee a profit on every single job.
You must ask yourself:
“How can I maximize my profits AND the value I give to my clients?”
It’s called the “Pricing Sweet Spot.” This magic number allows you to make your clients extremely happy and puts a healthy amount of cash in your pocket after every job.
4 Easy Steps to Find Your Pricing Sweet Spot
1. Track your time
Time tracking is the core of pricing. It’s insane how many lawn and landscape professionals don’t track their time.
Get a stopwatch, get a time-tracking mobile app, get SOMETHING – and start tracking the time it takes for you to complete a job.
Take this example:
- 2 properties
- Both are 7500 sq. ft.
Property A takes 25 minutes to mow. Property B takes 45 minutes to mow.
If you charge the same price for B (45 minutes) that you charge for A (25 minutes), you are paying to mow their lawn.
Download our free pricing tool. You might be surprised to see how many of your jobs are unprofitable, just because of time.
2. Know your market
We say, “never copy your competitors.”
This doesn’t mean “cover your eyes and stick your head in the sand.”
Look around at what others are charging. See who is the most successful in your area. Try to discover what sets them apart – is it a service? Reputation?
Familiarize yourself with potential clients in your service area.
Find out what services they want … and what they are willing to pay. This will give you a good idea of how much profit you should aim to make.
3. Know your operational costs
A business costs money to run.
Everything you do, from sunup ’til sundown, drinks some of your revenue.
Find your operational costs:
- Drive Time
- Equipment Maintenance
- Cost of Labor (even if you work alone, you set a salary for yourself a salary)
If you do landscaping, you need to factor in the cost of materials and material transportation.
Add up all of these costs. You now have a baseline dollar amount that must be made on every job to break even.
This is good news – because you know you get to keep every dollar after this number. The key is to figure out what the perfect profit margin should be…
4. Test your pricing (This is Critical!)
This is how most lawn business owners price:
- They count their operational costs
- They add 5% or 10%, depending on “how they feel”
Most of your competitors never test their prices. This is why it feels like the green industry constantly undercuts itself.
People are afraid to try anything. They are afraid to talk to their clients. Nobody tracks data to figure out where they can make more money.
You can do better.
“Make pricing part of your culture.”
- Get regular pricing feedback from your clients
- Evaluate your prices on a set basis (monthly or quarterly)
- Keep “Value for your Client” at the front of your mind
Do this, and you will be well on your way to becoming a richer, happier business owner.
Now comes the next part…
The hard part…
The part that makes most owners’ squirm in their seats…
How to Raise Your Prices Without Making Clients Mad
Nobody – NOBODY – wants to pay more for anything.
“You’re raising my prices? My yard didn’t get any bigger, why should it cost more?”
The stubborn client is every lawn company’s worst nightmare. Most are afraid that a simple price increase will bring out the worst in people.
And it will…
…if you don’t do it right.
- How high is too high?
- What number should you aim for?
- When should you raise prices, and how frequently?
Know your baseline operational costs.
Know what it costs to run your business. See section above for more info.
Raise prices on unprofitable clients first.
Find your unprofitable clients with our free pricing audit tool.
First, there is zero risk in raising prices on unprofitable clients first because if you lose them, you don’t actually lose any money.
Second, it allows you to test…
Test your price increase on small groups first.
The wrong price increase can scare away your clients. So test out your price changes on small groups of clients first.
Listen to their objections. Then, you will know what other clients are likely to say, and you can prepare for it.
Avoid price increases in the selling season.
The worst time to raise prices is when all of your competitors post ads and try to steal your clients.
Try to raise prices only near the end of or after your mowing season. End of summer or beginning of Fall as a general rule of thumb.
The exception is for no-profit or low-profit clients.
Sell to your clients (again)!
The most important step.
When you want to increase prices across the board, you need to tell your clients WHY.
Write them a letter:
- Be professional
- Explain the rising costs of business
- Show them the value of your service and how much you care
You can steal this Price Increase Letter Template at the bottom of this article.
A good letter will build trust, increase your reputation, and most importantly…
It will encourage your clients to stick around, even when your prices go up.
How to Beat Out Lawn Care Lowballers & Landscape Scalpers
For Landscape and Lawn Care owners, you will never beat lowballers on price.
There are at least seven ways to eliminate any competition from cheapskates and lowballers:
- Market your services better
- Offer premium services
- Always be on time
- Hire better employees – and tell your clients about it
- Be licensed and insured
- Go BIG. Get commercial accounts and other properties that Scalpers couldn’t hope to get
- Don’t waste time on cheap clients! Let the lowballers deal with them.
Cheap work attracts cheap clients. Lowballers aren’t really the threat some people think they are.
They come and go so quickly, it doesn’t pay to compete on their level.
Why Higher Prices Will Get You More Clients
If you follow our blog, you will hear this again and again:
“Premium” is the best strategy for most lawn care and landscaping owners.
Seek to be the highest-quality service in your area. Premium services will bring in premium clients, which means premium profits.
“Don’t be the cheapest guy on the block. Be the most valuable.”
Years ago, a tech company decided to enter the laptop market.
Their competitors clashed over “more memory, more power, lower prices.”
Inch by inch, they fought a battle nobody could win.
So, this tech company went the opposite direction. They didn’t focus on low prices, or low production costs.
They went all out.
They made sleek, user-friendly laptops. Their laptops looked like they came from the future. It was exactly what people wanted.
Today, you know this company as Apple.
And their premium pricing strategy was a huge success:
- Despite holding only about 20% of the Market share…
- …they generated almost 80% of the profit.
You can be the Apple of lawn care or landscaping in your area. You can live out the Pareto Principle in your market.
Make yourself unique. Differentiate yourself from the competition. People should see quality in everything you do – your performance, your customer service, your prices.
Quick Videos on Lawn Care Pricing
Jonathan Pototschnik, co-founder of Service Autopilot, recorded a series of pricing videos for Lawn Care Millionaire that will help you understand:
- How to look at your services
- Why you can’t just copy competitors
- How to fix your pricing
If you want to watch instead of read, give this series a whirl:
How to Give Estimates over the Phone
Estimates can be a pain, right?
You have to:
- Schedule the appointment
- Drive out to the client’s property
- Take time to measure the property
And after you do all of that, you might not even win the bid. What a waste…
There’s a faster way. A better way.
It measures satellite images from Google Maps to find the gross, net, or turf square footage.
You get a precise measurement of the property (including the number of trees, flower beds, etc.), so you can estimate with 100% accuracy without leaving your chair.
You can even estimate while on the phone with your client, which drastically improves your closing rate. This lets you capture more clients, faster without losing time on in-person estimates (works best for lawn maintenance).
If your business isn’t big enough to use the best dedicated lawn care software you can download our FREE estimate template from The Lawn Care Owner’s Estimate Manual.
Join our free Lawn Care Webinar to learn more about SmartMaps or to see how Service Autopilot will instantly upgrade your business.
How to Price Tree Services
Tree inspections, pruning, removal, and other tree services tend to be expensive.
Like other Green Industry services, tree service pricing falls under the “time = money” rule.
Tree removal can cost anywhere from $75 to $3500+. You must know your operational costs, and an estimated time for removal, to give a proper bid for tree-related jobs.
Because tree removal can be such a complex and careful job, experience is important to give a fair estimate. Check out this guide on tree removal pricing to learn about different tree types and the average rate of removal.
Go for premium. Most tree service clients are looking for three little words: “Licensed and Insured.”
Don’t forget to upsell your clients:
- Log splitting
- Stump removal
- Chipping services
- Hauling and disposal services
Prices tend to go WAY UP when the tree is at risk of damaging property (breaking windows, roofs, or falling on the house in anyway).
If you can claim to be licensed and insured, you can easily charge more for your services…
…because nobody wants a hack job on that Oak that’s about to crash into the kitchen.
FREE Download: Audit Your Lawn Care Pricing in Under 10 Minutes
Want to guarantee that all of your lawn care jobs are profitable?
What this tool will do for you:
- Discover your pricing averages
- Identify which jobs are profitable – and which ones aren’t
- Find out exactly how high you need to raise your prices to make the profit you deserve
Download it above, and improve your profit-earning potential now!
Patrick Hoffman is the lead marketing writer for Service Autopilot. He writes about growing healthier Service Businesses - primarily for the Lawn Care, Landscaping, and Cleaning Industries. When he's not writing, he's probably reading: books on marketing, self-improvement, or science fiction. Contact Patrick: firstname.lastname@example.org