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View Full Version : How bad was this estimate??


mad_wrestler
04-21-2005, 09:11 PM
Quoted a customer today on a job today. Here is what I will be doing. In the backyard there are ten bushes requiring removal. One Lagusta and 9 Mandinas. Forgive me on the spelling. With the Lagusta, I am going to cut it just below ground level instead of fully removing. The roots have gone under the house and it has been their for over ten years. It would take a tank to get it out and the thought of the damage to the house . I will be creating a 48 X 4 bed with cleyera japonica on the corners and four maybe five dwarf youpans in between them. Then putting cedar mulch in the beds. The entire exterior of the house will have bedding and bushes. Not a real big house though. I see it flowing like a molt around a castle. On the side the customer wanted to keep the hollies. All were in great shape except for two. I will replace those two and do the beds like stated before. That bed will be 30' X 4'. In the front I will replace the existing twenty shrubs. Little box woods that never got started. I am using either dwarf youpan or Indian hawthorn for the foundation and running monkey grass as a border and that wraps around to the final side. The front bed is 28 X 4. The last side has nice bushes as well, more hollies. I will replace two there and then do the bed as mentioned before. That bed is 12' X 4". There are 6 dips in the yard that I will be putting topsoil and seed and one stump removal. Don't know what kind of bush but I will be able to get under it to wrap a chain to my truck. With all of that said I quoted the customer $1300. Figure about 2 1/2 to 3 days work with two guys. How'd I do on the quote? I will be posting before and after pics upon completion. Can't wait to get started!

mcclureandson
04-21-2005, 09:19 PM
I didn't quite follow the description...but 2 1/2 to 3 days work with two other guys is what, a total of 70-90 hours of labor? And then you add in materials? That is a very low price...of course it all depends on your costs and the hourly rate you have in mind...some on this site would do it for that ( I guess ) and make money...others would be several times that amount.

NEUSWEDE
04-21-2005, 09:25 PM
It is called an estimate for a reason. If you get the job in the end charge what the total should be. They may not be happy but just explan some things changed and that with the amount of labor price changed. If they are not happy offer a discount on their next job with you.

drmiller100
04-21-2005, 11:32 PM
3 days is 24 hours. times two guys is 48 hours.

1300 bucks divided by 48 hours is like 28 an hour.

Assuming everything goes well.

Plants are free?

Twits that quote one thing and don't stick to their quote are amateurs and should be sued for everything they don't have.

I've quoted and missed badly, but I've never rationalized a low ball bid with the EXPECTATION of raising the price later.
If I were the customer, and the contractor came to me and tried to raise the price, I'd laugh in their face.

NEUSWEDE
04-21-2005, 11:38 PM
Twits that quote one thing and don't stick to their quote are amateurs and should be sued for everything they don't have.

I've quoted and missed badly, but I've never rationalized a low ball bid with the EXPECTATION of raising the price later.
If I were the customer, and the contractor came to me and tried to raise the price, I'd laugh in their face.

Then why give an estimate if that is your price, just say here is my price sign it and I will work. An estimate is what it should cost, there may be bumps in the road. I am not saying low ball and then jack up the price but in some situations you need to raise the price in the end.

stumper1620
04-21-2005, 11:41 PM
better to estimate too high and give the customer a bill for less than underestimate and eat the differance or dare to try for more, I personally Honor all my Quotes as Quoted or less.

stumper1620
04-21-2005, 11:44 PM
Then why give an estimate if that is your price, just say here is my price sign it and I will work. An estimate is what it should cost, there may be bumps in the road. I am not saying low ball and then jack up the price but in some situations you need to raise the price in the end.
Wrong you can over estimate but should never underestimate & increase after the job, If you need to increase the price do so before beginning, not when finished.

pjslawncare/landscap
04-22-2005, 12:13 AM
Quoted a customer today on a job today. Here is what I will be doing. In the backyard there are ten bushes requiring removal. One Lagusta and 9 Mandinas. Forgive me on the spelling. With the Lagusta, I am going to cut it just below ground level instead of fully removing. The roots have gone under the house and it has been their for over ten years. It would take a tank to get it out and the thought of the damage to the house . I will be creating a 48 X 4 bed with cleyera japonica on the corners and four maybe five dwarf youpans in between them. Then putting cedar mulch in the beds. The entire exterior of the house will have bedding and bushes. Not a real big house though. I see it flowing like a molt around a castle. On the side the customer wanted to keep the hollies. All were in great shape except for two. I will replace those two and do the beds like stated before. That bed will be 30' X 4'. In the front I will replace the existing twenty shrubs. Little box woods that never got started. I am using either dwarf youpan or Indian hawthorn for the foundation and running monkey grass as a border and that wraps around to the final side. The front bed is 28 X 4. The last side has nice bushes as well, more hollies. I will replace two there and then do the bed as mentioned before. That bed is 12' X 4". There are 6 dips in the yard that I will be putting topsoil and seed and one stump removal. Don't know what kind of bush but I will be able to get under it to wrap a chain to my truck. With all of that said I quoted the customer $1300. Figure about 2 1/2 to 3 days work with two guys. How'd I do on the quote? I will be posting before and after pics upon completion. Can't wait to get started!

Wow! Let me get this rite. U will be removing & disposing 10 bushes in back, creating 2 beds 48' x 4' & 30' x 4' (will that include weed fabric, mulch & plants?), replace a couple hollies add monkey grass & hawthorns, fill dips with top soil, seed & straw and remove a stump. Is that $1,300 just your labor or does that include everything? How did u come to that price? I think that is CRAZY low. No way I could or would do all that for that price

fastcutter
04-22-2005, 12:29 AM
Way way to cheap...

mad_wrestler
04-22-2005, 12:48 AM
I thank all of you on your professional opinions. The only bed that I will actually be making is the 48' X 4' bed in the back. I have a sod cutter and tiller for that. All but a couple of the bushes have really shallow roots. I think that is why they did so bad in the first place. So I figure that the bushes won't be that difficult. The other three beds are already in place. I wil de-weed the areas, remove unwanted plants , install new ones and then add mulch. I plan on putting down a Pre M instead of the weed cloth, though. Yeah I know I really botched up the estimate from what ya'll are saying. I'd rather find this out on my first job rather that a month down the road. Any help with per plant estimates and removals will be appreciated.

nocutting
04-22-2005, 12:53 AM
Hi not to be rude , but could I truck you guys out to work for me?...That would be 3-square meals a day and a motel room everybody gets there own bed!!!!!!!!...On a serious note either way [ with or with out materials] that priceing plan could kill you / put you outa bizness.......PS....skilled help here gets $100-150 per day?

mad_wrestler
04-22-2005, 01:13 AM
I can take guys...It will be myself and one other person doing this job. It does include materials. And of course I will be getting a better grasp from all of you to formulate better estimates. Thanks again.

sheshovel
04-22-2005, 01:41 AM
I don't think were talking skilled help here.Don't forget you need to prep the beds for planting and for mulching too.Nandinas?not that big of a job to rip them out I would say do it yourself forget the help and learn on this one.You might clear some if you don't have to pay anyone.

bicmudpuppy
04-22-2005, 02:21 AM
How bad was this estimate??

Ultimately, you tell us? You quoted it already. My advise is w/ sheshovel, leave the help at home and make the best of it. It sounds like your working for almost free, but........Maybe it all goes cindarella perfect and you come out all right. If your guess is good and it takes you 2-3 days, I would tell you that most of those in this to make a living want to gross more than that on their own personal time in one day.
Good luck. The learning curve in this buisness doesn't get that steep until your way past knee deep :) Wade in carefully and survive your mistakes. The next lesson is one I'm still trying to learn myself.........Learn how to learn from others mistakes instead of your own!!!
Wish I got that one right more often

Soupy
04-22-2005, 02:55 AM
I bet the customer jumped right on this one. I would call them up and tell them your calculator was acting funny on you and you need to rebid. I would rather lose the job then do it for free.

stumper1620
04-22-2005, 06:33 AM
I bet the customer jumped right on this one. I would call them up and tell them your calculator was acting funny on you and you need to rebid. I would rather lose the job then do it for free.
I agree Soupy,
As long as the jobs not started, why take what you know will be a loss?
recalculate it, get the true price you need and bring the final in for replacing the original.
the window to change is closing thou so don't waste time, try to give a new bid today.

mad_wrestler
04-22-2005, 07:14 AM
How about if in the back all I do is remove the bushes and fill in holes, no bed? Then keep the same 1300. Although I did give an estimate. What would be salvagable inyour opinion to close the gap on expense labor and profit? Would it not be a bad practice to do what you are saying?

bicmudpuppy
04-22-2005, 04:39 PM
How about if in the back all I do is remove the bushes and fill in holes, no bed? Then keep the same 1300. Although I did give an estimate. What would be salvagable inyour opinion to close the gap on expense labor and profit? Would it not be a bad practice to do what you are saying?


Once I quote a price, I don't like to back up, but that's me. Depends on how you feel and how this job feels. Can you afford the time to do it solo? And, other than sweat, your covered? right? I would do it, at the end of the day when the job is over, tell the customer what a bargain they got and what a learning curve it has been for you. Tell them you look forward to having a healthy relationship with them in the future and to please tell their friends what a great job the finished product is. Your out some time but might net some good will. Biggest plus to this is your going to get to do the job and that will give you some valuable OJT for the next time.
Just my 2 cents

Mo Green
04-22-2005, 05:34 PM
How about if in the back all I do is remove the bushes and fill in holes, no bed? Then keep the same 1300. Although I did give an estimate. What would be salvagable inyour opinion to close the gap on expense labor and profit? Would it not be a bad practice to do what you are saying?
Have you gotten prices on the shrubs that you plan to install, first? If you haven't, how can you give a complete estimate if you don't know what your costs are?

You must always know your costs before you complete an estimate. These costs include: materials, labor, fuel, tool rental, disposal fees, tax(if applicable), fuel, licensing, insurance..................the list goes on.......

If you fail to take these things in to account, you may not be in business long.

mad_wrestler
04-22-2005, 10:53 PM
We got started today. We couldn't start till late, 5 PM. But when we did we were able to get to where I wanted to be for tomorrow. In the morning we have a smaller job that will be completed in about two hours so the rest of the day will be spent on the before mentioned yard. It took 1 1/2 hours to remove all of the front bushes(28) and 7 in the back. Could not continue due to rain and lightening. The last three have to have some extra love to rip them out. We plan on tilling up the beds and installing the new bushes tomorrow. Anything past that is a bonus.

I did forget to take a before picture so that sucks. I will take one in its current state tomorrow and then an after. Wish us luck.

drmiller100
04-23-2005, 01:09 AM
i think it is interesting that when the pricing gets tight some of you leaver your helpers behind.

If pricing gets really tight, I send my helpers and maybe go work on selling the next job at more profit.

The most expensive worker I have is me. The more time I spend on a loser project, the more time the loser job costs me.

But I'm new to all this......

YardPro
04-23-2005, 08:02 AM
i think it is interesting that when the pricing gets tight some of you leaver your helpers behind.

If pricing gets really tight, I send my helpers and maybe go work on selling the next job at more profit.

The most expensive worker I have is me. The more time I spend on a loser project, the more time the loser job costs me.

But I'm new to all this......


same here.

if i am doing a low margin job, my cheapest laborers are the only ones on the job.

sheshovel
04-23-2005, 04:56 PM
WE are just givin this guy advice on a way to keep some of the money in his pocket, he's got a buddy who will help him,there's more of a chance of him recovering some of the money if he dosent have to pay him simple as that.Your sinario does not work for me because I do not underbid work.But when I was new I did and this is one of the ways I recovered my underestimated labor.You guys and girls don't want to offer any kind of constructive advice to this kid then keep it to yourselves.

scraper69
04-23-2005, 05:43 PM
I've got some constructive advise, "Spell check" sinerio ??? scenario ok

jdbd
04-23-2005, 06:56 PM
It is called an estimate for a reason. If you get the job in the end charge what the total should be. They may not be happy but just explan some things changed and that with the amount of labor price changed. If they are not happy offer a discount on their next job with you. it is a price you up it like you say and you will not be in business to long

mad_wrestler
04-23-2005, 09:39 PM
Yeah I just can't give an estimate and then raise it. Even if I did screw up. I did explain that the only way the price shall go up is due to items that need to be purchased ie shrubs mulch, if I estimated those wrong. I didn't though. A lesson to learn from. Every step is forward!!!

sheshovel
04-24-2005, 12:13 AM
I've got some constructive advise, "Spell check" sinerio ??? scenario ok
when did we start getting worried about spelling around here?Must be all of a sudden like scraper69,mabeY all three of you keeping a tag on my butt??Just lemmie know ok and stop with the little girly games

bicmudpuppy
04-24-2005, 12:36 AM
i think it is interesting that when the pricing gets tight some of you leaver your helpers behind.

If pricing gets really tight, I send my helpers and maybe go work on selling the next job at more profit.

The most expensive worker I have is me. The more time I spend on a loser project, the more time the loser job costs me.

But I'm new to all this......

Hmmm, I actually suggested that the work be done without additional labor to increase the "feel" for the work being estimated. And maybe the reason for that "loser" project is the same reason this kid has one. We need to know/remember what it takes to do the work to bid the work correctly.

mad_wrestler
04-24-2005, 07:32 AM
I didn't quite follow the description...but 2 1/2 to 3 days work with two other guys is what, a total of 70-90 hours of labor? And then you add in materials? That is a very low price...of course it all depends on your costs and the hourly rate you have in mind...some on this site would do it for that ( I guess ) and make money...others would be several times that amount.
Not to single you out, but this is what most were indicating the labor. This is where we are at. Now I know I said it would take 2-3 days, but we had other minor mulch bed jobs to work around. The customer knew my schedule and asked if we could squeeze it in on a daily basis.
I know how much work it is to remove those bushes! That's why I was surprised at all of these results. Today we tilled up all of the beds and remove the remaining bushes. Except for the big mo fo on the side of the yard. Gonna use my truck today to do it. It is prepped however to be pulled.
First day 1 1/2 hours with two guys = 3 total man hours
Second day 7 hours = 14 total man hours
So far we are only at 17 total man hours. All that is left is plant install, mulch install and removal of big Mo'. It will take about 4 hours to complete the project today. So with the final tally being approximately 25 total man hours maybe I did under bid "the job" . But if you guys are saying that it takes from 70-90 man hours to do this...get new workers. Myself 29 and my 22 year old brother are doing this project. Someone is either quoting to much labor then hiding it in other costs or is just slow or unmotivated. Just some constructive criticism. You all are great. Thanks

bicmudpuppy
04-24-2005, 11:52 AM
Not to single you out, but this is what most were indicating the labor. This is where we are at. Now I know I said it would take 2-3 days, but we had other minor mulch bed jobs to work around. The customer knew my schedule and asked if we could squeeze it in on a daily basis.
I know how much work it is to remove those bushes! That's why I was surprised at all of these results. Today we tilled up all of the beds and remove the remaining bushes. Except for the big mo fo on the side of the yard. Gonna use my truck today to do it. It is prepped however to be pulled.
First day 1 1/2 hours with two guys = 3 total man hours
Second day 7 hours = 14 total man hours
So far we are only at 17 total man hours. All that is left is plant install, mulch install and removal of big Mo'. It will take about 4 hours to complete the project today. So with the final tally being approximately 25 total man hours maybe I did under bid "the job" . But if you guys are saying that it takes from 70-90 man hours to do this...get new workers. Myself 29 and my 22 year old brother are doing this project. Someone is either quoting to much labor then hiding it in other costs or is just slow or unmotivated. Just some constructive criticism. You all are great. Thanks

OUCH, carefull we've all been extremely helpfull IMHO. The 2-3 day figure was yours.....To me that meant 40-60 man hours. Someone else interpereted you to say 2 helpers which makes it that 70-90 figure. BUT, we are working from the info you tell us. Now you tell us it is only a few part time days and your help is your younger brother...........that is NOT the initial description from your post. $1300 bux for a 25 hour project isn't bad depending on how much you spend on materials. Sounds to me like your going to gross around $40/hour. For a young company learning the buisness that is very good. For an experienced outfit that needed the work, that still wouldn't have been bad.
That's how I would feel about it.

mad_wrestler
04-24-2005, 10:52 PM
I just wanted to get a rise outa ya'll. I'll be more informative next time. Good to know that with the other info that its not that bad of a deal. And you are right about the great info from ya'lls responses. I truly have been taking it in and forming a better understanding. Thanks!

sheshovel
04-24-2005, 10:53 PM
Mad wresler .. bite me .Give you a little advice on bad info and now your telling us that we are hiding costs.That just sucks,
see if I even read any questions you may have in the future,let alone give you any advice,.
Learn some respect. Sheshovel

mad_wrestler
04-24-2005, 10:57 PM
I apologize sheshovel. If you read my previous reply I was applauding your expertise and how I appreciated all of it!!!