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View Full Version : What would you guys charge? (2 Jobs)


Deebo53
04-04-2012, 11:08 AM
***All these jobs will have 4 Laborers at $10 an hour

This is our first year in business so we are just trying to line up as many jobs as possible to get the learning experience down. We low balled ourselves quite a bit on our first job. I don't want to overcharge anyone, but I also do want to make a profit.

1st Job is a fresh landscape job, everything from scratch (no dumping)
(Drawn Picture)

-43 Boxwood Shrubs at $25 per shrub = $1075
-2 Japanese Red Maple Trees at $120 per tree = $240
-7 Yards of Red Mulch at $30 per yard (Also installing weed preventing tarp separate expense $20 per 120ft) = $250
- Soil for trees (not sure on price yet) = $40 ??
-Labor (8 Hours 4 Employees) = $320
-Gas = $30

Cost = $1955

The total I came up for Job #1 is as follows
-43 Boxwood shrubs at $56 = $2408
-2 Japanese Red Maple Trees = $600
-7 Yards Red Mulch = 400
-Soil = $80

Rough Estimate = $3488 (Is there anything you would do differently?)

2nd Job (Close friend, don't want to charge him too much at all)

This job is the one with the pictures...

-There are 16 Trees like this that need mulch ($30 per yard) and 1 more replanted (dont know cost of tree im guessing around $150-200)

-There are 6 Shrub Beds on the property which needs to be mulched as well

-He also wants some Perennials on a bed by his signs i'd say about 10 Flowers.

Questions: How many yards of mulch do you think would be needed?? (I dont know dimensions but i was thinking around 10-12 yards)

How long do you think this job would take with 4 employees? (job is a 30 min drive each way)

How much would you guys charge, again this is a close friend and I dont want to over charge him but I don't want to lose money or break out even?

Thanks for reading my novel guys lol I really do appreciate it

Florida Gardener
04-04-2012, 11:40 AM
Labor on first job needs to be adjusted big time. That is $10 per MH. You need to be at at least $30 per MH on landscape work.
Posted via Mobile Device

Deebo53
04-04-2012, 12:07 PM
Labor on first job needs to be adjusted big time. That is $10 per MH. You need to be at at least $30 per MH on landscape work.
Posted via Mobile Device

So you're saying to charge $960 for labor?? Do you usually put labor on your estimate printouts?? $960 for labor just seems like too much to me, especially for someone who is new to the industry and just trying to land some jobs. Did you always charge $30 per MH on all of your work?

Get Some...
04-04-2012, 12:17 PM
:dizzy:
:dizzy:
:dizzy:

Deebo53
04-04-2012, 01:02 PM
:dizzy:
:dizzy:
:dizzy:

Thats how i feel too :/

Florida Gardener
04-04-2012, 01:18 PM
So you're saying to charge $960 for labor?? Do you usually put labor on your estimate printouts?? $960 for labor just seems like too much to me, especially for someone who is new to the industry and just trying to land some jobs. Did you always charge $30 per MH on all of your work?
Yes, I itemize everything. No I didn't charge those rates when I first started, but that was bc nobody helped me along. Let me ask you this, if you are paying your help $10/hour and you are billing them at $10, your breaking even, right? Do you feel that you should be making money on your labor?
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Deebo53
04-04-2012, 01:21 PM
Yes, I itemize everything. No I didn't charge those rates when I first started, but that was bc nobody helped me along. Let me ask you this, if you are paying your help $10/hour and you are billing them at $10, your breaking even, right? Do you feel that you should be making money on your labor?
Posted via Mobile Device

My question was if i should put labor on my estimate and bill to the customer. The way i did it was just added prices to the other items such as the mulch and schrubs do get to the 3488 total. Do you put labor on your invoices and estimates??

punt66
04-04-2012, 01:27 PM
Line item materials (mark them up)
Line item labor (mark it up)
Line item expenses (mark them up)

Your in business to make money.

Florida Gardener
04-04-2012, 01:53 PM
My question was if i should put labor on my estimate and bill to the customer. The way i did it was just added prices to the other items such as the mulch and schrubs do get to the 3488 total. Do you put labor on your invoices and estimates??
Yes, everything is itemized. Basically what punt said in general is the way to go. NEVER give the customer the wholesale price of plants or mulch, and always mark up labor. I'm at $35/MH. Thats on the higher end in my area.
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Deebo53
04-04-2012, 02:00 PM
Yes, everything is itemized. Basically what punt said in general is the way to go. NEVER give the customer the wholesale price of plants or mulch, and always mark up labor. I'm at $35/MH. Thats on the higher end in my area.
Posted via Mobile Device

Thanks a lot man. I just want to make sure I get the jobs. I know I might lowball a little right now, but ill take that 1500 profit over losing the job just the first year. I think once i get a little more credibility under my belt ill up it a little bit.

Florida Gardener
04-04-2012, 02:02 PM
Thanks a lot man. I just want to make sure I get the jobs. I know I might lowball a little right now, but ill take that 1500 profit over losing the job just the first year. I think once i get a little more credibility under my belt ill up it a little bit.

With all due respect, I don't agree with that mindset. If you want to lower the markup on labor a little, do that. Don't bill out exactly what you are paying. Your in this to make money.
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Deebo53
04-04-2012, 02:16 PM
With all due respect, I don't agree with that mindset. If you want to lower the markup on labor a little, do that. Don't bill out exactly what you are paying. Your in this to make money.
Posted via Mobile Device

What exactly do u mean? I did charge a little over 2 times on my shrubs and trees. I know with most companies its 3 times. I didn't charge much for mulch or man hours but i will come out with a good amount of profit. Nothing was at cost except for the man hours.

Florida Gardener
04-04-2012, 02:20 PM
What exactly do u mean? I did charge a little over 2 times on my shrubs and trees. I know with most companies its 3 times. I didn't charge much for mulch or man hours but i will come out with a good amount of profit. Nothing was at cost except for the man hours.

I just meant for the labor....Remember, unless you are paying the help cash, $10/hour costs you more if you are paying on the books.

Deebo53
04-04-2012, 02:54 PM
I just meant for the labor....Remember, unless you are paying the help cash, $10/hour costs you more if you are paying on the books.

That is very true. Thanks for the advice, ill take it under consideration.

Fine Gardens Landscaping
04-04-2012, 03:13 PM
I just meant for the labor....Remember, unless you are paying the help cash, $10/hour costs you more if you are paying on the books.

Same thing holds true to a smaller degree even if you are paying them cash which I assume you are or you'd never write in your initial post that your labor cost is the same amount you pay the guys.

You'd still have these expenses if you are paying the guys cash so you should factor this stuff in.
1) You are hopefully going to be paying your guys travel time and paid breaks
2) You are going to be taxed on the money you pay to them with out being able to write off the labor.
3) You'd be breaking the law and would therefore have increased exposure. You should not take that risk without receiving some compensation at least for the risk.
4) Don't forget your time, you should be compensated for time you spend on the job including project design, buying materials, supervision and execution of project, ect.

If you want to get jobs based on lowest pricing you can just go a little lower than the competition, you probability shouldn't give it away.

Also, I recommend giving a quote for the job and describe everything the job entails but you don't have to put what you are charging for labor and materials. The simpler you can make the estimate the better, if you start putting too much details you open yourself up to more potential questions about the bid. If you put 8 hours labor on something, maybe the homeowner might time you on it, who knows. Just put a lump sum price. Only time you need to break it down if someone wants a T&M quote.

Florida Gardener
04-04-2012, 03:48 PM
Same thing holds true to a smaller degree even if you are paying them cash which I assume you are or you'd never write in your initial post that your labor cost is the same amount you pay the guys.

You'd still have these expenses if you are paying the guys cash so you should factor this stuff in.
1) You are hopefully going to be paying your guys travel time and paid breaks
2) You are going to be taxed on the money you pay to them with out being able to write off the labor.
3) You'd be breaking the law and would therefore have increased exposure. You should not take that risk without receiving some compensation at least for the risk.
4) Don't forget your time, you should be compensated for time you spend on the job including project design, buying materials, supervision and execution of project, ect.

If you want to get jobs based on lowest pricing you can just go a little lower than the competition, you probability shouldn't give it away.

Also, I recommend giving a quote for the job and describe everything the job entails but you don't have to put what you are charging for labor and materials. The simpler you can make the estimate the better, if you start putting too much details you open yourself up to more potential questions about the bid. If you put 8 hours labor on something, maybe the homeowner might time you on it, who knows. Just put a lump sum price. Only time you need to break it down if someone wants a T&M quote.

I put that bc he is new and I doubt ge has regular employees so I assumed he would be using temps for the work and paying cash. You never use guys for day jobs that aren't on your payroll? Everything else you said I agree with.
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Fine Gardens Landscaping
04-04-2012, 03:54 PM
I wasn't condemning the practice using guys who are not on the payroll, especially when a person is just getting started. I was just pointing out the real costs of doing so. If he charges the customer the same amount he pays his guys he is actually losing money for the reasons I mentioned in my earlier post. I was trying to point out that he should factor in those other cost factors and use that to determine how much his labor is actually costing.

Florida Gardener
04-04-2012, 03:55 PM
I wasn't condemning the practice using guys who are not on the payroll, especially when a person is just getting started. I was just pointing out the real costs of doing so. If he charges the customer the same amount he pays his guys he is actually losing money for the reasons I mentioned in my earlier post. I was trying to point out that he should factor in those other cost factors and use that to determine how much his labor is actually costing.
Right, right I agree with that and eluded to that. You expanded on it. Great points.
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GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
04-04-2012, 05:32 PM
I know how you are feeling. We are on our 3rd year (legally), and it is tough thinking that you are charging too much....when you really cant afford to lose the job. Luckily I am now fully comfortable with my estimating, as a matter of fact, I was tested pretty good today on an estimate. The guy wanted rough estimates on the spot for what each landscape/hardscape project was going to cost him. For some I had to tell him that I would get back with him, but for the most part...it felt good to be able to work the prices out in my head/on paper pretty quickly and correctly. It is getting to be second nature now really.
30-35/MHour is pretty much compatible with our area, to charge for yourself/owners. But if we have someone working with us that day, we only charge 20- 25 for them depending on the customer type.
you can get alot done in an hour, and I always remind the customers that, if we need to charge hourly. I rarely do, because they then stand around watching you if you take a quick drink break!

andersman02
04-05-2012, 12:58 AM
without getting into much detail you have WAY underpriced yourself IMO

10/mh is way low, need to factor in taxes plus markup, were usually at 30-50$mh
were is your fixed overhead? variable overhead? contingency? ect ect.

a little tidbit one of my teachers taught me.... about 66% design/build firms go out of business in the first 3 years because of low balling and now knowing there expenses

A quick and easy way to see if your in the ball park is Cost of goods soldx mark-up (anywhere from 50-150% depending on product) Then muliply that number by .2-.7 ish depending on how efficient your workers are to get the labor price (the more efficient the lower). This will give you a BALLPARK estimate

So say your COGS is $1635
1635x2= 3270= cost to costumer
3270x .3=981= labor cost
total= 4251

quick and easy to see if your in the right area.

QTM
04-05-2012, 03:28 AM
One of the guys who is showing me along as i start my company, he charges $60.00 per man hour and average pay to employess is 10-15. So yes mark up on everthing thats where the money is made.

Im at the same place i always feel like im charging to high, and want to low ball the hell out of my self. Till i am actually doing the work and i think back to myself as im holding the sholve in 100 degree heat! WHY in the hell did i lower my price. lol I think 30-35 per man hr is a good place to start.

Fine Gardens Landscaping
04-05-2012, 11:24 AM
without getting into much detail you have WAY underpriced yourself IMO

10/mh is way low, need to factor in taxes plus markup, were usually at 30-50$mh
were is your fixed overhead? variable overhead? contingency? ect ect.

a little tidbit one of my teachers taught me.... about 66% design/build firms go out of business in the first 3 years because of low balling and now knowing there expenses

A quick and easy way to see if your in the ball park is Cost of goods soldx mark-up (anywhere from 50-150% depending on product) Then muliply that number by .2-.7 ish depending on how efficient your workers are to get the labor price (the more efficient the lower). This will give you a BALLPARK estimate

So say your COGS is $1635
1635x2= 3270= cost to costumer
3270x .3=981= labor cost
total= 4251

quick and easy to see if your in the right area.

I'm not familiar with this formula. Where did you get that from?

Lawn132012
04-05-2012, 11:27 AM
I mark up labor but I am happy with the a $1,500 job and of course get referrals.

Offer them a discount on future jobs if any of their referrals pan out. Something like 10% off the following year or 5% for each job you get from them. Do NOT miss out on the extra opportunity. Again price is going to get you on the map just as fast as the quality of the work you do.

andersman02
04-05-2012, 04:02 PM
I'm not familiar with this formula. Where did you get that from?

In one of my landscape design classes they tought us this, its pretty spot on but you need to be carefull using it with things that are more or less labor intensive IE hardscapes vs plantings

zak406
04-05-2012, 07:29 PM
Thanks a lot man. I just want to make sure I get the jobs. I know I might lowball a little right now, but ill take that 1500 profit over losing the job just the first year. I think once i get a little more credibility under my belt ill up it a little bit.

No your credibility under your belt will be your cheap and you work for cheap. Youll never be able to rebound.

Lawn132012
04-09-2012, 11:35 PM
I always use the words first time offer or introductory price. This is a way I can let them know that they were lucky to get this great service at such a good price. Also lets them know that I normally charge more and WILL charge more int he future. I have retained roughly 70% of those clients with the higher price.

YES, this does not always work but at least this gets your name out there in the field and a working truck is a truck making more money then a parked truck. Might not be as much as you are worth but it is better then not making money at all.

Eurosport
04-10-2012, 04:32 PM
a working truck is a truck making more money then a parked truck. Might not be as much as you are worth but it is better then not making money at all.

There is a fine line on this one. If you quote a price too low and problems arise on the job you could very easily be losing money.

Lawn132012
04-10-2012, 05:00 PM
There is a fine line on this one. If you quote a price too low and problems arise on the job you could very easily be losing money.

OH COULD NOT AGREE MORE. I was saying if there was still a profit to be made then go get the job. Yes if you are pricing way to low then save the gas money. I am always priced to sell a little higher as it gives me the wiggle room to play with when I am on board with getting client. I always wiggle when there is already some other client int he area. IF NOT then it kills me to let business go but your have to think LOGISTICS first sometimes.*trucewhiteflag*

bigslick7878
04-11-2012, 09:48 PM
***All these jobs will have 4 Laborers at $10 an hour

This is our first year in business so we are just trying to line up as many jobs as possible to get the learning experience down. We low balled ourselves quite a bit on our first job. I don't want to overcharge anyone, but I also do want to make a profit.

1st Job is a fresh landscape job, everything from scratch (no dumping)
(Drawn Picture)

-43 Boxwood Shrubs at $25 per shrub = $1075
-2 Japanese Red Maple Trees at $120 per tree = $240
-7 Yards of Red Mulch at $30 per yard (Also installing weed preventing tarp separate expense $20 per 120ft) = $250
- Soil for trees (not sure on price yet) = $40 ??
-Labor (8 Hours 4 Employees) = $320
-Gas = $30

Cost = $1955

The total I came up for Job #1 is as follows
-43 Boxwood shrubs at $56 = $2408
-2 Japanese Red Maple Trees = $600
-7 Yards Red Mulch = 400
-Soil = $80

Rough Estimate = $3488 (Is there anything you would do differently?)

2nd Job (Close friend, don't want to charge him too much at all)

This job is the one with the pictures...

-There are 16 Trees like this that need mulch ($30 per yard) and 1 more replanted (dont know cost of tree im guessing around $150-200)

-There are 6 Shrub Beds on the property which needs to be mulched as well

-He also wants some Perennials on a bed by his signs i'd say about 10 Flowers.

Questions: How many yards of mulch do you think would be needed?? (I dont know dimensions but i was thinking around 10-12 yards)

How long do you think this job would take with 4 employees? (job is a 30 min drive each way)

How much would you guys charge, again this is a close friend and I dont want to over charge him but I don't want to lose money or break out even?

Thanks for reading my novel guys lol I really do appreciate it

Anyone see a problem with this?

Brown & Co.
04-12-2012, 01:42 AM
yeah hes got a 300% markup on his shrubs... Id nix this part of the quote as a client.

I used to itemize everything. But thanks to low ballers and a ton of competition the clients now want to mix and match parts of quotes from several local companies...I dont play that game lol.

First I itemize everything and mark it up 150% then I use that total. And Write a project description as if it was the first time I was talking to them in person...very detailed and descriptive. I combined all this into one overall bid.