View Full Version : $60 too much for a ONE time clean-up??

03-30-2002, 02:57 PM
I am going out on my own this spring for the first time, and I had my first "real" customer (real meaning not friends or family) call and ask how much for a spring clean-up. I go and look at her yard, and I tell her that it will probably take my worker and I about 1 hour, and it would cost about $60 ($30/man hour).

She says, "wow, $60, I didn't think it would be so expensive, I don't think I'll have it done". Needless to say, since she was my first real lead, I'm pretty disappointed. This is in a middle to upper-class part of town, too. What was she expecting, a $15, $20, $30 clean-up?

I sure hope there aren't too many people out there expecting to get something for nothing. Is $30/ man hour really that expensive?? I know what my work is worth, I don't want to sell myself short. What should I do in the future??

I sure hope

bubble boy
03-30-2002, 03:46 PM
your price not too expensive. stick to it.

luck of the draw with estimates. some people reasonable, others not.

by the way, don't tell her how long you expect it to take. just give price.

McNeal Lawn
03-30-2002, 03:56 PM
Next time don't give your manhours, just say the clean up will be $60.00. Stay with your pricing, customers do not need to know how long it will take you to do a job.

03-30-2002, 04:39 PM
Since you're just starting out, I assume that you are advertising. Expect to run into alot of these penny pinchers. They probably called 2 or 3 other people besides yourself. Be patient. I'll take a while to build up your business. As for your question, $30/hour is very reasonable. McNeal makes a very good point. If you can help it, DON'T give them a hourly rate. This can scare people off even though we are worth every penny.


03-30-2002, 04:44 PM
Without knowing your equip. set-up it is possible that because you are just starting out you neither have the proper equip or experience to do the job in a reasonable time. Perhaps the job could be done in 30 min with proper equip.. If this is so you must lower your bid to compensate.

Premo Services
03-30-2002, 04:45 PM
I agree with the rest of replies, stick to pricing, but don`t tell how long it will take. She might have went for it if you didn`t tell her how long it would take. They don`t know how long it will take, some think they do, but don`t, and some think you can do it quicker because of equiptment or help, they will also want it cheaper.:(
Also sometimes a cleanup will take a lot more time than even you think it will take.:eek:

03-30-2002, 06:53 PM
Sounds like you received good advice on this one.
Clean-ups are alot of work.I can't remember the last fall clean-up that I have done for less than
60.00.You have to let those comments you receive
roll off your back.I have had customers say to do it after crying about the price.They don't want to
do it!Hey were talking manual labor here.And that cost we can't give it away!Stick to your guns.I love going by there house after they decide to do it thereselves.They saved 100.00 but there out there a week to get the job done.
Brian Grant.

03-30-2002, 07:26 PM
And it might have took two hours plus a dump run. Therefore under-priced.

03-30-2002, 07:35 PM
I don't think that your price is overly high, I think that you are just on mark, here in NH that is the going rate, and maybe a little higher.
Never underestimate you time and don't be affraid to give your price, if your work is good and the customer goes with you it will pay you back double. Word of mouth is always the best advertisement. You may not get every job, don't cut yourself short just to get the account, if they complain about the price they will most likely have other complaints after the hire.

03-30-2002, 08:53 PM
Your rates are your rates.
I just landed a cleanup for $127, Probably take about 45 minutes with a BP blower and the Walker but when its done she'll be tickled pink.
Plus 5 yards of mulch for $305 (cost delivered $145) this will take about 1 hour again using the Walker with bucket.

Everything was priced with PITA in mind and therefore I am happy to do it all at a very nice profit.


03-30-2002, 09:11 PM
stick to your rates, do not let this get you down. I know that sometimes this really pisses you off but it happens. you begin to think that you are to high then you start lowering your price. do not do that!!!! if you have to make 30 per man hour then charge thirty per and leave it at that. remember you are in this biz to make money.

Good Luck
Lawn Service &

03-30-2002, 10:24 PM
Do not pay any attention to her bitching, most customers have no clue how much work or what costs are involved in our operation, you know much better than her how much a job should cost. Remember that.. Most will pay your rate, they will say things like "geez thats alot" to try and get you to lower it, but they will say that no matter what price you give them. Stick to your guns and build GOOD clients, not cheap skates.

03-30-2002, 11:08 PM
WOW HOW SMALL IS THIS CLEANUP FOR $60.00 DONT EVEN SWEAT IT.plenty other fish in the sea....

03-30-2002, 11:25 PM
We had a HUGE ice storm this winter, so I thought I'd advertise spring clean-ups. My phone has been ringing off the hook. It's made me realize how much more enjoyable a work is with a effiecent machine for the job. I haven't seen a machine that does for branches, what ZTR does for grass...

Funny story: My add included gutter clean-ups(gutters with screens are PITA). Anyways this old little mexican lady wanted me to reattach a fallen downspout I end up finding out. Not what she said when she called... I'm not a handyman exactly either, but she proceeded to ask me what I should do about the shattered ear of the ceramic deer in her backyard...

03-31-2002, 12:41 AM
Never tell your cutomer how long a job will take rather just tell them most of the morning or something like that, actually you probably bid a little low, I gave a customer an estimate to day to clean up a 4000 sq ft yard at $145.00 she hired me on the spot, it will take me less than two hours, but she does not need to know that.

03-31-2002, 01:19 AM
I used to have a customer like that. They always tried to convert every bid into an hourly rate. I would tell them. they are paying for the service and that's the price. If they WANT to pay hourly I'd be more than happy to charge that way, because on a clean-up I'll make more money and won't be out there rushing around trying to finish fast.

03-31-2002, 07:08 AM
I did an estimate the other day. 14,000 sq. foot lot. 3 buildings on it taking up 5,000 sf. feet. Trim 30 bushes, clean up 8 crape myrtles, remove leaves and mow, edge and trim. $550.00 She wants me to come by again Tuesday to discuss the price. I will not go down. The place is a mess.

03-31-2002, 08:16 AM
$ 90.00 here $60 for hour labor.$30.00 dump run. I hate going to the dump,sometimes it can take an hour.

03-31-2002, 10:10 AM
never quote price per man hour. shes probably thinkin her husband dont make $30 an hour, y should a lowly lawn boy. i would quote it as cleanup, disposal, and "we always cut the lawn too, it makes the job complete(when, in reality, u r just blowing the stuff on the lawn and sucking it up with the mower) . better luck to ya

03-31-2002, 10:17 AM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
never quote price per man hour. shes probably thinkin her husband dont make $30 an hour, y should a lowly lawn boy. i would quote it as cleanup, disposal, and "we always cut the lawn too, it makes the job complete(when, in reality, u r just blowing the stuff on the lawn and sucking it up with the mower) . better luck to ya

Your right she could be thinking that.The problem is that he doesn't want to do it that's why she called you!

03-31-2002, 11:36 PM
Guess what, she called me back today and wants me to do it for $60 after all.

Kind of funny the way the world works...

03-31-2002, 11:58 PM
well good for you ...see...the guys here were right...STICK TO YOUR PRICE!!!!...this should also boost your self esteem...something more people in this business need a good dose of..(no one here on Lawnsite of course)

like another post said, be careful on cleanup estimates...they can often turn out to be alot more work than we sometimes think

04-01-2002, 12:00 AM
She probably called around and found out you were not that expensive after all..

04-01-2002, 12:16 AM
Your rates are not at all unreasonable assuming you use professional equipment and a good work ethic. In this case you would be efficient while providing quality service--worth every penny of $30/hr/man. Never tell someone how long it will take. That's none of their business. All they need to know is what is to be done and the price. If you come across another "somethin'-for-nothiner", and trust me you will, you could compare the cleanup with a normal mow job. Let them know that "just a mow job" would only cost ___. Then point out that in addition to mowing many more things will be done as well. Stick to your price. In the long run you will be glad you did.