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  1. #1
    Gold Member
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    NH TN70D, NH L190

    Default Had an interesting inquiry about tractor mowing today

    Last Friday night I get a call from a guy who says he would like a price for shredding 10 acres near a little town about 60 miles from me. I think about it for a few minutes and say I will do it for $33/acre plus $60 for transport. We hang up and I don't hear any more from him. I called him back this morning just for grins to see if he had found anyone to mow his 10 acres.

    Turns out he actually lives in a completely different town about 160 miles away. He is calling people who advertise on Craigslist to get price comparisons on shredding for a buddy of his who has retired. Apparently his buddy bought a new "tractor package" and wants to earn some extra income shredding. It seems that the buddy had been using a little Chinese tractor and shredder that he couldn't keep together so he went his tractor dealer and bought a package that included a tractor, FEL, shredder and a trailer to haul it on. He said his buddy was mowing for a neighbor for $5/acre. He told his buddy that he probably wasn't even paying for his fuel at that.

    He did share with me that he found 3 guys in the surrounding area that advertised on Craigslist to do shredding. None of which were from his town. Distances ranged from 45-160 miles. Prices ranged from $10/acre - $33/acre plus some travel. I was the highest of the bunch. The cheapest guy said he would do it for $35/hr and it would take 3 hrs.

    I suggested that If his buddy hoped to make any money at shredding, he needed to figure out what it really cost to buy and operate his equipment. I told him that this forum was a great place to read about others experiences in the tractor mowing business.

    Anyway, how many of you guys that mow/shred for profit get these calls from competitors just trying too feel out the market? How many of you have done this (I must admit that I did when I got started)?

    Tim

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    Piedmont Triad, NC
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    Didn't intend to have a Deere fleet - it just happened

    Default Re: Had an interesting inquiry about tractor mowing today

    Are you speaking of shredding crop fields or bushogging vacant land?

    I routinely refuse the vacant land job offers. Too many equipment and life hazards for little money.

  3. #3
    Gold Member
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    NH TN70D, NH L190

    Default Re: Had an interesting inquiry about tractor mowing today

    hosspuller,

    I mostly do vacant land, fields that have been in cultivation in prior years, some pasture land and around commercial and industrial sites. I have done a few crop fields too, mostly food plots on bird hunting leases.

    Yes, there are lots of hazards, one must take care.

    Tim

  4. #4
    Veteran Member RDrancher's Avatar
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    New Holland TC35D, Case TR320 CTL

    Default Re: Had an interesting inquiry about tractor mowing today

    Quote Originally Posted by tmc_31 View Post
    Anyway, how many of you guys that mow/shred for profit get these calls from competitors just trying too feel out the market? How many of you have done this (I must admit that I did when I got started)?
    I figure I've had a few calls from competitors. Customers usually don't ask as many questions.

    I don't do any mowing by the acre for first time customers, ever. I give them an hourly rate with a minimum, then after I mow the first time I give them a set price for return trips. I've done 5 acre "pastures" that took a full ten hour day to finish. Most of the properties I mow are bank repos that haven't seen a blade in years, hillsides, rutted, rocky and just a major pain, but they do pay a lot better. I figure that they have to since brush hogging can be harder on the tractor than grading or gravel. Plus...there's always those unseen blade breakers that the owner has never seen before.
    John

    My Work & Stuff Photo Thread: http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/p...to-thread.html

    Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

  5. #5
    Elite Member foreman Etexas's Avatar
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    texas
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    kubota M7040 &m7040

    Default Re: Had an interesting inquiry about tractor mowing today

    I usually don't do it for others but I will if I have time, and I will just bid the job. By bidding takes out the I wonder how much its gonna cost me and don't have to listen to anything once I'm done. What's competition

  6. #6
    Gold Member
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    Location
    OHIO
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    2001 New Holland TN70,2003 John Deere 250 Series II skidsteer,1987 John Deere 2155,2013 John Deere 5055E MFWD,2007 Duramax 4x4 truck, 1973 MF 165,Artic Cat 550 Cougar sled

    Default Re: Had an interesting inquiry about tractor mowing today

    Quote Originally Posted by foreman Etexas View Post
    I usually don't do it for others but I will if I have time, and I will just bid the job. By bidding takes out the I wonder how much its gonna cost me and don't have to listen to anything once I'm done. What's competition
    I have done bush hogging for people off and on since I was a kid. Until the economy went bad I could pretty much name my price and get the job. I won't go out for less than 60 per hour. I have got as high as $75.00 per hours. Residential work really does not pay anything for this type of work anymore and the risk are endless. It is probably the roughest job you can do with a tractor. You name it and it is out there in the weeds. Anymore I shoot for bank repos and other pieces of commercial land. I have done several 2acre bank repos for $500 bucks that are just a couple miles away in the past. I have one company I mow 4 acres twice a year for $450.00 each cut. At 15.00 to 33.00 per acres is more like rates you would have with a 15' batwing bushhog that will cover allot of acres per hour. With a 6' bushhog you can cover any where from a half acre to 1.5 acres per hour. Even though all my equipment I bought to use on our farms does not mean Im gonna go out and do a side job for someone for free.

  7. #7
    Gold Member
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    2001 New Holland TN70,2003 John Deere 250 Series II skidsteer,1987 John Deere 2155,2013 John Deere 5055E MFWD,2007 Duramax 4x4 truck, 1973 MF 165,Artic Cat 550 Cougar sled

    Default Re: Had an interesting inquiry about tractor mowing today

    In my opinion rates I have seen on CL are dirt cheap. It's usually a guy with a 5' hog and an old Ford 8n looking for a little beer money on the side. Often you will find the neighbor down the road will do it for next to nothing also.

  8. #8
    Elite Member foreman Etexas's Avatar
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    kubota M7040 &m7040

    Default Re: Had an interesting inquiry about tractor mowing today

    Quote Originally Posted by fieldman12 View Post
    I have done bush hogging for people off and on since I was a kid. Until the economy went bad I could pretty much name my price and get the job. I won't go out for less than 60 per hour. I have got as high as $75.00 per hours. Residential work really does not pay anything for this type of work anymore and the risk are endless. It is probably the roughest job you can do with a tractor. You name it and it is out there in the weeds. Anymore I shoot for bank repos and other pieces of commercial land. I have done several 2acre bank repos for $500 bucks that are just a couple miles away in the past. I have one company I mow 4 acres twice a year for $450.00 each cut. At 15.00 to 33.00 per acres is more like rates you would have with a 15' batwing bushhog that will cover allot of acres per hour. With a 6' bushhog you can cover any where from a half acre to 1.5 acres per hour. Even though all my equipment I bought to use on our farms does not mean Im gonna go out and do a side job for someone for free.
    Batwing going to be closer to the 75/95hr mark,and yes most def.gotta make some money and do RD quality work also...

  9. #9
    Gold Member
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    Texas
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    NH TN70D, NH L190

    Default Re: Had an interesting inquiry about tractor mowing today

    I have been shredding for 8 years or so now. Mostly started out working for beer money as we say. Now I need for it to become a larger part of my business. Trying to set a fair rate that takes all of the costs of operation and will return a fair profit is a trick, there may be some black magic involved. As others have said before, it is more difficult when competing with those who think anything over their fuel cost is profit.

    Tim

  10. #10
    Veteran Member RDrancher's Avatar
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    New Holland TC35D, Case TR320 CTL

    Default Re: Had an interesting inquiry about tractor mowing today

    Quote Originally Posted by tmc_31 View Post
    I have been shredding for 8 years or so now. Mostly started out working for beer money as we say. Now I need for it to become a larger part of my business. Trying to set a fair rate that takes all of the costs of operation and will return a fair profit is a trick, there may be some black magic involved. As others have said before, it is more difficult when competing with those who think anything over their fuel cost is profit.

    Tim
    Tim, if you let me know what county you're in I'll pm you with some ideas I won't share in a public forum. Just in case one of my competitors in on here.

    My father-in-law is bringing his tractor out here pretty soon. His painting business is in the toilet, so I'm getting ready to fire up a whole-hog campaign to go after more shredding business.
    John

    My Work & Stuff Photo Thread: http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/p...to-thread.html

    Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.

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