How much does it cost to mow a small garden?
Updated: Dec 13, 2019
Why is there so much mystery about the cost of lawn mowing, and what is affordable lawn mowing? Do you really want a cheap lawn mowing service, or do you want a good grass cut at an acceptable price? I discuss some of the factors that affect the price and let you decide if your lawn mowing service is charging fairly.
Most lawn services in the UK will estimate price using a formula based on one of two methods.
Method 1:- Measure the area of the lawn and charge by the number of square meters, usually in size bands. For example 50-100 Sq meters.
Method 2:- by the length of time it takes.
The time taken approach is typically used by a company that offers a less specific garden service and are on site to perform several hours of varied garden work on the same day. They will charge a minimum number of hours per visit.
A business that concentrates on lawn care and lawn mowing exclusively rather than a more general gardener will almost certainly charge by the square meter, and will have a minimum charge so they can cover some overhead costs from each lawn they visit. Both will expect to cover all their costs, pay staff a fair wage and make a small profit for the business by the end of the day. Its this profit which allows them to replace equipment and continue to offer the fantastic services which you as a customer rely on!
There are several other factors which will influence the price paid to mow a small lawn and how affordable the service is. Roughly speaking easier and quicker means cheaper, harder and slower means a slight increase in charge;-
How often the grass is cut.
All too often I talk to people who think that all grass cuts are the same. That is just not the case. Simply put there is more fuel used to cut a taller lawn and a lot more grass clippings to dispose off.
It is also a bit more difficult to schedule fortnightly lawn care visits particularly if the weather is bad. Expect to pay a little more for a fortnightly grass cutting compared to a weekly visit. If you're lawn only needs cut every other week, then take that as a subtle hint its not as healthy as it should be and problems are brewing.
Shape defines the perimeter of the lawn and therefore how much time is needed for edging.
The easiest lawn to cut is a boring old square followed by a rectangular lawn.
Very curvy lawns can mean lots of extra turning round and odd looking stripes.
Triangular lawns are particularly difficult to turn a lawn mower round on and getting into those sharp corners is a nightmare!
Flower beds, climbing frames, or garden features like ponds in the lawn will require extra work meaning the service will take longer. A narrow gate or steep steps to negotiate with a lawn mower will have an impact on the price charged for your work.
The distance travelled.
More fuel, and more travel time will have a modest bearing. Look for a local company - limiting wasted time is key to profitability for a lawn care company, so you might get a better offer from a company who already works in your street.
I will leave you to think through this one yourself, but understand that your lawn just became an advert for that lawn care business, they absolutely try to do their best for the price and conditions. If you are not happy with your lawn, work with your lawn care provider, listen to their suggestions and accept that the better result you expected may mean spending a little more.
So what is the going rate for lawn mowing?
That is difficult to answer as there is no such thing as a typical lawn. Expect to pay a minimum charge of around £20 for a weekly lawn mowing service for a small lawn and £25 to £30 for a fortnightly visit. Prices will then scale with area or time, but not equally.
Does this seem expensive?
Consider that the minimum wage in the UK is currently £8.21 and a living wage is now £9. A lawn care business is providing several thousand pounds worth of machinery, fuel to power them, a van- with commercial insurance- to transport them and public liability cover as part of the service.
The business owner has spent many hours preparing for work, sharpened the mower blades for the next day, the deck is cleaned out giving a better quality of lawn mowing, and as well as using a more powerful commercial spec engine it is regularly serviced and running more efficiently with lower environmental impact.
The technician mowing your lawn may have many many years worth of experience and will gladly share it by giving advice and help. This advice might prove to be priceless in the long run.