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View Full Version : Trimming Hedges


kilgoja
09-15-2010, 09:26 PM
I'm used to just mowing lawns but a customer has asked me to trim their hedges....about 15-20 of them around the house in an upscale neighborhood...i'm not exactly sure how long it will take...i've never done this before...only at my own house...i figure it would take 1 hr-2hrs but i'm not sure how much to charge...what do you guys usually charge for something like this?

GunnPropertyServices
09-15-2010, 10:39 PM
i charge by the hour, i dont tell the customer my hourly charge, just estimate how long i think it will take and give them a total $ number. if they are severly over grown i add disposal fee if there will be alot of clippings to dispose of. if its a yard you do regualrly i would also give them a number to maintain them on a regular basis as part of the lawn. there usally easier to keep up then, try to trim them when overgrown

couldnt really tell you how long it would take, without seeing them, trimming usally goes pretty fast, clean up takes the time depending on the sitition.

GunnPropertyServices
09-15-2010, 10:40 PM
would def say more then an hour more like 2 to 4

kilgoja
09-15-2010, 11:29 PM
yeah i figured...things always seem to take longer than i think they would lol

Nellies
09-16-2010, 12:32 AM
just throw out a number and if they balk then negotiate from there...

kilgoja
09-16-2010, 12:42 AM
yeah i'm gonna shoot for the $75-$100 range

davis45
09-16-2010, 12:47 AM
just throw out a number and if they balk then negotiate from there...

Have a little more respect for yourself and your business. To be successful you need to know your price..give your price..dont negotiate your price, especially on these small jobs where you are not making a whole lot.

kilgoja
09-16-2010, 12:54 AM
well i do have a price but if they are like no way i can pay that then i would've lost a chance to get more work in that same upscale neighborhood....i'm just starting out kindof so i gotta take what i can get at this point....as i build my business up then i can be more firm on prices...i mean i do have a limit...i'm not gonna work 2 hrs for $40 or anything but if i have to come down a little it will be worth it as i may get other customers from it....and like i said this is my first time doing this type of job so i don't have a set price yet....and this may seem a small job to you but this is a big job to me since most yards i cut i only make $50....this could possibly make me twice as much money but i don't want to overprice it and not get the job either

rockycrab
09-16-2010, 12:55 AM
Don't forget to cover your expenses, Overhead, travel, rent/mortgage, insurance,workers comp, fuel, dump... goes on and on. we are in an expensive, high tech industry. All the customer wants to not get off their lazy butt, good for us, if they see the value in our expertice. Give them some knowledge and some suggestions for future work along with their bill and they will be calling for more of your time.

kilgoja
09-16-2010, 12:58 AM
yeah this place is like 2-3 miles from my house so not far away at all and i live outside the city limits so i just burn the trimmings in my back yard...or throw them into the pile my dad is burning lol

rockycrab
09-16-2010, 01:01 AM
Well, Just make sure your butt is covered and go for it! We can't burn anything around here, Too many liberals worried about air quality. LOL, Cant even make a BBQ with briquetts sometimes.

domain311
09-16-2010, 01:11 AM
Hedges are huge around here...most places we do maintenance on have them. Some can take a couple days with 4 or 5 guys easy....so its a big part of our business. Are you talking privet or ligustrum? Just try to estimate how long it will take, disposal fees, etc....and figure it in by how much you normally charge per hour to make a profit.

kilgoja
09-16-2010, 11:53 PM
well i went back today and checked it out....it's about 20 shrubs or so....figured it will take 2-3 hrs now...4 if everything goes bad lol....so i estimated the price of $100-$150 and they accepted...so i'm off tomorrow morning to do it...this is quite a big job for just a one man operation like mine lol....but i'll get it done

rockycrab
09-16-2010, 11:56 PM
Good man, tear after it. Post some pics when you finish up!

kilgoja
09-17-2010, 06:32 PM
Well I did it today....took a little over 3 hrs but i got the job done and made $150....a little harder work than cutting grass but not bad for 3hrs or so of work lol...here is a pic of the front of the house...there were more bushes around the sides and back

oh and i did this with a craftsman 22" 19.2v battery powered hedge trimmer....i picked it up for $50 at a catalog return store...it came with a charger and battery and i got a spare battery as well....my dad also has 2 of the same kind of battery so i am able to use them as well....only went through 3 batteries doing this whole job....the 3rd one never went dead so maybe 2 1/2 batteries lol....the best thing about this trimmer is the weight....it is so light...easy to manuever it around

and it was more like 40 bushes total lol....some i had thought didn't need trimmed but i ended up doing them as well

rockycrab
09-17-2010, 07:31 PM
Very cool and clean! Thanks for the pic.

kilgoja
09-17-2010, 11:58 PM
thanks for the support:cool2:

Smallaxe
09-18-2010, 06:53 AM
...oh and i did this with a craftsman 22" 19.2v battery powered hedge trimmer....i picked it up for $50 at a catalog return store...it came with a charger and battery and i got a spare battery as well....my dad also has 2 of the same kind of battery so i am able to use them as well....only went through 3 batteries doing this whole job....the 3rd one never went dead so maybe 2 1/2 batteries lol....the best thing about this trimmer is the weight....it is so light...easy to manuever it around...

That is good to know. I've been tempted to buy some of those tools, just because of the convenience and ease.

Hook and Ladder
09-18-2010, 08:02 AM
To be honest you learn on what to charge on these jobs with experience. I know how that feels when you first do those bids. We all have been there in some shape or form. You tell yourself you want to charge enough to make it worth your while but at the same time you don't want to sound outrageous and lose the business.

Its a learning curve. Estimate how long it will take in your mind and go from there. I have a hourly rate in my mind I try to adhere to. Most times I hit it, sometimes I miss it on the low side and occasionally I make out more than planned. Sound confident with your price when you present it.

If you underbid- mark it off as a learning experience and move on.

Best of luck to you.

kilgoja
09-18-2010, 12:59 PM
yeah exactly....it really is hard to nail it on the head sometimes...especially on bigger jobs...you never know exactly how long it's gonna take...but i guessed pretty good on this one and it worked out...even afterwards i'm always wondering did i charge too much or did i charge too little lol... i think it comes from other people who don't work in the lawn care industry...like to them $50 an hour is an outrageous amount of money to make...i think they don't think about all the costs that goes into it and such to run your own business

kilgoja
09-20-2010, 04:26 PM
here's a few pics of my hedge trimmer

http://i53.tinypic.com/6dr0us.jpghttp://i56.tinypic.com/ilgmkl.jpg

Hook and Ladder
09-20-2010, 04:36 PM
Wow-
How long does that battery last?

Save up some cash and get a gas powered one - you will like the difference and the amount of time it cuts down of your labor. I bought a Sthil trimmer on a pole and it can mow down hedges at ease and its easy to shape them as well.

kilgoja
09-20-2010, 06:19 PM
what do you mean?...this thing speeds up the time because it's so light and easy to use...each battery lasts like 45 min or more...gas powered trimmers are alot heavier...you can sling this thing around with ease...it can't get any easier

means09
09-20-2010, 09:07 PM
Have a little more respect for yourself and your business. To be successful you need to know your price..give your price..dont negotiate your price, especially on these small jobs where you are not making a whole lot.

To me I would not just jump to the conclusion that to negotiate on a price after an intiial bid is the "wrong way" to run a business. Im not saying if the price starts out at say $100 and the customers says no that too much and then you say how about $75..... $50.... and so on. What Im sayin is that how about seeing if there are other options for the customer. Explain whats involved and what you going to do. They might only do one or two steps involved in trimming while you are bidding the job as doing a complete /professional job. Steps like pulling weeds in landscaping beds to make blowing out easier so clippings dont stick to the weeds. The customer may not know that you are going to do that which this reflects on the price. Maybe negotiate cut back on steps. Some may think that is a hack job,skipping steps. because they only do million dollar homes and this is unacceptable but some people only want the basics trim the bushes thats it. The mower will make the clippings disappear.

Maybe you can trim some bushes now and then come back later when you are cutting grass and trim the rest of the bushes that are better suited to be trimmed in the later part of fall. This may make the bill more manageable by splitting it up into two parts. Another option could be if they clean up and you trim only. I know this sounds unprofessional only doing half the job, but if the customer is concerned about it being a high price then this might get them to think about the work involved.

Negotiate by giving other opitions is fine in my book. Just because some said you should not lower your intial price does not mean that they lowballing and hurting youre industry

midsouth grass master
09-20-2010, 10:13 PM
That thing may be light, but i guarantee you that it will not keep up with a stihl hs81 or comparable gas powered trimmer. If u get a job with some real bushes on it that thing is gonna be slow as hell. Once u get used to the weight and work ur muscles, your body will adapt to the gas powered ones. We have a dude that is 65 about 5'9" and maybe 130lbs and he runs em all day long everyday, but he has been doing it for quite awhile.

kilgoja
09-20-2010, 11:40 PM
well hedge trimming is not a big part of what i do...i've only done 2 jobs this year...the big 40 bush job and a small job of like 5 bushes so it works fine in my case...i'm a one man show...i don't have crews of people or anything...i mostly cut grass, trim/edge, and blow and that's it...these side jobs as i call them are rare for me...and it's not really what i want to get into...i may do the occasional hedge trim or bed mulch but it's not like a regular thing...i'm just a mow blow n go lawn care service for the most part...i'm not into landscaping or fertilizing and all that...sure there's more money in those things but it's more work as well and requires more licenses and more manpower...it's just not something that i focus on...my goal is to have 50 residentials that i mow blow and go....that will be plenty enough money for me...that 40 bush job was too big for me as a one man operation but i did it since things were slow right now...it basically took half a day to do it and i made $150....if i had enough yards i could work half a day and make the same amount of money doing alot easier work..and that job was not a regular customer...as far as i know that was a one time deal

rockycrab
09-21-2010, 01:13 AM
Well , if you have enough money. Don't be shy, I will help you deal with any surplus you have. LOL