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OrangeToys
02-02-2010, 01:14 AM
Im curious to know what your rates are....

1) manual labor
2) machine work (mainly mowing)

Reason I ask is because I have seen a lot of people that are charging $50 per man hr to lay mulch but then what are you charging to work your equipment? with these numbers I am way to low on my pricing.

Five Points
02-02-2010, 05:00 PM
Everybody wants to know what others charge but nobody ever wants to tell what they charge. So I'm going to put my price out there

I work with one helper and two summer students.I try to average 40 per man. Some is more and some is not. I do a lot of mowing and mulching, trimming and pruning. I also do fert apps and sod some new houses (they pay better).Some work is quoted, but a lot of the extras are just by the hour. It is what works for me.

I do a lot of manual labour off of my trailer, mulch top soil gravel, my wheelbarrows (dutch pickup truck has made me a lot of money.)


This is what I try average From the time I leave in the morning till I pull in at night.This includes all stops and breaks.

At the end of my 35 week season I average 70/hr 55hrs a week Includes all repair time and shop time, dump time, drive time, even all the stops at Tim Hortons and those are a lot.

OrangeToys
02-02-2010, 05:56 PM
Everybody wants to know what others charge but nobody ever wants to tell what they charge. So I'm going to put my price out there

I work with one helper and two summer students.I try to average 40 per man. Some is more and some is not. I do a lot of mowing and mulching, trimming and pruning. I also do fert apps and sod some new houses (they pay better).Some work is quoted, but a lot of the extras are just by the hour. It is what works for me.

I do a lot of manual labour off of my trailer, mulch top soil gravel, my wheelbarrows (dutch pickup truck has made me a lot of money.)
.

Thank you for the reply! Im trying to do the same thing you are with mowing, mulching and pruning. But I guess I'm just trying to move faster than I can for now.

When I'm mowing I try to make around $30/hr and $15/hr for manual labor (both might be going up this year depending on some of the answers I can get from people).

MLAWCARE
02-02-2010, 10:26 PM
I try to get 30 an hour for everything I do but sometimes it depends on the customer because I know what I can get with them still coming back.

OrangeToys
02-02-2010, 10:30 PM
where are you from in missouri? so i can compare the areas.

MLAWCARE
02-02-2010, 11:02 PM
St. Louis county area. People sometimes think that is to high but what other people charge they are getting a good deal.

clean_cut
02-03-2010, 08:27 AM
Yea, I try to get $15-$20 for just labor, then maybe add $15 for wear on the mower, $3 for trimmer $3 for blower,etc.

But I usually just use that to get a rough estimate, since I mostly work in my neighborhood, there is very little drive time if any at all.

Marvelous Gardens
02-03-2010, 08:55 AM
I charge $50 per hour for mowing (2 Men) and $35 for any non equipment labor (2 men). There are many threads on this issue already posted, everyone charges different. It all depends on your profit percentage goal and your overhead.

jhsmith4
02-03-2010, 07:03 PM
What an awesome GOD! I'm in tears, because I've been there! What a message!!!!!!

KrayzKajun
02-03-2010, 07:14 PM
i try to average $1 a minute while mowing. my skidsteer about $75hr, other stuff depends on wht im doing!

shiveslandcsaping
02-03-2010, 07:18 PM
Just a word of advice. If you are only charging $15 per man per hour you will not make the profit you need to make with liabilty insurance and workers comp. insurance. And if anything breaks down or you need to replace anything you are doomed. Then when you add an employee you have to pay you will be paying him instead of him making you money. The lowest I can charge per man hour is $25 to be able to make it and thats just manual labor.

OrangeToys
02-03-2010, 07:27 PM
Just a word of advice. If you are only charging $15 per man per hour you will not make the profit you need to make with liabilty insurance and workers comp. insurance. And if anything breaks down or you need to replace anything you are doomed. Then when you add an employee you have to pay you will be paying him instead of him making you money. The lowest I can charge per man hour is $25 to be able to make it and thats just manual labor.

I charge per man hr. $15 with no machines and $30 with machines.

How do you find your rate with no machine? Everything seems really high, but I may just be to low. Im working on getting it balaced like it should be.

shiveslandcsaping
02-03-2010, 07:49 PM
I charge per man hr. $15 with no machines and $30 with machines.

How do you find your rate with no machine? Everything seems really high, but I may just be to low. Im working on getting it balaced like it should be.

You have to think about how much you would pay an employee and then add in what it would cost you in overhead per hour to have him on the clock such as workers comp, drive time,shop time,office time,and any equipment you dont add an extra hourly rate to such as hand tools that you have to buy. You have to pay for this stuff some way and you arent going to add seperate lines for each on a customers invoice. The more you grow with overhead such as hiring on sales people and office personal the more you have to charge. Ask yourself would you rather work for yourself meaning you are on the clock 24/7 with no benefits for $15/hr or for someone else with all benefits for the same? Do you think they only charge $15/hr and pay you $15/hr and give you benefits and sick and vacation pay. I would guess they charge around $50/hr. You have to gather all your expenses together that arent going to be charged out to the customer and find out what they cost you per hour and add it to you labor cost. And just because you work on your own now and make some money on that what will you tell your customers when you tell them you have to go up $10/man/hr because you had to add employees. You have to charge now what you would charge if you had the employee.

PhillipsBrosLawnCare
02-03-2010, 07:52 PM
We like to work for $50/hr mowing - that's for one man on a mower. When we have two mowers on the place its $100/hr. Manual labor we're looking at $30/hr person. You can't be charging much less than that and making money.

You have to factor in all your expenses to determine your rates that you can live with and provide for your family. Make sure you factor in your overhead!! Many ppl forget this - you've got insurance, depreciation, payroll taxes, etc. The list goes on and on. Overhead is the most expensive part of the business, direct labor and direct materials don't come close to your overhead. If you forget it - you can forget making any real money. If you're just looking to make a few dollars here and there you can charge less - if you're looking to make a living you can't.

We work hard and we're efficient at what we do. Our rates are even a little lower than the majority of people in our region. People don't mind paying for quality work - but you must do QUALITY work.

OrganicsMaine
02-03-2010, 11:05 PM
No way could you be making money at $15/mhr labor rate. I try to average $50/mhr mowing, 2 man crew = $100/hr, and $35-40/mhr labor. Now, I have a lot of experience and knowledge, so that counts for something, but you can't be less than $25-$30, even if you have low overhead, you need to take advantage of that and make your money now, better to set the standard early than to have to overcome a reputation of being low priced.

lawncareboise
02-05-2010, 11:24 PM
I agree that there definitely needs to be a different rate for labor only and running equipment. I charge $25 for labor only and $35 for running a mower. I am comfortable with the $25 for labor only, but $35 might be a little low for running mowers. What do you guys think?

shiveslandcsaping
02-05-2010, 11:43 PM
I agree that there definitely needs to be a different rate for labor only and running equipment. I charge $25 for labor only and $35 for running a mower. I am comfortable with the $25 for labor only, but $35 might be a little low for running mowers. What do you guys think?

I would be charging at least $50/hr with the mower and operator.

rcslawncare
03-01-2010, 08:10 PM
Single man operation with regular mowing equipment is $1 a minute, but sometimes its less, sometimes it more. It all averages around that $1 a minute mark.

fd8215
03-06-2010, 10:21 PM
So if I have this right you are charging on average $50/hr for man and mower, do you not charge a seperate rate for just the mower then add the hourly for the guy to operate it? what about trimming and blowing

MarkintheGarden
03-07-2010, 01:30 PM
Reading this thread I am surprised to hear what many of you are doing, cause I am doing the opposite.

I charge more for the work that I have to do with hand tools than I do for the work I do with machines, especially the lawn mowers.

Of course, I charge enough to purchase and maintain the machines, but If I am working with a shovel, rake, wheelbarrow, etc. I cannot work as many hours in a day as I can when I am mowing.

Also, mowing is easier to schedule in advance, while maintenance and improvements are often scheduled and negotiated on a per job basis.

Another thing to consider is that operating a lawn mower requires less skill than operating a shovel. Edging beds, planting trees and shrubs, installing sod, even applying mulch. all require more skill, experience and focus than mowing. Pruning trees and shrubs requires training and sometimes expertise.

Study what you are doing, time everything and keep good records of how long it takes to provide your services. Invest time to perfect your methods and operations. It is a lot easier to track expenses than it is to track your biggest investment; human resources. The right tool for the job is essential and knowing and applying this is a valuable skill.

Increase your hourly rates gradually and be confident that you and your people are worth the hard earned honest money that comes with the results of skilled conscientious efforts.

Your skills are worth more than your machines. If they are not, then you need to bring your skill sets up to speed or you will find yourself among the unskilled poor, complaining about how others are charging so much less than you can.

OrganicsMaine
03-07-2010, 04:04 PM
I disagree with that somewhat. If you have a complete numbskull mowing for you, there is a lot of damage that can be done with/to a $10k mower. So I prefer to hire better people that expect decent money. Plus you have higher overhead than you do when you have a laborer and a shovel. Now when it comes to more complicated things, like pruning/deadheading, I believe that the people that are capable of doing this are required to have a higher skill set and degree of knowledge. That is where you can charge a little extra. I still feel that the tool that makes me the highest level of profit is my $45 felcos. I can charge $40/hr all day long with those, of course that includes my knowledge and experience.

MarkintheGarden
03-07-2010, 06:28 PM
I disagree with that somewhat. If you have a complete numbskull mowing for you, there is a lot of damage that can be done with/to a $10k mower. So I prefer to hire better people that expect decent money. Plus you have higher overhead than you do when you have a laborer and a shovel. Now when it comes to more complicated things, like pruning/deadheading, I believe that the people that are capable of doing this are required to have a higher skill set and degree of knowledge. That is where you can charge a little extra. I still feel that the tool that makes me the highest level of profit is my $45 felcos. I can charge $40/hr all day long with those, of course that includes my knowledge and experience.

I had not mentioned the liability consideration, about that you are correct.

I have also paid my mortgage with my felcos, but my highest profit level and what I enjoy the most is design. I use pencils, ink and paper, cheaper than felcos, but the most valuable skill I have.

So, it seems we are not disagreeing at all.

motorscot
03-08-2010, 07:25 AM
Take into account your monthly bills: truck payment, mower payment, phone, power, gas, maintenance, advertising, vehicle insurance, liability insurance, etc. Get the total amount, let's say $1100/mo. So do you divide that number by 365 days to get your cost per day?

No, you divide by the days worked. In Alabama (no snow plowing) we are looking at 8.5 months MAX. But wait, is that 8.5 x 30 days?

No, you have to get work days. That's 8.5 x 20 days = 170 days of work
That means you have to divide your costs of $1100 x 12 (for the entire year) into those 170 days = $77.84/ day = $9.70/ hr

So, you have to make $9.70/ hr to pay the bills. Right?

No, you haven't paid yourself or your help. You ($25/hr = pay with all taxes), help ($15/hr = pay with all taxes)

You = $50,000/yr
Help = $20,400/ 34 weeks

You = $294/day = $36.76/hr
Help = $120/day = $15/hr

That's $61.50 / hr that you have to make to break even after you pay your help for 8.5 months and yourself for a year.

So, yes, you should charge $35/hr for manual and $50/hr for machine if you can get it. Those figures work if you count 2 men @ $70/hr with a shovel or 2 men @ $100/hr on mowers. The extra $15/hr covers the wear/tear/depreciation of the equipment.

OrganicsMaine
03-08-2010, 09:44 AM
Well said. Many of the new guys out there have no clue what to charge. If you have payments on all of your equipment, they are there, typically, year round. Most of those machines are not running year round, so it is vital that you have an accurate number for the total days/hrs. worked. I understand coming in A LITTLE low to get a foothold in the market, but to charge out $15 for labor is totally operating at a loss, and then you run the risk of having the reputation of being cheap....I didn't say good, I said cheap. If you are known for being good, and fair in your pricing, you will get the most work. If you are high, you better be perfect in your level of service(different than just doing the work).

That said, $100/hr per 2 man mowing crew is a good spot to be in, minimum of $30/mhr for basic labor.

brucec32
03-10-2010, 12:41 PM
Never forget "opportunity cost" when pricing and when finding your niche'. If you can mow lawns at $68/hour on-site, why would you agree to pick weeds or do any other "manual labor" tasks for someone for half that, just because a mower or trimmer isn't involved? My mower doesn't cost anything near $34/hour to run additional hours.

Keep this in mind in your eagerness to be "full service" and "we do anything!" for customers. Some of the work out there may just not pay squat. If you wind up spending 30% of your time working for $30/hour instead of $68/hour because of the work mix, you might want to rethink things.

If you have otherwise unskilled labor sitting ready to work, by all means do the grunt work. But unless they are willing to pay you something close to your best hourly rate for the work, you are FOREGOING INCOME to use skilled labor doing that for them. If you and your workers are "skilled", doing "manual labor" is an inefficiency if it only pays half as much.

The cost to run a ZTR one ADDITIONAL HOUR beyond what is already is being run is not that much. Gas, depreciation, that's about it. At most $8/hour. So if you can garner $68/hour mowing lawns, you might agree to do grunt work tasks for $60/hour. But $30, you're basically gifting them your time.

I can run a hedge trimmer for much less than a ZTR. But I'm not going to charge a dime less per hour for the hedge trimming, because A) it is higher skill work in my opinion and B) it is much more fatiguing than mowing/edging/blowing. Why should I work harder for less money? Or why should you require your employees to work harder for less? Harder work will result in higher turnover and unhappy employees.

If you are "cheap" on grunt work and "expensive" on mowing, you will wind up with a whole lot of low paid grunt work. Is that what you really want?

BCSteel
03-14-2010, 11:23 AM
double post

BCSteel
03-14-2010, 11:25 AM
Never forget "opportunity cost" when pricing and when finding your niche'. If you can mow lawns at $68/hour on-site, why would you agree to pick weeds or do any other "manual labor" tasks for someone for half that, just because a mower or trimmer isn't involved? My mower doesn't cost anything near $34/hour to run additional hours.

Keep this in mind in your eagerness to be "full service" and "we do anything!" for customers. Some of the work out there may just not pay squat. If you wind up spending 30% of your time working for $30/hour instead of $68/hour because of the work mix, you might want to rethink things.

If you have otherwise unskilled labor sitting ready to work, by all means do the grunt work. But unless they are willing to pay you something close to your best hourly rate for the work, you are FOREGOING INCOME to use skilled labor doing that for them. If you and your workers are "skilled", doing "manual labor" is an inefficiency if it only pays half as much.

The cost to run a ZTR one ADDITIONAL HOUR beyond what is already is being run is not that much. Gas, depreciation, that's about it. At most $8/hour. So if you can garner $68/hour mowing lawns, you might agree to do grunt work tasks for $60/hour. But $30, you're basically gifting them your time.

I can run a hedge trimmer for much less than a ZTR. But I'm not going to charge a dime less per hour for the hedge trimming, because A) it is higher skill work in my opinion and B) it is much more fatiguing than mowing/edging/blowing. Why should I work harder for less money? Or why should you require your employees to work harder for less? Harder work will result in higher turnover and unhappy employees.

If you are "cheap" on grunt work and "expensive" on mowing, you will wind up with a whole lot of low paid grunt work. Is that what you really want?

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

This right here is the best advice that could be given.


Its been a long time since I've been on this site but some things seem to never change. What is the point in even owning your own business if your going to be making less money than an average job working for someone else? 15/hr is a garbage wage for anyone with any experience in their job, especially someone who is supposed to be an expert in their field. Man up and charge a professional wage. If you know your business and are provide quality work done efficently you should be making many times that amount of money.

360ci
03-14-2010, 12:29 PM
Solo, I charge $1/min for all services. This still gives me about $30/hr after expenses, travel time, fuel and maintenance costs of my equipment, etc. Most of my equipment is currently fuel efficient. I plan to get a WB this month for the upcoming season and as it's 48" it can do the work of two 21" mowers and then some, but I'll keep my prices the same only because my overhead will barely change. I can then do three times as much work with another body and charge the same, so profit still goes up.

For each extra body I charge $25-50/hr depending on what they're doing. I pay my helpers $11-15/hr depending on their experience and time effectiveness doing jobs. Even factoring in workmans comp and such, it's minimal, and at most costs me $20/hr outright to have them work for me, at the MOST. Anything more than that is operating profit. Cutting trees costs more on equipment than doing manual labour, so I charge more.

Prices vary all the time but it's best to get some standardized things listed to give customers an idea. I know roughly how long it'll take me to do a certain job, so I can give an accurate quote. Some smaller trees I can cut down and rope up the brush in less than ten minutes, but I still charge a one hour minimum, otherwise if I charge hourly for just that, it wouldn't be worth my time to do the job in the first place.

Darryl G
03-14-2010, 02:19 PM
Man.... $15/hour. That's insane. At that rate you can't be paying yourself minimum wage!!! Give it up and go work at Burger King or start charging appropriately.

fd8215
03-14-2010, 02:59 PM
Man.... $15/hour. That's insane. At that rate you can't be paying yourself minimum wage!!! Give it up and go work at Burger King or start charging appropriately.
I have figured my production rate at $125hr for a 2 man crew, so that is $30hr for each man and. $65hr for the equipment required.
For anything else I am charging $30hr per man for labor,so for rehab and planting work I am going to charge $120hr.

I feel that I am right in line and fair with my pricing,so what do you more experienced guys think.

John
Posted via Mobile Device

Darryl G
03-14-2010, 03:13 PM
The cost of living is high where I am so I won't even weed for less than $40/hour. For hard labor or running anything with a motor I'm from $45 to $75/hour.

fd8215
03-14-2010, 03:29 PM
The cost of living is high where I am so I won't even weed for less than $40/hour. For hard labor or running anything with a motor I'm from $45 to $75/hour.
With your 45-75 hour rate does that include the hourly rate for the equipment or is that just the manpower?
Posted via Mobile Device

Darryl G
03-14-2010, 06:25 PM
With your 45-75 hour rate does that include the hourly rate for the equipment or is that just the manpower?
Posted via Mobile Device
"For hard labor or running anything with a motor I'm from $45 to $75/hour." Seems clear to me but I'll elaborate anyway.

For hard labor i.e. digging, grubbing, stumps, rocks, roots etc. my manual labor rate would be at least $45/hr. It would also be at least $45/hour if I was using anything with a motor, i.e. string trimmer, hedge trimmer, tiller. If it was a larger piece of equipment, i.e. mower, blower, etc. it would be at least $50 hr. That is for me and the equipment. My max rate is for me on my tractor which is $75/hour, but there's a 5 hour minimum for that, including travel time...port to port as some call it. Not to be big headed, but I'm a bargain at those rates because I'm smart and energetic and "knock it out."

lawnlandscape
03-15-2010, 11:36 AM
Reading this thread is making me sick. I just got done reading a thread about how all you guys hate low-ballers. Many of you I could accuse of being the lowballers? There is NO REASON why any of you should be charging less then $40 per man hour for ANY of the work you do.

If you are you either:
1) Don't know your expenses, and are really not making any money
2) Doing this as a hobby
3) Trying to hurt this industry
4) Don't have all the proper in insurance and are not paying workers comp
5) Just plain ******ed!

I really hope none of you throwing around numbers under $40 per man hour are complaining about 'lowballers'

lawnlandscape
03-15-2010, 11:41 AM
Take into account your monthly bills: truck payment, mower payment, phone, power, gas, maintenance, advertising, vehicle insurance, liability insurance, etc. Get the total amount, let's say $1100/mo. So do you divide that number by 365 days to get your cost per day?

No, you divide by the days worked. In Alabama (no snow plowing) we are looking at 8.5 months MAX. But wait, is that 8.5 x 30 days?

No, you have to get work days. That's 8.5 x 20 days = 170 days of work
That means you have to divide your costs of $1100 x 12 (for the entire year) into those 170 days = $77.84/ day = $9.70/ hr

So, you have to make $9.70/ hr to pay the bills. Right?

No, you haven't paid yourself or your help. You ($25/hr = pay with all taxes), help ($15/hr = pay with all taxes)

You = $50,000/yr
Help = $20,400/ 34 weeks

You = $294/day = $36.76/hr
Help = $120/day = $15/hr

That's $61.50 / hr that you have to make to break even after you pay your help for 8.5 months and yourself for a year.

So, yes, you should charge $35/hr for manual and $50/hr for machine if you can get it. Those figures work if you count 2 men @ $70/hr with a shovel or 2 men @ $100/hr on mowers. The extra $15/hr covers the wear/tear/depreciation of the equipment.

Thats only if you want to make $50,000 for the year too!! Ick... If your going to do that, sell the business, and work for someone.... less headaches & same pay.

Darryl G
03-15-2010, 02:57 PM
Reading this thread is making me sick. I just got done reading a thread about how all you guys hate low-ballers. Many of you I could accuse of being the lowballers? There is NO REASON why any of you should be charging less then $40 per man hour for ANY of the work you do.

If you are you either:
1) Don't know your expenses, and are really not making any money
2) Doing this as a hobby
3) Trying to hurt this industry
4) Don't have all the proper in insurance and are not paying workers comp
5) Just plain ******ed!

I really hope none of you throwing around numbers under $40 per man hour are complaining about 'lowballers'

Phew - I cleared the lowballer hurdle by billing a minimum of $40/hour. :clapping:

brucec32
03-16-2010, 07:15 PM
Thats only if you want to make $50,000 for the year too!! Ick... If your going to do that, sell the business, and work for someone.... less headaches & same pay.

Anyone who has actually worked for others as an employee might disagree that running a simple lawn business is more headaches than working "for the man". The freedom, job security, ability to work harder and earn more instantly, time off, flexibility, lack of office politics and such is worth foregoing some income. Most easy, low stress, stable, great conditions jobs just do not pay that much. This business also does not require dry cleaning bills, thousands in work clothes, commute costs for 200 days a year of work, etc.

And there are just not that many jobs anymore than pay over $50K anyway. Certainly not w/o other problems such as long expensive educational requirements, factory type repetitive and rigid work conditions, boredom, or careers requiring time earning squat to gain skills to earn that much.

Also, many people are able to be responsibly happy living with a lot less stuff than some others feel is a must. 50 years ago much of what we spend our money on these days didn't even exist

cable tv $100/mo
broadband dsl $60mo (this one pays for itself, though)
cell phones for the family $120/mo
The average family home size has doubled in that time period. Huge potential savings going to a smaller or simpler house.
Utilities on said double size house are higher
It's become de-rigeur to send johnny and sally to fancy after school activities several times a week. Driving there, signup costs, etc, all add up.
People have to live in expensive neighborhoods now to avoid sending kids to poor public school districts. This problem didn't exist then.
Annual vacations seem to be the norm
Designer clothing worn by 11 y/o's...need I say more?
Easy credit made buying/leasing cars frequently the norm
electronics exist today that people seem to "need" that didn't exist before. $700 iphones, $200 ipods, $600 PC's in every room, you name it.


I could pare $1,000/mo out of the typical family budget w/o degrading the lifestyles much at all.

For every $1 less one spends on trying to impress the neighbors, it's the equivilent of earning about $2 because of the various taxes. Then factor in the immeasurable savings of being able to do your own home lawn. The bigger the property the more it saves. Working 50 hours, commuting another 10 each week your'e not as likely to run out after work and chop those dead trees down, clean those gutters, paint your own house, mow your own lawn, etc, etc.

I figure $50K working in the lawncare biz is about the same as $60K working a job due to the above. Then if you can manage to tear yourself away from the world of consumerism and oneupmanship out there, you can probably save another $12K a year by living a simple life, which is about $24K before taxes. Pretty soon you have yourself a $84,000/year equivilent job. If your spouse has a job with health benefits, you're golden. If not subtract out about $10K for higher healthcare and insurance costs. Still, not chicken feed.

Lugnut
03-16-2010, 11:11 PM
Man.... $15/hour. That's insane. At that rate you can't be paying yourself minimum wage!!! Give it up and go work at Burger King or start charging appropriately.

might be enough if you've only got a bike with a trailer as overhead!

lawnlandscape
03-17-2010, 12:24 AM
Anyone who has actually worked for others as an employee might disagree that running a simple lawn business is more headaches than working "for the man". The freedom, job security, ability to work harder and earn more instantly, time off, flexibility, lack of office politics and such is worth foregoing some income. Most easy, low stress, stable, great conditions jobs just do not pay that much.

I honestly think that anyone that thinks running a lawn care business is simple, will not be in business very long.

Darryl G
03-17-2010, 12:50 AM
might be enough if you've only got a bike with a trailer as overhead!

Yah, maybe I'll work on that...I think I saw a setup like that on here recently. :laugh: