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tgl250
04-21-2009, 09:07 PM
Long story short. 11 million dollar house not yet completed in Iowa
20,000 sq feet main level with half of it with lawn up to the house, lots of trimming.
Amphitheater with stone seating in a half circle going down to a pond
apprx 2 feet of foot room in front of stone seating with 15 rows of seating.
all clipings nead to be picked up. Untill house is done need to bid on a hourly basis. I have a hourly figure in mind just wondering how others may bid on a hourly basis for mowing and trimming only.

DennisF
04-21-2009, 09:42 PM
In this business you need to price your services at $50-$60 per hour without telling the customer that they are paying $50 per hour or more to have their lawn mowed. Some people would fall over dead if they thought they were paying that much for lawn care. So if you bid this on an hourly basis you're probably going to have to bid a ridiculously low price per hour. Otherwise the owners might show you the door with a puzzled look on their face.

milkie62
04-22-2009, 12:12 AM
You are the first one that I've seen here saying that we need to charge a certain amt but really can't tell the customer what we charge.Everybody else in the service industry seems to have their per hour rate displayed.I tell my customers that I charge $45/hr

DennisF
04-22-2009, 01:13 AM
You are the first one that I've seen here saying that we need to charge a certain amt but really can't tell the customer what we charge.Everybody else in the service industry seems to have their per hour rate displayed.I tell my customers that I charge $45/hr


This is my business motto:
Never tell a customer how much you charge per hour. Always tell the customer how much you will charge for the entire job.

ExtExc
04-22-2009, 01:36 AM
if someone is building an 11 million dollar house, and has an issue with paying 50 an hour for lawn care while expecting their yard to refleft the same image of their house, walk away and dont look back. I do agree with Dennis and others, tell them you dont bid hourly, just tell them what the whole job is going to cost if thats not a good enough answer for them, walk away and dont look back.

topsites
04-22-2009, 01:58 AM
See this $60 an hour stuff is like saying a lawyer fresh out of law school should earn the
same amount of money than a firm partner who has been practicing law for 30 years...

Now y'all say what you want but in all of 7+ years I can count the times I actually earned that much
SUSTAINED per hour on one hand. And there's been a time or two where I went above $60 an hour but
again we're talking once or twice in more than a few years...

It's not bragging, I'm not calling anyone lazy, it's not about talking down on folks but ...
See it from where I'm standing when here comes around Johnny-come-lately who just fell off the banana
truck yesterday acting like every customer is just going to pay them as much, too?
No, I mean, some are fresh out of high school, but perhaps one might can see how it doesn't work that way.

And maybe I am wrong but I also believe if I try and price stuff at $60 then it is also possible
I price myself right out of the market... Especially with this economy, my rates are way lower.
I also tell my customers upfront, if they want to know my hourly rate, I'm not afraid of telling them.

So maybe I would recommend a gentler rate, try between 30-40 maybe 45.
Now nobody gets rich in any type of order and then we all underbid some, I'm sorry already but at least it's a job.

yamadooski
04-22-2009, 07:34 AM
OK so you say you cant get 60 per hour?
Why then is it OK for plumbers to get 100 per hour and electricians too?
Don't tell me its because they went to school or have to be licensed.
I have been around and around this subject many times here.
I make net of 80. per hour. Of course my gross is more. I'm also a solo operator.
Why do all the irrigation companies charge 65 per hour plus materials around here?
I have the answer to all of that. Its because people don't want to do it or learn to to do it.
Auto dealerships are at 90 and up per hour now even with the bad economy.
Granted I'm in business that has 95% of the most dumbest business people in it. But I love what I do.
I have a masters in business and finance and ask my self why I do this all the time.
I get from my customer all the time, how much they like that I know so much about plants and palms and they are glad to have me on their property.
And my education and they way I speak to people face to face, some ask my I'm the business that I'm in when I could sit behind a desk. I tell them I in charge of my own destiny and then point to the laid off neighbor with the same degree I have.

Never tell anyone what your hourly rate once again the ones that do are dumb. And when the customer insists on it ask them how much they make.

punt66
04-22-2009, 08:12 AM
OK so you say you cant get 60 per hour?
Why then is it OK for plumbers to get 100 per hour and electricians too?
Don't tell me its because they went to school or have to be licensed.
I have been around and around this subject many times here.
I make net of 80. per hour. Of course my gross is more. I'm also a solo operator.
Why do all the irrigation companies charge 65 per hour plus materials around here?
I have the answer to all of that. Its because people don't want to do it or learn to to do it.
Auto dealerships are at 90 and up per hour now even with the bad economy.
Granted I'm in business that has 95% of the most dumbest business people in it. But I love what I do.
I have a masters in business and finance and ask my self why I do this all the time.
I get from my customer all the time, how much they like that I know so much about plants and palms and they are glad to have me on their property.
And my education and they way I speak to people face to face, some ask my I'm the business that I'm in when I could sit behind a desk. I tell them I in charge of my own destiny and then point to the laid off neighbor with the same degree I have.

Never tell anyone what your hourly rate once again the ones that do are dumb. And when the customer insists on it ask them how much they make.
I completely agre with you. I average $85hr on mowing service and that includes drive time. Now i know markets are different. I also mow with a ztr not a WB. Production, production.

kaferhaus
04-22-2009, 08:26 AM
There's one guy here that when pushed for what he "makes" and hour will tell customers that he "makes" about 15 bucks an hour but he has to charge them $50 bucks to make that 15.. he keeps a little laminated card in his truck that shows all of his expenses broken down by the hour including depreciation on his equipment.... he says most don't even understand it but hand it back to him and say something to the effect of "oh my"...

I have never bid any residential job and disclosed our hourly rate. Nor will I. The way I handle it is to simply tell them we don't charge by the hour we charge by the circumstances of each property. We give everyone a fair price for the work we do.

A few of our commercial accounts we do give a hourly labor rate for "extras" in the contract. For example, irrigation maintenance on an "emergency" basis or replacing shrubs or frost damaged plants...

However with commercial accounts you don't get the questions that go something like this, "you charge HOW much an hour?!!!!" or "that much JUST to to this?"

bahamamills
04-22-2009, 08:27 AM
Know what you have to make to get by and make a living. Get better and get a better income. I can't understand again why you feel you have to explain to any customer what you charge per hour period. If you have a customer asking you what you charge per hour for a "specific quoted" job they are shopping and will end up being a PITA.

I would never try to start a relationship on how much I make per hour its really not their business and if they don't want to pay me for the job so be it.

milkie62
04-22-2009, 06:19 PM
There is no way in my area that you would make $80-$100 per hour.I do not think anywhere in the country that you could mow a customers yard in 1 hr ,walk up to their door and askfor a $100 bill. In my area that would be $50-60 bucks.

kaferhaus
04-22-2009, 06:25 PM
There is no way in my area that you would make $80-$100 per hour.I do not think anywhere in the country that you could mow a customers yard in 1 hr ,walk up to their door and askfor a $100 bill. In my area that would be $50-60 bucks.

It would be tough..... anywhere. to get near $100, we do get $75 per man hour on some jobs but they're industrial places and they have no idea how long we're even there and on one of them we're running 3 61" mowers.

milkie62
04-22-2009, 06:25 PM
How can an electrician be compared to the mower guy.ALOT more rocket science involved in troubleshooting a dimming light or a short circuit than running an edger along a driveway.Some aspects of the business do require knowledge such as chemical applications and arborist issues,but NO education necessary to mow,trim and blow. Get real.

milkie62
04-22-2009, 07:08 PM
I totally agree with Kaferhaus that on commercial properties the rate is alot higher.And that on a new install with pavers,larger trees that need a skid-steer to plant,retaining walls built,and backhoe work do add up to mega bucks and alot higher charge per hour.But on the other hand a guy should not be pulling up to a residential house with a 2009 F350 XLT Lariat diesel,pulling a 20' shiny aluminum enclosed trailer with 2 brand new zero turns inside along with assorted other equipment,mow for 30 minutes and hand a bill for $80 to the customer.I could pull up with my nicely waxed 2002 F250 XL,a 12' open painted trailer,unload my craftsman mower,mow in 40 minutes,have the job look just as nice and hand her a bill for $45 .Who do you think will be back next week ????????? I have my farmers application license,my insurance is $937/year for $1,000,000 coverage.My appearance is neat and my equipment is neat.So how are you better than me ??? I can do it for $45/hr and make money.I am sorry if you cannot.Go part -time at the piggly-wiggly if you want to cry about lowballers.

PS Oh Kaferhaus I was not poking at you.I was agreeing with you in the beginning and then got off on a tangent...

punt66
04-22-2009, 08:45 PM
How can an electrician be compared to the mower guy.ALOT more rocket science involved in troubleshooting a dimming light or a short circuit than running an edger along a driveway.Some aspects of the business do require knowledge such as chemical applications and arborist issues,but NO education necessary to mow,trim and blow. Get real.

an electrician uses hand tools we use very expensive machines and fuel. Think.

yamadooski
04-22-2009, 08:59 PM
Well man did I get slammed by a few. I can mow 4 yards in a hour.
25.00 per cut and trim the hedges and spray for weeds.
Been doing this for 18 years.
I dont even charge per cut either.
I charge 90.00 per month and mow 42 times a year.
Dont even tell me my yards must look like crap either. When I trim hedges every week and spray weed killer once a month they look nice.

As far as the comparable proffesions you get real! Why should I only make or charge 45 per hour when you can get more?
MY should the mechanic get 75 hour to fix my Yamaha quad?
Why does a plumber get 100 hour?

Some of you go after the big million dollar homes and spend so much time:laugh:
Im getting ready to drop a lady in South Tampa where the high and mighty live because she wants me to pick up each oak tree leaf out of her landscape beds.

lauchlan mcconnell
04-23-2009, 08:01 AM
I do not tell any of my customer my hourly rate if I did they would fall over ,this the hardest part of our trade some jobs u will under quote & some u will over quote .
I aim for around $125 per hour this may sound high but any less and you will go broke maybe not straight away but it will happen

Mowing grass down under

kaferhaus
04-23-2009, 09:20 AM
But on the other hand a guy should not be pulling up to a residential house with a 2009 F350 XLT Lariat diesel,pulling a 20' shiny aluminum enclosed trailer with 2 brand new zero turns inside along with assorted other equipment,mow for 30 minutes and hand a bill for $80 to the customer

That simply doesn't happen here... you'd never get the job in the first place if you pulled up in that rig to give a quote.

We have 8 trucks including my own and NONE of them were bought new, all were at least 3 years old and some 5 years old. They'e less than half the price of new trucks (we only buy low mileage trucks).

Now all of these trucks look very nice, they stay clean etc. My guys all wear uniforms because I like the appearance and the customers like it.

We only use open trailers for three reasons, productivity, cost and not wanting to give the impression that we're "rolling in money because we charge too much."

People are funny... the residentials "think" you're supposed to live on the other side of the tracks so to speak if you're "the lawn guy"..... you're supposed to be struggling from week to week just to eat etc. A bunch of flash will send "warning signs" flying through their heads and have them thinking that you have to "overcharge" everyone to be able to pay for that.

We've had operators like that come and go around here for many years and they all did fine work. One guy that had the nicest "rig" I've ever seen complete with a full wrap (graphics) on his enclosed trailer lived in a trailer park! The guy had at least 50K tied up in unnecessary equipmnet and was living with his wife and kid in a 12K trailer.

He mistakenly believed that he was going to impress his customers and gain new business because his rig looked so good. He impressed his buddies, he impressed the guy at the sign shop that got him for over 3K for the graphics, he impressed the truck dealer when he signed up for that 40K truck.... but he was out of business within 2 seasons.

Now this same guy had been in the business for 7yrs before he took this leap.... his old customers started calling around to get quotes from other LCOs once they saw this flashy 80K rig (with equipment) pull up... he started losing customers a few at a time until it killed him.

He opened the door for guys with little overhead to undercut his prices (which weren't bad)

So he did good work, had fair prices..... what more do you need? you need your customer to believe that they're getting the best bang for the buck. And giving them a reason to question that isn't a very bright idea in my book.

milkie62
04-23-2009, 05:12 PM
Excellent reply Kaferhaus.I live outside of Albany NY near the VT border.I haul firewood,hunt and snowplow with my truck.I would cry if i got a scratch on a new pickup.That is why I buy low mileage 2 year old trucks.Alot of depreciation is already built in and if I scratch it with my belt buckle not such a big deal.It only makes common sense that I would have less overhead with my setup vs the next guy with all new leased equipment.Hence my rate may seem like low balling but it isn't because of overhead costs.And I would like to see how someone could shoot for $125/hr for mowing.One guy here was bragging once he was getting $130/hr but when called on it,it ended up being 2 zero turns running @ $65 each per hr. Commercial maybe and probably big bucks.1/4 acre up to 1/2 acre and they are blowing smoke.Here is one lowballer for you.A guy at the end of my road ---2/10 to be exact was talking to me that his property was costing him $165 per cut and he needed something cheaper.Sent my 16 year old down with our zero turn and did it for $100.Put the atv cart on the back of the mower to carry trimmer,blower and 21" pusher.Guy is more than happy and my son pockets $100 for 70 minutes of work and no loading and unloading.