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robert fling
03-05-2002, 12:03 PM
i saw a great line here yesterday from a fellow user. i apologize that i cannot remember the persons name. but it said anyone who doesnt think money grows on trees has never done a leaf clean-up. that statement has stayed with me all day! my question being is how do you charge for clean-ups. is it by the hour or do you build and estimate for a flat price?

Nebraska
03-05-2002, 12:52 PM
We build an estimate based upon how many hours we "think" the job will take on the high side. Then multiply the hours by what our hourly rate is (which includes all costs and PROFIT) to come up with a flat fee and add any dump fees we may incurr with a markup on top of that.
Hours x (hourly rate) + Dump Fees (include markup or time you incurr driving to and from the dump) = Total Price for the job.
If there is a large job that is difficult to estimate time then we go to the property owner with a per hour rate explaining everything fully.

We find a lot of guys around here quote $15 per man hour! Then people wonder why the do such a crappy job.

LawnLad
03-05-2002, 02:13 PM
We simply bill T & M - our general labor rate. It's too complicated in our area to estimate how the seasonal clean ups will go - will it rain, will it be windy - will there be snow? How many leaves will be on the ground. Seasonal clean ups account for about 30% of our maintenance revenue. Since there is no easy "formula" we just bill T & M. We can estimate for a season what the estimated hours will be for a property - but how it will break out each week we can't determine.

For non contract customers who request an estimate for a one time clean up, we'll give them a range. 8 to 12 man hours, depending on weather and quantity of leaves. No guarantees on hours. We usually estimate high to be conservative, and we tell them that too.

rodfather
03-05-2002, 03:11 PM
We charge anywhere from $75 - $95 dollars per hour for each man on the job. Been doing it for 8 years now, so I guess it works for us.

robert fling
03-05-2002, 03:12 PM
is it better to clean them up weekly or wait and do it at once. if you do it weekly do you charge the customer extra on top of the weekly maintenance fee?

rodfather
03-05-2002, 03:16 PM
If you're talking about the Fall time, we never wait for them to all come down. Some jobs may require only 2 or 3 visits for the entire season, some jobs we have to go in twice a week for 2 or 3 weeks or more. Every job is different.

Tony Harrell
03-05-2002, 03:17 PM
Please-please don't take this the wrong way because I'm as serious as I can be. I'm looking out my window and all I can see are some sticks that have fallen off the maple trees. What exactly is the spring cleanup? Are these yards that have left over leaves or somethng?

rodfather
03-05-2002, 03:21 PM
It could be just walking around the lawn and picking up dead twigs that fell of over the Winter. It could be leaf clean-up (Pin Oaks especially) of leaves that have fallen over the Winter out of flower beds, ground cover, and lawn areas.

robert fling
03-05-2002, 03:23 PM
dont worry, i am not easily insulted. i have a few people that have called me in and they (believe it or not) have never had a lawn service before. the yards are a mess, somewhere under there i think there is actually grass! some yards just have patches of leaves. but me being rather new to the business i am unsure how to handle it.

robert fling
03-05-2002, 03:25 PM
rodfather,

when you handle the fall jobs weekly, do you charge anything extra or is it part of your weekly fee? isnt it harder to make money like that?

rodfather
03-05-2002, 03:28 PM
over & above the weekly fee.

heygrassman
03-05-2002, 03:34 PM
I'm looking out my window and all I can see are some sticks that have fallen off the maple trees. What exactly is the spring cleanup?

I am looking out my window at a Oak with about 1/2 a tree full of leaves that will take 1-2 hours to clean up . Just bid a property with 2 Oaks and at least 1/2 truck load of branches.. wind storms here are unbelieveable compared to what I am used to in Pittsburgh.. $$$$

jf

robert fling
03-05-2002, 03:36 PM
do you have a formula for figuring it out or do you do the man hour thing on top of the weekly fee? if its early in the fall and you can pick all the leaves up with a mower do you still charge extra?

rodfather
03-05-2002, 03:39 PM
Anytime I have the vacuums on the mowers and they're running, I charge accordingly.

robert fling
03-05-2002, 03:41 PM
vacumns on the mowers?

rodfather
03-05-2002, 03:46 PM
For picking up the leaves, unless we blow them into the woods if possible.

Premo Services
03-05-2002, 04:04 PM
I do leaf cleanups weekly in the fall. It is easier to stay on top of em. I have a lazer & ultra vac and do weekly, blow drives, around house and also charge more. This is kinda good, because my customers like them cleaned up weekly and it is easy with my equiptment I have to make good $. Some people will always wait till they all fall, then it is a much higher price and charged by the hour. For spring cleanups, I blow from beds and vac up, clean up twigs, gumballs etc. and charge by hour.

kutnkru
03-05-2002, 04:17 PM
Dont forget ,,,
If you are using a piece of equipment to do the work of another employee or several employees to CHARGE FOR IT!!!

If I can mulch up leaves using a wb or a Z in an hour to do what used to take 2-3 guys 3 man hrs. with rakes and tarps, I still bill them for the 3 man hrs. Im not working harder - just smarter. This also shouldnt mean that a site that used to pay $500 for a Fall Clean-Up should now be paying $125 either -LOL!!!

mdb landscaping
03-05-2002, 04:37 PM
A spring clean up for me involves picking up all twigs, blowing the beds out, blowing the leaves, and then mowing and dethatching. also i power broom the sand away from the driveway and curbs and where it got on the grass.

Green Care
03-05-2002, 05:12 PM
I get $75 hour here thats my rate.

Nebraska
03-05-2002, 05:53 PM
In my opinion cleanups are the nastiest jobs in lawn maintenance therefor we price it accordingly.

Tony Harrell
03-05-2002, 06:01 PM
I'm glad nobody took offense at my question because the way I worded it, you could have. I'm going to start looking around, maybe waste some gas tomorrow to see what I can find. You know,...if you saved the leaves from the fall and went around at night in the spring......it's a wonder how I've managed to stay out of jail. LOL

PAPS
03-05-2002, 06:25 PM
Originally posted by rodfather
We charge anywhere from $75 - $95 dollars per hour for each man on the job. Been doing it for 8 years now, so I guess it works for us.

You are getting $75.00- $95.00 per man hour???!!!! i gotta move my company from my part of Jersey to where u are ROD!!!!!!!

rodfather
03-05-2002, 08:02 PM
Heard that Bryan, come on, come on!!!

lamblawnscaping
03-05-2002, 11:09 PM
Rod,

How do you explain to your customers that $75-95 per hour is appropriate for each laborer. Is there something else figured into that price like dump fees or unloading all the crap you are cleaning up, or do you just stand there straight faced and tell a customer that for one man with no equipment (you charge accordingly when you use that) $75-95 is the going rate. I'm not calling you a liar, I just can't imagine a customer that would pay $1200-$1520 for two laborers to spend an 8 hour day cleaning up their property.

Nebraska
03-06-2002, 01:22 AM
I have found that the majority of maintenance companies do not want to do this work in my area and as such every year we charge more and more, worrying that we might hit the maximum, and people continue to pay it without even hesitating....We charge what I would consider a lot but if you look at it compared to other services why should cleanups be a loss leader. Nothing in my book is work loosing money to gain the customer. Too many times in the beginning we have been burned with that approach.

JimLewis
03-06-2002, 03:18 AM
I am a little dismayed as well. Personally, I don't understand how any rational person would pay that. And I am not sure I believe anyone does. Unless there's just something I don't get. Like, maybe the nearest yard debris drop off is 100 miles away and it costs $75 a yard to dump yard debris or something. Or maybe worker's comp in NJ is like $10 per hour worked. Or maybe liablility insurance is 10 times as much as it is here. I don't know....

All I know is that no matter how good you are, how good of a reputation you have, how fast you can work, you'd hardly EVER get a job charging those rates around here. Not for maintainance work like clean-ups.

I do agree with Nebraska, we have increased our price a little each year for clean-ups, to the point where we now make good money at them. And people still keep paying us to do them. But I am also aware that I don't land quite as high of a percentage of bids as I used to also. And I know for a fact I'd land less than 5% of them if I charged what rodfather says he charges.

rodfather
03-06-2002, 07:43 AM
If you look back, the $75-$95 per hour rate we charge is for running the mowers and vacuums. The vacs are on my 3, 72" Toro Groundsmasters . They vac up a lot of leaves at one time.

kutnkru
03-06-2002, 08:19 AM
Originally posted by rodfather
If you look back, the $75-$95 per hour rate we charge is for running the mowers and vacuums. The vacs are on my 3, 72" Toro Groundsmasters . They vac up a lot of leaves at one time. I did look back and you state that you are able to get almost $100/hr per man. I also bill my equipment used as laborers when they take the place of another person on the job, but im only able to get about half what your getting. :(

Originally posted by rodfather
We charge anywhere from $75 - $95 dollars per hour for each man on the job. Been doing it for 8 years now, so I guess it works for us.I have charged some pretty steep rates for certain services but I have NEVER come close to this figure per man hour!!! Can you elaborate as to how your able to sell services this high, apparently Ive overlooked some marketing techniques or just not found out how to be as savvy a contractor as you are. ;)

rodfather
03-06-2002, 11:54 AM
Kris,

A couple of things to take into consideration are (1) I charge $75 - $95 per hour for using the big Toros with vacuums. These are expensive machines (Toro estimates it costs me $20 - $25 per hour expense, which includes replacement cost) to just run the machines. Add in another $15-$20 per hour what I pay my men. Now add in insurance, workmans comp., travel time and everything else and that's why I charge that rate.

Secondly, I'm fortunate to work in some very affluent areas with some very large estates. One of my clients house is 22,000 square feet on 23 acres. Maybe it's not so much "marketing" savvy (though it helps), but selling my services in the right area sure does help.

JimLewis
03-06-2002, 03:49 PM
Well I think we can assume that many of us work in some very affluent areas. But that still doesn't account for that high of an hourly rate.

That you are charging these rates only when using these big vaccums does make more since, however. Finally, there is a rational explaination to the high rate. But the original statement just said, "We charge anywhere from $75 - $95 dollars per hour for each man on the job. " which was very misleading, especially since the rest of the people on the thread were referring to normal clean-ups with hand-raking, etc.

So what do you charge per man hour for clean-up work when there aren't big vaccums involved? (e.g. raking leaves, pulling weeds, etc....)

rodfather
03-06-2002, 04:47 PM
$45 give or take, Jim.

Like I said earlier, $75- $95 is for the Fall leaf season and only using the big Toros and vacs with them.

I hope that clairfies things.

the point man
03-06-2002, 06:41 PM
When I saw "$75-$100 an hour" I got so exited that I immediately
went to the "Post Reply" button. But now that I'm here, I don't
know what to say. I'm speechless.

LAWNGODFATHER
03-06-2002, 10:07 PM
I use this below at almost every job, plus 2 back pack blowers, truck, trailer, etc... 1 mower with vac one guy with 2 blowers per a truck. Keep a back up on each one.

$75.00 a man hour T&M. Yes that's $75 a man hour for a blower. Why, because it is billed at $150 a man hour flat rate per a 2 man crew.

When you show up to a job site with $100,000 in equipment, I can explain that to ever customer. In 3 years I have had one complaint on the price.

http://www.lawngodfather.com/lazer%20w%20pico%20vac3.jpg

http://www.lawngodfather.com/Dixie%202%20front.JPG

http://www.lawngodfather.com/IHC%20LeafTruck%203.jpg

cantoo
03-06-2002, 10:26 PM
LAWNGODFATHER, how much do you figure it costs you per hour to run your Exmarks with the pecos? Please include replacement costs if you can. I am surprised at the Toros costing from $20-25 per hour. That would make Eric's Dixies pretty cheap to run.

LAWNGODFATHER
03-06-2002, 10:43 PM
$17 an hour.

Eric is comairing apples to oranges.

LAWNGODFATHER
03-06-2002, 10:46 PM
Originally posted by jimlewis
So what do you charge per man hour for clean-up work when there aren't big vaccums involved? (e.g. raking leaves, pulling weeds, etc....)

$45 a man hour and up.

BTW what is a "leaf rake"?

rodfather
03-06-2002, 11:12 PM
Hummmmmmm?

Guess I am not the only one who wants to make a dollar for what they do. I guess LGF and I are just taking our customers "to the cleaners".

TOTALAWN
03-06-2002, 11:20 PM
A FLAT RATE IS THE ONLY WAY IT WILL BE WOWTH THE WORK:(

lamblawnscaping
03-07-2002, 01:49 PM
LGF, I'm sure the big truck , the lazer and dixie with vacs, and the giant-vac were expensive, but did they didn't really cost $100,000 did they?

LAWNGODFATHER
03-07-2002, 02:07 PM
Originally posted by lamblawnscaping
LGF, I'm sure the big truck , the lazer and dixie with vacs, and the giant-vac were expensive, but did they didn't really cost $100,000 did they?

Did you forget to add in the $25,000 Dodge Ram 2500 4x4, trailer etc......

Yes $100,000.

lamblawnscaping
03-07-2002, 02:55 PM
LGF, I did forget the ram and the trailer. I guess it would take a while to drive the dixie and the lazer to each stop. For all that equipment, $150 an hour seems pretty reasonable. What is the best day you have ever had doing cleanups with that setup?

JimLewis
03-07-2002, 03:00 PM
Guess I am not the only one who wants to make a dollar for what they do. I guess LGF and I are just taking our customers "to the cleaners". I understand you are being sarcastic here but I don't understand why you would take a sarcastic attitude about this.

You come in here, a relative newcommer (at least I hadn't seen any of your posts this entire winter) and tell everyone you charge almost $100 per man per hour with no explaination (until we ask) as to how you arrive at that rate. So we are left to assume that, like most of the rest of us, you do a clean-up with the usual equipment (rakes, blowers, etc.)

I think most people understand how you can charge a lot more if you're using a big expensive piece of equipment. And after you finally told us that I didn't see anyone accusing you of 'taking people to the cleaners' but certainly you can understand how we may have thought that before we knew about your expensive equipment, can't you?