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View Full Version : How do you think I did on pricing this job?


Above Par Lawns
12-14-2012, 08:20 PM
Customer lives 6 miles from me.
1 yard of compost was added to flower beds@ 2" depth(flower beds had no vegetation)
2.5 yards cedar mulch added around landscaping at 2" depth. (just a few plants to work around)

Labor- $50
+compost/mulch-$126.79
=176.79

Customer was billed $350.00

173.21 is left over

I did have to spend like 10 bucks to get new wire because i cut a invisible dog fence wire and had to fix it.

Job took roughly 4 hours (includes trip to pick up compost, then back with 2 trucks for mulch. I myself put in about 2 hours of prep time the day before.

So technically I put in 6 hours and made $28.00hr

I am happy with the profit I made, I'm just wondering if I priced it close to market value and how some of you would have gone about pricing the job.

I put in a total of 61 miles from the time I left my house until I got back home.


*Thanks in advance for your input!
-Jason

*** I must note that I am in my 2nd month of business, so be easy on me!

Will P.C.
12-14-2012, 09:30 PM
Is the 50 dollars for labor payment to someone else?

If it was really 28/hr, it would have not been that bad considering you are new. You left out the gas and wear and tear on your truck. Not to mention to myriad of other small expenses it cost to be legit and keep the lights on.

Most guys charge a fee for getting the material, and you should be able to mark the material up slightly.

500-550 would be what most guys would shoot for while trying to lower the hours worked. This way you can cover the standard cost of doing business while keeping a few dollars in your pocket.

Above Par Lawns
12-14-2012, 09:53 PM
Yeah the $50 was to my friend who hauled 2 yards for me and put in 3 hours of work. When i first did the estimate using materials + an hourly rate it was closer to 550 but it just seemed mind blowing to charge someone that for $125.00 worth of material. I didn't want to scare him off and lose out on the job.
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McG_Landscaping
12-14-2012, 10:26 PM
Seems like it took you way too long. I would have been at roughly $325 and been in and out in 3 hours or so with a helper. By myself I would have been in and out in 4.5 hours

Above Par Lawns
12-14-2012, 10:35 PM
I met my buddy at Colonial Nursery at 11:00 am to pick up mulch. I had already gone to Missouri Organic to pick up compost and unloaded it at jobsite along with wheel barrows, shovels, etc. we got to jobsite at 11:45 and were back at my house finished at 3:00pm. I feel like we kicked ass getting it done. The day before was 2 hour prep by myself edging the beds with spade shovel. I figured the 6 hours it took included all time spent for the job including driving. Should my hourly rate be used for my drive time as well?
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andyslawncare
12-14-2012, 10:38 PM
I would have been much higher. We bill $75/hr minimum for 2 man labor + materials + delivery + prep. When I started, I wasn't making it with a $35/hr labor rate and it soon changed to $45-50 for 1 man. Usually the first number you come up with for a bid is what you need since you have all the numbers in front of you...I've learned to stick with the bid formula or pass on the job if they say its too high. Don't sell yourself short just because you don't have a lot of work or you will get cheap referrals from them or they'll expect cheap work 5 years from now. Best advice for you is to figure out your living cost, profit margin, and all operating costs per average day/week/month, etc and increase your fee.

McG_Landscaping
12-14-2012, 10:42 PM
I met my buddy at Colonial Nursery at 11:00 am to pick up mulch. I had already gone to Missouri Organic to pick up compost and unloaded it at jobsite along with wheel barrows, shovels, etc. we got to jobsite at 11:45 and were back at my house finished at 3:00pm. I feel like we kicked ass getting it done. The day before was 2 hour prep by myself edging the beds with spade shovel. I figured the 6 hours it took included all time spent for the job including driving. Should my hourly rate be used for my drive time as well?
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I know depending on how far it is from the truck to the beds and depending on hills/difficulty I can normally do a minimum of 1 yard an hour on my own. And as far as edging it does take time with a spade but it will look better. I normally don't bid jobs by the hour. I can basically tell how long it will take me to do a job by looking at it. Sometimes I am over and sometimes I am under but it all evens out. It will come with experience

Above Par Lawns
12-14-2012, 11:12 PM
It took some time having to go up his hill and into the backyard with the wheel barrows.

Andy, you charge $75 for yourself plus additional $75 for laborer? Plus all materials/gas/etc?
What part of the country are you in?

I like the idea of an hourly rate to make sure i have money going to all the right places. I just need to determine what that number is for mysell.
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Above Par Lawns
12-14-2012, 11:16 PM
Is the 50 dollars for labor payment to someone else?

If it was really 28/hr, it would have not been that bad considering you are new. You left out the gas and wear and tear on your truck. Not to mention to myriad of other small expenses it cost to be legit and keep the lights on.

Most guys charge a fee for getting the material, and you should be able to mark the material up slightly.

500-550 would be what most guys would shoot for while trying to lower the hours worked. This way you can cover the standard cost of doing business while keeping a few dollars in your pocket.

How do you factor in monthly business expenses/insurance & wear and depreciation of equipment/truck?

Above Par Lawns
12-14-2012, 11:26 PM
2.5 yards of cedar mulch
1 yard compost

McG_Landscaping
12-14-2012, 11:32 PM
How do you factor in monthly business expenses/insurance & wear and depreciation of equipment/truck?

insurance payment/12months= insurance per month.
equipment repairs/12 months= wear and tear
truck value /how many years you think it'll last/ 12 months.

everyone will tell you different numbers. In Connecticut they are able to get much more than we are able to in Pennsylvania and I am sure that is different than what you can get where you are at. I know personally I need to be at 45/hr alone or 60 with a helper to make a profit. it all depends on your overhead and expenses/debt. its really hard to say what you should charge because only you can know that. There have been jobs where I make 20/hr because I underbid it or it was for family and jobs where I have made $600/hr. Right now its winter and I am doing odd ball stuff to try and keep busy. Id rather work for $30-$40 an hour now and make some income instead of sitting on my butt waiting for snow. During my busy times though, I will pass on jobs if I am not making $60+ an hour alone. I sometimes feel cheated if I am trimming bushes for an hour and only make $60 when I know I could have made an easy $120 on it for the same amount of work. If the customer is feeling they are getting a deal at $120 then they are happy and I am making out. If you buy a pair of $500 extended reach trimmers and can get the job done in 1 hour compared to the guy with hand shears which takes 2 hours, your investment is helping you complete the job much quicker. It all comes down to having the right equipment for the job. You said you had to take 2 trucks to pick up 2.5 yards of mulch? maybe you should have just had it delivered? Personally I would have taken the 1 yard of compost over when doing the edging and spread it at the same time. Then gone and picked up the mulch in my truck (I can carry 5 yards) and spread it. Finally I would have loaded up all of the edging on my truck and hauled it to my dump site. During mulching season I will go spend a day or two edging places then go back and mulch those different places the next day or two. it prevents me from carrying mulch and having to deal with debris. After seeing the pics it shouldnt have taken you that long... especially with a helper. The hardest part would be lifting the barrels over the wall. Honestly you will probably get faster if you are just starting out, but there should be no reason you and a helper couldn't spread all of that in an hour

Will P.C.
12-14-2012, 11:33 PM
How do you factor in monthly business expenses/insurance & wear and depreciation of equipment/truck?

I know you only have 2 months in this gig, and don't know your background, but this is where a finacial planner or advisor can be helpful. The small business association, chamber of commerce, and other places will often have either retired people in the know or people currently working in these fields who will donate their services for free or little costs.

Someone with many years experience dealing with small businesses or finacial planner will blow your mind away with knowledge. The resources are there if you reach out.

Computer software is often used as well, but I feel it is better suited for experienced guys that are working with a finacial planner.

Even though you are new and what I wrote above probably sounds extreme, it is not. How can one run a business if they don't know what there true costs are?

Above Par Lawns
12-14-2012, 11:59 PM
Great stuff guys I really appreciate all the input. It seems like I could have planned this one out a little better. The reason for the 2 trucks was because I have a Honda Ridgeline. :nono: I can carry just over a yard in my truck and am without a trailer until next week. I need to start crunching some numbers and figure everything out. I am glad I decided to start up now as opposed to waiting until Spring so i can learn the ins and outs.

I know I am the one who has to come up what works for me. I think it'd be a whole lot easier to figure out that number when the growing season starts and there's money coming in weekly.

Above Par Lawns
12-15-2012, 12:01 AM
Oh, and the home owner left his darn truck right smack in the middle of where we needed to work. That definitely slowed us down a bit.

Above Par Lawns
12-15-2012, 12:09 AM
I know you only have 2 months in this gig, and don't know your background, but this is where a finacial planner or advisor can be helpful. The small business association, chamber of commerce, and other places will often have either retired people in the know or people currently working in these fields who will donate their services for free or little costs.

Someone with many years experience dealing with small businesses or finacial planner will blow your mind away with knowledge. The resources are there if you reach out.

Computer software is often used as well, but I feel it is better suited for experienced guys that are working with a finacial planner.

Even though you are new and what I wrote above probably sounds extreme, it is not. How can one run a business if they don't know what there true costs are?

I will call my local Chamber of Commerce!

Above Par Lawns
12-15-2012, 12:21 AM
insurance payment/12months= insurance per month.
equipment repairs/12 months= wear and tear
truck value /how many years you think it'll last/ 12 months.

everyone will tell you different numbers. In Connecticut they are able to get much more than we are able to in Pennsylvania and I am sure that is different than what you can get where you are at. I know personally I need to be at 45/hr alone or 60 with a helper to make a profit. it all depends on your overhead and expenses/debt. its really hard to say what you should charge because only you can know that.

Okay, so after figuring those numbers what's next? Maybe it's too so to think about establishing a set hourly rate. It's not like I have a set work schedule and jobs are few and far between. There is a variable missing from my equation. If I had X amount of covers and I worked for Y amount of hours then it'd be easy to figure. But I don't have that. For now I just want to price my services around what the market in my area does (or more). All that's left is random jobs when I can be blessed enough to find them and hope/pray that it snows.

andyslawncare
12-17-2012, 07:47 PM
It took some time having to go up his hill and into the backyard with the wheel barrows.

Andy, you charge $75 for yourself plus additional $75 for laborer? Plus all materials/gas/etc?
What part of the country are you in?

I like the idea of an hourly rate to make sure i have money going to all the right places. I just need to determine what that number is for mysell.
Posted via Mobile Device

$75/hr for 2 men; sorry I didn't make that clear. 3 men = min $110/hr

My minimum for special service with myself = $55/hr

I would have been higher since you stated it was uphill.

Normal maintenance doesn't apply, as maintenance is bid for the year upon first meeting and we win or lose during the winter months. My pricing applies only to one time jobs like clean up work.

I use hourly fee vs. per job charge on each bid I do. Last Saturday, 2 guys spread 18 yards of mulch, weeded beds, and trimmed some shrubs in 6 hours; in this case my per yard formula made more money for us than the hourly-- $95/hr was generated...we averaged $95/hr for 2 men. The fee was higher than normal, because we do this efficiently and labor rate per yard was comparable to competition--rate was within range. I've read and learned from my customers and my competition, so I can usually get the job. I also have degree in horticulture which is a given to most people to hire me.

I'm south of Atlanta BTW. Work for lots of delta pilots, business owners, and in general wealthy people. I offer them top quality service in return. 30 customers can generate over $100,000 annually if you know what you are doing and suggest up sells.

andyslawncare
12-17-2012, 07:49 PM
You need to figure out our overhead, and you'll probably take another year of learning to figure it out. Its important to know what you are worth, and what you require to feed yourself before quoting jobs.

cimkill
12-30-2012, 11:43 AM
I have been in the buisness for 2.5 years now. Mainly mowing, very few mulch type jobs in central america. I can assure you you underbid just based on my hourly rate down here. I charge $55/hour for a 3 man crew, my crew cost for the day be it 8 hours or 12 hrs is $57.00 for the day! That is why I am sure you underbid the job.

cimkill
12-30-2012, 11:47 AM
Sorry forgot to mention when I first started I used to charge:$30.00 hr for a 3 man crew that at the time cost me:$67.00/day. Like I said you learn after some time that your making mistakes when something breaks and you have no money to fix it!

burnthefurniture
01-10-2013, 12:00 PM
Charge for materials, equipment, and labor. Find out what your costs are for each and charge accordingly. If your not covering your costs plus some for each of those items, you're going the wrong direction/going out of business. You want to make a profit on each line listed above. Equipment includes trucks, tillers, etc. Charge for those items. For instance, if you needed and didn't own a tiller, you'd have to go rent one. If you do own one, charge for it. Equipment can be an overlooked line item on an estimate and those items can be significant money makers. As also mentioned, you want to have a contingency to replace/repair equipment if/when it does break.