View Full Version : Reporting back on gutters plus new ?????????

08-27-2000, 02:07 PM
I,m a relatively new member and a while back started quite a stir when I asked for help in pricing gutter cleaning. Well I thought I would report I completed my first job. EASY MONEY I bid the job at $60. It took about 30 minutes.I do the lawn on this site for $45 wk. When I was finished the customer came out and said she had no idea I would rinse the gutters out and clear all the downspouts so she gave me an extra $20. for my trouble. GEEEE what trouble was that.
Any way now I want to inquire about taking down a real easy tree and how to price. I have been doing the grass at this location all year. There is a white birch tree in the front that had the entire top taken out a year or so ago so it is only about 16 feet at the highest of 3 trunks coming out of the ground. NOW level ground, nothing in the way, no wires, probably 20 mins. work and I get to take the birch to burn in my fireplace. do not have to do stump removal and customer wants additional pricing to build a planter box around the old stump cut off to ground level with a few shrubs and room for flowers next year.
I would appreciate hearing from you all again on this one.

08-27-2000, 02:41 PM
YOU obviously havent done a 2000 sq foot home with gook packed up to the edge of the gutter surface Yet and put the gook in bags. Now thats fun. Tree cut up and hauled off. I have seen tree companies charge between 175$ to 325$ per tree for this service. Depending on how many trees you have. That size tree and being your regular customer and no danger to hit anything. I would say 175$. Hourly rate on the base

08-27-2000, 04:03 PM
You should have an hourly rate that you use for pricing all your jobs, but anyway I think to go to the job, get the saw going and make the first cut will take more than 20 minutes, so you might want to rethink your time on that job.

Good Luck!

08-27-2000, 07:05 PM
yea that right i looked at a tree several years ago and said " oh about 30 mins" to myself ...cut it down ..cut it up....pick it up......clean up.... haul off...unload....
depening on the weight anywhere from $20-$100 for tipping
fee at the landfill... oh yea definitily worth at least $250. on any tree job that looks like a tree.

08-27-2000, 07:41 PM

08-27-2000, 09:37 PM
ok ok ok so far I see I am off on the time estimate First I am not counting driving time second I dont have any cost or time to the land fill I am taking to my property to cut up and use in the fireplace so lets try again, bit dont figure on poop I dont have to deal with

08-28-2000, 07:40 AM
Why not? If someone else did the job they would have to figure drive, disposal etc. Who is gonna split all that wood? Whats your time worth? You should owe it to yourself and others to get at least the prevailing rate. Otherwise the homeowner will tell everyone how cheap it was and you will be swamped with calls to fell rotted white pines for peanuts. Then look out when other LCOs get wind of the lowballer!

08-28-2000, 08:14 AM
I work with a guy that does tree work and the prevailing rate is $50.00 per man per hour. 2 man crew minimum $100.00 show up charge. 2 guys can get alot done on small trees.

He has bucks tied up in saws, dump truck, big insurance, and a chipper not to mention gas and maintenance.

Dont sell yourself short on this one. People are scared of tree work and it does take skill to do this without causing damamge to someone or something.
Take the job if you want it, it can be harder than you think.

Be careful and good luck.

By the way (I hope I'm not violating forum rules, if I am then Eric or Chuck can delete it) my tree working friend has many board feet 6000+ of I believe pine kiln dried looking for a home e-mail me for more.

08-28-2000, 08:41 AM
mykee--here you go again starting trouble!!! you know aint no bunch of lawn jockeys gonna agree on anything but quitting time on friday night! just kidding!!!

there's more than one way to price lawn type jobs. in this particular job, the customer is a good one, you are her regular man, she's willing to have you do work and pay what its worth. here's the deal...for an hours worth of work, price in about $75 bucks profit for the tree. for the planter price that separate. just give her a flat price for the tree.

guido--I gotta disagree with you on the hourly rate. I never give an hourly rate! WHY? because I can get more by the job...everytime. and especially because no homeowner is gonna pay $35-$75 an hour with out being mad as hell. at least in my area.

mykee--don't forget to yell TIMBER!


08-28-2000, 04:33 PM
I agree with you?? :)

I didn't mean tell the customer an hourly rate, I mean when your estimating a job, figure your expenses in than have a hourly rate for your labor that you estimate for and add into your price.

Does that sound better? Thats the way I thought I tried to make it sound the first time, sorry if it wasn't clear!

08-28-2000, 04:49 PM
$175-$200 is fair.

Dont know the circumfirence of the tree but a clean drop of only 16' is small compared to alot that i have done. Boom its on the ground cut in to log pieces and brush thrown on truck in 1 1/2 hours. If you had a chipper 1 cut and depending on circumfirence that sucker would be done and gone in the twenty minutes you aloud.

Birch is good wood for the fire place too. I usually charge an average fee of $50 (depending on how much firewood there is) to get rid of it, of course if its good enough to keep, my gain.

sharpen your chain before starting too, so you dont look like a ying yang, and take a spare.

08-28-2000, 05:05 PM
Cos - "Birch is good wood for the fire place too" ?

If you like the snap crackle and pop. :) I personally stay away from the birch for my interior heat supply. I hope I'm right on the wood, but I am sure it is the birch that makes a heck of a mess when I open the woodstove. Now for the burn pit...a definite go! :cool:

08-28-2000, 05:34 PM
guido--we're together on this one, now!

they should all just listen to US and do what we say!:)


08-28-2000, 11:10 PM

I am not as rural as you. If you say so then your probably right, but I was told that oak,cherry,birch,ash are all good for firewood. And I was told not to use pine,locust,and sweet gum for firewood.

As far as the tree is concerned, I would believe that most customers would want 1 firm price for a tree to be removed and not an hourly price. Trees are real fun to price, alot more fun than lawns.

Best wishes

08-28-2000, 11:26 PM
Just beacause you are taking the mess home doesn't mean you shouldn't be reimbursed for it just like the land fill. What will you do with the tiny branches? Burn them? That will take time. Be sure to consider worse case scenarios when you bid jobs. Some times I am too optimistic on times but if it comes out better then more money in your pocket. You'll be happy. What if a limb snaps off and goes through a window or hits the yard dog? Then what? You will have to pick up the tab.

08-29-2000, 12:32 AM
to lawnguy

you asked who is gonna split all that wood??

This has nothing to do with it I am getting the wood for free in essence since I charged fro the work to cut it down so if i had to buy wood for the fireplace i would be out those dollars so again in my book its free wood
Now I am lucky enough with 10 acres of land that I dont ever have to buy wood but if I can make money on the tree take down and end up with wood i'm ahead and either way I would be splitting it for the fireplace so am I splitting some of my own from the woods or some of the customers from the paying job Hope you see what I mean

Eager Beaver
08-30-2000, 07:53 AM
#1 Why leave the stump? Sub a stump grinder to come in and remove the stump add a % if you want.
#2 Add a fee to remove chips add topsoil,reseed,fertilize put the planter in etc.
#3 customer will be a lot happier with the end results nad you have made not only a profit on removing the tree but on the other possibilitys of income generated.

08-30-2000, 08:50 AM
If you don't charge properly for the job. How you figure you getting the wood for free??? You are paying for it in an indirect way. And too waite til she ask you to do more extra work and expects the same cheap labor

08-30-2000, 11:34 AM
well said charles,

Your gain shouldn't be her gain. Remember your in business to make a profit and not out to save your customers a buck.

08-30-2000, 10:48 PM
Read what Charles said. Then read it again.

08-31-2000, 12:39 AM
Charles, COS and lawnguy
regarding your last few posts
Am I quoting CHEAP
here is how I figured it
Remove tree (30 Minutes on the job site)
(i get the wood) Bid 120.00
#2 build 8x8 planter box around the old stump cut to the ground. Plant 8 mums 1 3 foot pine tree and approx 8 or 10 8inch potted Junipers for ground cover, filling with top soil and covering with mulch around all plantings.
Materials bid out at 140.00 which I p*** on to her with a 10 % markup since I pick up and deliver. I figure 2 hours work at 30. per hour to build the planter box.
So I make 120. for tree 14. on mark up and 60. for labor
or 194.00 for around two and a half hours
What do you think

08-31-2000, 12:54 AM
Do you think about all the trouble you can get into.
Don't get hot under the collar but first do you have
insurance in case the tree falls in to house,hey it
can happen.That is one reason tree companies charge
so much.Also,how much falling have you done?What if you
get into a widowmaker,they call it that for a reason.
Think about it first,before the money.

08-31-2000, 01:05 AM

Last week we had a storm come through Charlotte, most 911 calls since hurricane Hugo. I saw 2 large trees laying in the front of a house with a big sign "FREE WOOD". For some it's free wood, for others it's free wood plus $500+ for removal. Don't know if anyone was a big enough sucker to bite or not, not me. :)

08-31-2000, 06:09 AM
If you feel comfortable about the price where your gonna make maoney, then go for it. There's only one way your gonna learn the pricing game and that is by experience, and the 16 ft tree. If its a clean drop, no house, shed etc., drop the sucker its only 16ft tall.

Best wishes ;)

08-31-2000, 09:31 AM
Mykee, that is getting there on the package lol. The customer would come out better just hiring a stump grinder. or you could just rent one and charge her. Maybe find a few more stumps to make it worth it. And it sure would look alot better. A tree company came out and cut one pine in my neighbors yard. Just cut it off at the base and let it fall. No danger of it hitting anything and charged him 325$. But it was taller than your tree. On the other hand they didn't saw anything other than the limbs off and loaded the trunk up and hauled all of it off. Oh well, the price you quoted above is better then giving your services away just for wood. I get ask to to big jobs like the one you are doing. I just refer them to a tree company. From the distraction of doing that type of job. You could have cut enough lawns to pay for alot of wood. If you have a large enough business

08-31-2000, 03:15 PM
Find someone to do your stump grinding. Unlees you do alot of stump grinding its not even worth renting a grinder. Buddy up with a tree guy and charge an extra $20 for doing absolutely nothing.

by the time you get the machine from the rental place grind the stump or two, take it back, and go on doing what you gotta do, you made absolutely nothing to break even. I have no intentions on getting a stump grinder anytime soon. I still make money off of stumps. If they ask, i simply make 1 phone call and make quick money off the call alone.

08-31-2000, 11:35 PM
Your markup is low. 50 per cent minimum on that quantity. You will spend an hour drive time plus x hours at the nursery/home center.

If its a white birch I would talk her into making a planter box out of the tree.

Whole point was, dont sell yourself short just cuz you want the wood. I understand where youre coming from but look at it from the customers point of view. And what if you fell the tree and find it full of rot/carpenter ants/etc? Wouldnt want that junk in my home.

Shady Brook
11-23-2001, 08:55 AM
I do a decent amount of tree removals, and one of the biggest factors in price is how much brush is involved. If I have to deal with a tree with alot of small branches, the price goes up significantly, because I do not have a chipper, and them branches can be a big pain for loading, transport, and unloading. If it is a mess of branches, I will sub out the branch pickup, or recomend a tree company for the work. Now if there are not many branches, and the takedown is simple, considering the size of the birch, it should be quick. Birch is lite, and the truck could be cut up in aprox. 4 foot sections, and removed. You can always cut them down to size when you get home, and the bigger sections are better for holding your branches down in transport. $120 is great if it meets the criteria above. I wish I could get $325 for a tree like that, I would have a new full time bus!

I would not plan on using the birch for the fire place as it is not a hardwood, ie oak, maple, walnut. I would burn it in an outdoor pit, no need to risk a cresote buildup in your chimeny! :blob4:

Also like Beaver said, sub out the stump, should be cheap, maybe 20-25 bucks if you find the right guy, and the job will look nicer, and will be easier to plant things there if he gets some of the root matter. But then again, my guy is cheap and good!

That tree insurance is outrageous! I believe it is federalized, and there are only 4 or 5 companies who provide insurance for that industry. So be very careful!

For what it's worth

11-23-2001, 06:14 PM
Originally posted by lawndog
What if you
get into a widowmaker,they call it that for a reason.

Lawndog, what's a widowmaker?

11-23-2001, 11:00 PM
On the off topic dont burn pine and the likes of but every now and then burn some ceder it will clean your fire place like it was new.

11-24-2001, 12:36 AM
A tree that is cut across but doesn't fall down, or a tree that falls partway down and get hung up on something and doesn't come all the way down. We cut almost an acre of pine trees in a Ministry bush one time that were just covered in grapevines, very few of the trees came down, we hooked the tracor on one by one and dragged them down and out.

11-24-2001, 07:13 PM
Sounds to me as though you lost alot of money. :(

At a bare bones minimum if you cleaned 40 feet of gutters on the front of the first story that should have brought you $40 alone. Then if the back side depending on local was two stories off the ground it should have brought in an additional $80 and if they were both second story plus rooflines you would have doubled that.

Just my .02