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JCPM
12-05-2011, 08:16 PM
We all know the state of this industry. Overhead costs have skyrocketed over the past ten years, however, hourly rates have only risen slightly.
My question is this; given what I just said above, are we paying the price for the technologically advance equipment on the market?

Last season I had my trailer broken into and I had all of my backpack blowers and trimmers stolen. All br600's and wide range of very expensive Stihl trimmers and chain saws. My insurance company only offered to give me $1,600 for the $4,000 worth of equipment stolen. I didn't feel like making up the difference do I went cheap and bought some basic Echo equipment from Home Depot. Overall, I haven't been real impressed with them over the course of this season. However, this leaf season made me notice something.

This cheap, basic equipment actually made me more money.

All of my leaf cleanups are done by the hour. And while it didn't take me twice as long to complete jobs with the Echo equipment. Each job took between a half hour to an hour and a half longer resulting in a little bit extra to bill out at the end of each day. The customer doesn't know the difference. They see us working at full speed the whole time we're there and have no problem paying for the as long as the job is done well.

So again, I ask the question; are we suffering because of innovation? Do we actually charge more per hour when we have bigger, stronger, faster equipment? Or are we just more competitively priced and saving the customer money?

Even when I used to give a new customer a fixed price on a cleanup, I would never raise my price because of how much faster and more efficient my Stihl 600 is compared to my original 420.

I'm really interested in what you all think about this.
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ed2hess
12-05-2011, 10:29 PM
It doesn't make one bit of difference whether I use a 600 or a 420 or a 610 or 620 blower the job gets done in almost the same amount of time. But I don't use big blowers when getting RID of leaves.

Ticolawnllc
12-05-2011, 10:53 PM
What I do when faced with a new buy is pocket the winings. If I get a truck loader, I don't charge for the loader time but what it would have cost the costomer by hand. Its my equipentment to save me money. The hard part is pricing when every guy out there gives away the winings. By me the towns pick up leave so I don't have a need for alot of stuf.

As for no name brand equipent, I worry about not being able to get parts.

I had a Redmax ebz 8001 and it lated less than the ebz 7001. Why? The 7001 weighed less so if it fell it was more likly to brake. Also the 7001 is lighter to its not as big a pain carring it around all day. I save $100 up front and last an exra 2 years and its easyer to get into gardens.

I like small. It costs less and lasts just as long. I also need less truck. An F150 is a lot less than an F250. And way less than An F350. Do the math. Right now I'm suffering form the housing boom. Lots of people got big yard and I got big mowers. :hammerhead:

Big is no good. As time gos by lots get smaller. Farms tourn into development with 10k lawns.

Three guys one hides. Two guy if one hids the work can't get done. Who need a forman when you have a quota.

DuallyVette
12-05-2011, 11:44 PM
We all know the state of this industry. Overhead costs have skyrocketed over the past ten years, however, hourly rates have only risen slightly.
My question is this; given what I just said above, are we paying the price for the technologically advance equipment on the market?

Last season I had my trailer broken into and I had all of my backpack blowers and trimmers stolen. All br600's and wide range of very expensive Stihl trimmers and chain saws. My insurance company only offered to give me $1,600 for the $4,000 worth of equipment stolen. I didn't feel like making up the difference do I went cheap and bought some basic Echo equipment from Home Depot. Overall, I haven't been real impressed with them over the course of this season. However, this leaf season made me notice something.

This cheap, basic equipment actually made me more money.

All of my leaf cleanups are done by the hour. And while it didn't take me twice as long to complete jobs with the Echo equipment. Each job took between a half hour to an hour and a half longer resulting in a little bit extra to bill out at the end of each day. The customer doesn't know the difference. They see us working at full speed the whole time we're there and have no problem paying for the as long as the job is done well.

So again, I ask the question; are we suffering because of innovation? Do we actually charge more per hour when we have bigger, stronger, faster equipment? Or are we just more competitively priced and saving the customer money?

Even when I used to give a new customer a fixed price on a cleanup, I would never raise my price because of how much faster and more efficient my Stihl 600 is compared to my original 420.

I'm really interested in what you all think about this.
Posted via Mobile Device

What is your hourly rate ? I like to get through as quickly and as efficiently as possible. We use 8050 & 8500 RedMax blowers and a 16hp self propelled BillyGoat blower. They're Big time savers. Anything smaller is a waste of time. I personally don't want to hang out in someone's back yard and milk the clock. Most of my customers aren't home, so they don't know how long we are there anyway.

JCPM
12-05-2011, 11:44 PM
Giving away the winnings is what I am talking about. It seems like that has become the norm. If you want to compete these days you are getting better equipment so you can price the job lower and can get the job done quicker.

And I'm not just talking about leaves but that was what made me start thinking about this topic. The same goes for plowing too. I was making more doing parking lots with a 7'6" straight blade when I first started 11 years ago. Now most of us have 9' v plows and we are pricing accounts based on how quick we can get it done rather than how much they really should cost.

It's just competition I guess. McDonald's is still making money even though a thousand burger joints opened up and selling cheaper than them. I just haven't figured it out.
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zak406
12-06-2011, 12:44 AM
Good question, in my opinion yes. Hear me out here, you cant get a standard work truck for under 33000. 25 yeas ago you can get a new truck for 10000. LIke you said the price of stuff goes up but income doesnt!

Ticolawnllc
12-06-2011, 07:39 AM
Giving away the winnings is what I am talking about. It seems like that has become the norm. If you want to compete these days you are getting better equipment so you can price the job lower and can get the job done quicker.

And I'm not just talking about leaves but that was what made me start thinking about this topic. The same goes for plowing too. I was making more doing parking lots with a 7'6" straight blade when I first started 11 years ago. Now most of us have 9' v plows and we are pricing accounts based on how quick we can get it done rather than how much they really should cost.

It's just competition I guess. McDonald's is still making money even though a thousand burger joints opened up and selling cheaper than them. I just haven't figured it out.
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I've been traind to use cost based pricing. The reason is that market pricing is even worst. A lot of guys get in when they are unemployed and for them any work is a win. But in doing that it drives the price of cutting down and the cutting is base for the companys. They later get work agin but they leave that low price tast in the costomers mouth. the next year the cosomers looks for that low pric agin.

I see home owners load up thier pick ups with lawn tractors and sart to eat away at my rout. Thankfully I've lost all my low baller cilents. Most every on i have woulden't traid me for the world.

Thats why I think states should have lawn mowing biz licences. To protect the pros form low ballers. This type of biz is a big investment and we should be treated as pros.

I know what i'm doing. I have inc. I get training yearly for lawn care. Whats $100 a year for somthing at shows that the state vets us. I think it would go along way.

GMLC
12-06-2011, 07:54 AM
The point of better equipment is to get done faster so you can move on to the next job. I may give a small break to the client but I know what most clean ups are worth and it's up to me to be the most efficient that I can. Which means having high quality equipment that gets the job done fast. It's also easier on the body!
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Patriot Services
12-06-2011, 08:11 AM
As I've stated many times here I will not work/charge by the hour. Dosent matter if its a mowing or a complete renovation/install. People do too much math in their heads when you offer a per hour rate. Better equipment means more production per man hour.
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JCPM
12-06-2011, 08:37 AM
As I've stated many times here I will not work/charge by the hour. Dosent matter if its a mowing or a complete renovation/install. People do too much math in their heads when you offer a per hour rate. Better equipment means more production per man hour.
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I usually don't do anything by the hour either except for cleanups. I give new customers an estimated price which is usually in the ballpark and long standing customers we just show up and do the work. There can be so many variables with cleanups by the time you actually get there to do them.

My point was that all of this new equipment has trained us to get stuff done quickly but I don't think we've put enough stock into what we're actually making at the end of the day.

Six years ago I bought my first brand new truck. It was an f350 dump truck with a diesel and four wheel drive. I paid $39,500. I recently decided not to buy a new truck this year and look for a used one instead because for the same vehicle the dealerships around here want about $45,000. My hourly rate has been $45 per man/hr since I bought that original truck. I wouldn't dream of raising prices now.
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David Haggerty
12-06-2011, 08:54 AM
Do we actually charge more per hour when we have bigger, stronger, faster equipment? Posted via Mobile Device

Hell yeah!


Look, you can either provide the most cost effective and efficient work crew available, or the next guy will!

Padding the hourly rate goes back as far as ther were hourly workers. Don't get to thinking your customers are stupid.

Besides, the jobs I charge the customer "labor & materials" is about 2% of my gross.

If you're providing the equipment, vehicles etc. you can't even think about working by the hour.

Ticolawnllc
12-06-2011, 09:02 AM
[QUOTE=JCPM;4235923]I usually don't do anything by the hour either except for cleanups. I give new customers an estimated price which is usually in the ballpark and long standing customers we just show up and do the work. There can be so many variables with cleanups by the time you actually get there to do them.

QUOTE]


Clean ups and trimming I do hourly. I've had too many people looking for their pound of flesh keep a crew all day just because I gave a job price. Hourly they get that if they are jerks itís just going to cost them more. I had one old lady make my guys trim the same bush 5 times, claiming that we were just trying to jip her. By the end there was only a stump left. No joke. As time goes on people get more and more disconnected from yard work. And so they can't tell what good job is. Especially in trimming and pruning. They think we can turn a wild yew into an elephant in 10 min.

As for clean ups done hourly are best, that way if a customer asks for something extra i just say yes. I don't have to bargain for the extra $10 or $15.

Ticolawnllc
12-06-2011, 09:07 AM
Hell yeah!


Look, you can either provide the most cost effective and efficient work crew available, or the next guy will!

Padding the hourly rate goes back as far as ther were hourly workers. Don't get to thinking your customers are stupid.

Besides, the jobs I charge the customer "labor & materials" is about 2% of my gross.

If you're providing the equipment, vehicles etc. you can't even think about working by the hour.

As for the example i gave of a leaf loader. They run $3,000 and how will you pay for it if you just cover the cost of it on the job + 10%. I'm not saying drag your feet, Just that and ebz7001 cost less than and Ebz 8001 and they last just as long. Most my clean ups I do blow out gardens on to tarp and drag out. If I us tarp I won't need a big bad blower. Just a big bad tarp. what ever is left. the ebz 7001 can move just as fast as a 8001 so why spend the extra money?

Ticolawnllc
12-06-2011, 09:21 AM
Hell yeah!


Look, you can either provide the most cost effective and efficient work crew available, or the next guy will!

Padding the hourly rate goes back as far as ther were hourly workers. Don't get to thinking your customers are stupid.

Besides, the jobs I charge the customer "labor & materials" is about 2% of my gross.

If you're providing the equipment, vehicles etc. you can't even think about working by the hour.

As for the example i got of a leaf loader. They run $3,000 and how will you pay for it. If I just cover the cost of it on the job + 10%. What about the investment I made. Plasma Tvs were $3,000 in y2k. They were that much to cover cost of development and investment in technology. I'm not saying drag your feet, Just that and ebz7001 cost less than and Ebz 8001 and they last just as long. Most my clean ups I do blow out gardens on to tarp and drag out. If I us tarp I won't need a big bad blower. Just a big bad tarp. what ever is left. the ebz 7001 can move just as fast as a 8001 so why spend the extra money?

32vld
12-06-2011, 09:23 AM
Good question, in my opinion yes. Hear me out here, you cant get a standard work truck for under 33000. 25 yeas ago you can get a new truck for 10000. LIke you said the price of stuff goes up but income doesnt!

My brother bought 2011 chevy 1500 4wd in April. Trim above work truck, 8' bed, on lot happened to have chrome wheel and grille option, ac, am fm cd, ps, pb, manual seat and windows, 4.8 v8, trailer and plow packages, bedliner, $26,000.

Ticolawnllc
12-06-2011, 09:29 AM
The point of better equipment is to get done faster so you can move on to the next job. I may give a small break to the client but I know what most clean ups are worth and it's up to me to be the most efficient that I can. Which means having high quality equipment that gets the job done fast. It's also easier on the body!
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Why get to the next job faster beating ourselves up so the guys can sit on their asses till we get there. Rush, rush, rush so we can next customer and make less money.

Patriot Services
12-06-2011, 09:38 AM
Why get to the next job faster beating ourselves up so the guys can sit on their asses till we get there. Rush, rush, rush so we can next customer and make less money.

Why are your guys sitting on their asses? Since were mostly talking about leaf cleanups here, speed is the name of the game. Theres a limited window to get them done.:usflag:

Ticolawnllc
12-06-2011, 09:43 AM
If I have a profit of 10% on $100= $10

If I get big bad equipment to save customers money by speeding up work. That means my cost go down.

So a job that cost me $100 now cost me $80.

10% of $80 = $8

My customer saved $10 I got paid $2 less. Do the math.

My cost gets divided by more people but my costs on labor go down. Everyone knows labor is the biggest cost. so Fast means less labor and less labor mean less profit.

Patriot Services
12-06-2011, 09:50 AM
If I have a profit of 10% on $100= $10

If I get big bad equipment to save customers money by speeding up work. That means my cost go down.

So a job that cost me $100 now cost me $80.

10% of $80 = $8

My customer saved $10 I got paid $2 less. Do the math.

My cost gets divided by more people but my costs on labor go down. Everyone knows labor is the biggest cost. so Fast means less labor and less labor mean less profit.

I forget your charging hourly. :usflag:

JCPM
12-06-2011, 10:39 AM
My brother bought 2011 chevy 1500 4wd in April. Trim above work truck, 8' bed, on lot happened to have chrome wheel and grille option, ac, am fm cd, ps, pb, manual seat and windows, 4.8 v8, trailer and plow packages, bedliner, $26,000.

I'm sorry to say but a 1500 is not considered a work truck around here.
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Ticolawnllc
12-06-2011, 11:08 AM
I'm sorry to say but a 1500 is not considered a work truck around here.
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At least not a Chevy 1500

I think Ford still can do a little work.

KeystoneLawn&Landscaping
12-06-2011, 11:38 AM
At least not a Chevy 1500

I think Ford still can do a little work.

My first truck, going full time in this business, 7 years ago was a 1999 Silverado 1/2 ton, with a 4.8L engine, and had a 7 1/2 foot western plow. The truck was 6 years old and had 86K on it, I paid $9600. It was a home owner truck. The truck has done just fine as I have grown. The truck never left me down. I did regular maintenance and nothing ever broke that shut me down. The 99 will be my primary plow truck this year and hoping next also. mileage on the 99 now is about 174K. This spring I bought a 2007 Silverado 2500HD, with a 6L engine. Truck is 4 years old and had 58K on it, I paid 19K. The truck was used to pull a 5th wheel camper on vacations in the summer. Added a 2007 Blizzard 860HD plow, cost installed $3800. The 1/2 ton is still going fine and its 12 years old. I hope to get a couple more from it, if not more. My thoughts on the HD are it should last a couple years longer than the 99 finally does because it has help from the 99. No matter the truck, if you treat it for what it is( 1/2....3/4...1 ton) and keep them maintained, they will last. The longer they last, the longer you don't have a payment book to go with general maintenance and repair. I like used trucks over new, it helps keep costs down. That's just me.

Ticolawnllc
12-06-2011, 01:13 PM
:)My first truck, going full time in this business, 7 years ago was a 1999 Silverado 1/2 ton, with a 4.8L engine, and had a 7 1/2 foot western plow. The truck was 6 years old and had 86K on it, I paid $9600. It was a home owner truck. The truck has done just fine as I have grown. The truck never left me down. I did regular maintenance and nothing ever broke that shut me down. The 99 will be my primary plow truck this year and hoping next also. mileage on the 99 now is about 174K. This spring I bought a 2007 Silverado 2500HD, with a 6L engine. Truck is 4 years old and had 58K on it, I paid 19K. The truck was used to pull a 5th wheel camper on vacations in the summer. Added a 2007 Blizzard 860HD plow, cost installed $3800. The 1/2 ton is still going fine and its 12 years old. I hope to get a couple more from it, if not more. My thoughts on the HD are it should last a couple years longer than the 99 finally does because it has help from the 99. No matter the truck, if you treat it for what it is( 1/2....3/4...1 ton) and keep them maintained, they will last. The longer they last, the longer you don't have a payment book to go with general maintenance and repair. I like used trucks over new, it helps keep costs down. That's just me.

Just joking bud. Don't take it the wrong way.

JCPM
12-06-2011, 01:32 PM
Lol, yeah I was just joking but if you "work" a truck you are treating harder than any 1/2 ton should be treated. That's all
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32vld
12-06-2011, 03:36 PM
I'm sorry to say but a 1500 is not considered a work truck around here.
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I'm sorry to point out most landscaping trailer and loads are with in the manuf. specs for towing with a 1/2 ton.

jackal
12-06-2011, 03:50 PM
I have a 1500 and a 2500 the biggest difference is the price to run them. The 1500 is half of what the 2500 cost to run.

JCPM
12-06-2011, 04:19 PM
I'm sorry to point out most landscaping trailer and loads are with in the manuf. specs for towing with a 1/2 ton.

Man I Wasn't trying to offend anyone who own 1500's. I was just saying that everyone in my area that does landscaping, lawn care and snow removal as a fulltime profession wouldn't even consider a 1500 unless it was for hauling snow blowers or something.

It'll work for hauling one or two mowers around and doing light landscape jobs. But not much more than that. My daily driver is an f350 duelly service truck and I wouldn't think of using anything smaller for the work I do.
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JCPM
12-06-2011, 04:20 PM
I think this thread has digressed.....
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KeystoneLawn&Landscaping
12-06-2011, 05:34 PM
:)

Just joking bud. Don't take it the wrong way.

Didn't take it the wrong way, was just trying to add to the discussion about cost. Its all good! :)

Patriot Services
12-06-2011, 05:46 PM
Since were talking innovations. Would it be fair to say a 1/2 ton new truck is more capable than one say 10~15 years old?
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cpllawncare
12-06-2011, 06:38 PM
Since were talking innovations. Would it be fair to say a 1/2 ton new truck is more capable than one say 10~15 years old?
Posted via Mobile Device


Most defintlely! I've seen quite a few newer 1/2 tons pulling mulch trailers fully loaded not even squatting on the rear, of course they more than likely had the truck set up with helper springs and such. The newer chevy's and fords are wayy more stout than 10-15 years ago.

JCPM
12-06-2011, 07:14 PM
Most defintlely! I've seen quite a few newer 1/2 tons pulling mulch trailers fully loaded not even squatting on the rear, of course they more than likely had the truck set up with helper springs and such. The newer chevy's and fords are wayy more stout than 10-15 years ago.

I will agree with you there on the f150s but give me an older k1500 with a 350 any day. And that's coming from a Ford guy.
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David Haggerty
12-07-2011, 08:41 AM
Good question, in my opinion yes. Hear me out here, you cant get a standard work truck for under 33000. 25 yeas ago you can get a new truck for 10000. LIke you said the price of stuff goes up but income doesnt!

For me it's been a heck of a lot better in lawncare than anything else I could have been doing in this recession-almost a depression.

You just have to calculate if that new truck or piece of equipment is going to make you money by making you more efficient.

And when you find that new gear makes you a wad of money, you have to give SOME of it back to the customer or your replacement will.

Stay current with the way things are today. Quit worrying about how things were.

32vld
12-07-2011, 09:14 AM
Man I Wasn't trying to offend anyone who own 1500's. I was just saying that everyone in my area that does landscaping, lawn care and snow removal as a fulltime profession wouldn't even consider a 1500 unless it was for hauling snow blowers or something.

It'll work for hauling one or two mowers around and doing light landscape jobs. But not much more than that. My daily driver is an f350 duelly service truck and I wouldn't think of using anything smaller for the work I do.
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No offense. I just see to many dual wheel 3/4 crew cab long bed that only are used to go to the super market, mall, and pull a camper that a 1/2 could handle with no problem on the annual family vacation.

32vld
12-07-2011, 09:20 AM
Since were talking innovations. Would it be fair to say a 1/2 ton new truck is more capable than one say 10~15 years old?
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Being involved with antique cars and worked as a mechanic I say that since 1920 every ten years later gave us a newer truck that has been better.

KeystoneLawn&Landscaping
12-07-2011, 10:29 AM
No offense. I just see to many dual wheel 3/4 crew cab long bed that only are used to go to the super market, mall, and pull a camper that a 1/2 could handle with no problem on the annual family vacation.


Thats good for us who like buying used. Nothing like a HD truck that really didn't do much HD work.

maelawncare
12-10-2011, 12:38 PM
Seems like no one has mentioned that when you are more efficient and can get done faster then you can move on to the next yard faster.

We charge a flat rate for cleanups, so the faster we get done with one, the faster we can get on to the next one and make more money. If you have employees running slower equipment doesnt make their wage go down. You have to move as quick as possible with employees.

You may be able to get away with padding your time this year, but customers are not dumb. They will catch on and fire you.

BrunoT
12-10-2011, 11:30 PM
Over time economics dictate the price and if you are inefficient you will, over time, tend to lose market share to those who are more efficient.

It's fine if you can get someone to pay you "by the hour" even when you are less efficient than the norm, but by that logic if it worked in the long run on a wide scale we'd all be out there with Murray 3.5hp mowers and rakes.

Markets are not 100% efficient but with time you will lose out to those who can deliver the same service in less time and for less money.

If you can get someone to pay you $50 for an hour's work with bad equipment, you can get others to pay you $50 for the same amount of work for half an hour's work with good equipment. If the neighbor's guy gets the neighbor's lawn done in half the time for 80% of the price, eventually your customer tends to become the other guy's customer.

PS: As for the truck discussion you can buy an XL F150 with payload package that will carry 3,000 lbs in regular cab long bed form. I have a 2500 series truck with a capacity of 4,000 lbs and have never come close to maxing it out. If you need to haul skid steers, rock, and heavy stuff around, go with the HD truck, but I rarely see one actually loaded beyond the capacity of a 1/2 ton truck. If you must have a crew cab and HD capacity, you gotta step up to a HD truck, but that's not most of the outfits here I'd bet.

And my HD Chevy gasser gets 10mpg even just towing a light load. I got 13mpg with 1/2 tons before and I bet I could get 14mpg with the newer trucks and their more efficient drive trains. That's $1500/year in fuel savings, certainly enough for a rebuilt transmission after the 5 year pt warranty runs out. An added bonus is much more refined and quiet ride and handling.

BrunoT
12-26-2011, 12:27 AM
My brother bought 2011 chevy 1500 4wd in April. Trim above work truck, 8' bed, on lot happened to have chrome wheel and grille option, ac, am fm cd, ps, pb, manual seat and windows, 4.8 v8, trailer and plow packages, bedliner, $26,000.

New, you can get a Ram 1500 reg cab "express" 2wd model with a 5.7 Hemi, 20" wheels, power stuff, keyless entry, cloth seats, tow hitch and wiring, etc, for $20,000 on a year end sale. It's hardly a stripper work truck. I paid $22,000 for a nearly identical Ram 8 1/2 years ago, except it lacked 4 wheel abs, side airbags, cylinder deactivation, and some hp and torque plus it was a lot less sophisticated riding. This tows a landscape rig and up to 3 workers just fine. (if nobody's fat). 5 year pt warranty, you can sell it then for 12,000 or so. A true stripper can be had for $18k if you want that. You can't haul rock with these trucks, but they can tow a trailer than can hold stuff.

Used, I got a Chevy 2500 2wd long bed LS rated for 4,000 lbs for $14,400 that was 2 years old and had 22,000 mi for $14,400. Buy in winter when broke contractors need cash to make it till spring if you can swing the cash flow situation. Sell in the spring.

Luxury options and bigger cabs can easily add 50% to the cost of a truck. If you need 4wd add $3000-$4000.

gusbuster
12-26-2011, 08:42 PM
At least in Ca, a lot of time innovation has hurt more than help. For example because of enviro whacko's we were the first to deal with the issue of pre-ignition due to the requirement of higher octane gas and plug fouling. If you look on the net for equipment, legitimate sellers won't sell non c.a.r.b. II to CA residents.

Yes some of the newer equipment has brought my hourly cost per operation down. I never lowered my hourly rate. Thats just foolish. I started this trade with dad and one thing he taught me was it was better to make a 100 buck profit off 2 clients thabn 100 profit off of 4 clients.

I do both , price by the hour or a straight price quote. The trick is to know your per hour operating cost. Even in this tough economic time I will walk away from work when there's no money in it.

Even when giving a straight price, most of the time, it ends up being about 15 to 20% more to my clients than if I just worked a straight hourly rate, but heck, that's money in my companies pocket.

The problem I see with this industry is the simple boy next door for extra money mentality. Lets face it, any idiot with a mower can cut grass. It takes some common sense, operating cost knowledge, and most of all work of quality to make decent money in this trade.

yardguy28
12-26-2011, 09:58 PM
We all know the state of this industry. Overhead costs have skyrocketed over the past ten years, however, hourly rates have only risen slightly.
My question is this; given what I just said above, are we paying the price for the technologically advance equipment on the market?

Last season I had my trailer broken into and I had all of my backpack blowers and trimmers stolen. All br600's and wide range of very expensive Stihl trimmers and chain saws. My insurance company only offered to give me $1,600 for the $4,000 worth of equipment stolen. I didn't feel like making up the difference do I went cheap and bought some basic Echo equipment from Home Depot. Overall, I haven't been real impressed with them over the course of this season. However, this leaf season made me notice something.

This cheap, basic equipment actually made me more money.

All of my leaf cleanups are done by the hour. And while it didn't take me twice as long to complete jobs with the Echo equipment. Each job took between a half hour to an hour and a half longer resulting in a little bit extra to bill out at the end of each day. The customer doesn't know the difference. They see us working at full speed the whole time we're there and have no problem paying for the as long as the job is done well.

So again, I ask the question; are we suffering because of innovation? Do we actually charge more per hour when we have bigger, stronger, faster equipment? Or are we just more competitively priced and saving the customer money?

Even when I used to give a new customer a fixed price on a cleanup, I would never raise my price because of how much faster and more efficient my Stihl 600 is compared to my original 420.

I'm really interested in what you all think about this.
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i don't charge anymore per hour if i do the job with a rake or a blower. it's the same hourly rate. now they will pay more if i do it with a rake because it will take longer.

i would rather charge a client a little less and use the bigger, faster, stronger equipment though. i don't mind a little a hard work but when we have access to blowers and gas powered mowers like we do i'll let someone else do the grease work.

saving clients money is something i do for each and every client. if there are multipul options i will present both of them. for example with fall cleans ups with my regular clients.

i can either come weekly charging them $10 extra from the cut charge each week to get there leaves up, or i can just show up 2 or 3 times during the fall to remove the leaves. depending on how long those 2 or 3 times takes one method sometimes is cheaper. and i will point that out to the client.

of course i prefer to come weekly. because its easiest.

as long as i'm making the profit i need i'm perfectly fine with trying to save the client money.

mowing jobs are basically a set price unless a different mower would increase the time extremely. meaning i'd probably charge the same whether i mowed the yard with my 52" mower or my 36" mower. but if had to use say my 21 incher on the whole yard then they pay more.

so i actually do it backwards from your statement of charging more for the bigger, faster, stronger equipment. i charge more if i've made to use the smaller equipment.

weeze
12-26-2011, 11:07 PM
yes i do it similar to you yardguy....i could have 2 yards the same size...one i might charge $40 because the backyard doesn't have a fence and i can do it with my 54" ztr mower....another may have a small gate so i'm forced to use the 21" mower so i may charge them $50 even though the yard is the same size.

weeze
12-27-2011, 12:41 AM
We all know the state of this industry. Overhead costs have skyrocketed over the past ten years, however, hourly rates have only risen slightly.
My question is this; given what I just said above, are we paying the price for the technologically advance equipment on the market?

Last season I had my trailer broken into and I had all of my backpack blowers and trimmers stolen. All br600's and wide range of very expensive Stihl trimmers and chain saws. My insurance company only offered to give me $1,600 for the $4,000 worth of equipment stolen. I didn't feel like making up the difference do I went cheap and bought some basic Echo equipment from Home Depot. Overall, I haven't been real impressed with them over the course of this season. However, this leaf season made me notice something.

This cheap, basic equipment actually made me more money.

All of my leaf cleanups are done by the hour. And while it didn't take me twice as long to complete jobs with the Echo equipment. Each job took between a half hour to an hour and a half longer resulting in a little bit extra to bill out at the end of each day. The customer doesn't know the difference. They see us working at full speed the whole time we're there and have no problem paying for the as long as the job is done well.

So again, I ask the question; are we suffering because of innovation? Do we actually charge more per hour when we have bigger, stronger, faster equipment? Or are we just more competitively priced and saving the customer money?

Even when I used to give a new customer a fixed price on a cleanup, I would never raise my price because of how much faster and more efficient my Stihl 600 is compared to my original 420.

I'm really interested in what you all think about this.
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i see what you are saying...nowdays you make roughly $50-$60 per hour on a job on average using more expensive mowers and such where as years ago the same job would probably take 2 hours and you would make $30-$40 on average.....i guess it's hard to say because the general cost of living has gone way up over the years so perhaps we are making less overall with the cost of gas, groceries, trucks, mowers, etc....but we are actually getting paid more money for the jobs we do since we get done faster .....but i wouldn't be surprised if the cost of living has gone up more than the extra money we are making.

yardguy28
12-27-2011, 09:14 AM
i guess i don't look at it as paying the price for innovations just because we might make a little less on each property if we use the larger, bigger, more powerful equipment.

i would rather have 10 properties each day that require less physical work using larger, bigger, better equipment than 5 properties i have bust my @ss at.

i'm not against hard work and i do it every day. but if there is something to make the job physically easier i'm all about using it.

these innoviations speed up the process so more properties can be done in a day. and again i say again i'd rather do 12 less physically demanding properties than 7 properties where each one is a work out. sure each of those 12 properties may cost a little less but i think you make up the loss in volume, which is something i'm perfectly fine with.

weeze
12-27-2011, 01:16 PM
yeah i agree with that. i don't think the right thing to do is go out and cut a 3 acre yard with a 21" and take all day to do the job lol. i'm sure the customer would hire someone else with a bigger mower that gets done in a few hrs and charges less. that's just how things are nowdays. you have to change with the times. instead of cutting 3-4 yards a day the hard way you now have to cut 8-10 the easier way.