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Old 03-19-2010, 11:10 AM
 
461 posts, read 576,827 times
Reputation: 570

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Thanks for all the responses, guys.

To clarify, I just went out and measured my front yard and I actually only have about 500 square feet. I've only got 2 trees but they're baby ones(and deciduous), so not much trimming needed just yet. The point about being in the neighborhood was factored into my calculation, too, since it's my next door neighbor who recommended him. If I recall correctly, she's paying him just a little bit more than I would be, but she has a slightly larger yard.

azriver, you're right that it's a lot of hard work, even for my small yard. I actually used a push mower (that I assembled myself!) and mowed it myself a few times(including manually trimming the hedges with hedge scissors) when I realized I didn't have the physical strength to do this efficiently. This is a shame because otherwise I quite enjoy outdoor work, especially the gardening aspect.
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:14 AM
 
1,065 posts, read 1,746,612 times
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For that price you may just want to find some kids in the neighborhood to cut the grass.
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Old 03-19-2010, 11:28 AM
 
8,165 posts, read 9,837,615 times
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I think you'll be hard pressed to find $15 a session from anyone

ASUfan is right on in finding someone already in your neighborhood and then negotiate a work plan

with an effecient crew it won't take them long to do it (we don't have normal maintenaince done, but crews will come by about 2x a year to do clean up and they knock it down real fast)

keep in mind though there is more than labor costs - they'll be paying their guys $8-$12/hr for work, plus fuel costs, equipment costs, dump costs for your stuff, etc
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Old 03-19-2010, 02:37 PM
 
123 posts, read 198,315 times
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I would think that a small yard would run about $60 per month and that would be for coming out twice a month to do yard work.
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Old 03-20-2010, 12:18 PM
 
Location: In a cat house! ;)
1,397 posts, read 2,366,179 times
Reputation: 1407
Not to be a downer, but keep in mind if you hire someone that is not licensed and insured and they get hurt... you get sued.

Unfortunately, this is no longer the "old days" when kids mowed all the lawns in the neighborhood for a small fee and everything was good.
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Old 03-20-2010, 01:35 PM
 
8,165 posts, read 9,837,615 times
Reputation: 5519
and if you do get sued tender the claim to your homeowners policy
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:15 AM
 
Location: Living on the Coast in Oxnard CA
10,499 posts, read 13,978,310 times
Reputation: 12160
Lets look at what it cost the guy you hire to make that $30 a month that you want to pay.

Equipment cost: Buy it, maintain it, cost for fuel to run it.

Transportation cost: Is the yard guy bringing over his equipment in a truck? Need to pay for that.

License fees and Insurance cost: Maybe you choose to find someone that doesn't have this. Chances are the more reputable places will have insurance and have any needed license or permits.

Employees: Someone stated that many yard services will have more than one employee and they can finish the job in 15 minutes. The owner I am assuming will need to pay each of those employees for the time on the job. If 3 guys can finish your yard in 15 minutes that translates to 45 minutes of time spent in man hours. I am certain the additional workers do not work for free.

Advertising: Maybe it is just knocking on doors to try and build up business in a neighborhood. Still the yard guys time is worth money to him or her. Maybe they also have an add somewhere, or have a phone book add to pay for.

Place of Business: All that equipment goes somewhere at night when they are not working. Work needed to maintain that place of business even if it is a home has a cost to the business owner.

Yard waste disposal: If they take it away their may be a cost to get rid of it. Then again maybe you will dispose of any waste.

Income: Your yard service is not doing this for a hobby or because it is fun to cut your grass. They do it to make money. No money is made untill the cost to do business is factored in.

I know that it looks like the yard guy is making lots of money to take care of your yard, but look at it from this perpective. The income is what is left after the cost to run the business is deducted from what you are going to pay.
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:08 AM
 
382 posts, read 858,093 times
Reputation: 253
My SIL has a neighbor who pays $40 a month, once a month, for a small yard. My husband and I are going to do the upkeep ourselves. The only thing we aren't going to do are the re-xeriscaping that we(I) want done, even contemplated doing that myself too. After the new plants/sod are in, we'll take care of it ourselves. You can easily educate yourself on the few types of plants you do have and how to take care of them. The library has some really good books.
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Old 03-21-2010, 02:16 AM
 
919 posts, read 2,159,915 times
Reputation: 531
I'd suggest getting rid of the grass. Yes it can look nice, but it's also an endless, repetitive waste of time and money. You cut it, and it grows back. Cut it, and it grows back. Repeat indefinitely Unless you are maintaining the 18th green, is there any good reason for spending more time upkeeping something than you spend enjoying/using it?.

You need not go all gravel or even desert landscape, especially if you have existing sprinklers. In fact you can get more color, flowers and pop - not to mention plants that provide food, etc. - with almost no maintenance, and no need to have a weekly crew.

I went from lawn (a constant battle), to no-maintenance for a few years, to limited/easy maintenance by growing things that give back... food, spices, veggies, fruits, citrus, etc. My theory now is don't waste time (or money) on anything that doesn't give back.
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:46 AM
 
1,411 posts, read 1,906,372 times
Reputation: 1002
Quote:
Originally Posted by SOON2BNSURPRISE View Post
Lets look at what it cost the guy you hire to make that $30 a month that you want to pay.

Equipment cost: Buy it, maintain it, cost for fuel to run it.

Transportation cost: Is the yard guy bringing over his equipment in a truck? Need to pay for that.

License fees and Insurance cost: Maybe you choose to find someone that doesn't have this. Chances are the more reputable places will have insurance and have any needed license or permits.

Employees: Someone stated that many yard services will have more than one employee and they can finish the job in 15 minutes. The owner I am assuming will need to pay each of those employees for the time on the job. If 3 guys can finish your yard in 15 minutes that translates to 45 minutes of time spent in man hours. I am certain the additional workers do not work for free.

Advertising: Maybe it is just knocking on doors to try and build up business in a neighborhood. Still the yard guys time is worth money to him or her. Maybe they also have an add somewhere, or have a phone book add to pay for.

Place of Business: All that equipment goes somewhere at night when they are not working. Work needed to maintain that place of business even if it is a home has a cost to the business owner.

Yard waste disposal: If they take it away their may be a cost to get rid of it. Then again maybe you will dispose of any waste.

Income: Your yard service is not doing this for a hobby or because it is fun to cut your grass. They do it to make money. No money is made untill the cost to do business is factored in.

I know that it looks like the yard guy is making lots of money to take care of your yard, but look at it from this perpective. The income is what is left after the cost to run the business is deducted from what you are going to pay.
But it is typically a CASH business, so that offsets a lot of the overhead costs. And they typically aren't buying insurance, either. They can pay their people a pretty good rate if they do their jobs in close proximity to each other, and pay in cash.
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