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PerfiCut L&L
07-28-2006, 07:48 AM
I was wondering how much detail you include on your invoices for a stone project. Ive read a few different things and have had a some conflicting opinions.

Do you itemize everything? Materials, tools/equipment rentals, labor? Or do you simplify things by simply billing xx dollars per sq ft. ? or something similar.

We itemize everything. From the box of stakes, to the saws we use, to any rental equipment. As well as delivery and or disposal fees if applicable.

Just curious how otherw might be doing it.

jd boy
07-28-2006, 08:19 AM
we do itemize everything, but that is only because we are associated with a retail garden center and we both use the same inventory system.

Otherwise, I would still itemize things, but not as much. Items like spikes, edging etc would get lumped together.

I actually had a customer rake the soil back from paver edging once to count the number of stakes we used!

DVS Hardscaper
07-28-2006, 08:54 AM
Our invoices are NOT detailed.

The reason is because our PROPOSALS are EXTREMELY detailed. Not boasting, after 10 years of doing hardscape construction, so far I have not seen another hardscape proposal as detailed as ours.

So how it works is our invoice may read as:




Construct paver patio (as specified in proposal) using Techo-bloc's, bossum blond, Anshar pavers.

Installation Warranty expires on 7/28/2011

Cost: $1,000.00




So, by stating "(as specified in proposal)", I have covered all the details.
Again, this accomplished due to the extremely detailed proposal. If they wanna know what was done, they can look out their window. Or they can refer to their copy of the detailed proposal. Not one person has EVER complained, so I'm confident of my system.


I never itemize equipemt rental, material costs, labor, etc. However, our proposal does state alloted allowances of material quantities. Notice I said "quantities", not dollar amounts!

Our proposal will show a lump price. In essence, thats all the client cares about.

Sure, nosey or difficult people are curious as to what our costs are. But they are few and far betwen.

I had a lady recently tell me "I need your proposal to itemize the materials, so I can know what areas to delete if I need to reduce costs". And really it does not work like that. Due to fixed expenses (delivery, equipment mobilization, travel time to and from per employee, etc, the job will always cost more than what the client will calculate it to be. So after 16 years in the green industry I've found it best to not break down costs for the client.


A decent client only is concerned that they get a job well done for a cost that they are willing to spend. Plain and Simple.

DVS Hardscaper
07-28-2006, 09:08 AM
BTW -

For landscape installation (planting), we go one step further. The invoice will read "Install Landscape as specified in proposal"

OK, how does the client know what plants were installed?

Well, we provide the client with what I call a "Plant Warranty Sheet" This plant warranty sheet is automatically generated as we enter in actual expenses for the job (labor hrs, equip rental, materials). The warranty sheet details the quantity of each plant, the names of the plants, and the purchase size of the plant. But, no dollar amounts are stated.

Mike33
07-28-2006, 11:25 PM
I do not detail, mine will go : Supply all material and labor to construct ab wall 40'x3' covered with a cap. Backfill with gravel geo-grid every 3 courses. Price $4,000.00
My competitor whom i love his way of thinking lists a price for material. labor, saw, compactor, excavation, hauling, use of plate tamper,bobcatloader, backhoe attm. and a lot of other nit picking items. This only pisses off the customer and they call me. I feel the homeowner does not know and dont really care waht tools or eq. is used and then see they are charged for it. My opinion and it works well for me.
Mike

mbella
07-28-2006, 11:44 PM
Mine, read as follows: Deposit for patio (or whatever), or Final payment for Patio.

If your signed proposal is detailed, why does the invoice need so much info?

GroundScapesIncorporated
08-01-2006, 06:10 PM
Just wondering

those who give very detailed proposals, and no detail in invoices.

Do you charge for Estimates/Proposals or do you do all the work involved in doing the proposal for free not knowing if you will get the job or not.

Please dont think I am nocking you in any way,
DVS hardscaper and some others, you guys always seem like you
have the most profitable way of doing things figured out and I was just wondering on how you veiwed this.

mbella
08-01-2006, 07:43 PM
Just wondering

those who give very detailed proposals, and no detail in invoices.

Do you charge for Estimates/Proposals or do you do all the work involved in doing the proposal for free not knowing if you will get the job or not.

Please dont think I am nocking you in any way,
DVS hardscaper and some others, you guys always seem like you
have the most profitable way of doing things figured out and I was just wondering on how you veiwed this.

Groundscapes, I don't charge for estimates. You have to do all of "the work involved" to give an accurate proposal, right? Why not include the details in the proposal? The more detailed the better. During construction, if there are any questions about what is, or isn't included, you can always refer to the proposal/agreement.

GroundScapesIncorporated
08-01-2006, 10:30 PM
Im understanding now, thanks mbella.
one more question though, if you are so detailed thoughin your proposal that you are including exactly how much base, exactly how much block, pavers etc you will be using. What happens if you are off your mark.

say instead of 60 tons base material that you wrote up in your proposal, you ended up using 85. What happens then?
At this point it would be hard to say , As specified in proposal.

GreenMonster
08-01-2006, 11:28 PM
Im understanding now, thanks mbella.
one more question though, if you are so detailed thoughin your proposal that you are including exactly how much base, exactly how much block, pavers etc you will be using. What happens if you are off your mark.

say instead of 60 tons base material that you wrote up in your proposal, you ended up using 85. What happens then?
At this point it would be hard to say , As specified in proposal.


Fixed priced proposals state:

Fixed price for Walkway as described above: $xxxxx.xxx

so, if it doesn't end up as described in the original proposal, for whatever reason, it is reflected in the final price.

mbella
08-01-2006, 11:45 PM
Im understanding now, thanks mbella.
one more question though, if you are so detailed thoughin your proposal that you are including exactly how much base, exactly how much block, pavers etc you will be using. What happens if you are off your mark.

say instead of 60 tons base material that you wrote up in your proposal, you ended up using 85. What happens then?
At this point it would be hard to say , As specified in proposal.

Why would you need 85 if you bid 60?

sheshovel
08-02-2006, 02:00 AM
I detail the work to be done and simply put
" Labor estimate to complete job as detailed above"
" Materials estimate to complete job as detailed above"

In the final invoice I will detail the amount actually used of the basic materials ..but I just put
"other materials used" for the little stuff like stakes, nails and stuff like that..

GroundScapesIncorporated
08-02-2006, 07:35 AM
Why would you need 85 if you bid 60?


Unfortunatly I am not always as perfect as I would like to be.

Say your doing a 4500 square foot area and instead of 10" of base your guys excavate a little to much and you end up with 12" of base over the 4500 feet.

GreenMonster
08-02-2006, 10:41 AM
Why would you need 85 if you bid 60?

unexpected overdig....

PerfiCut L&L
08-02-2006, 04:06 PM
I suppose a lot of it boils down to how well one can estimate a job. Sure theres times when everyones off, but what I was trying to get at was, when you bill your customer, do you itemize everything youve done and or used including rental equipment, delivery fees, disposal fees, materials, labor and any thing else not listed but used?

Or do you simplify things and say, $100 for labor, $100 for materials = $200 (your bill).

Seems to my, when I do an estimate I list everything I can think of that will get used or done. More often than not, the customer could care less whats listed, just the bottom line, (how much will it cost). I rarely have anyone question any part of the estimate, including rental equipment fees, or anything else for that matter. As long as the final bill resembles the estimate. When it doesnt, then they want to know why. (naturaly).

More times than not Im prety close to the estimate, so my final bill usually resembles the estimate per line. Unless I was way off on something, or something was changed, added, or deleted during construction.

THe main reason I bring this up at all is, I recently did a project which called for 6 pallets of stone (on the estiamate). In actuallity it was going to be closer to 5 but I always over estimate 15% on materials for waste and oops's.
The actuall job used 4 pallets and 2 stones out of the fifth. So in actuality I had 2 pallets left over. No big deal, return them, credit the customer the difference. Theres a 25% return fee and at $500 a pallet that was going to come to 250 bucks. When I told the costomer they were going to have to cover the return cost they were bent. In a few more words, I said, look, you expected to pay $5k for this wall, after its all said and done, with the credit from the over stock, and the return fee, your getting the wall for $4250. How can you complain.

I could have said, keep the pallets, you paid for them, their yours, you owe me $5k.

Had I have not itemized the pallets on the invoice their would be no confusion as to "you said it was going to take 6 pallets, turns out it only needed 4." blah blah blah....

These were PITA's anyhow fromthe beginning so I was a little short tempered to begin with. Anyone else I would have probably just eaten the 25% restock fee and moved on.

So, back to square one, itemize all materials, on an estimate/invoice, or just give the customer a bottom line number. Anything in between is my business.

Rex Mann
08-02-2006, 05:06 PM
We use three form to make for every project we take-on.
Scope of Work-describes in detail excatly what we are going to be doing.
Drawing/computer rendering-shows excaclty what we will be doing
Contract-ties all the other peices together.

Like everyone else, we have clauses, which help protect us;

we have them for removing concrete, excavation, city or HOA getting involved after the fact, design changes, dust generated by the saws, dust in the pool nad on it goes.

They are in there because they have cost me money in the past.

We have a contract with our clients. We only present an invoice when the agreed amount of square footage has increased after our final measure.

All change orders are required to be paid for in advance.

The longer you wait for your money, the more difficult it becomes to collect.

Peace,

Rex

http://ArizonaPavers.Com

DVS Hardscaper
08-02-2006, 08:23 PM
Why would you need 85 if you bid 60?

Many of our jobs are on properties where the ground drops quite a bit. This throwing a curve into the aggregate calculations.

I certainly always do try my best to account for such a variable.

But reality is - its not always possible to be right on the money.

Thus, being the reason why our proposal lists certain allowances for certain materials.

If we do exceed the proposed allotted amount - its usually no more than 5 tons (for large jobs).

A few years ago I had a home built. Built on a ridge of a mountain. The builder - stated allowances for everything from the ground to the top of the foundation walls. Its just not possible for them to perfectly estimate the qty of materials when dealin with grades that are not level. So I took that concept and use it in my business.

mbella
08-02-2006, 10:24 PM
Unfortunatly I am not always as perfect as I would like to be.

Say your doing a 4500 square foot area and instead of 10" of base your guys excavate a little to much and you end up with 12" of base over the 4500 feet.

So, the customer should pay for that? I wouldn't. "Hey, Mr. Mbella, my operator drank too much last night and excavated two more inches than he should have, so I have to charge you x amount of dollars." That sounds pretty stupid.

I don't list exact quantities of base aggregate on my proposals. However, I do list the approximate thickness of the base aggregate.

Mark mentions the overdig. That is true, but that should be addressed in your agreement. Mine reads that the proposal is based of finding suitable subsoil at x depth, depending on the application (walkway, patio, driveway, etc.) If suitable subsoil isn't found at x depth then that becomes an add on.

GroundScapesIncorporated
08-02-2006, 10:33 PM
So, the customer should pay for that? I wouldn't. "Hey, Mr. Mbella, my operator drank too much last night and excavated two more inches than he should have, so I have to charge you x amount of dollars." That sounds pretty stupid.

I don't list exact quantities of base aggregate on my proposals. However, I do list the approximate thickness of the base aggregate.

Mark mentions the overdig. That is true, but that should be addressed in your agreement. Mine reads that the proposal is based of finding suitable subsoil at x depth, depending on the application (walkway, patio, driveway, etc.) If suitable subsoil isn't found at x depth then that becomes an add on.


Sorry if you took something the wrong way,

I was just answering your question of why it might take 85 if you bid 60 tons.

I dont think that telling the client that my guy drank to much last night would be the most professional way of handling it, and your right that does sound stupid so I hope you wouldnt say that to your client either.

I dont remember saying that the client should pay for it either.

mbella
08-02-2006, 10:41 PM
Sorry if you took something the wrong way,

I was just answering your question of why it might take 85 if you bid 60 tons.

I dont think that telling the client that my guy drank to much last night would be the most professional way of handling it, and your right that does sound stupid so I hope you wouldnt say that to your client either.

I was kidding with you. My point was, that is not a situation where I would feel that the customer should pay me more money. I asked you the question to find out what situations you have found where you needed significantly more stone than you bid.

I can think of three: 1. Inability to find suitable subsoil at normal excavation depth (addressed in proposal). 2. Add on to the job (additional charge, no problem). Inaccurate bid (your problem, IMO).

mbella
08-02-2006, 10:53 PM
Many of our jobs are on properties where the ground drops quite a bit. This throwing a curve into the aggregate calculations.

I certainly always do try my best to account for such a variable.

But reality is - its not always possible to be right on the money.

Thus, being the reason why our proposal lists certain allowances for certain materials.

If we do exceed the proposed allotted amount - its usually no more than 5 tons (for large jobs).

A few years ago I had a home built. Built on a ridge of a mountain. The builder - stated allowances for everything from the ground to the top of the foundation walls. Its just not possible for them to perfectly estimate the qty of materials when dealin with grades that are not level. So I took that concept and use it in my business.

Believe me, I've been short a few tons here and there :) . I was just asking to find out why, in his experience, he finds himself short.

I always pad my aggregate number on larger jobs where I'm still a little unsure, even after shooting grades and finding all the elevations. In reality, at $225.00 to $250.00 for a tri-axle of 3/4 modified delivered, it should never be the reason one loses a "larger" job.