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View Full Version : dilema w a mulch job- HELP!!!!


LawnPatrolNY
07-12-2012, 08:20 PM
hey everyone, thanks for reading and helping in advance. i have been reading posts for weeks now and finally signed up for an account on here. you guys are great!! so this being my first post i have a dilema. GO EASY ON ME PLEASE

I took on my first mulch job and shrub trim, and i think i quoted way to low after reading what people charge. i quoted "about $200 plus materials", but also told him depends on how long it takes to clear the beds and how many hrs i put in ... so after clearing the beds and putting in about 5 hours of prep work i layed 2 yards of mulch. totaling about 6 hrs of work.

i had my helper @ $10/per hr, cut the shrubs took him about 5 hrs to do that and clean it up (yea i wasnt to happy bout that)

during this time the client also added on to clean up the side of the house that had old logs that were deteriorating and causing a mess, and also mentioned 1 more shrub to be trimmed (about 45 mins of work)

so basically i quoted to low, but like i said i did tell him "depends on how many hrs i put in", so my question is what do i tell this guy, i do have a weekly mow service w him as well, and i dont want him to think that im trying to scam him, and lose his business all together, but i really just thought it wouldnt take me as long as it did. after reading some people and what they charge , its seems like i should have charged about 500 plus material... i dont think i could go and tell this guy that he owes me like $600 now , so what do you think the fairest way to go about this is and what should i charge .

ive also noticed that people haev put comments about typing or spelling, well guess what im typing on the computer and this isnt a proper document so there will be errors and u will just have to deal w it . thanks

Mahoney3223
07-12-2012, 08:28 PM
Suck it up. You bid it. Take your lumps and move on. Welcome to BUSINESS

Dr.NewEarth
07-12-2012, 08:36 PM
It's a learning experience.

I figure my employees are always going to do things slower than I do, so I estimate accordingly.

jsslawncare
07-12-2012, 08:38 PM
He didn't hear "It depend's on how long it take's me" all he heard was $200+ material's. Charge him what you said and move on. Just remember the next time you bid.

dose0018
07-12-2012, 08:44 PM
First off, Are you ready for the flames?
I am going to make a comment on your spelling and grammar. It indicates that you may well be a younger man. Me and others are going to wonder how old are you?

Not that age relates to price, but being an LLC, or incorporated and carrying the proper insurances does. If you are not properly licences and insured for your area, IE. you would describe your job as on the side or you are going to school then you will not and can not charge what legitimate businesses charge. So be careful about comparing your prices to what people read here.

Well, I think there is a lot for saying you live ya learn, you can up charge a bit for the additional work that he asked you to do but you cant raise to the prices you were talking about. You bid it... your problem.

Anyway, lets hear what you end up doing. Also, if you are not paying insurance or taxes (working as a teen or kid on the side of school) you did not lose your ass. You will get better than 200 (am hoping in addition to materials) and you paid out 60 so your fine. If you are running a proper business you lost your ass on this job and bid the next one better.

Well, sincerely best of luck I like seeing people out there hustling especially young people (remember I am assuming from writing style).

KrayzKajun
07-12-2012, 09:04 PM
Welcome to the Game!!!
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C Jovingo Landscaping
07-12-2012, 09:06 PM
Agree with a everyone above. The money you left on the table was the price of the learning expeirience. If you are gonna use a helper don't estimate how long it takes you to do something like DR.NewEarth stated. By the sound of your post, I'm gonna say you are under 18. "Depends on how long it takes me" sounds like something a kid would say. Bid a job with full price, not labor + materials. Again labor plus material sounds like kid bid. If you bid a job & don't know the cost of materials take notes at property, then tell client you will get back to them with a bid after you price materials. If you are under 18, you were probably hired because kids r cheaper than a real LCO. You can't price jobs by what you see on here. You have to know your overhead costs. A large LCO has more overhead so their bid would be hire per man hour than yours. Good Luck on future jobs!
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C Jovingo Landscaping
07-12-2012, 09:25 PM
First off, Are you ready for the flames?
I am going to make a comment on your spelling and grammar. It indicates that you may well be a younger man. Me and others are going to wonder how old are you?

Not that age relates to price, but being an LLC, or incorporated and carrying the proper insurances does. If you are not properly licences and insured for your area, IE. you would describe your job as on the side or you are going to school then you will not and can not charge what legitimate businesses charge. So be careful about comparing your prices to what people read here.

Well, I think there is a lot for saying you live ya learn, you can up charge a bit for the additional work that he asked you to do but you cant raise to the prices you were talking about. You bid it... your problem.

Anyway, lets hear what you end up doing. Also, if you are not paying insurance or taxes (working as a teen or kid on the side of school) you did not lose your ass. You will get better than 200 (am hoping in addition to materials) and you paid out 60 so your fine. If you are running a proper business you lost your ass on this job and bid the next one better.

Well, sincerely best of luck I like seeing people out there hustling especially young people (remember I am assuming from writing style).

You were right abt others wondering age. I started my message before you posted, got side tracked by daughter goin to store, then posted mine & we pretty much said same thing.

OP also the "Deal with it" at end of your post sounds a lil arrogant & again like a kid. If ur askin for help, don't tell us to deal with it. You should have ended with an apology for grammer & spelling mistakes.
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LawnPatrolNY
07-12-2012, 10:25 PM
Thank you to everyone that replied as fast as you did. to address a few questions that everyone had:

Age - 27

Reason for doing - extra $ on the side

License/Insured - no for as i only do a few lawns/jobs on the side, but if it starts to take off then i will change this

"deal w it" - i was just refering to some other ppl on this forum that go crazy about spelling/grammer mistakes - that in the long run DO NOT MATTER, like i said this isnt a professional document that im typing just something quick to get my point across. yea being younger we tend to do things differntly and as we think more efficiently then sitting n holding the shift button down or making sure the camma is in the right spot so thers no run on sentence or making sure that every word is spelled correctly well guess what, people dont read the entire word the brian mainly looks at the first and last letter, its been proven.

anyways thank you for the posts/comments and i had a feeling that alot of ppl would say what u all did about just sucking it up and dealing w it , and i will , sure ill add on for the extras that were added but i said a price and ill stick to it .

i love being outsde and working w my hands, as my day job doesnt allow for that . any other tips/suggestions that ppl have to a newbie would be great.

thanks again for your help

C Jovingo Landscaping
07-12-2012, 10:36 PM
More advice... don't second guess bids! When you figure up a bid & it seems high, don't drop price cuz you think you won't get the job. You will prob regret dropping price once you do the job. Your time estimating skills will get better with the more jobs you do. Anything can happen...check into insurance. Good Luck!
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grandview (2006)
07-12-2012, 10:42 PM
200.00 bucks + material,so I guess the cost of materials went up.

Tizzy
07-12-2012, 11:01 PM
so mulch is about 100 bucks a yard right? ;)

knox gsl
07-12-2012, 11:17 PM
$200 base price, $90 for added work, $45/yard for mulch delivered. Didn't make much but can't expect to if your not running a legit business. You need some new help if it takes 45 minutes to trim one bush even a big one.

LawnPatrolNY
07-13-2012, 06:43 PM
has anyone ever underbid a job and added money onto materials, i mean you do drive to the store and not only spend time,gas,your money upfront to buy it ... is it fair to charge accordingly for this ?

GreenI.A.
07-13-2012, 10:03 PM
.......

Reason for doing - extra $ on the side

License/Insured - no for as i only do a few lawns/jobs on the side, but if it starts to take off then i will change this
........

As far as insurance goes what will you do if you have an accident? Say you accidentally hit a rock with a trimmer or mower and it goes through an expensive sliding glass door window? What about if that rock hits a passing kid in the head? Can you pay his medical bills? What about the law suit that would fallow? And God forbid the rock killed the kid? I've told this story on here many times of an improperly insured hack up here. He got in an auto accident caused by another vehicle, lost control and took out a number of cars in front of a Lexus dealership. The police report noted that he was using his vehicle for business purposes. Because of this the insurer of the vehicle which caused the accident refused to pay, and so did his insurance. The damage to the vehicles at the dealership were far more costly than what his vehicle insurance policy covers anyways. He ended up being sued by the dealers insurance and went to court and lost. Then the IRS and Department of Revenue got involved and an another can of warms were open. In the end he and his wife lost their home, vehicles, and everything else, have a tax bill they will be paying for years and are on probation for tax evasion until the state and Feds are paid back.


has anyone ever underbid a job and added money onto materials, i mean you do drive to the store and not only spend time,gas,your money upfront to buy it ... is it fair to charge accordingly for this ?


Most lagitimate companies do not charge the Custer $200 plus what ever materials cost. You should be able to look at the job and know how many yards of mulch you will need, it's simple math.


As far as your spelling and grammar, there is a nifty little spell check button.
As far as my spelling, I'm on an iPad and my fingers are to fat for the buttons. I apologize in advance if I accidentally missed something

LawnPatrolNY
07-13-2012, 10:41 PM
this part of the post is to greenindustryassociates:

i dont think you read the part that i said "IM JUST STARTING OUT" , and the fact of only having 3 clients as of right now i dont think makes a lot of sense for me to go out and get all the needed paperwork, like i said if it goes good this year and i stick w it next year i will go ahead and do all of those things. right now im using my already owed pickup truck ,my residential 22" push mower my string trimmer and blower, so my cost is very low, basically i just pay for gas, i didnt go out and drop 1000's of $ like people do , im testing the waters to see if this is something i want to do and want to be involved in. i already work 60 hrs a week at an overnight career, and i will not be dropping that either. i understand and respect the fact that people who are in business for lawn care do go out and get the needed paperwork , but for me i think im small enough right now to wait out the paperwork.

as far as bidding $200 plus material... its the 1st job i had to bid on and the guy was looking for a price right there, now i know for future reference to tell the person let me take some measurments and get back to you w a bid or quote... like people said on here.. live n learn if i dont learn from this mistake then theres something wrong .

and i find it funny that i tell ppl first thing that my spelling/grammer isnt good when im just BLOGGING and shooting around ideas/thoughts. but its ok for u to be useing an ipad and have a fat finger and its fine if u make a mistake in spelling/grammer. lol :laugh: .. well guess wut then, dont use an ipad simple as that


as to everyone else who has posted and not been negative to me thank you very much for your time/support/ideas/advice , bc of some of u i now know how to more properly give a quote or not short myself

GreenI.A.
07-13-2012, 11:25 PM
If that's the way you are choosing to start your business, thats up to you. I just hope you as honest with your customers, and that they know the person using equipment on their property is uninsured. I would at least talk to a couple agents and get quotes you may find that insurance is cheaper than you thought. I know when I first switched my truck to commercial registration and insurance I saved about $1,400-1,600 a year. But that all depends on vehicle, driving record, where you live, ect. I think I was quoted around $500 a yr for a 250k/500k general liability policy.

As far as pricing, yes that comes from experience. Get a measuring wheel to start with and do the math out, a yard of mulch will cover about 100 sq feet at about 3" deep. Eventually you will be able to eye ball an area and get an estimate for mulch needed and time for weeding, edging, spreading, etc... As far as time goes, you should be figuring the time it takes to estimate the job, gather materials, drive to and from the site, all into the job time and bill accordingly. The fuel you use for these trips should be figured as a material to.

The reason I don't agree with giving a separate price for labor and materials is that the customer with often try to compare those to another company. But often they are not comparing apples to apples. Often with a newer company charging for materials many customers will not understand why you are charging xx.xx per yard when they can get it delivered for less themselves. Abigail piece of advice I'll give you on this is to sell your product, inform the customer why your mulch is better, and inform why you are a better choice, do you spend more time weeding, cleaning etc? are you cheaper? Being cheaper will work in the short term but may limit how far you can take the company.

LawnPatrolNY
07-13-2012, 11:39 PM
GIA thank you for the input and sorry that we got off to the wrong foot like that. deff have some good advice and i will be looking into insurance for my truck... although i dont think ill save 1400-1600 /yr considering i pay less then that for 2 cars on a policy allready. but anyway like i said if i do decide to stick w this , then i will deff get all the nessesary things that i need , no matter what the cost.

it does make more sense to put all my cost into one and then they can compare apples to apples, lol like i said first quote and did it more on the fly, just didnt seem like it was as much work as i thought it was at first.



bottom line i fudged up on the bid.. ive put the bid in, so im doing the time and work as it sits. im still going to do a great job w it and not skip any corners, thats not who i am .

during this time of being at the job site the owner has already expressed abotu how impressed he is w the work that i do , so i dont see him being a prob w future work around the yard.

C Jovingo Landscaping
07-14-2012, 01:04 PM
GIA thank you for the input and sorry that we got off to the wrong foot like that. deff have some good advice and i will be looking into insurance for my truck... although i dont think ill save 1400-1600 /yr considering i pay less then that for 2 cars on a policy allready. but anyway like i said if i do decide to stick w this , then i will deff get all the nessesary things that i need , no matter what the cost.

it does make more sense to put all my cost into one and then they can compare apples to apples, lol like i said first quote and did it more on the fly, just didnt seem like it was as much work as i thought it was at first.



bottom line i fudged up on the bid.. ive put the bid in, so im doing the time and work as it sits. im still going to do a great job w it and not skip any corners, thats not who i am .

during this time of being at the job site the owner has already expressed abotu how impressed he is w the work that i do , so i dont see him being a prob w future work around the yard.

The customer may think your future bids are high compared to your first. Maybe tell the guy you are not lookin for extra money for the job this year, but this same job if done next year won't be that low cuz you under estimated time. He may offer to give you more money!

My first season I had done a few 3yd or less mulch jobs & bid my first job over 10yds & I under estimated. Bid 12yds & ended up being 16yds. So I told the client that I wan't lookin for extra cuz I already gave price & just wanted to let them know if I was gonna do it the following year it would be more cuz I under estimated amount of mulch. They knew I was just starting out & insisted I charge them for the extra 4yds. I got lucky, so you may also.
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Orrdc
07-14-2012, 01:26 PM
My big question would be how did it take you so long to do 2 yards of mulch? Were the beds just a total disaster?

Let me also add, as a previous poster mentioned if you tell a customer $200 + materials that will be all they hear. No customer wants you to tell them your going to be adding on a price at the end. You need to learn to be able to give a solid bid from the start and then stick with it.

That said, its a learning experience and I would bet most will say they have messed up bids when first starting. Most of the time the only way to learn is to get your hands dirty

Smallaxe
07-14-2012, 03:35 PM
You can't allow the h.o. to add even small projects to the job after the bid has been agreed upon...

32vld
07-14-2012, 08:38 PM
ive also noticed that people haev put comments about typing or spelling, well guess what im typing on the computer and this isnt a proper document so there will be errors and u will just have to deal w it . thanks

Willing to take short cuts and be sloppy here makes us wonder how this carries over into other areas of your life.

Everything one does should be as if you had to sign your named to it.

Who wants to people to say who did that work and ran?


Too hard to take pride in all manners reflects how it is too hard for you to use spell check.

cpllawncare
07-15-2012, 01:35 AM
Using proper grammer should just be second nature, it shouldn't take extra effort. I know we're not in a formal environment here, but geez, some of you guys are just wayyyyy off. Age has nothing to do with anything!

zak406
07-16-2012, 01:29 AM
this part of the post is to greenindustryassociates:

i dont think you read the part that i said "IM JUST STARTING OUT" , and the fact of only having 3 clients as of right now i dont think makes a lot of sense for me to go out and get all the needed paperwork, like i said if it goes good this year and i stick w it next year i will go ahead and do all of those things. right now im using my already owed pickup truck ,my residential 22" push mower my string trimmer and blower, so my cost is very low, basically i just pay for gas, i didnt go out and drop 1000's of $ like people do , im testing the waters to see if this is something i want to do and want to be involved in. i already work 60 hrs a week at an overnight career, and i will not be dropping that either. i understand and respect the fact that people who are in business for lawn care do go out and get the needed paperwork , but for me i think im small enough right now to wait out the paperwork.

as far as bidding $200 plus material... its the 1st job i had to bid on and the guy was looking for a price right there, now i know for future reference to tell the person let me take some measurments and get back to you w a bid or quote... like people said on here.. live n learn if i dont learn from this mistake then theres something wrong .

and i find it funny that i tell ppl first thing that my spelling/grammer isnt good when im just BLOGGING and shooting around ideas/thoughts. but its ok for u to be useing an ipad and have a fat finger and its fine if u make a mistake in spelling/grammer. lol :laugh: .. well guess wut then, dont use an ipad simple as that


as to everyone else who has posted and not been negative to me thank you very much for your time/support/ideas/advice , bc of some of u i now know how to more properly give a quote or not short myself

I know what your trying to do here however, with the attitude your carrying you will not go anywhere in this business. Your right you only have three yards but as another member stated what happens when you break a window or a door and the 60 dollars you make a week off of your three accounts is lost because it goes to replace a new door??? The other thing is and I know your a newb, your obviously clueless to pricing (which I understand) after years I can still royally **** up a price. However until you get Liscensed, insured, and paying taxes you will never know your true cost. Until you know your true cost you will be working for free at this point it would be better to go and work at burger king (alot less stress trust me). Dont believe me? Thats how this thread was started. I do a good amount of work a year and the one thing you need to understand is time and material is good for 2 situations. The first being a job were you are doing multiple jobs within that job and are on site for a long time. For instance we have a house that I have been there since march 31 of this year. We will be finishing this upcoming week. This is great because this job fills in any spare time in my scheduale. the other time, time and material is good is if you have no clue how to price a job. I usually get per yard of mulch 80-90 dollars ( I aim for that) anything else is extra. Bush trimming, weeding, pruning ex ex. Also if you only have 3 accounts and are only doing a "few" yards of mulch there is no reason to have a helper. I just did a 50 yard job and there were only 3-4 guys on that for a few days.

LawnPatrolNY
07-16-2012, 05:21 AM
thank you to everyone who gave me advice, even the ones who non-stop bash me about every little thing. so to clear things up and give an update ...

my pride of work has nothing to do how i type

extra projects that get added on dont scare me , just as long as the homeowner knows " hey this is going to be extra"

cleaning the beds and laying mulch... there was a comment about how long it took me ... yes the beds were a disaster, they were completly overgrown and i had to tear it all out , edge it all up , then lay the mulch... maybe to some it took awhile but i had a time sheet of how long i planned for everything to take when i first started and i was actully ahead of schedule so i was happy

i am no where near most of the people on this site are w my business . my customers are happy and i am as well , i think a little more time in the estimate is well learned here.

i have finished this project and the customer is very very happy, i can see future work for him eventully, just have to make sure like i said to take the time ofr the estimate and plan it out then give the quote, im sure ill be on here asking how much i should charge for something one day .


thanks again everyone