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grassmasterswilson
03-27-2012, 06:14 PM
I'm getting more calls from HOA's and commercial properties this year. I hate to say no to business, but i'm willing to take a look and submit a bid. I haven't been very successfull and think that either my estimated cost of doing business is too high or my estimated time on the job. I'm trying to project my cost of running with additional help and equipment. Hopeing you guys might help.

So on commercial properties I'm figuring 2 hustler super z's, 2 trimmers, 2 blowers, truck, trailer, and misc hand tools. My estimated cost on that is coming in at $28 per hour.

On labor I'm figureing myself at $30 and 2 helpers at $13 each. So labor is at $56 per hour.

My total breakeven rate is $84. I then add in a small percentage for additional overhead and then a profit percentage.

How in line am I? I think my estimated hours on some of the equipment may be off. If I run 2 mowers I will get more hours and the cost should drop a little. Just wondering if I'm in line or not.

grandview (2006)
03-27-2012, 06:18 PM
Your missing a lot of expenses in your figuring ,gas,insurance ,back office,taxes.

grassmasterswilson
03-27-2012, 06:38 PM
Your missing a lot of expenses in your figuring ,gas,insurance ,back office,taxes.

All that is factored in. gas, insurance, repairs, oil, filters, etc.

I used a spreadsheet form I bought online from sean adams. i'm just curious if someone running a similar size crew and similar equipment is close to my numbers. I'm trying to project. I know the numbers down to the penny for me running solo with 1 ztr, 1 trimmer, 1 blower.

lawnworker
03-27-2012, 07:38 PM
Your labor for yourself seems low and your equipment seems high. Keep in mind that the equipment life is at least four years. You a factoring enough to pay for it in one or two years. Still, I thing your rates or where they need to be. Just need to adjust your ratios around.

I believe that 64 per man hour should be the goal for everyone on your payrole

grandview (2006)
03-27-2012, 07:39 PM
Your labor for yourself seems low and your equipment seems high. Keep in mind that the equipment life is at least four years. You a factoring enough to pay for it in one or two years. Still, I thing your rates or where they need to be. Just need to adjust your ratios around.

I believe that 64 per man hour should be the goal for everyone on your payrole

Point. Hour many hours a week are you basing that on?

Florida Gardener
03-27-2012, 08:42 PM
Your labor for yourself seems low and your equipment seems high. Keep in mind that the equipment life is at least four years. You a factoring enough to pay for it in one or two years. Still, I thing your rates or where they need to be. Just need to adjust your ratios around.

I believe that 64 per man hour should be the goal for everyone on your payrole

64 per man hour...you would be out of business down here
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Bunton Guy
03-27-2012, 08:43 PM
I had mine down to $57.00 per man per hour to do business. And at that rate it was just barely comfortable to do business. Really would like $75 or so if I could but you got guys operating for $25 and hour so I can't be picky now.

ed2hess
03-27-2012, 08:48 PM
Forget all the estimating if that equipment sits in the shed how much do you make. To get into the biddiing you need to be around $30/hr.

lawnworker
03-27-2012, 09:24 PM
Point. Hour many hours a week are you basing that on?

Basing the equipment depreciation? roughly 40 at 32 weeks use.

lawnworker
03-27-2012, 09:29 PM
Forget all the estimating if that equipment sits in the shed how much do you make. To get into the biddiing you need to be around $30/hr.

You are not going to make it with these numbers. You would be better off working for 15.00 an hour at a stable job with benefits. However if the economy is so bad, finding that 15.00 an hour job is probably tough

grandview (2006)
03-27-2012, 09:29 PM
Basing the equipment depreciation? roughly 40 at 32 weeks use.

Usually you depreciate on your taxes.Just wondering how many hours your out a week to figure your cost of running your stuff.

lawnworker
03-27-2012, 09:47 PM
Usually you depreciate on your taxes.Just wondering how many hours your out a week to figure your cost of running your stuff.

Well, this is theoretical because I have never made a lot in this business for various reasons I won't go into detail about, but If I was slammed with work, I would figure a equipment replacement amount based on a percentage of gross sales based on steady man hours. The amount, ideally should be built up in an account, while the current equipment wears out.

This is one of many operations that the average craigslist hack that races off to give the cheapest bid possible, while thinking he is coming out ahead, does not think about.

Often though, market forces can make a business just not feasible in the long run.I am afraid some areas of the country are there now.

grassmasterswilson
03-27-2012, 09:59 PM
Usually you depreciate on your taxes.Just wondering how many hours your out a week to figure your cost of running your stuff.

I also depreciate on my taxes. For hourly cost I figure a replacement cost on a piece of equipment. example a 10k mower last 5 years and has a trade in value of 2k. Your replacement cost is 8k and 1600 per year.

grassmasterswilson
03-27-2012, 10:02 PM
64 per man hour...you would be out of business down here
Posted via Mobile Device

The 64 number I have is for the entire crew and is for mowing only. I have a separate labor rate I Charge for pruning and odd jobs.
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Florida Gardener
03-27-2012, 10:08 PM
The 64 number I have is for the entire crew and is for mowing only. I have a separate labor rate I Charge for pruning and odd jobs.
Posted via Mobile Device

I meant @ 64/MH, that guy would have no work down here as that is outrageous....i guess in his neck of the woods he needs that, but the going labor rate on maintenance here is 25/MH. I try to get 35/MH, and have been getting that a lot more lately. Then again, I'm also getting high-end resi accounts. For 3 guys for maintenance, I would be @ $105/HR. I don't even run one 48"+ mower. Most of my properties have very little grass and more detail and pruning/gardening work. I have 1 account that I don't use even 1 piece of power equipment, another that I only use a blower, etc. I have 2 properties that are .91 acres with one that has maybe 10K of turf and the other 22K of turf....I use a 36/32 on those.....

Weekend cut easymoney
04-13-2012, 05:31 PM
[QUOTE=grassmasterswilson;4363397]I'm getting more calls from HOA's and commercial properties this year. I hate to say no to business, but i'm willing to take a look and submit a bid. I haven't been very successfull and think that either my estimated cost of doing business is too high or my estimated time on the job. I'm trying to project my cost of running with additional help and equipment. Hopeing you guys might help.

Here in central Texas, many of the larger companies are getting away from HOA communities as they cannot keep up with all the small requests--HOAs are dumping them as well in favor of smaller companies-
however, they seem to be bidding things at like $25/manhour for commercial to make up for loss in revenue from installs...they seem to just want to break even...maybe waiting for things to turn around? and then see off to a larger company?

Duekster
04-13-2012, 06:38 PM
Cost per hour and cost per man hour is two different things.
I can have a cost per hour at 118 and cost per man hour at 30.

Weekend cut easymoney
04-13-2012, 07:33 PM
$30-$40/manhour--figure how long it will take you to mow the property based upon your experience with residential lawns then subtract 20 percent...
my experience is that after a few mowings you will begin to be more efficient on the site...

I sometimes go for broke and point blank ask them what they have budgeted for maintenace each month--its a little brazen, but they might tell you-

And make sure you ask them why they got rid of the other company so you can address those mistakes-

Duekster
04-13-2012, 07:38 PM
$30-$40/manhour--figure how long it will take you to mow the property based upon your experience with residential lawns then subtract 20 percent...
my experience is that after a few mowings you will begin to be more efficient on the site...

I sometimes go for broke and point blank ask them what they have budgeted for maintenace each month--its a little brazen, but they might tell you-

And make sure you ask them why they got rid of the other company so you can address those mistakes-

They rarely tell you unless you politely point out problems and say "are you happy with this?"

They say no but can you do better for cheaper. LOL

Honestly that is a good point you make but some times it does not work because they can not pay more. :confused:

jrs.landscaping
04-13-2012, 07:39 PM
64 per hour is close to what I charge for a skid steer or a one ton truck never mind a guy with a mower or trimmer! :laugh: You can't be competitive with prices like that. 30-40 per man hour on a mower/trimming is a good figure. I think the numbers the OP gave are pretty reasonable and yield enough profit to stay in business.

Duekster
04-13-2012, 07:42 PM
64 per hour is close to what I charge for a skid steer or a one ton truck never mind a guy with a mower or trimmer! :laugh: You can't be competitive with prices like that. 30-40 per man hour on a mower/trimming is a good figure. I think the numbers the OP gave are pretty reasonable and yield enough profit to stay in business.

Depends on where you live.

:waving:

Just saying cost per hour and man hour is not the same. If someone does not know that much then they should run for office

jrs.landscaping
04-13-2012, 07:53 PM
I was referring to billing out @ an RPH of $64.00. No matter where you are that is a steep rate for a man with a mower/trimmer. Cost per hour is way lower than that amount. It all depends on how much you pay the help, and what type of equipment they operate. 30-40 is a good RPH for one man using a mower/trimmer. The cost of the help is 13 per hour, depreciated value of mower and all included maintenance can't be more than 27.00 per hour. Just saying.

Duekster
04-13-2012, 07:55 PM
I was referring to billing out @ an RPH of $64.00. No matter where you are that is a steep rate for a man with a mower/trimmer. Cost per hour is way lower than that amount. It all depends on how much you pay the help, and what type of equipment they operate. 30-40 is a good RPH for one man using a mower/trimmer. The cost of the help is 13 per hour, depreciated value of mower and all included maintenance can't be more than 27.00 per hour. Just saying.

Oh I thought the Union had taken over mowing where you live :rolleyes:

Weekend cut easymoney
04-13-2012, 07:56 PM
i cannot remeber one that did not tell me the issues when asked...my experience is HOAs and COA mostly stay with a company when they do a good job, and the ydon't usually shop for price....though we had one last year that did exactly that-
-the board was made up of people who thought the grass did not need to be cut each week 9all that needs to be said about this HOA board)
they dumped us for a one/two man operation...the property took 14 manhours to complete...the guy lied and said he was a Texas irrigator and that he had a crew of 4--he mowed all day long and people hated it...finally got heat stroke and the board was replaced and we got it back...

I always tell them I want to fix the problems and avoid the same issues -

jrs.landscaping
04-13-2012, 07:57 PM
Oh I thought the Union had taken over mowing where you live :rolleyes:

:confused:

Duekster
04-14-2012, 06:05 AM
:confused:

That is why I said OH... I mis-read the your first post about labor rates.

Duekster
04-14-2012, 06:07 AM
i cannot remeber one that did not tell me the issues when asked...my experience is HOAs and COA mostly stay with a company when they do a good job, and the ydon't usually shop for price....though we had one last year that did exactly that-
-the board was made up of people who thought the grass did not need to be cut each week 9all that needs to be said about this HOA board)
they dumped us for a one/two man operation...the property took 14 manhours to complete...the guy lied and said he was a Texas irrigator and that he had a crew of 4--he mowed all day long and people hated it...finally got heat stroke and the board was replaced and we got it back...

I always tell them I want to fix the problems and avoid the same issues -

looks nice but I hate trimmed up sage. They are great plants but do not really fit on to a traditional landscape. Often over watered and trimmed. Just me...

Richard Martin
04-14-2012, 06:45 AM
I also depreciate on my taxes. For hourly cost I figure a replacement cost on a piece of equipment. example a 10k mower last 5 years and has a trade in value of 2k. Your replacement cost is 8k and 1600 per year.

Technically, this is incorrect. The cost is 100%. The amount of money you get back when you sell the mower is figured as income and is called recovery.

I also determine my pay differently than you do. I pay myself the same as I would pay a foreman to do my job. About $12 to $14 an hour. Add on around 50% for the costs associated with having a foreman like taxes, insurance and workers comp. The additional money that I actually earn is shown as company profit.

That's just how I do it and it may be wrong.

Duekster
04-14-2012, 08:54 AM
Technically, this is incorrect. The cost is 100%. The amount of money you get back when you sell the mower is figured as income and is called recovery.

I also determine my pay differently than you do. I pay myself the same as I would pay a foreman to do my job. About $12 to $14 an hour. Add on around 50% for the costs associated with having a foreman like taxes, insurance and workers comp. The additional money that I actually earn is shown as company profit.

That's just how I do it and it may be wrong.

If you work and are billable time, that is how you do it in my book too.
You also have to account for the time not spent in the field as OH not profit.

Weekend cut easymoney
04-18-2012, 07:25 PM
looks nice but I hate trimmed up sage. They are great plants but do not really fit on to a traditional landscape. Often over watered and trimmed. Just me...

Everyone has their own idea about what they like things to look like--generally two types--hedged up or more natural looking (as if it actually occured in nature)
...When I get onto a property, I ask them what they would like to see things look like...the previous guy got fired becasue it looked as though the plants were not being trimmed....???
-I got tired long ago telling people what things should look like...I give them options and tell them how I do my own...then do what they want...there are too many other battles in large property HOA managment-

Weekend cut easymoney
04-18-2012, 07:27 PM
Actually in most cases, I'd agree about sage...too much trimming is a waste...
--When guessing, I'd rather be accused of doing too much work rather than being called lazy-thats what some people think-

THEGOLDPRO
04-18-2012, 07:40 PM
Wait you guys charge money to mow??? I usually just get paid in beer and pizza.

Weekend cut easymoney
04-18-2012, 07:53 PM
We work for the exercise and the money is just kinda like a tip

Champion-Lawn
04-20-2012, 02:22 AM
Guessing on commercial... yikes.

There are so many unforeseen cost and variables associated with bidding large commercial properties that a spreadsheet where you can keep track of everything from hourly equipment cost, fuel cost, production numbers, fert pricing, overhead, mulching rate, pruning and on and on and on.

Knowing your hourly rate is great, but not always good enough bidding large jobs. Unless you are spot on with your production rates for items similar to those mentioned above and you measure the crap out of everything. Measuring, Knowing your production rate, & Knowing Hourly rate is a step in the right direction.

Do yourself a favor and put together a spreadsheet to account for all your cost when bidding large commercial complexes. It is not very difficult to lose your shirt on a 30k job, just one seasonal mulching number being wrong could kill your profit.

herler
04-20-2012, 08:56 AM
Forget all the estimating if that equipment sits in the shed how much do you make. To get into the biddiing you need to be around $30/hr.

I like the way you think.

We work for the exercise and the money is just kinda like a tip

That seems to work as well.

dhardin53
04-20-2012, 11:45 AM
This is a old and quite a popular question asked here. There are hundreds of way to figure cost and expenses. And several hundred way to run your own personal business. BUT having just finished my 2011 taxes and years end reports. And looking forward on what I need to do be more efficient and know how to bid work. One needs to know where you have been to know where you are going.

Take all the clutter out of you day, don't look (for now) at the time it takes to load up in the morning, gas up, have lunch, get parts, get payed, go to the bank, insurance cost ext.. When asking the question of how much to bid ask yours self one question. "How long was I on the ground mowing, trimming and blowing each customer"? That is trailer stopped to trailer loaded. This time should be in actually worked minutes. Do not account for talking to the customer, charting with the neighbor. These are all need at times, But in a completely perfect day of un-interrupted mowing just how many minutes did it take for you to mow said accounts that generated X amount of dollars. PERIOD

If you know this number good for you, your on the ball. If you don't have a clue of this real number your probably doing ok but your missing the boat. You over thinking the business and always fighting to save time and money and driving yourself crazy.

My point is CODB is some what constant. BUT for biding purposes there is no way to calculate (without going crazy) the expenses that are going to be there if you GET THE JOB your biding or NOT get the JOB.

In short if your a one man operation or dealing with several crews. How to figure any new account come down to one thing. Last year I/we averaged $1.25 a minutes of mowing time.

In the eyes of the customer this is what he/she is looking at, Nothing else. So this is where you should be working from.
If you have the right equipment for the job, good efficient work habits, well maintained equipment. Will determine if your income per minutes need will ever get larger commercial accounts.

A over exaggeration of my point is LCO 1.) has 3 guys pushing 21" mower to mow this $100 account. LCO 2.) has a 60' ZTR to mow the same $100 account.

LCO 1 could say they making good money for this 2 hour job. (Cost per Minute = $1.20)
LCO 2 many times will say I can't make any money on this 1 hour job. (Cost per minute = $1.66)

grassmasterswilson
04-20-2012, 05:45 PM
This is a old and quite a popular question asked here. There are hundreds of way to figure cost and expenses. And several hundred way to run your own personal business. BUT having just finished my 2011 taxes and years end reports. And looking forward on what I need to do be more efficient and know how to bid work. One needs to know where you have been to know where you are going.

Take all the clutter out of you day, don't look (for now) at the time it takes to load up in the morning, gas up, have lunch, get parts, get payed, go to the bank, insurance cost ext.. When asking the question of how much to bid ask yours self one question. "How long was I on the ground mowing, trimming and blowing each customer"? That is trailer stopped to trailer loaded. This time should be in actually worked minutes. Do not account for talking to the customer, charting with the neighbor. These are all need at times, But in a completely perfect day of un-interrupted mowing just how many minutes did it take for you to mow said accounts that generated X amount of dollars. PERIOD

If you know this number good for you, your on the ball. If you don't have a clue of this real number your probably doing ok but your missing the boat. You over thinking the business and always fighting to save time and money and driving yourself crazy.

My point is CODB is some what constant. BUT for biding purposes there is no way to calculate (without going crazy) the expenses that are going to be there if you GET THE JOB your biding or NOT get the JOB.

In short if your a one man operation or dealing with several crews. How to figure any new account come down to one thing. Last year I/we averaged $1.25 a minutes of mowing time.

In the eyes of the customer this is what he/she is looking at, Nothing else. So this is where you should be working from.
If you have the right equipment for the job, good efficient work habits, well maintained equipment. Will determine if your income per minutes need will ever get larger commercial accounts.

A over exaggeration of my point is LCO 1.) has 3 guys pushing 21" mower to mow this $100 account. LCO 2.) has a 60' ZTR to mow the same $100 account.

LCO 1 could say they making good money for this 2 hour job. (Cost per Minute = $1.20)
LCO 2 many times will say I can't make any money on this 1 hour job. (Cost per minute = $1.66)

Nice work. I did this earlier in the year an kept up with time on the property, miles on the truck, gas in equipment, hours on the mower, and time from hook up in morning to drop off in the evening. Really gave me a view of where my time is. Eye opening how few mowing hours there was vs. trimming/blowing.

Since te majority of my business is residential(and I have a great grasp on pricing this). I was hoping to transfer my numbers to a price per sq ft, 1000 sq st, or acre to help bid large jobs.

I know how to do the work, have the man power to do it , but just can't get a grasp on how long it will take to do a 5 or 9 acre commercial place.
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Duekster
04-21-2012, 07:37 AM
Nice work. I did this earlier in the year an kept up with time on the property, miles on the truck, gas in equipment, hours on the mower, and time from hook up in morning to drop off in the evening. Really gave me a view of where my time is. Eye opening how few mowing hours there was vs. trimming/blowing.

Since te majority of my business is residential(and I have a great grasp on pricing this). I was hoping to transfer my numbers to a price per sq ft, 1000 sq st, or acre to help bid large jobs.

I know how to do the work, have the man power to do it , but just can't get a grasp on how long it will take to do a 5 or 9 acre commercial place.
Posted via Mobile Device

Again this depends on the lay of the land as that will impact production.
Most people will tell you production is what matters cause it should not change and the cost / MH will

The bigger mowers are more productive but cost more.

You can have 10 guys with a shovel or 1 track loader and operator. You can not bill for either if they are sitting. The payment on the equipment comes no matter what, you may be able to send the guys home but can you find them when you do have work?

Larger EQ will help you but do not run out and buy too much.

You will rarely get full production out of a mower, the ride is too rough unless you are mowing athletic fields. We have curbs, trees, hills and such.

Lot of times people will run two guys with a line trimmer and one mower then they cycle over to blowing as they finish. So on a 3 or 4 man crew you may have 1 36" mower, 1 48 to 60 inch mower and 3 line trimmer and 3 blowers.

Most commerical accounts will have areas where the 36 and larger mower can be used do a 4 man crew or is not out of the question. Most people do not go much bigger because one always seems to get lost. :waving:

I would never go bigger than 3 on a typical residential unless one of them is passing out flyers.

jrs.landscaping
04-21-2012, 04:40 PM
Again this depends on the lay of the land as that will impact production.
Most people will tell you production is what matters cause it should not change and the cost / MH will

The bigger mowers are more productive but cost more.

You can have 10 guys with a shovel or 1 track loader and operator. You can not bill for either if they are sitting. The payment on the equipment comes no matter what, you may be able to send the guys home but can you find them when you do have work?

Larger EQ will help you but do not run out and buy too much.

You will rarely get full production out of a mower, the ride is too rough unless you are mowing athletic fields. We have curbs, trees, hills and such.

Lot of times people will run two guys with a line trimmer and one mower then they cycle over to blowing as they finish. So on a 3 or 4 man crew you may have 1 36" mower, 1 48 to 60 inch mower and 3 line trimmer and 3 blowers.

Most commerical accounts will have areas where the 36 and larger mower can be used do a 4 man crew or is not out of the question. Most people do not go much bigger because one always seems to get lost. :waving:

I would never go bigger than 3 on a typical residential unless one of them is passing out flyers.

Well said....

Duekster
04-23-2012, 08:53 AM
Honestly, I would love to do just residential work. Tons of small accounts and plenty of extra work. Less risk of one client making or breaking you. The problem is the cash flow dries up for 3 to 4 months before peaking again in the spring.

You need some commerical accounts. If they are full service, mowing, trimming hedges, weeding beds, mulch and so forth then you likely have to go lower $/MH than comfortable but workable.

You get some work and cash flow in the off-season. Your Employees get paid something year round even if it is a slow week/month.

I have run numbers backwards and forwards several times. I likely have more detail than some and less than others.

I also look at Resi as a 9 month season and commercial as a 12 month season.
The lenght of the season ( hours) and number of guys on the crew impacts your billable rates.

My shop rent, cell phones, truck and equipment payments come every month.
We do not do snow down here either.

Yes, I do want to get some more residentials where we offer full services. I also want more commerical accounts :laugh:

dhardin53
04-23-2012, 11:36 AM
On estimating time allowed for large accounts say over 3 acre, I have 3 of them. When estimating any property, walk out on the the lawn till you can in-vision 1 acer with a moderate amount of trimming. Then in-vision walking the need trimming for that one portion you have stepped off. Try to in-vision one hour blocks of time. All lawns are different so each group you sections off will be some what larger and some small when you guesstimating trim time and mowing around the obstacles.

Remember approximately 200' x 200' is one acre. count the number of obstacle you have to mow and trim around in that one acre. Some where around 30 sec to 60 sec per obstacle depending on how far they are space and size. Know what your mower will do on one acer if it was flat a clear. Add 30 sec to each obstacle you have to slow down for when riding. This is not a exact science but should get you in the ball park.

The per minute rate I talked about and I use is different on some Jobs. I call them bad jobs, I probably bid it to cheap or there are just some yards that are going to be crap jobs that you can not get the money it needs. "Not all yards are created equal" just are a few yards that are a peace of cake jobs. Or easy money work. (wish I had more like this one). All in all it should average out, as you get more experience the closer to a consistent income per minute will be.