When you’re self-employed with your own lawn mowing business, one of the best freedoms is being able to set your prices however you like. It’s wonderful to be able to set the bar however you feel is appropriate and profitable instead of being tied to somebody’s pricing conventions. Sometimes, however, it can be a little difficult to know what is the right price guide for you. How much is too much? What’s the right price for the client? What covers your costs appropriately?
While we detail average costs on lawn care on our lawn mowing page In the following guide, we outline the key factors of pricing from the perspective of new lawn mowing businesses. This way, you can learn how to make suitable decisions on the right price to charge for your lawn mowing services to help grow a profitable business and deliver fair prices to your clients.
What are the key factors that influence lawn mowing charges?
Of course, the cost of lawn mowing depends on some key variables, from the type of work required to the condition of the lawn, to the equipment needed to do a good job and beyond. We’ve broken down the primary factors into three categories to see how the price of lawn mowing can most often be affected. These factors may then be used to assess and score a lawn to help provide a reasonable price for lawn mowing.
Note that below we are focussed on factors that influence your cost to supply, we are deliberatly not covering factors of the cost from the demand side such as seasonal demand changes and of course very unusual circumstances that might reduce demand such as COVID-19.
How does lawn condition impact how much to charge for lawn mowing?
The relative quality of the lawn itself will naturally affect costing given the time and effort required. Here are a few variables to take into consideration.
- Size of the lawn. A tiny front lawn is obviously going to cost a lot less than a sprawling back yard due to the smaller amount of energy required. Many lawn mowing companies scale their prices based on size as a result.
- Height of the grass. Tall grass requires more energy than shorter grass to tame, and may also require a whipper snipper beforehand. Other lawns require multiple efforts with a lawnmower which takes additional time.
- Density of the grass. Tough, durable grass may require multiple efforts with a lawn mower. A dense area of grass also means increased clippings to collect, and therefore more time is required.
- Lawn terrain. Terrain needs to be considered, as a flat lawn without obstacles is much easier to mow than a steep lawn broken into segments. Any additional effort required will need to be charged for appropriately.
- Obstacles on the lawn. Additional variables that add to the difficulty of lawn mowing include obstacles such as trees or garden features that make mowing less simple. Anything that adds extra time and attention will need to be factored into the price.
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How does the equipment required impact how much to charge for lawn mowing?
Any specialist lawn mowing equipment and extra work that is required on top of lawn mowing will likely incur additional charges. This includes the services such as the following.
- Catching capabilities. Lawn mowers typically charge a higher rate if clippings need to be collected, even if this is with a catcher attached to the mower. This is because the catcher still needs to be emptied regularly which takes more time, as opposed to when the clippings can simply be left on the lawn.
- Edging work. This is dependent on obstacles and accessibility to the lawn. If there are trees, a patio, paths, or a swimming pool, often this needs additional edging work to create a tidy finish. This extra work applies as an additional service. If a whipper snipper is needed in addition to an edger, this is often a more expensive service due to the expertise required and the time taken to operate it across the lawn.
- Lawn painting and striping. This should be costed out as a specialist service on top of any basic lawn mowing work.
- Additional lawn maintenance. Sometimes, simply mowing the lawn isn’t enough. Services including weeding, spraying weeds, pruning, hedging, aerating soil, and fertilization are also need to keep lawns healthy. Each of these come with additional costs per service.
- Ride on lawn mower. If the lawn in question is reasonably large, it makes sense to use a ride on lawn mower. These are more expensive than push mowers because the equipment is expensive to buy and maintain.
- Green waste removal. Obviously if trips are needed to a local tip or simply just removed from the lawn or compost bin, you’re able to charge an additional fee due to extra time and effort required.
How does the type of lawn mowing required affect cost?
Not every lawn mowing job requires the same style of work – some are lengthy clean up projects, others are more regular maintenance. As a result, this affects the cost. Here are some of the common ways in which your prices may vary.
- High priority lawn mowing. If, due to urgency, a lawn needs mowing higher up the priority list, an additional fee may be required as compensation over other scheduled jobs.
- Off-peak lawn mowing. If there’s an emergency or simply high demand across weekends or public holidays, it’s often a good idea to charge a surcharge for lawn mowing services during unsociable timeframes.
- One-off lawn mowing jobs. Obviously, most lawn mowing professionals would prefer a regular mowing contract over one-off jobs. It’s not uncommon, therefore, to charge more for a one-off lawn mowing job as a result.
- Tidy up mowing jobs. These jobs are typically arduous – with little previous maintenance, a lot of work essentially needs to be done from scratch, which requires plenty of time and effort. Numerous other services including pruning and weeding may also be required. It’s important to factor all of this in appropriately.
Which other costs do I need to factor in to my lawn mowing charges?
Costing out the scope of the lawn mowing job you’ve been asked about is just the beginning. There are numerous other factors that need to be included into job. These include:
- Lawn mowing equipment and accessories. The cost of buying quality machinery and equipment will ultimately have to be covered by your clients’ costs. This includes anything from chainsaws to whipper snippers. You want to factor in maintenance of each piece of machinery too, and leverage for any breakages or replacements that may be needed over time.
- Travel and vehicle costs. Getting to and from lawn mowing businesses should be covered by client charges, depending on distance needed to travel. This also applies for any trips to the tip to drop off green waste.
- Business costs. Another charge to include in your lawn mowing rates is to cover any administrative fees. This could be for accounting and bookkeeping, taxes, and staff costs.
- Taxes. Any Goods and Services Taxes should be included on your invoices as separate to the lawn mowing services you provided to be covered by the client.
- Lawn mowing insurance. This should be factored into your general lawn mowing rate to cover any premiums you have to pay.
- Market demand. This will vary given your location and client base. If you’re based in an affluent area, you would expect your lawn mowing rate to be higher, especially if you have a monopoly on the market. If not, you may need to be more competitive in your rates to ensure a steady pipeline of business.
- Seasonal demand. Depending on your client base, it may be a good idea to charge a higher rate in the summer months when demand is typically higher. Adversely, when lawn mowing jobs are a little more scarce in the winter, you could charge a slightly lower rate to stay competitive and stand a better chance of picking up the jobs.
- Franchise costs. If you’re part of a franchise, you may be able to charge a slightly higher rate for lawn mowing based on brand reputation. This is also to cover the initial out payment to join the franchise.
What do other lawn mowing businesses charge?
It really depends on the lawn mowing business in question – every single one will vary to some extent. Some have a minimum rate, while others request a call out fee to assess the lawn and provide an accurate quote based on the work at hand. Others may simply provide an estimate that lies on experience and judgement, while others have a methodical system of factoring in all of the above factors and charges required.
If you want to compare with the market rates you can browse our state pages such as victoria, Queensland and NSW and drill down into your individual suburb to find the most recent average price charged in your area.
So, how much should I charge for lawn mowing?
As you can see, so many different variables go into establishing a cost. It’s important to do what’s best for you, but having some structure is a good idea. Perhaps create a scoring system for each factor that affects your cost. This way, you can match up a score with an appropriate figure when quoting a client.
There's some helpful information in the forum of the Independent Lawn Mowing Contractors of Australia, where you can gain hands on advice from other professionals on what to charge specifically. The below video from Lawn Care Life goes into the different factors that go into pricing your lawn mowing services.