Whether you work as a salaried employee or you start your own business, it’s important to know whether your choice of career will yield the earnings you desire.
Here, we’ll consider what factors affect your earnings as a lawnmower in the US and how much you can expect to earn today as a lawn care professional.
What impacts your earnings in the lawn mowing and lawn care industry?
- Expenses involved in starting your business
A lawn mowing business has numerous overheads such as equipment to mow the grass, materials to care for the lawn, truck hire charges, cost of fuel for transport, and bills for backend office work. The higher your expenses, the more you’ll need to charge in order to break even and earn a profit.
- Risk coverage your business has
As a lawnmower, you strive to be as careful as you can when providing service. But you can’t always control everything that happens on-site.
Saya’s client accidentally slips on mown grass and injures himself. Or, your employee accidentally damages the client’s property on-the-job. In these cases, the client may sue you claiming negligent service. This can result in thousands of dollars spent paying legal charges and damages. This type of risk has the potential to bankrupt your business.
One way to safeguard your company from such financial risks is to get indemnified through Public Liability Insurance. This insurance protects you in the event:
- A client or third-party is injured or dies on-site during the service.
- The premises are damaged due to business activity.
The insurance protects you by giving you the financial resources you need to prevent bankruptcy-inducing claims. Acquiring Public Liability Insurance is really easy and cost-effective. Check here to learn more about it.
- Size of the client’s lawn
The higher the square footage of the lawn, the higher the charges for lawn mowing. But not just the size, even the shape of the lawn will determine how much you earn. Irregularly shaped lawns earn more than lawns that are in traditional rectangular or square shapes. This is because you will need to use a variety of lawn mowing tools and put in more effort to tackle the sections that cannot be mowed using a traditional mower.
- Number and complexity of services required
The type of services you offer as part of your lawn mowing service and how difficult they are to perform determine the price you can charge.
The services that lawn mowing experts typically offer include:
- Lawn preparation (for mowing)
- Grass mowing
- Raking of leaves & twigs
However, if you offer other extras/special services like the ones below, you will get paid much higher:
- Bed trimming
- Shrub trimming
- Thatch control
- Flower planting & management
- Duration & frequency of the service
Lawn mowing and maintenance is a time-bound service. This means, in addition to being paid by square footage, you are also paid depending on the time it takes to complete each task. This time-bound payment works best when you’re performing more complicated tasks like fertilising, which require more attention to detail, than just grass mowing.
Additionally, price also depends on the frequency of the service. Typically, one-off lawn mowing services charge a higher price upfront because your resources are being engaged for a short duration. But if you’re working for a client for an annual partnership and offering weekly/bi-monthly mowing, then your per-session cost might be lower but you earn a lot in the duration of the contract.
- Priority of service
How quickly the client requires your assistance will also impact how much you earn. Say, guests are visiting and the client needs you to mow the lawn within a few hours. In such cases, you can charge high prices because of the “rushed” nature of the service.
If such a rushed service were ordered during peak lawn mowing season (autumn or spring), then the price can be increased further, reflecting the high demand for your services.
- Your experience in lawn moving & lawn care
As with every other industry, the number of years of expertise you have in lawn mowing, will determine how much you earn. Additionally, if you’re experienced in a variety of lawn care activities and don’t hire third-parties to accompany you on the job, you can charge higher prices for your skills.
- The location you work in
Higher income neighborhoods and locations with heritage homes typically spend more on lawn care, because the lawns are what add greater charm to their houses. Lower income neighborhoods spend on lawn mowing too but they may seek budget-friendly services and may not opt for any extra services.
- Seasonal demand
Spring cleaning and autumn cleaning are major events for lawn owners. You definitely have a lot of business and get the opportunity to earn very well if you mow lawns at this time.
- Market fluctuations
Finally, any changes in market demand for the types of lawn mowing services or any increases in the cost of lawn maintenance materials can affect how much you can charge from a client.
Current earning potential for today’s lawn mowing experts
According to Career Explorer, the average earnings of a lawn mowing expert stand between $17.93per hour in the US. The typical range of earnings lie between $12.52 and $21.67 per hour, depending on the amount of experience you possess. This puts the average salary of lawn mowing professionals at $37,299 per year.
Lawn care specialists who work for a rich clientele or a premium lawn management firm can earn as high as $25.69 per hour. Here, you have the potential to earn around $53,429, with the opportunity to earn more on really expensive properties.
Pricing your lawn mowing services
When you start to work the numbers and price your services, follow these steps:
- Write down the hourly rate you’re charging.
- Use a time tracking software to calculate the time you spend on each job.
- Multiply the cost of the job with the number of hours and determine the final cost of labor (this refers to the cost of one lawn mowing expert).
- If more than one employee works on the same job, multiply the labor cost with the total number of people.
- Top-up the overall price of the job with a profit margin to account for overheads and profit.
In the above pricing process, if you’re offering any special services in addition to mowings, like fertilizer application or mulching, remember to account for special/extra charges. On average, American lawn mowing professionals charge $91 for fertilizer application and $175 for mulching.
According to experts, your total material cost for lawn mowing and added services, should not exceed 30%-40% of your total revenue. Labor charges should be under 25% of your overall earnings. Anything higher than these limits will not result in break even.