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View Full Version : Fall Cleanup Pricing


lmlawn
10-22-2011, 10:18 PM
can anyone chime in on how much they charge per man hour for fall cleanups.

also how do you charge when you are still cutting and picking leaves up but not a full cleanup.

any info is appreciated

gebby
10-23-2011, 12:10 AM
I charge 60.00 per man hour on average. Thats my goal and sometimes I get over that. For my regular customers that let me continue to cut their grass every week. I don't charge extra for leaves. I bag these customers already so no big deal. It works out well for all of us. Leaves get done every week so, no big clean up at the end of the year. Nothing un-expected for them or me. I sometimes have people stop me to see what I charge. Those that understand let me do the work and are very happy with the prices as we don't tease our work. We get in and out pretty quick. Those that don't understand can't get away from me fast enough.

mowerbrad
10-23-2011, 01:23 AM
Your fall clean-up rate really should be no different than your rate for regular mowing. The reason why fall clean-ups are more expensive to the customer is that they take longer to complete.

Say your hourly rate is $60 (for the convenience of that particular number). Property "A" takes 40 minutes to mow during the regular season, so you charge $40 to mow that property weekly. Now that same property "A" takes you two and a half hours to complete a fall clean-up on, so using your $60/hour rate that you normally charge, the price would be $150. Now of course if you have any dump fees associated with disposing of the extra debris, then you will need to add that to your end price.

But really what I'm getting at is that your hourly rate shouldn't change just because it is a fall clean-up and not just a regular mowing job. I can't think of anyone who charges $50/hour during the normal mowing season and then raise their rate to $75/hour in the fall.

Personally, no one can really tell you a good rate to charge. Lots of people use the $1/minute "rule" as a rule of thumb to get an idea of what they should charge. Personally, I believe that your rate is very dependant on your own company. Depending on your equipment and costs associated with your business and the amount of profit you would like to make, you need to figure out your own rate. I could tell you that $50/hour is a good rate, but maybe you are running a full size ztr, leaf loader, a couple blowers and have a helper/employee...that $50/hour isn't going to cut it. Your costs could be upwards of $40/hour or more, which would leave you to clear $10/hour before taxes, I don't know about you but I am not okay with just making $10/hour from my own business that I work my a** off running efficiently.

ringahding
10-23-2011, 01:24 AM
I charge 60.00 per man hour on average. Thats my goal and sometimes I get over that. For my regular customers that let me continue to cut their grass every week. I don't charge extra for leaves. I bag these customers already so no big deal. It works out well for all of us. Leaves get done every week so, no big clean up at the end of the year. Nothing un-expected for them or me. I sometimes have people stop me to see what I charge. Those that understand let me do the work and are very happy with the prices as we don't tease our work. We get in and out pretty quick. Those that don't understand can't get away from me fast enough.

YES! What you said. DON'T sell yourself short. Dealerships, plumbers, lawyers, the tax-man, etc. DON'T ...Why would you?

lmlawn
10-23-2011, 08:01 AM
@Mowerbrad.....i understand of doing it that way and that was the debate my wife and I were having, she was saying the same as you but wasn't including dump fees, fuel etc.

I thought there was a round number that most companies use per hour.

your theory of $60 for a cut weekly, and if the cleanup is 2.5 hours than the cleanup charge would only be $150.....i think thats alittle cheap for a cleanup. no?

White Gardens
10-23-2011, 10:13 AM
I charge 45$ a man hour. That is with minimal equipment. Hauling costs/handling are figured in the final bill also.

The big debate is this. If you are a mowing company, or the client you have to do leaves for is one of your weekly mowing clients, then it's going to be harder to charger per hour to do a cleanup. Most of the clients would balk at that style of charge.

If you are like me, in which most, if not all my accounts aren't weekly clients, so it's easier for me to charge what I normally do for any hourly type of work.

.....

fireman gus
10-23-2011, 10:30 AM
We charge $60-$75/man hour depending on the property. If they are regular clients the charge is less than a one time cleanup.

mowerbrad
10-23-2011, 10:56 AM
@Mowerbrad.....i understand of doing it that way and that was the debate my wife and I were having, she was saying the same as you but wasn't including dump fees, fuel etc.

I thought there was a round number that most companies use per hour.

your theory of $60 for a cut weekly, and if the cleanup is 2.5 hours than the cleanup charge would only be $150.....i think thats alittle cheap for a cleanup. no?

But what makes your costs go up so much during the fall? If you use a ztr and bagging system during the normal mowing season and for your fall clean-ups, your costs shouldn't increase at all to run that piece of machinary.

Now, I did say that any extra fees need to be added on to the bill. If you have any dump fees associated with disposing of the debris, that needs to be added on extra to the bill. If you have increased drive time, either the job is farther away from your normal service area or you have to make an extra trip to your dump site, then a fuel surcharge should be added to the bill.

So again I use the $150 clean-up price that I used in my previous post. Now, if you have a $25 fee to dump the leaves and this job also requires you to make an extra trip to your dump site you may charge $25 to cover the extra fuel and time involved. So that job would actually be billed out at $200...$150 based on your time involved on the job and $50 in added fees.

I just don't see why your hourly rate should increase just because its the fall?

MOW ED
10-23-2011, 11:14 AM
I charge a penny per leaf.

You have to know your business and I wouldn't feel comfortable using your pricing so why in the world would you use mine. You may get a general idea of what others do here but in reality you will be selling your self short of you don't know what it takes for you to cover your costs and make a priofit. That advice is free from me and it applies to all aspects of the lawn care industry.

205mx
10-23-2011, 11:38 AM
I charge by the job not by hour. Ive gotten pretty good at giving accurate estimates. I usually end up in the 55-90 dollar range :-) depends on a few things.

Kingfish
10-23-2011, 12:50 PM
I charge a penny per leaf.

You have to know your business and I wouldn't feel comfortable using your pricing so why in the world would you use mine. You may get a general idea of what others do here but in reality you will be selling your self short of you don't know what it takes for you to cover your costs and make a priofit. That advice is free from me and it applies to all aspects of the lawn care industry.


Well said Ed

Raymond S.
10-23-2011, 12:56 PM
Brad,
I think a good answer to your question is simple...supply and demand. Your price should be what the customer is willing to pay. Our hourly rate is $105/hr for a 3 man crew plus $35 every time I have to dump my 10yd box. That's 3 blowers, ZTR, and leaf loader, all used as needed by 3 guys. Some people blow up when I tell them that, others call back months in advance each year to reserve their spot. Not everyone can take care of their leaves when they fall, but just about everyone can mow their yard each week so that has to be affordable. We make good money during cleanups but have certain equipment dedicated solely for this purpose and have to pay for it. I dump the leaves in a field at the shop and spread them with a skid steer. Beats having to rake them yourself and burn them at the street.
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Darryl G
10-23-2011, 03:37 PM
There is a huge discrepancy in how much work a person can do in an hour, even when both are using identical equipment. I consider myself a baragain at $60/hour because I'm a pretty intense dude and work at a brisk pace. An owner/operator like myself can get as much work done as a hired crew of 2 or 3 can that is slacking, chatting, hanging out at the truck talking on their cell phone etc. and just not working smart.

I watch other guys working and have seen some things that really make me shake my head...2 people to pick up piles of sticks and nuts, one tending the barrel and one tending the rake and using nothing but his hands to pick things up. I watched a guy blowing out a pachysandra bed that ran about 60 feet along the side of a house and garage...he started at one end and just kept blowing it forward so the pile kept getting bigger and bigger...I would have blown it out into the lawn! Then there's the guys just blowing and blowing endlessly into a wall of leaves they've made and getting absolutely nowhere.

My point is that hourly rates aren't really comparable from company to company and person to person given the wide range of equipment used and the differences in experience, ambition and intelligence of the crews.

mowerbrad
10-23-2011, 09:21 PM
Brad,
I think a good answer to your question is simple...supply and demand. Your price should be what the customer is willing to pay. Our hourly rate is $105/hr for a 3 man crew plus $35 every time I have to dump my 10yd box. That's 3 blowers, ZTR, and leaf loader, all used as needed by 3 guys. Some people blow up when I tell them that, others call back months in advance each year to reserve their spot. Not everyone can take care of their leaves when they fall, but just about everyone can mow their yard each week so that has to be affordable. We make good money during cleanups but have certain equipment dedicated solely for this purpose and have to pay for it. I dump the leaves in a field at the shop and spread them with a skid steer. Beats having to rake them yourself and burn them at the street.
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I agree with the whole supply and demand thing. However, that goes pretty much the same for spring, summer and fall. If I'm really busy in the middle of the summer with mowing and other things and a customer's neighbor comes out to have me mow their lawn, the price I give them is usually a little more than than my typcial rate because the tight schedule I'm working with. But on the opposite side of that, when work is slow and I could use a little extra work/money, my price is usually a little more economical.

However, no matter the situation, my costs to run my equipment does not change. Just because I'm quite busy doesn't mean that my mower all of a sudden uses an extra gallon of fuel per hour or my trimmer uses string 10x faster or my truck's fuel economy drops by 50%. My prices change because of the necessity (or lack there of) for new jobs. When I'm busy and someone wants me to take care of their leaves, my price increases because I want it to be worth my while. And typically prices for fall leaf cleanup are higher because of the greater demand...if there isn't the demand then the prices would fall. But in the end the prices all come back to your base price of what you need to be able to make each hour.

Now the OP is trying to figure out what he needs to charge for fall cleanups. Now needless to say, he will have to figure out what to charge based on his equipment and costs. If he is using the same set up for fall that he does for summer, then his hourly rate shouldn't change (unless the demand is there). Now if he has a completely different setup for leaves then he may need to change his hourly rate based upon the equipment and costs he has associated with his fall clean-up rig.

Dwittbecker
10-25-2011, 07:32 PM
$35 per hour around here cant charge more then that. To many other lawn care guys around here. If i charged $60 around here. I wouldnt get any work. Sad but true.

205mx
10-25-2011, 08:07 PM
But If you got half the work at 60 an hour than u do at 30...
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Hansen's Lawn Care
10-25-2011, 08:09 PM
I charge 60.00 per man hour on average. Thats my goal and sometimes I get over that. For my regular customers that let me continue to cut their grass every week. I don't charge extra for leaves. I bag these customers already so no big deal. It works out well for all of us. Leaves get done every week so, no big clean up at the end of the year. Nothing un-expected for them or me. I sometimes have people stop me to see what I charge. Those that understand let me do the work and are very happy with the prices as we don't tease our work. We get in and out pretty quick. Those that don't understand can't get away from me fast enough.

My biz partner said he estimated a job for $400 (Fall Clean Up) basically saving the customer $140 and they still complained it was too much 3 man hours times $60/hr @ 3 hrs of LABOR= $540...people (like us) will always complain even though we/they will go out to eat 4 or 5 times a week or go purchase thousand dollar RIMS for their vehicles...scratching my head right now!

MDLawn
10-27-2011, 03:33 PM
But If you got half the work at 60 an hour than u do at 30...
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This is the problem with most of the people involved in this. To them it's only about how many accounts they get because in their brain it's "If I have "X" accounts I make this much, if I add a bunch more of "X" (cheap) accounts I make more!" This cycle continues until they have too many cheap accounts and can't handle them or work 6am to 8pm every day. Talk about burn out because they cannot afford to pay people to do the work because then they lose their shirt!

I will pass on anyone until I get the pricing I want. I have this luxury being part time. Get more of these year to year and you actually make money and enjoy normal working hours.