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View Full Version : How long to clean weeds and debris from 22,000 SF of beds


32vld
05-08-2012, 08:50 PM
A potential customer called me asking how much to clean up his beds. Then maintain them through out the year.

The property has 49,500 SF with a a huge house. About double the foot print of a 3 BR colonial/Hi ranch. Their last guy started to slack off then stopped showing up.

The property has 22,000 SF of beds. Half are not too bad and the other half needs serious cleaning.

No mulch is present, lots of 1"-2" rocks, some branches, some leaves, lots of moss and weeds.

They do not want trimming, edging, or mulch.

I have never done beds on such a large scale. My question is about how long would it take to weed and remove debris?

Then once cleaned up how much time would be needed to do a weekly maintenance service to keep the beds nice?

KrayzKajun
05-08-2012, 09:01 PM
Solo= a long time

cpllawncare
05-08-2012, 09:17 PM
I wouldn't take that on by myself,you'll regret it

easy-lift guy
05-08-2012, 09:22 PM
Really, there are some jobs better left alone. This is one of them. Call them back or see them in person and excuse yourself from the bid.
easy-lift guy

32vld
05-08-2012, 09:30 PM
I plan on doing it with 4 people including myself.

Then having one person do weekly maintenance after all the intial clean up work is done.

Not sure how much I can charge for the intial clean up.

Not sure how many man hours would be needed to do intial clean up.

Not sure how many hours a week would be needed to maintain beds after initial clean up.

grandview (2006)
05-08-2012, 09:33 PM
Since your in the Hampton"s, charge at least a 100 an hr.

cpllawncare
05-08-2012, 09:38 PM
If I'm in doubt I estimate a bit high it's just learning from experience and it takes time but start high then back off as you learn and are able to get more accurate with your bids, you'll learn quickly trust me I am,LOL for example if I think it will take half a day I bid for a whole day, better that way than the opposite way IMOP.

32vld
05-08-2012, 09:39 PM
Shinnecock Canal is 40 min East of me.This customer is just North of NY 25A.

Florida Gardener
05-08-2012, 09:40 PM
I plan on doing it with 4 people including myself.

Then having one person do weekly maintenance after all the intial clean up work is done.

Not sure how much I can charge for the intial clean up.

Not sure how many man hours would be needed to do intial clean up.

Not sure how many hours a week would be needed to maintain beds after initial clean up.
Can you post some pics? I would def try and get both jobs. Not sure why anyone would pass on these. The initial cleanup sounds like it would be a good chunk of change as well as the weekly maintenance.
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Florida Gardener
05-08-2012, 09:41 PM
Since your in the Hampton"s, charge at least a 100 an hr.

I don't agree with that philosophy. So people that have more money should pay more bc of that? I charge everyone the same. I don't give breaks to people that have less money.
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easy-lift guy
05-08-2012, 09:57 PM
I plan on doing it with 4 people including myself.

Then having one person do weekly maintenance after all the intial clean up work is done.

Not sure how much I can charge for the intial clean up.
Not sure how many man hours would be needed to do intial clean up.

Not sure how many hours a week would be needed to maintain beds after initial clean up.

You have decide that you still want this headache, I am not sure if your just to young and inexperienced or you really want to be a slave for this account?. Sight unseen based on your description of the beds I would plan on 100 to 150 hours to restore it to a manageable point. During the growing season one man 8 to 12 hours a day per week. Even than at a labor rate of say $50.00 per hour you will be losing money hand over


fist. Even if you got the bid to do the clean up and did the job well, I bet you would not get the maintenance gig since the person that contacted you is fishing for the lowest price and more than likely could care less


who maintains the grounds after the clean up. Your move if your willing to play this game.

easy-lift guy
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kgflyboy
05-08-2012, 10:08 PM
I don't agree with that philosophy. So people that have more money should pay more bc of that? I charge everyone the same. I don't give breaks to people that have less money.
Posted via Mobile Device

Really? I charge what the market will bare. No more and no less. The more expendable income people have, the more prices increase. It's like that with most goods and services, not just the lawn industry. Lawn companies can charge more in an affluent suburb than in an urban neighborhood. Simple economics. I don't think he was suggesting a person's income should determine the price. I could be wrong, but I think he meant different regions can support different prices.

Get Some...
05-08-2012, 10:47 PM
Tell em $275.00 an hour for four workers, and it may take a while.

I wonder why the former landscape person just stopped showing up?

grandview (2006)
05-09-2012, 04:44 AM
Weed pulling sucks azz,I will charge a lot more to do it. On that side of the the State you can charge a lot more as oppose to my side of the state.

BrendonTW
05-18-2012, 10:10 PM
If you do it all by pulling it by hand, it will be very very expensive. Maintenance will be expensive for them too. I would tackle that by selling the customer on the price and effectiveness of cutting it all down to 1-3 inches and raking it up, and then spraying it heavily with roundup and preemergent, and then mulch it. This will be the most effective method by far. Also the least expensive.
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charmill26
05-18-2012, 11:13 PM
without much info on the customer they sound like a PITA. they let it get to this point before calling someone. and they dont want mulch? Im not opposed to no mulch at all but with that much space they are going to be paying up the ass on a weekly basis to keep it clean

Roachy
05-19-2012, 12:08 AM
You could probably just blow all the leaves and get the branches out and then come through and spray the weeds down. I would probably just spray them down real good about a week before mulching, then weed wack them down when theyre all brown and mulch.

easy-lift guy
05-19-2012, 07:03 AM
You could probably just blow all the leaves and get the branches out and then come through and spray the weeds down. I would probably just spray them down real good about a week before mulching, then weed wack them down when theyre all brown and mulch.

Try reading the very first post for this thread. The customer does not want any mulch:hammerhead:.
easy-lift guy

Duekster
05-19-2012, 07:29 AM
Again, one of those deals you give them a price per Man Hour. Give them a ball park and say let me do it and bill you. If your ball park is out of whack, you can expect to eat some of it.

I have lawns, home owners like this. We mow and then bill the by the man hour for trimming, beds, pond mowing, leaf clean up.

We just started with them last fall. So far it is working out well.


I find a lot of times, people and the other company fall apart because the first guy under bid the job. Rather than raise prices, they start cutting corners.

On this particular account, my mowing rates is about 40% higher than what they were paying. They had a little sticker shock at first but I sold them and now they are happy with the quality of work and the price.

Duekster
05-19-2012, 07:35 AM
I don't agree with that philosophy. So people that have more money should pay more bc of that? I charge everyone the same. I don't give breaks to people that have less money.
Posted via Mobile Device

I am not sure I would charge much more per hour but I will figure in more time for details. Homeowners on that scale are going to expect more and they should expect to pay more.

Yes, sometimes I will do "extra" work for otherwise good customers for a less profit.

Florida Gardener
05-19-2012, 11:31 AM
I am not sure I would charge much more per hour but I will figure in more time for details. Homeowners on that scale are going to expect more and they should expect to pay more.

Yes, sometimes I will do "extra" work for otherwise good customers for a less profit.
What I am saying is your bidding the exact same job for 2 people. One of them is middle income and one is wealthy, why should the wealthy customer pay more? They shouldn't. If there is more work involved, sure.
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Duekster
05-19-2012, 11:56 AM
What I am saying is your bidding the exact same job for 2 people. One of them is middle income and one is wealthy, why should the wealthy customer pay more? They shouldn't. If there is more work involved, sure.
Posted via Mobile Device

All things being equal, set an hourly rate and live with it regardless of the client. :drinkup: I agree.

Bid work / estimates I consider my relationship with said client or my impression of the client. There is a ding dong factor to consider. How much time you have to spend holding the clients hand, doing little things not really discussed and such.

I was bidding a job and the client said wait the price keeps going up. I said to be fair you keep adding to the job. Some try to do that after tha fact and hold payment hostage. I often can get a feel for this. On these high end clients, they will do it more so than the regular Joe.

I have also bid something straight but then added a contengency. The client will ask what this is for... I say for items that might be needed that we have not discussed. That helps tie them down.

I still get caught with the "mis-understanding" from time to time.

32vld
05-20-2012, 06:54 AM
Well I called the guy gave him the mow and fert price but said never had to bid 22,000 sf of bed to be weeded and needed time to get with an estimate that would be fair to the both of us. He reacted with that would be ok.

A few days later I called back ready to give a quote. Machine answered and he never returned my call.

Property had cheap written all over it. Huge house but cheap quality fence. Paver walk way to front door but wood front steps to small deck/porch in need of paint bad. Rear deck had poor appearance. Paver patio around in ground pool that was set with sand that had pavers pulling up out of the ground because the pool cover tie down points was set into them. The tension and weight of the cover was pulling the pavers out of place.

Customer did own maintenance, mowed and fert his own lawn and it was thin, weak, with to many weeds. Tons of prunning was needed as well.

Well the good thing is I am now ready to bid the next job of this size.

And to better read Red Flags when I pull up to a property. Owner claimed the last guy kind of stop coming. I can see why the last guy probably quit the job after realizing that he bid the job to low.

Also this home owner probably plays the game of let me find a lowballer, or someone desparate for more custiomers, or honest guy not experienced enough to charge enough.

Better to lose the job then get it and lose your shirt.

Duekster
05-20-2012, 09:29 AM
Well I called the guy gave him the mow and fert price but said never had to bid 22,000 sf of bed to be weeded and needed time to get with an estimate that would be fair to the both of us. He reacted with that would be ok.

A few days later I called back ready to give a quote. Machine answered and he never returned my call.

Property had cheap written all over it. Huge house but cheap quality fence. Paver walk way to front door but wood front steps to small deck/porch in need of paint bad. Rear deck had poor appearance. Paver patio around in ground pool that was set with sand that had pavers pulling up out of the ground because the pool cover tie down points was set into them. The tension and weight of the cover was pulling the pavers out of place.

Customer did own maintenance, mowed and fert his own lawn and it was thin, weak, with to many weeds. Tons of prunning was needed as well.

Well the good thing is I am now ready to bid the next job of this size.

And to better read Red Flags when I pull up to a property. Owner claimed the last guy kind of stop coming. I can see why the last guy probably quit the job after realizing that he bid the job to low.

Also this home owner probably plays the game of let me find a lowballer, or someone desparate for more custiomers, or honest guy not experienced enough to charge enough.

Better to lose the job then get it and lose your shirt.

On something like this, I get deposits too.

People quit coming for 3 reasons.

One it is a kid that decides his broken down equipment cost too much to replace and too hot anyway.

Two is the low baller found out he was losing money

Three the dead beat client did not pay.


On the otherhand, I show up at houses that need work, and the client can not find someone because they all assume the guy is a dead beat. There are a lot of reasons people get behind on maintenance and will pay over time to get it cleaned up. In this case, I tell them lets start working on the basics, get going then do a little clean up over time.