PDA

View Full Version : what consists of a spring cleanup?


jay albers
04-05-2009, 10:21 PM
Had my first spring cleanup last week. I raked all the leaves in the yard,the beds, around the pool and shed.It came to about ten 55 gal bags. I hard raked the beds and went over the lawn with my zero turn scag to get some more leaves. I also trimed some bushes.It took 6 hrs by myself.I charged 125. I know,i know ,to little.What would be a good price? and did I do to much or to little. Ps customer was happy with job

Pennings Gardens
04-06-2009, 07:13 PM
6 hour job an you charged 125?

$300 to $400 as long as you hustled to get it done.

borwicks
04-06-2009, 07:42 PM
6 man hours, I would have got 2 temps at $12.my little wonder 9hp blower. been done in 2 hours. $48 dollars in temp labor, $70 for myself, $20 for use of scag, $20 for little wonder and $10 disposal..for a total of $168 + sales tax, and on to the next yard.

borwicks
04-06-2009, 07:48 PM
I would have got 3 similar yards cleaned up in the same time you did 1. for a total of $504, $360 after paying temps, and still have time to do 3 more before dark. so that could have been $1008 gross or $720 after paying temps..you would have got 2 yards done and $250..

I started using temps, when your doing cleanups get at least 2 and keep them working in different areas so there not chatting.

lawn_guy
04-06-2009, 11:19 PM
We bill spring and fall clean-up at $40/hr, per man. Also charge a disposal fee of $30 in most cases. Some customers think that's too high, but we have plenty of work to do.

l3en007
04-06-2009, 11:58 PM
what are temps? and why are you bagging your leaves? are you a homeowner? atleast put them on a tarp and put them on your trailer. You wont be in business for long if you keep charging $125.00 for 6 hrs of work. I wouldnt even do work for that cheap for family.

TJLANDS
04-07-2009, 12:25 AM
You will get used to the pricing over time, The industry "avg' is probably $35 a man hour for labor. More for solo, less for 2 or three man crews. So for an avg 6 hr job your total should be around $210. You probably should charge more for use of machinery, trimming bushes etc.
As far as doing too much or to little, that is totally up to you and your agreement(contract) with the customer. Some of our spring clean-ups are as little as $100(simple mowing and blowing out beds etc.) and some with mulching are as high as $5K(cleaning all debris, redefining beds, trimming shrubs, fertilizer, mulch, pansies etc.)
Good Luck

Big Bad Bob
04-07-2009, 03:04 AM
Had my first spring cleanup last week. I raked all the leaves in the yard,the beds, around the pool and shed.It came to about ten 55 gal bags. I hard raked the beds and went over the lawn with my zero turn scag to get some more leaves. I also trimed some bushes.It took 6 hrs by myself.I charged 125. I know,i know ,to little.What would be a good price? and did I do to much or to little. Ps customer was happy with job

Without seeing the job it's hard to tell. Sounds like you went about things the hard way. In the absence of a leaf loader, my partner would have blown out the beds and around the pool and shed while I ran the z with the bagger and picked the leaves up. Probably wouldn't have even brought a rake. Depending on the kind of leaves, I'd say your 50 bags would have had the volume of 15 bags after they were chopped. Bags are a pain so I just loose dump in the truck.
If I had to guess, based on the incomplete info in your post, I'd say 2 hours and $240.00 + tax and $30.00 + tax for disposal. I don't know how many bushes or what kind so I can't comment on that. Average bush, 4 feet tall, 4 feet across, $10.50 per. But that is just an educated guess based on experience. I'm in the midwest so rates may be a little different.
Don't worry. It was your first and now that you have one under your belt, you will know a little better on how to bid and how to engage the next cleanup. After a few hundred you will just look at the job and know what to charge and how to engage the job without even thinking about it. Oh, and the refusals, because the customer thinks you are too high priced, will be easier to take because you know what you need to make it worthwhile to do the job. And you will still always have enough work because you aren't working for free.Never ever work for less than you are worth.

Whitey4
04-07-2009, 09:58 PM
Had my first spring cleanup last week. I raked all the leaves in the yard,the beds, around the pool and shed.It came to about ten 55 gal bags. I hard raked the beds and went over the lawn with my zero turn scag to get some more leaves. I also trimed some bushes.It took 6 hrs by myself.I charged 125. I know,i know ,to little.What would be a good price? and did I do to much or to little. Ps customer was happy with job

I would not not have trimmed any shrubs AT ALL! That is part of your pruning quote. You gave that away for free. Quote pruning seperately. Think about it... cleanup... pruning. Two different things. I'll bet the customer was happy. The bigger problem is that next year, they will expect the same, and at the same price.

That sounds like a $200 cleanup to me. 10 fifty five gallon bags is a lot of debris. 4 1/2 to 5 hours. Last year, my first, I did the same thing, so don't feel like you are the only one to under bid a job like that. You will learn as you go. I did.

Yes, you did too much for too little, but it sounds like you were more concerned with making the place look great. THAT, IMO, is what will make you successful in the long run. I think you are on the right track. Good luck.

borwicks
04-07-2009, 10:03 PM
Whitey4,
awesome last line. THAT, IMO, is what will make you successful in the long run. I think you are on the right track. Good

LB1234
04-08-2009, 12:14 AM
I'll bet the customer was happy...man I've done the same thing over the years. Live and learn. I like to charge a flat fee for a spring cleanup and I include whatever the customer wants in a spring cleanup...if its pruning than so be it, just make sure to charge accordingly. Srping cleanups can range anywhere from $75 up to 350 dollars for us.

My advice would be to politely tell this customer that you made a mistake in estimating how much work this cleanup involved. Explain that since you agreed upon a price you are going to hold to it. Also explain that if you were to do the same thing next year the price would be closer to 'X' amount.

I look at it as doing a few things. Customer won't start blabbing to all her neighbors how she got this much done for so little money and then others feel they should get the same price (we've made that mistake). You almost come across as "the cheap guy". You also won't shock the customer when the estimate next year comes in double that amount, they'll expect it since you informed them this year. I believe it will also help to build a solid understanding between your customer and company. With all that said you also have to gauge the response of the customer...if the response is too bad than walk away, or if they say thank you I appreciate your honesty you may have just found a keeper...you never know they could also offer to pay a little more money...not very likely but it has happened before.

borwicks
04-08-2009, 10:00 AM
I'll bet the customer was happy...man I've done the same thing over the years. Live and learn. I like to charge a flat fee for a spring cleanup and I include whatever the customer wants in a spring cleanup...if its pruning than so be it, just make sure to charge accordingly. Srping cleanups can range anywhere from $75 up to 350 dollars for us.

My advice would be to politely tell this customer that you made a mistake in estimating how much work this cleanup involved. Explain that since you agreed upon a price you are going to hold to it. Also explain that if you were to do the same thing next year the price would be closer to 'X' amount.

I look at it as doing a few things. Customer won't start blabbing to all her neighbors how she got this much done for so little money and then others feel they should get the same price (we've made that mistake). You almost come across as "the cheap guy". You also won't shock the customer when the estimate next year comes in double that amount, they'll expect it since you informed them this year. I believe it will also help to build a solid understanding between your customer and company. With all that said you also have to gauge the response of the customer...if the response is too bad than walk away, or if they say thank you I appreciate your honesty you may have just found a keeper...you never know they could also offer to pay a little more money...not very likely but it has happened before.

I dont know if I would go that route, tell her that is. If I hired a person to do something and they said they underestimated the work I would think they had no idea what they were doing and not have them back. What you did was in plain sight and not hidden. I dont see why she needs to know.

When she calls next year or in the fall tell her your new price. I personally dont think your price was that far off what is "fair". Most of what you did was hand labor not machines. If the neighbors want a cleanup who cares if they know what she paid. If its still a fair price they will pay.

I also think cleanups are the most over priced item that LCO's take advantage of.

Be smarter next time and higher some temps. Look at my earlier post. That job should never be more than $200.

LB1234
04-08-2009, 08:37 PM
:waving:I dont know if I would go that route, tell her that is. If I hired a person to do something and they said they underestimated the work I would think they had no idea what they were doing and not have them back. What you did was in plain sight and not hidden. I dont see why she needs to know.

When she calls next year or in the fall tell her your new price. I personally dont think your price was that far off what is "fair". Most of what you did was hand labor not machines. If the neighbors want a cleanup who cares if they know what she paid. If its still a fair price they will pay.

I also think cleanups are the most over priced item that LCO's take advantage of.

Be smarter next time and higher some temps. Look at my earlier post. That job should never be more than $200.

I'm not saying just to make the claim...of course you have to be tactful about it. we'll agree to disagree on this one.

borwicks
04-09-2009, 09:35 AM
:waving:

I'm not saying just to make the claim...of course you have to be tactful about it. we'll agree to disagree on this one.

LOL..ok..I will also say this, the margins are alot better doing manual labor at $35 per hour.

old oak lawn
04-09-2009, 09:31 PM
I also think cleanups are the most over priced item that LCO's take advantage of.

Be smarter next time and higher some temps. Look at my earlier post. That job should never be more than $200.

You don't have a clue about ruining a business do you?? He worked for 6 hours and did not make crap. We run at $80.00 per hour,if customer cant pay that they hire a hack like you who wont TAKE ADVANTAGE of them:laugh:. I bet you have NEVER hired a temp worker in your life. Don't give advice when you know nothing.

borwicks
04-10-2009, 09:31 AM
You don't have a clue about ruining a business do you?? He worked for 6 hours and did not make crap. We run at $80.00 per hour,if customer cant pay that they hire a hack like you who wont TAKE ADVANTAGE of them:laugh:. I bet you have NEVER hired a temp worker in your life. Don't give advice when you know nothing.

I hire temps all the time but never leave them alone. You dont know anything about me or my business why are you so quick to judge? If you dont like my opinion or how I run my business thats your opinion, you dont need to trash talk. My post was how I would have handled the cleanup. I was being helpful, in my opinion. What have you done to help the thread besides talk trash. In this area $80 per hour for hand labor will get you very few jobs.

old oak lawn
04-10-2009, 10:27 PM
I can and do charge 80 per hour. I have insurance, worker's comp to pay and pay role to make,if they cant pay 80 they can get someone else. My point is to many people give hard work away to cheep. Like YOU, Read the quote of yours i posted above.

doubleedge
04-10-2009, 10:40 PM
Steps to pricing a job correctly:

1. Calculate your expenses per hour for the job. Consider: gas, wear and depreciation on equipment, labor, debris disposal, misc. expenses, etc. Also add a little for money that you want to use for emergencies and expansion of your business.

2. Estimate the amount of time that the job will take.

3. Multiply the amount of time by your expenses to get the total amount.

Big Bad Bob
04-10-2009, 11:06 PM
Steps to pricing a job correctly:

1. Calculate your expenses per hour for the job. Consider: gas, wear and depreciation on equipment, labor, debris disposal, misc. expenses, etc. Also add a little for money that you want to use for emergencies and expansion of your business.

2. Estimate the amount of time that the job will take.

3. Multiply the amount of time by your expenses to get the total amount.

One more item, unfortunately.
4. Know what the market will bear. You will have to be declined quite a few jobs before you figure that out.

old oak lawn
04-11-2009, 12:04 AM
One more item, unfortunately.
4. Know what the market will bear. You will have to be declined quite a few jobs before you figure that out.

What does that matter?? Your costs of operation are fixed. If 20 other people charge $30 per hour should i.

Big Bad Bob
04-11-2009, 02:18 AM
What does that matter?? Your costs of operation are fixed. If 20 other people charge $30 per hour should i.

My point is that if you want to charge $80.00 per hour and the market will only bear a price of $60.00 per hour then you will get no customers. I have test marketed and I only accept customers who are willing to pay my rate. But you will have a lot of declines before you find out what the threshold is. In other words charge the maximum you can get but you have to test the market first. It has worked for me. I only get about 1 in 8 bids I put out. This way I don't over or undercharge. At least it has worked for me. And I have a pretty full schedule. And I am solo with a couple of part time helpers. We don't just mow and blow either. We do light landscaping too.
In other words, don't just figure your expenses, which are way too high for some, and expect to just then pull a number out of the air as to how much profit you want to have.
Lowballers DO affect the prices for some. I don't do labor for $30.00 per hour, manual or machine. I do average $60.00 per hour profit.
I do also TAKE ADVANTAGE of opportunities to make more than $60.00. This isn't a game. It is my livelihood.

borwicks
04-11-2009, 10:48 AM
Big Bad Bob and Old oak Lawn, Iam glad you guys are pulling those types of numbers. Hats off to you. Last year my NET per hour was just shy of $33, my goal was $30. My goal again this year is $30 after all expenses. That includes: health ins, business ins, 15% for future expansion, licenses, workman comp, truck ins.

I get turned down all the time just like Big Bad Bob and its for $35 hand labor. Last year I got bids to see other larger local guys are charging for hand labor and the low was $18..high was $30. Skid steer service was as low as $55..high was $95. I give you couple examples of what I have run into: apartment complex-current 4 man crew plus owner is there for at least 6 hours charges $455, next highest bid was $645... 2-12k houses, 2.5acres and 18k all for $155, I got the job for $195 takes us about 2-3 hours, we got the job because of quality. Most of these commercial gigs are ran by questionable help. There are also alot people doing this on the side. They have there benefits at there full time job and run a solo or +1 crew, I only see them do mowing and some illegal spraying. (no flags)

EVM
04-11-2009, 11:48 AM
Rake the MULCH beds, don't blow them. Blowing the beds makes more a mess, usually allot of mulch ends up on the lawn and then you blow that too (leaves are easy to blow off a lawn, mulch is not), also leaves get all jammed up in the shrubs. Blow the lawn, pull weeds, put a weed pre-emergent down in the beds, if you are going to trim the shrubs that is fine, you will be trimming them again that same year anyway, more money.

Some people make a simple clean up allot harder/longer than it should be. Using proper techniques can get you through a job faster with better looking quality.

Start off @ $30-35 an hour + materials/dumping fees etc.

Whitey4
04-11-2009, 09:43 PM
What does that matter?? Your costs of operation are fixed. If 20 other people charge $30 per hour should i.

I think market prices absolutely have to be an integral part of any pricing strategy. One cannot go out and buy $35,000 in equipment and put that overhead on 25 customers. You would price yourself out of business.

If you are asking for twice the market rate, you will have no customers. Pricing and estimates have to dovetail into a smart combination of market pricing and overhead. Too much overhead, you are over priced.

I've seen guys take this tack before, and for the life of me, how can one ignore the competition's pricing and stay in business? Sure, there is fudge room of quality vs. price, but still, what the market will bear is what the market will bear.