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phil413
02-21-2012, 03:12 PM
So is $40 to $60 still a fair price per hr on spring clean ups? And $.50 to $1.00 on edging per ft?

Smallaxe
02-21-2012, 08:14 PM
So is $40 to $60 still a fair price per hr on spring clean ups? And $.50 to $1.00 on edging per ft?

That depends upon the quality of the job... If the customer is happy with the job and the cost, and you're happy with the job and the cost, then you have a business... What I think about those prices mean nothing... :)

White Gardens
02-21-2012, 08:23 PM
One of my residential clients has around 10,000 feet of cut edging. If I could charge a dollar a foot I would. :usflag:

99% of the time I'm able just to re-define them without a big edger and it only takes me about 2.5 hrs. just to do that.

Ultimately I just charge per hour, maybe a very small equipment fee and call it a day.

As for cutting new edges, price of labor+hauling of spoils+plus bed edger rental.

....

Smallaxe
02-21-2012, 08:48 PM
And even cutting new areas can just plain take days to get the stone at just the right height, for the beds and the lawns at the same time... Sometimes, you are doing some serious terra-forming just to put in a few yards of edging... :)

Barrett Landscaping
02-21-2012, 10:29 PM
sounds like a good hourly rate per man hour. as far as edging goes if you can get it more power to you. like others have said generally i do it hourly or just have a number in my head for it and factor it in with the job.

lawnpropm
02-24-2012, 04:18 AM
Sounds about right on the edging if your talking about using something like a ez trench machine. On spring clean ups I love those just charge you man hr rate per guy and set a minimum + disposal fees. For instance if you charge $60per man hr and have 2 guys and you estimate it will take 2 hrs charge $240+ dump fee. I would set my minimum at 2 hrs. Hope this helps.
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CozyHollow
02-26-2012, 07:01 PM
One of my residential clients has around 10,000 feet of cut edging. If I could charge a dollar a foot I would. :usflag:

99% of the time I'm able just to re-define them without a big edger and it only takes me about 2.5 hrs. just to do that.

Ultimately I just charge per hour, maybe a very small equipment fee and call it a day.

As for cutting new edges, price of labor+hauling of spoils+plus bed edger rental.

....

What do you believe is a fair market wage to charge per hour? I'm from the North East and own a one man operation. I figure $150.00 an hour is a fair wage and covers everything. (everything means cut, weed wack, edge and blow) What say you?

cpllawncare
02-26-2012, 07:33 PM
What do you believe is a fair market wage to charge per hour? I'm from the North East and own a one man operation. I figure $150.00 an hour is a fair wage and covers everything. (everything means cut, weed wack, edge and blow) What say you?

I'd say you'd go broke here, no one is going to pay that around here!

MOW ED
02-26-2012, 08:54 PM
I'd say you'd go broke here, no one is going to pay that around here!

This is why it is so rediculous to ask anyone but yourself WHAT TO CHARGE!

If you don't know your costs you don't deserve to be in business. Anyone can cut grass, not everyone can run a lawn care business. Sorry for being so in your faces but I still can't believe anyone would take advice on how to charge from anyone else. I don't want to seem like an a-hole but you guys have to figure out what to charge by yourself.
I know its work to figure costs but how in the world do you know if you are making a profit, breaking even or losing money by taking a recommendation from someone here. Just a few things to think about, costs of insurance-wages-comp-depreciation-overhead-gas-repairs-maintenance-licences-profit and the list goes on. If you don't know these things, how do you know if you are going to stay in business.
Guys can call me a dink for this but I am just trying to jar you into thinking about the business side of this game. Good Luck. I'm done for now.

NC Greenscaper
02-26-2012, 09:39 PM
What do you believe is a fair market wage to charge per hour? I'm from the North East and own a one man operation. I figure $150.00 an hour is a fair wage and covers everything. (everything means cut, weed wack, edge and blow) What say you?

Didn't you just ask that in another post? How in the world does he have a clue what you should charge. If you don't want to take the time to figure out what to charge, just start at 150 per hour and if it works go for it. I think business will be alittle slow for you though.

cpllawncare
02-26-2012, 11:39 PM
The reason you can't can't go by anyone on here is because we have no idea what your cost is plus we have no idea what YOUR market will bear, only YOU can determine that, I added up with my cost and did a market survey to determine what my market will bear and went from there.

CozyHollow
02-27-2012, 07:43 PM
Naaa...no hurt feelings here. Just step back and take a look at your post first. Remember you're dealing with people who actually WORK for a living and who give their heart and soul into what they do. We're not just a buncha "laborers" who others can crack the whip on...some of us here are business owners who haven't yet experienced what it is to actually RUN a business and our hearts burn DEEP with great expectation and a fire that can only be quenched with success...

If I offended you by my reply, I take full responsibility for that and offer you a sincere apology.

Thing is? All I want to KNOW is what those who have gone on before me KNOW and take everything "they" can give me and implement into a SUCCESSFUL business venture. Whether I'm a one man show with a 22" Toro or a spotless credit score buying up the top of the line equipment...all I know is that I WILL succeed regardless if I don't know or understand the whole "hourly wage" thing. And as I do, I'll be right here to give the next guy a chance to believe in his OWN dream regardless of JUST HOW DUMB his or her question might be.

Love you as my neighbor and sincerely apologize for offending you sir. †

Smallaxe
02-27-2012, 09:57 PM
The rule of thumb is: As much quality as is cost effective for the best possible price... If I get $X for Y(Job), then both of us are happy to do business with one another...
As a solo op, I have no problems, giving a decent price for excellence...

That, is the only consideration you need to worry about... If it doesn't work out, then determine which modifications are possible... There is no rulebook for this game... :)

MOW ED
02-28-2012, 10:28 AM
Cozy Hollow,
I'm a big kid so no feelings hurt here. I have been in the lawncare business as an owner operator since 1995. I have been on Lawnsite since 2000 and actually it wasn't called Lawnsite in the late 90's. Before that there was no online forum to ask questions. However in my 12 years+ on this site I do see lots of people who ask the "how to price" question. It is asked thousands of times in the archives. My delivery may have been a little rough but I am not out to offend, just educate. I probably could have said it better.
The end result is that there are many that do have the passion and desire to succeed and they deserve to be taught the correct way to do that. If you are motivated to do the work you deserve to be paid the correct amount. To do that you have to know costs. That is the bottom line of my message. It is obvious that a solo op can do things more efficiently than a company with many crews. You can find your edge in the numbers. On the other hand a solo op cannot take on jobs that a large crew can. Its all there in the numbers. I just don't want anyone to short themselves or lose jobs because they are too high in bidding. In order to do your best you have to give your best bid based on your personal situation and hopefully not on mine or someone elses numbers. Thats the message.
Take what people say here as informative and not always gospel and you will do good. Now I would say its time to start advertising, doesn't Jersey get an early spring? Good Luck.

CozyHollow
02-28-2012, 10:44 AM
Cozy Hollow,
I'm a big kid so no feelings hurt here. I have been in the lawncare business as an owner operator since 1995. I have been on Lawnsite since 2000 and actually it wasn't called Lawnsite in the late 90's. Before that there was no online forum to ask questions. However in my 12 years+ on this site I do see lots of people who ask the "how to price" question. It is asked thousands of times in the archives. My delivery may have been a little rough but I am not out to offend, just educate. I probably could have said it better.
The end result is that there are many that do have the passion and desire to succeed and they deserve to be taught the correct way to do that. If you are motivated to do the work you deserve to be paid the correct amount. To do that you have to know costs. That is the bottom line of my message. It is obvious that a solo op can do things more efficiently than a company with many crews. You can find your edge in the numbers. On the other hand a solo op cannot take on jobs that a large crew can. Its all there in the numbers. I just don't want anyone to short themselves or lose jobs because they are too high in bidding. In order to do your best you have to give your best bid based on your personal situation and hopefully not on mine or someone elses numbers. Thats the message.
Take what people say here as informative and not always gospel and you will do good. Now I would say its time to start advertising, doesn't Jersey get an early spring? Good Luck.

Thank you Ed! Good insight and very well presented...

Yeah, we "usually" get an early Spring here but this year has been very "unusual" weather wise. Advertising is KEY and I'm hammerin away door to door.

Much appreciated!

MDLawn
02-29-2012, 02:24 PM
I figure $150.00 an hour is a fair wage and covers everything. (everything means cut, weed wack, edge and blow) What say you?

Probably what it should be. I have my own hourly rates I use but a few times based on a job moving quicker than it should I have been in that $100+/hr range. Only on landscaping though (maintenance (non-lawn) or install). As already been stated you need to find your own rates but don't sell yourself short like 90% of people do. But at that rate you will definitely get a lot of "No's". For some of the people I know who charge pretty high their phones are ringing like crazy and doing tons of estimates. What does that mean? If they are doing tons of estimates and only securing a smaller percentage at their rate its good for them. They make money on their jobs. When you only have a few estimates it's tougher when you lose out. Most are design build companies who have incorporated maintenance later on and do so for their install clients. High priced install client can sometimes equal high priced maintenance client. I would assume the more high priced jobs you acquire along with doing an absolutely amazing job and having excellent customer service your reputation can build to where people know that you charge more but your product is amazing. I'm sure a little luck along the way can help from time to time.
Lawn mowing is a different game, at least I think so. When JoeSchmoe's with a .015 acre lawns are getting a lawn mowing service to me the service loses it's prestige that it had 15-20 years ago. But the people who will pay are out there, just gotta find them. I still think it's much of a volume game with mowing. Being a solo op if you have high volume mowing it's pretty hard to do any other work and that includes estimates.... just my $.02

crazymike
02-29-2012, 04:36 PM
For those guys solo, whose total hourly costs need to be $150, how did you figure that out?

Clearly something needs to be changed. You need to be realistic when you calculate these costs.

You need to pay yourself a labor wage. Then pay yourself an additional amount for he troubles of running a business. But within reason.

At $150 an hour I can supply 3 men, full equipment, truck, etc... and still manage to pay myself a salary.

If you're a solo guy, then you shouldn't be calculating the full cost of a brand new truck, equipment, etc... into your hourly rate. It's not feasible.

Just like it's not feasible for me to factor in the cost of a $90,000 batwing mower to cut one account that's wide open.

There is nothing wrong with being solo, but be realistic. Starting out, it's not going to cover brand new equipment, brand new truck, your mortgage, etc... and make a profit to grow.

MDLawn
02-29-2012, 06:19 PM
Starting out, it's not going to cover brand new equipment, brand new truck, your mortgage, etc... and make a profit to grow.

Very true....

CozyHollow
02-29-2012, 07:55 PM
I'm beginning to see clarity here. Thanks fellas, VERY MUCH appreciated.

Real quick though, just to explain where I got the $150.00 and hour rate.

I figure I can cut, edge, trim and blow 1/4 acre in about 20 minutes. Here in Jersey that would be a $45.00 cut. I figured 45.00 x 3 (3 - 20 minute cuts at $45.00 equals 1 hours time) totals $150.00. :laugh: Overshot WAY to much huh? $135.00 would be more like it.

Now where I live and where I'm marketing the going rate is $40.00 to $45.00 for a 1/4 acre lot/home...go 20 miles or so down south and the same property goes for $30.00 to $35.00 and so on. I'm marketing upper middle class to upper class places like Princeton (everyone's heard of Princeton, that's where the Ivy League College is) and the outskirts such as Hamilton Square, Robbinsville, Windsor and like areas. There are TONS of McMansions and a BMW or Mercedes in every driveway...a few in some areas.

Generally speaking, I never understood the "hourly wage" thing because I was a laborer who literally got paid an hourly wage...but the lawns were always priced within the "fair market value" depending on SIZE and LOCATION. So that's why I wanted to see what others thought. I'm literally taking years of experience of asking owners in the business what to charge and trying to make sense of it all...

Is it maybe that since I'm ONLY doing grass/lawn maintenance, (no building landscapes) that the hourly wage doesn't count for me? Because the way I see it, if you have a half acre at $65.00, it doesn't matter if you are a Solo Op or if you stick 3 guys on it at one time...the price will always be $65.00 regardless. Make sense?

White Gardens
02-29-2012, 09:44 PM
Yes, but your missing one major factor.

You might be able to mow a place for X amount of dollars per hour because you have a 72" mower, A Shilhl FS110, and and a BR600.

But your not going to charge the same rate for a 20" push mower, featherlight weed eater string trimmer, and a rechargeable Black and Decker hand held blower.

When it comes to cleanups and edging. You are generally using your hand labor only, and not so much in the way of equipment.

The going rate for labor generally runs $40-$50 an hour for residential and $60-$70 an hour for commercial work in our area. Some of your money is also generated in hauling cost and mark-up on any materials you might use.

Now, to make your head swim......

Once you figure the market rate in your area, and the general market value and amount of time of services, you can bid and quote prices competitively. If you land the job, and you want to try to make $150.00 an hour at this job you've landed, then you find either methods or equipment that will up your efficiency.

That's where either the high powered leaf blower, or 72" mower comes into play.

Now you're playing the volume game, which then can hurt you. So basically you rush through jobs, skimping on some of the details, and your quality suffers, which then might lead to lost clients.

Or, you can take a step back, create relationships with customers based on customer service, satisfaction, and quality. So then you are charging a bit more per hour, taking more time for services, and you've created a long-term relationship with your customer. This method shows slower growth as you will 70% of the time be higher than other bids, but you'll over-time build a profitable customer base with the accounts you do land.

And another perspective. Landscape architects with at least 4 years of schooling and years of design work can maybe make 90 + dollars an hour. And in the green industry, that at the high end of the pay/wage scale.

crazymike
03-01-2012, 12:04 AM
I'm beginning to see clarity here. Thanks fellas, VERY MUCH appreciated.

Real quick though, just to explain where I got the $150.00 and hour rate.

I figure I can cut, edge, trim and blow 1/4 acre in about 20 minutes. Here in Jersey that would be a $45.00 cut. I figured 45.00 x 3 (3 - 20 minute cuts at $45.00 equals 1 hours time) totals $150.00. :laugh: Overshot WAY to much huh? $135.00 would be more like it.

Now where I live and where I'm marketing the going rate is $40.00 to $45.00 for a 1/4 acre lot/home...go 20 miles or so down south and the same property goes for $30.00 to $35.00 and so on. I'm marketing upper middle class to upper class places like Princeton (everyone's heard of Princeton, that's where the Ivy League College is) and the outskirts such as Hamilton Square, Robbinsville, Windsor and like areas. There are TONS of McMansions and a BMW or Mercedes in every driveway...a few in some areas.

Generally speaking, I never understood the "hourly wage" thing because I was a laborer who literally got paid an hourly wage...but the lawns were always priced within the "fair market value" depending on SIZE and LOCATION. So that's why I wanted to see what others thought. I'm literally taking years of experience of asking owners in the business what to charge and trying to make sense of it all...

Is it maybe that since I'm ONLY doing grass/lawn maintenance, (no building landscapes) that the hourly wage doesn't count for me? Because the way I see it, if you have a half acre at $65.00, it doesn't matter if you are a Solo Op or if you stick 3 guys on it at one time...the price will always be $65.00 regardless. Make sense?


You're judging your labor value off busting your ass all day, etc...

Just because you're making that much an hour, doesn't mean that's what you're charging per hour when you price a job.

Also, when you factor in making $600 a day, off 8 hours work. That's great. But you're not factoring in all the other time that doesn't into the business. To make that money, how much time do you spend on the phone, billing, advertising, repairs, etc... When you add all that up, it takes you a lot more hours to make that $600 than you think.

As for landscape jobs, it's a bit different then lawns.

When estimating, everything needs to be done by the man hour, or price by the crew if you're bigger.

You figure a large mulch job takes 6 man hours. That's $300 in labor. But in reality, you send a 3 man crew, it takes two hours and they're on to the next job. You grossed $300 in an hour. But if one guy calls in sick, you grossed the same $300 in 2 hours with less labor.

My labor burden number has my extra hours for breakdowns, screw ups, etc..., calculated in. My average labor burden is $14.85 cents a man hour. I then added in my overhead allocation for each job and I get about $50 a man hour. Profit is not added until I calculate the quote.

You can only charge as much as the market dictates for man hours. But you need to know your labor burden and your overhead costs to know how low you can go to get a job and still make money.

Also, by knowing your total overhead for the year, you don't make any money, until you have grossed (minus labor) this much money. Then all the money you make, is profit.

Exact Rototilling
03-01-2012, 11:39 AM
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Grassmaster9
03-10-2012, 02:16 AM
There is nothing wrong with asking advice on what to charge. It's a legitimate question. When I started my business, I knew how to do the work and had the equipment, but I had no idea what the going rate was. I wanted to be competitive with other companies and I also wanted to make a profit. So when I was ready to start doing estimates, it never occurred to me that "I don't deserve to be in business" because I didn't know the going rate. But it did occur to me to research the going rate and compete for business.
$150/hour sounds extremely high. Good for you if you can get it, but in my area the going rate is $45-$60/hour for Lawn Maintenance per man hour.

CozyHollow
03-10-2012, 11:26 AM
There is nothing wrong with asking advice on what to charge. It's a legitimate question. When I started my business, I knew how to do the work and had the equipment, but I had no idea what the going rate was. I wanted to be competitive with other companies and I also wanted to make a profit. So when I was ready to start doing estimates, it never occurred to me that "I don't deserve to be in business" because I didn't know the going rate. But it did occur to me to research the going rate and compete for business.
$150/hour sounds extremely high. Good for you if you can get it, but in my area the going rate is $45-$60/hour for Lawn Maintenance per man hour.

Much appreciated input Grassmaster. I've been NON STOP asking Landscaping Business Owners locally what is what and why...I figured around my area (upper middle class and higher) a good hourly rate would be $65.00.00 for now. That may change either way!

One guy charges $125.00 for a yard of mulch. He says he can lay that in 1 hours time (kinda shady cause I can lay 1 yard in 20 minutes) Plus he has 2 laborers and says he charges $75.00 an hour labor for the both. Another guy charges $85.00 a yard...if the customer wants the old mulch removed, he told me T/M (time and material)...didn't tell me his hourly charge tho.

Anyway, I have a mulch estimate today at 1pm. Plan on charging $68.00 a yard (includes tax) after crunching the numbers. Drove by the place after work yesterday to get a quick look and looks to be 2 yards...we'll see how my very first business opportunity turns out. Plan on selling them a mowing job to go with it. :D

Darryl G
03-10-2012, 12:00 PM
I hope you don't really think you're going to be making $150/hour mowing lawns. Sure there are times you might reach that number, but not as an average. By the time you figure in travel time, loading/onloading, equipment maintenance, customer contact time and everything else that eats up time, you're lucky if you're making half or a third of that. You have to figure in ALL of the time it takes, not just the time that you are actually on the property. I'm just afraid that your expectations are not realistic.

I'm beginning to see clarity here. Thanks fellas, VERY MUCH appreciated.

Real quick though, just to explain where I got the $150.00 and hour rate.

I figure I can cut, edge, trim and blow 1/4 acre in about 20 minutes. Here in Jersey that would be a $45.00 cut. I figured 45.00 x 3 (3 - 20 minute cuts at $45.00 equals 1 hours time) totals $150.00. :laugh: Overshot WAY to much huh? $135.00 would be more like it.

Now where I live and where I'm marketing the going rate is $40.00 to $45.00 for a 1/4 acre lot/home...go 20 miles or so down south and the same property goes for $30.00 to $35.00 and so on. I'm marketing upper middle class to upper class places like Princeton (everyone's heard of Princeton, that's where the Ivy League College is) and the outskirts such as Hamilton Square, Robbinsville, Windsor and like areas. There are TONS of McMansions and a BMW or Mercedes in every driveway...a few in some areas.

Generally speaking, I never understood the "hourly wage" thing because I was a laborer who literally got paid an hourly wage...but the lawns were always priced within the "fair market value" depending on SIZE and LOCATION. So that's why I wanted to see what others thought. I'm literally taking years of experience of asking owners in the business what to charge and trying to make sense of it all...

Is it maybe that since I'm ONLY doing grass/lawn maintenance, (no building landscapes) that the hourly wage doesn't count for me? Because the way I see it, if you have a half acre at $65.00, it doesn't matter if you are a Solo Op or if you stick 3 guys on it at one time...the price will always be $65.00 regardless. Make sense?

MDLawn
03-10-2012, 02:00 PM
One guy charges $125.00 for a yard of mulch. He says he can lay that in 1 hours time (kinda shady cause I can lay 1 yard in 20 minutes) Plus he has 2 laborers and says he charges $75.00 an hour labor for the both. Another guy charges $85.00 a yard...if the customer wants the old mulch removed, he told me T/M (time and material)...didn't tell me his hourly charge tho.

Everyone will have different rates. Also with how much time it takes to put down a yard of mulch is so dependent on open bed, full of perrenials, 100 yards away from your truck or 10 feet, etc.... You can look at it two ways. I don't think a yard/yard and a half per man per hour is a not bad estimate and 95% of the people on here will say they can do it quicker. I'm not going to get in a pissing match about it. When you add say two workers plus yourself now you can put down 4.5 yards an hour which now increases production and maybe your at $150/hr because each guy is billed at $50/hour. Now you can complete more jobs. Solo it gets pretty tough slinging tons of yards day after day. After 5 or so yards each day you'll slow down a bit or you'll just burn yourself out. There has to be a certain production rate but basing it off of a personal "best" time to me just calls for trouble. Not one job is the same.
Darryl is right about lawns $150/hr is really doubtful for residential lawns or any lawns. $65/hr is probably a good place to guesstimate what you'll need, but adjust as you get more and more work if you find the numbers working or not.
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Guzzo856
03-10-2012, 07:39 PM
my biggest account has approx 310,000 ft of edging lol.. $ guys edging and 1 man operating the skid steer:weightlifter:

CozyHollow
03-10-2012, 09:26 PM
Everyone will have different rates. Also with how much time it takes to put down a yard of mulch is so dependent on open bed, full of perrenials, 100 yards away from your truck or 10 feet, etc.... You can look at it two ways. I don't think a yard/yard and a half per man per hour is a not bad estimate and 95% of the people on here will say they can do it quicker. I'm not going to get in a pissing match about it. When you add say two workers plus yourself now you can put down 4.5 yards an hour which now increases production and maybe your at $150/hr because each guy is billed at $50/hour. Now you can complete more jobs. Solo it gets pretty tough slinging tons of yards day after day. After 5 or so yards each day you'll slow down a bit or you'll just burn yourself out. There has to be a certain production rate but basing it off of a personal "best" time to me just calls for trouble. Not one job is the same.
Darryl is right about lawns $150/hr is really doubtful for residential lawns or any lawns. $65/hr is probably a good place to guesstimate what you'll need, but adjust as you get more and more work if you find the numbers working or not.
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MDLawn, GOOD lookin' bro! :drinkup: Man I love this...straight shooters helping out the old head! :D

I got my hourly rate pretty much solidified at $55.00 an hour. That CAN change as you noted.

Bid a 12 yard mulch job today at $816.00 including tax @ $68.00 a yard. I figured it will take me 6 solid hours to finish at 2" thick. Tell me what you guys think...I feel pretty good with it. There is some edge defining and about a half hour of general cleaning (leaves) but not removing any old mulch.

Long story short. If I get the job I'll make $330.00 pocket cash and Cozy Hollow will make $246.00. We'll see...

Take it EASY on me fellas...just be straight about what YOU think and I'll take everything with a grain of salt. Thanks for the help fellas!

OH real quick, I mentioned 2 yards for this mulch quote in an earlier comment...turns out his entire back yard will take 10 yards.

Grassmaster9
03-10-2012, 09:29 PM
Whatever the going rate is is charged per man hour. So if it's $50/hr and you have 2 guys, the price would be $100/hour for both guys to be working. But 2 guys will get it done in half the time so it averages out. There will be mowing jobs that you get through quickly so the average that you made will be higher, but that's just a bonus of the business. It would be difficult to get that higher average as a standard rate.

MDLawn
03-11-2012, 10:48 AM
Bid a 12 yard mulch job today at $816.00 including tax @ $68.00 a yard. I figured it will take me 6 solid hours to finish at 2" thick. Tell me what you guys think...I feel pretty good with it. There is some edge defining and about a half hour of general cleaning (leaves) but not removing any old mulch.

6 hours for all that for 1 guy? 1/2hr clean up and figure 1/2 hr for edging ( although I have no clue how much there is, how deep you make the edges. It can take a while for I guy to edge and remove the edgings). That leaves you 5 hours for 12 yards of mulch?!?! You're talking straight production of 1 yard every 25 mins or so? Sorry man one guy I don't believe it. Are you picking up the mulch or having it delivered. If delivered you're scooping mulch from the ground into a wheel barrow then dumping it, then spreading. If you already bid it you'll make what you say but I'd like to know how you make out time wise. I'm no slouch but I know I myself couldn't have production times like that day in day out. 2 guys maybe. But most of my jobs are prune, edge, clean, mulch and not just straight mulch and take the better part of 1 day. Let us know how it turns out.
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CozyHollow
03-11-2012, 12:03 PM
6 hours for all that for 1 guy? 1/2hr clean up and figure 1/2 hr for edging ( although I have no clue how much there is, how deep you make the edges. It can take a while for I guy to edge and remove the edgings). That leaves you 5 hours for 12 yards of mulch?!?! You're talking straight production of 1 yard every 25 mins or so? Sorry man one guy I don't believe it. Are you picking up the mulch or having it delivered. If delivered you're scooping mulch from the ground into a wheel barrow then dumping it, then spreading. If you already bid it you'll make what you say but I'd like to know how you make out time wise. I'm no slouch but I know I myself couldn't have production times like that day in day out. 2 guys maybe. But most of my jobs are prune, edge, clean, mulch and not just straight mulch and take the better part of 1 day. Let us know how it turns out.
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This is a straight mulch job. Most of it is simple dump and spread. There's about 2 yards of tedious spreading due to small flowers, trinkets, etc. I'll pick up the mulch and yeah, regardless, I'll still have to pitch fork it into a wheelbarrow as you mentioned. The edge defining will take only 1/2 hour tops because there's only about 45 feet of that...But yeah, I can arrive at the site at 8am and be done by 2pm no problem. I can easily lay 2 yards in an hour. That's only 8 wheelbarrow loads. 48 wheelbarrow loads total in 4 hours is easy for me...now that's not for everyone, but for me that's a walk in the park... :weightlifter:

What I'd like to get your opinion on is the "PRICE" I gave them...how does that "sound" to you??? (breakdown in above comment) Anyone???

Really want to be on the level with the industry as a whole that's all...I do NOT want to give away my labor and I do NOT want to overcharge either. I'm a solo operator and will remain throughout (well that's my plan for now at least). Thanks!

CozyHollow
03-11-2012, 12:07 PM
Whatever the going rate is is charged per man hour... There will be mowing jobs that you get through quickly so the average that you made will be higher, but that's just a bonus of the business...

I TOTALLY agree! Bonus is par for the course...

Get Some...
03-11-2012, 05:08 PM
For eight yards or more I charge $70.00 per yard installed.
That includes minor weeding, installing the mulch and clean up.

Working at a good pace and having the mulch delivered for $70.00 I can do eight yards in 6-8 hours by myself.
Thats a start to finish time and includes.....

Getting there early to make sure the mulch is dumped where I need it.
Minor weeding.
Minor bed cleanup.
Installing mulch.
Cleaning up.
Some time to talk with the customer/neighbors and upsell services...:)

Adding a helper pretty much cuts the time in half.

CozyHollow
03-11-2012, 07:47 PM
For eight yards or more I charge $70.00 per yard installed.
That includes minor weeding, installing the mulch and clean up.

Working at a good pace and having the mulch delivered for $70.00 I can do eight yards in 6-8 hours by myself.
Thats a start to finish time and includes.....

Getting there early to make sure the mulch is dumped where I need it.
Minor weeding.
Minor bed cleanup.
Installing mulch.
Cleaning up.
Some time to talk with the customer/neighbors and upsell services...:)

Adding a helper pretty much cuts the time in half.

Hahahaaaa! Thanks SO MUCH for the inspiration! :drinkup:

I have absolutely NO DOUBT about doing the job in the time I claim...its just "WILL I ACTUALLY GET THE JOB" part that's buggin me! I REALLY wanted to know that my rate/cost was right on the money and YOU "Get Some" helped put that to rest! :D

Now, do you mind telling me what you charge per yard if it's UNDER 8 yards? :confused:

My wife (she handles ALL the books) just asked me where you're located and it shows Kansas...she then said that my $68.00 per yard for NJ is WAY LOW. Well it's my very first year in the Biz and my very first estimate so we both agree we can adjust as we go on. MAN I SURE HOPE I get this job! Man I so sure hope...

Get Some...
03-11-2012, 09:21 PM
Under eight yards I haul two yards at a time on a single axle trailer.

5-10 dollars a yard more.
But the smaller loads also let me do just two yards at a time...good for fill in work when I only have a few hours free.
Just make sure the csr knows that it may take a week or so to get totally finished.

$68.00 might be low for NJ, but it beats sitting home, especially in your first year or two.
Those one time jobs....better to get em if you can.....working for a little less a day is not so bad, as long as you have free time.
IMO, its better than pricing a thirty service mow account low to stay busy.

I price one time jobs according to how much free time I have, most of em only tie up 1/2 a day or a day at most.
Sure its better to make $400+ a day, but $200.00 or so is better than stayin home.
Also a rollin stone gathers no moss......:laugh:

Flexability in pricing will make or break a new buisness. JMO.

CozyHollow
03-11-2012, 09:24 PM
Under eight yards I haul two yards at a time on a single axle trailer.

5-10 dollars a yard more.
But the smaller loads also let me do just two yards at a time...good for fill in work when I only have a few hours free.
Just make sure the csr knows that it may take a week or so to get totally finished.

$68.00 might be low for NJ, but it beats sitting home, especially in your first year or two.
Those one time jobs....better to get em if you can.....working for a little less a day is not so bad, as long as you have free time.
IMO, its better than pricing a thirty service mow account low to stay busy.

I price one time jobs according to how much free time I have, most of em only tie up 1/2 a day or a day at most.
Sure its better to make $400+ a day, but $200.00 or so is better than stayin home.
Also a rollin stone gathers no moss......:laugh:

Flexability in pricing will make or break a new buisness. JMO.

Agreed... Thanks for the input!

MDLawn
03-11-2012, 09:26 PM
I think one other consideration is that what I charge we're I am and the other guy in Kansas is irrelavent to what you need to charge, right? It's your cost of living higher? Is the average income higher? That's the problem with quoting jobs and asking if the price is right. I've heard and followed that if you start closing on more than 50% of your estimates your probably on the low side price wise. Kinda make sense? If you're not closing on any then maybe too high. Also people will try and bully you down or say they've got other estimates for some ridiculous price. They know that the majority of people in this business just get rolled over by customers who tell them what they should charge. Hold your ground on what you need to make and if someone says "No".....big deal, you need to be able to walk away from stuff that won't make you money. Do you know what it costs you just to operate and how much you need to make to cover those costs? It really starts there. What if someone on here uses garbage push mowers, does horrible work, and claims they only need $35/hr. You don't know what everyone's business is like unless they can prove it with pictures and whatnot but even then it may not be truthful. So figure out what you need to make to operate first. Then go from there. You're on the right track for sure but until you start operating it's hard to get a handle on the time and costs factors.
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Get Some...
03-11-2012, 09:44 PM
I think one other consideration is that what I charge we're I am and the other guy in Kansas is irrelavent to what you need to charge, right? It's your cost of living higher? Is the average income higher? That's the problem with quoting jobs and asking if the price is right. I've heard and followed that if you start closing on more than 50% of your estimates your probably on the low side price wise. Kinda make sense? If you're not closing on any then maybe too high. Also people will try and bully you down or say they've got other estimates for some ridiculous price. They know that the majority of people in this business just get rolled over by customers who tell them what they should charge. Hold your ground on what you need to make and if someone says "No".....big deal, you need to be able to walk away from stuff that won't make you money. Do you know what it costs you just to operate and how much you need to make to cover those costs? It really starts there. What if someone on here uses garbage push mowers, does horrible work, and claims they only need $35/hr. You don't know what everyone's business is like unless they can prove it with pictures and whatnot but even then it may not be truthful. So figure out what you need to make to operate first. Then go from there. You're on the right track for sure but until you start operating it's hard to get a handle on the time and costs factors.
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Thats good solid advice.
Definately not the best economic conditions at the moment to start a buisness. But performing good quaility work at affordable rates that will allow a profit and keep a person busy.......is a good path for a beginning.

As far as comparing rates I may need more/less than someone from the same area as me.

CozyHollow
03-12-2012, 06:57 PM
I think one other consideration is that what I charge we're I am and the other guy in Kansas is irrelavent to what you need to charge, right? It's your cost of living higher? Is the average income higher?
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Right...but yet I kind of don't get it and I'll explain.

YES the cost of living is WAY higher where I live AND the average income is WAY higher also.

Now the $68.00 per yard mulch charge the wife and I came up with together. We crunched the numbers and figured a decent profit. What's strange is there's several Landscapers who have themselves (being they own it) and 2 guys/employees...they charge $125.00 a yard. I'm like WHAT??? But I DO SEE what YOU are saying concerning this. He charges $125.00 because of what HE NEEDS to make a profit, right? But I charge $68.00 for what I NEED to make a decent living/profit.

Then I think, what the hell? I'm charging almost HALF LESS! Really? Is that really fair for the industry as a whole? Heck if I can get $100.00 per yard I'd clean house! ...this gets NUTS!

THEN there's the mowing charge. He charges $65.00 for a yard I'd be hesitant to charge $45.00 for...I was like "you charge $65.00 for that little yard?" He said, "Oh Yeah! I get that no problem!" He's a Guatemalan who works with me at my day job. He sold me a 2 year old Snapper Pro Express 36" mower that he used his first year in the business and it sat all last year.. for $800.00. First pull it starts every time! This will be his 3rd year and he's got 72 residential and 1 commercial. He told me after his very first year he had 45 residential and got the commercial by knowing someone. He tells me I'll clean up because I speak good English and he speaks broken English. Man I thought he was messing with the prices so I wouldn't get any work...but our area is Princeton NJ and outskirts, very upper middle class and higher.

Man sorry for the long comment but I just got off the phone for a cut estimate tomorrow. Knowing where this lady lives I'm thinkin $55.00 but the way the guy who sold me my mower thinks I KNOW he'd charge AT LEAST 75.00 because it's just under 1/3 acre.

Tell you what fellas...thinking to much about "bidding jobs" makes me literally dizzy...gotta walk away for a few minutes and catch my breath, lol!

DAMN!!! Just when I was feeling GOOD about what to charge...YOU CHALLENGE ME! :laugh: Holy crap dude! I'm loosin' it! :laugh:

MDLawn
03-12-2012, 09:58 PM
Don't believe everything someone tells you........ You crunched your numbers and said it works for you to make money so don't worry about everyone else, hopefully you crunched em right ;-). Once you get more jobs/mowings under your belt you'll see how your pricing works out. Everyone including myself has made mistakes along the way.
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CozyHollow
03-13-2012, 09:06 AM
Don't believe everything someone tells you........ You crunched your numbers and said it works for you to make money so don't worry about everyone else, hopefully you crunched em right ;-). Once you get more jobs/mowings under your belt you'll see how your pricing works out. Everyone including myself has made mistakes along the way.
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Yeah man, I do get the jist of it tho. I have off Tuesdays. At my day job I work 4-10 hour days which helps a lot when it comes to starting out. Hardly slept due to this estimate today but I'll get over that soon...

MDLawn
03-13-2012, 10:14 AM
Yeah man, I do get the jist of it tho. I have off Tuesdays. At my day job I work 4-10 hour days which helps a lot when it comes to starting out. Hardly slept due to this estimate today but I'll get over that soon...

You're in an advantageous position, in my opinion, with having the full time job (I'm in a very similar situation and it seems everyone on this site dislikes people like us FYI) You can take on only customers that you want if needed. You're not pressured to take on any work to put food on the table, etc... Don't rush it and get the ones who are going to make you successful and not every Tom, Dick, and Harry that wants lawn care/landscaping but really cannot afford it. Maybe you hate your full time but it's an opportunity in my eyes to get the right start.

CozyHollow
03-13-2012, 11:00 AM
You're in an advantageous position, in my opinion, with having the full time job (I'm in a very similar situation and it seems everyone on this site dislikes people like us FYI) You can take on only customers that you want if needed... Maybe you hate your full time but it's an opportunity in my eyes to get the right start.

You can't please everyone, right? :)

...exactly. I can totally see where "we" have the advantage. Problem with me is that I DO HATE my day job and get anxious when the phone rings for an estimate. But considering what you just said about taking on customers "I want"...that wisdom makes things a bit more interesting.

Being on this forum has helped me tremendously. I'm a confident person when it comes to "life in general". I want to treat others (customers and competition in this case) the way I like to be treated but sometimes I get caught off guard and "do" and "say" things that aren't up to my standard. The wife and I were talking about the mulch bid...I may have over shot by 2-4 yards when I think about it (that's pretty much all I've been doing IS thinkin' about it, lol) I took a chance, really didn't take my time, was overly anxious inside but calm when dealing with the customer...so she and I simply said that later on down the road we can both laugh at the past mistakes...

Learning as I go my man! :laugh:

MDLawn
03-13-2012, 11:09 AM
The anxiousness of doing estimates wears off a little over time. I've just come to realize that not everyone will choose me...and thats ok. Remember if you're closing on all of your estimates you're probably low. And if you don't get one....on to the next one. One of the larger more successful guys on here always says that he has so many estiamtes that even if he closes 1 in 10 its still good for him because maybe he's doing 20 estimates a week! I'd rather have a few good paying accounts than a bunch of mediocre accounts.

Darryl G
03-13-2012, 07:46 PM
You can't really compare mulch prices unless you compare the product itself too. I can get wood mulch anywhere from free to $50/yard or more, but I refuse to put down crap mulch. All the mulches I use are naturally derived...not ground up and died construction and demo waste, and I prefer not to install hardwood mulch...I like premium pine, cedar, and hemlock bark mulches.

My price for premium mulch plus delivery and tax without installation approaches Cozy's installed price of $68/yard. I think 2 yards per hour is a bit on the high side for productivity...I'm usually in the 1 to 1.5 yd/hour range depending on access and plant density etc.

MDLawn
03-13-2012, 09:12 PM
You can't really compare mulch prices unless you compare the product itself too. I can get wood mulch anywhere from free to $50/yard or more, but I refuse to put down crap mulch. All the mulches I use are naturally derived...not ground up and died construction and demo waste, and I prefer not to install hardwood mulch...I like premium pine, cedar, and hemlock bark mulches.

My price for premium mulch plus delivery and tax without installation approaches Cozy's installed price of $68/yard. I think 2 yards per hour is a bit on the high side for productivity...I'm usually in the 1 to 1.5 yd/hour range depending on access and plant density etc.

Completely agree with you. I've never used a price per yard installed method....ever. It's time + materials + profit. I've never understood any unit pricing. Not one job I do is remotely similar to another. If I did unit pricing I'd lose my shirt on some jobs.
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CozyHollow
03-13-2012, 09:39 PM
Well as I gather it, the "per yard" charge varies from one guy to another.

The 12 yard job I bid on @ $68.00 per yard, the breakdown yields me and Cozy a real nice profit. I've heard $125.00 per yard, $85.00 per yard, $75.00 per yard and even $65.00 per yard, so when the wife and I broke down the average...it came out to $68.00 per yard with everything accounted for - ie. Time/Material/Profit.

I left a comment before this one about the 2 jobs I bid on today. One was for a cut and the other for a clean out. I landed the clean out but have to wait till weeks end to see if the other person will take my cutting estimate. I feel real good about it tho.

I broke it down with pricing. Do they not allow anyone to share their price breakdowns here? :confused: