When starting a lawn care company, you may face challenges when determining what to charge for specific services. Weed abatement, in particular, is a laborious process and may vary in price depending on several factors. So, how do you know how much to charge for weeding?
Find out how much to charge for weeding by first determining labor costs. Take your hourly rate and multiply it by the hours expected to work and the number of workers required for the job. Next, factor in equipment costs, taxes, overhead, and profit markup to find the total job price.
In this article, we’ll discuss the average costs to weed a yard, what factors into this cost, and how to calculate a price for your weeding services. I’ll help you come up with a competitive price while also turning a profit. Read on to learn more.
How Much Does it Cost to Weed a Yard?
Many lawn care services charge by the hour for weed abatement.
The cost to weed a yard ranges from $30 to $120 per hour. Medium-size lawns average around $100, including preparation, pulling, chemical application, equipment use, and clean-up. Rates vary based on lawn size, yard condition, and maintenance schedules.
The average lawn size in the United States is ¼ acre or roughly 10,900 square feet and most homeowners pay around $100 per treatment. Some companies opt to charge based on square footage, although this is less common.
What Factors Play a Role in Weeding Costs?
Lawn care providers don’t often offer weed pulling, treating, and prevention as a single service. Generally, they include these services as add-ons for regular lawn maintenance. You can, however, offer a la carte options and provide special pricing on weeding services alone.
Regardless of how you decide to offer your services, there are multiple factors that play into how much you should charge for weeding. Those factors include:
- Property Size
- Routine Maintenance
- Property Condition
Let’s look at each of these factors more in-depth.
The primary factor in determining weeding costs is the size of the property. As a general rule, smaller yards cost significantly less to weed than larger ones. There are exceptions, however.
For example, if you’re performing weed abatement services on a small yard that’s been neglected for over a year, the overall cost may end up being more than a large yard that’s regularly maintained.
Regularly weeded lawns do not require as much time and effort to clear and maintain compared to yards weeded only once or twice a year. As such, many lawn care companies offer discounts to customers who sign a contract for regularly scheduled weeding.
These discounts make sense because workers spend significantly less time and products on well-maintained lawns versus those treated less frequently. This saves money on labor, equipment, and products.
Regularly maintained, average-size yards shouldn’t take more than an hour to weed. In these situations, it makes sense to charge a fixed rate. You benefit more from charging an hourly rate on neglected properties, as they tend to take longer to weed.
In addition to charging more for neglected yards, hilly or steep yards or those requiring you to move large objects to access treatment areas may also increase the overall cost due to extra labor.
Price Labor Costs as a Starting Point
To price your weeding service, start by factoring in property size and condition, as well as whether the customer intends to sign a scheduled maintenance contract. With this information, develop a starting hourly rate.
For a medium, regularly maintained yard and no contract, you might figure $30 per hour as a good starting point.
To determine labor costs, multiply the hourly rate by the number of workers needed for the job. Then, multiply the product by the expected number of hours worked.
For example, we’ll start with a $30 per hour rate on a job that should take approximately one hour and require two workers.
|Hourly Labor Cost||$30|
|Number of Workers||2|
|$30 x 2 x 1 = $60 (Labor Cost)|
So, the total labor costs of a two-person, one-hour job are $60.
However, this price doesn’t factor in other necessary costs, including:
- Equipment and Products
- Overhead Costs
- Profit Markup
You’ll need to factor in these costs to guarantee a profit, which we’ll discuss in the next section. First, let’s look at these additional costs a little more in-depth.
Equipment and Products
Lawn weeding requires equipment, supplies, and products, often including weed eaters, weed-killing chemicals, hand tools, and mulch. In addition to these items, gas-powered equipment requires gasoline and oil, and you should also incorporate equipment maintenance into the overall cost to guarantee a profit.
You can determine equipment and product costs by measuring the client’s yard (in all treatment areas), taking note of the square footage, and calculating how much product you’ll need to cover that space (i.e., gasoline, oil, weed killer, mulch, etc.). Include the amount in the price.
Taxes vary depending on the state where you offer services. Most states require a license or permit to charge sales tax on customer purchases. In many cases, these permits are required if the business exceeds a specific gross number of sales within a calendar year.
In Ohio, for example, lawn care services earning $5,000 or more per year in gross sales must obtain a vendor’s license and collect sales tax. Sales tax in Ohio is 5.75 percent.
Check your state laws to determine whether you need a license or permit and how much sales tax to charge customers.
Overhead costs are the regular expenses associated with running your lawn care company.
- Direct Costs – These variable costs include materials, equipment, and labor used to provide the weeding service. Any expense that directly results from providing those services is a direct cost.
- Indirect Costs – These fixed costs include office rental, utilities, wages, interest, advertising, vehicles, and other expenses not directly associated with providing lawn weeding services.
Divide indirect costs by direct costs and then multiply by 100 to determine the overhead cost percentage.
Indirect Costs / Direct Costs x 100
For example, if the answer comes out as 15 percent, that means that your lawn care business spends 15 percent of its income providing services to customers.
The majority of lawn care companies add 15 to 20 percent to the bill to cover their overhead.
After determining how much the weeding service costs, you’ll need to factor in the desired profit margin to cover those costs and turn a profit.
If your lawn care company only charges what they pay to provide weeding services (i.e., materials, equipment, labor, etc.), you won’t profit from the service. As such, you should add a profit markup. The higher the profit markup, the more money your business earns.
For example, if labor, materials, and equipment for a weeding job cost your business $100 and you want a profit margin of 25 percent, you’ll need to charge a $25 markup to meet the margin. That makes the total price of the job $125.
Calculating a Suitable Price for Weeding Services
To accurately calculate a suitable price for weeding services and earn a profit, you’ll need to take your hourly rate and add in overhead, equipment, taxes, and profit markup to determine the overall price of the weeding job.
As discussed in the previous section, the first goal is to determine labor costs. Our earlier example of $30 per hour for one hour with two workers puts the rate at $60 per hour for labor.
(Hourly Labor Cost x # of Workers x # Hours Expected = Labor Costs)
($30 Hourly Labor x 2 Workers x 1 Hour = $60 Labor Costs)
Now, we’ll use the product to determine overhead, equipment costs, sales tax, and profit markup on this particular job.
We’ll use the following examples:
- Overhead: 15% ($60 x .15 = $9)
- Equipment/Products: $7.50
- Sales Tax: 5.75% ($60 x 0.0575 = $3.45)
- Profit Markup: 25% ($60 x 0.25 = $15)
Now, we can calculate the total job price by adding these costs together.
$60 Labor + $9 Overhead + $7.50 Equipment/Products + $3.45 Taxes + $15 Markup
The total equals $94.95 for a two-person, one-hour weeding job.
When hypothetically calculating prices, compare them to costs in your area to determine whether they’re competitive. Ideally, your prices shouldn’t exceed 15 percent of your competitor’s average costs on the same service.
Should You Price Low on Start-Up and Raise Prices Later?
Some lawn care companies start with low prices to attract customers, later raising their prices as the business grows.
You shouldn’t price low on start-up and raise prices later. This could cause you to lose customers. Instead, offer introductory discounts for first-time customers and additional discounts for those who sign up for regularly scheduled weeding.
Calculating an acceptable price for weeding services allows your lawn care business to remain competitive while also turning a desirable profit. The most important aspect of maintaining a successful weeding service is to offer high-quality lawn care and reliable service.
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