What Does Lawn Care Cost? (2018)

by Ben Bowen

How much does lawn care cost in Portland?

Over at lawnsite.com, a forum mainly frequented by landscape professionals, there was once a busy thread that posts an interesting question. The poster asks, "Should I put prices for landscape maintenance, lawn care, lawn mowing, etc. on my website?"

The consensus is "No". Many of the respondents feel that you are locking yourself into your lowest price and maybe giving the competition an advantage. I disagree. Rather than argue with strangers, I decided to post everything I know about landscape maintenance program pricing in the Portland area.

What Does Lawn Mowing Cost?

A lawn guy can handle this for you.
A lawn guy can handle this for you.

In the Portland metro area most people have small lawns, between 1000 and 2000 square feet. What should you expect to pay to have your lawn mowed and edged? There are guys that will come when you want for around $25 per visit. Notice, I said "guys"- not landscapers. Most at this price point are really just guys with lawn mowers. They are not a licensed business, may or may not pay taxes (do they give a discount for cash?), and are probably not insured. Some of them will become legitimate businesses, and I don't look down on these guys. If you need a mow as cheaply as possible, this is where you go.

If you want to hire a landscaping professional, you will usually pay more. Many have a minimum for stopping the truck and unloading their commercial lawnmowers. This is usually $35 to $45 a visit.

What Does Landscape Maintenance Cost?

 Our landscape maintenance program keeps this property looking great!

Landscape maintenance is different than lawn mowing. Landscape maintenance usually includes mowing, edging, weed removal, leaf and debris removal, fertilizing, blowing and maybe even pruning. This is the kind of maintenance service we offer.

Most companies offering this level of service in Portland require year-round service. This means you get around 42 visits a year, with visits being less frequent in the winter. However, you pay the same amount each month. This keeps your bill consistent (it would be huge in the summer!) and allows your landscaper to feed his family protein in the winter.

Most landscape professionals in Portland are in this same ballpark. One advantage of hiring a company that offers this level of service is proper licensing. You do not have to be a licensed contractor to do landscape maintenance. However, most of the companies that perform this kind of landscape care have an LCB. This means that they are a licensed, bonded, and insured landscape contractor. They are qualified (and legal) to do almost any kind of landscaping project- not just maintenance but improvements.

How To Find The Right Landscape Service

There are soooooo many people and companies that will maintain your landscape. How can you find a good (or even great) one?

The best way is to find someone who is already doing a great job in your neighborhood. Keep your eyes open for someone who looks professional and who is working on one of the nicer gardens in the area.

This approach almost guarantees two things: (1) you will be hiring someone who knows what they are doing, and (2) they will be very happy to help. Landscape maintenance pros hate the time spent driving between properties, so they love to add clients close to existing ones.

Hopefully this has taken some of the mystery out of landscape maintenance, and next year your yard will look really nice!