View Full Version : side jobs

08-22-2004, 09:31 PM
what is a reasonable amount for trimming bushes pulling weeds and spreading mulch i get $10 an hour right now.

Ken Kesey
08-22-2004, 09:35 PM
Maybe you should ask your parents for a raise in your allowance.

08-22-2004, 09:36 PM
Sounds like your charging to little. I get at least $25, even thats too little for some on here. It all depends on what you need to make and the market you live in.

08-22-2004, 09:39 PM
Ok look man if you are not making $45.00 an hour then usually you are losing out, not trying to be rude but if you want $10.00 an hour then go work at wal-mart and not have your own business...

08-22-2004, 09:41 PM
We have a minimum of $50.00 per man hour. $10 an hour minus taxes and insurance doesn't buy you a pot to piss in.

08-23-2004, 03:10 PM
There's no right answer here. I guess it depends on your own situation.

Are you the kid down the street earning a few extra bucks? Then, $10 might be reasonable (you probably don't pay taxes or have insurance, employees, workman's comp, etc.).

If you're a huge company with all these extra expenses, $50/hr might be reasonable.

The truth is, that it depends on what your situation is. If you're just doing this for side money....and have no REAL expenses, my feeling is that at the end of an hour, you're $10 better off than if you didn't get the job!

If you run a reputable business, even a small one, you should be compensated fairly. In SE MI I get about $25/hr. Some might call this low, but it's all relative to what you're expenses/profit needs are. If I worke for $10/hr I'd be broke. If I made $50, I'd be better off.

Without being a "scrub" or "lowballer" :

what are your expenses, and how much profit do you want to make? If you can cover your expenses and make just as much or more profit than you could at another job......you're doing the right thing for your situation......and probably picking up more work.

Don't worry about what other people make.....they have big expenses that you're not hearing about. Make what you feel is appropriate for your time and costs, and you'll be happy.

Randy Scott
08-23-2004, 03:26 PM
First thing I do with threads like this is look at the profile. The kids 15 years old. $10 an hour is great for your age. Keep at it.

08-23-2004, 03:34 PM
your hourly should be based on whether it covers your overhead, and how much of a profit you want to make.

all degree
08-23-2004, 03:34 PM
I agree with Randy. You are doing great. Keep it up. My only advice to you would be to price by the job. In other words estimate that a job is going to take you 1.5 hours. Instead of charging $15 ($10/hr) Tell them $20 for the job.

08-23-2004, 04:16 PM
once again i must dissagree with dandy randy. he says, "good job, keep it up." i say there is no way you can work for $10 an hour as an operator. reason: right now you are 15 yrs old. are you building clientelle for your future? great, ok. in 3 yrs when you are 18 yrs old, and can go "legit", what are you gonna do, tell your entire customer base that the fee of $10 an hour, just went up to $45 an hour? you will end up with zero customers. this is why i say a 15 yr old CANNOT run a business. his overhead (or lack of it) cannot justify charging real market value, so if he works at a very reduced rate of pay, he will only lose this clientelle when he must start charging market value. my advice: get a job with a landscaper, let him pay you by the hour, and you will learn the business.

08-23-2004, 04:43 PM
$25 per manhour,that is a bare minium.

08-23-2004, 04:52 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
this is why i say a 15 yr old CANNOT run a business. his overhead (or lack of it) cannot justify charging real market value, so if he works at a very reduced rate of pay, he will only lose this clientelle when he must start charging market value.

Bobby, Not true at all. I ran a business since I was about 9.....went legit at around 14 with insurance, taxes etc. I always charged the market value and many times more then what the client was previously paying. Sure was nice not having any living expenses at the time....... the good ole days!

Ken Kesey
08-23-2004, 08:10 PM
You ran a business when you were in 5th grade?

Give us a break.

08-23-2004, 08:42 PM
Hey buddy, Now what reason do I have to lie to a group of people on the internet who I have never met nor will I ever meet. Several members can vouch for me......I also have some pictures of my younger days working. Dont get me wrong....I was not running a multi million dollar company at age 9 or 10. But I was maintaining 6 or 7 neighborhood propeties with equipment I purchased. By freshmen year in high school I was maintaining 20 properties on a weekly basis. If you still feel as if you need to be doubtful I can go further into detail.....

08-23-2004, 08:44 PM
I also have no problem posting the receipt wich I still have from my first commercial walk behind at age 11.......

Yeah I guess this hit a nerve with me because I know it can be done......Ive done it.

08-23-2004, 09:09 PM
I have never met Evan so it's hard to personally vouch for him, but going strictly off of his lawnsite postings, if I was only allowed to select just one younger member here who I believed wasn't just blowing steam, I would pick Evan. His postings are credible.

08-23-2004, 09:28 PM
Jodi, Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate it.

08-23-2004, 09:38 PM
I never work by the hour for a customer. I give them a set fee for a job. This is the only real way to make a business work. Anyone out there mowing lawns by the hour?

Ken Kesey
08-23-2004, 09:39 PM
I wouldn't clasify a 9 year old mowing a few neighborhood yards "running a business".

That is what you said.


08-23-2004, 10:41 PM
Well Ken, Take it as you wish. At the time I did cosider it as such....I had a company name, billed all clients monthly, and invested all earning back into the "business" for new machinery.

08-23-2004, 11:26 PM
Heres the thing I started mowing when i was 16 I just graduated high school this year and i have just started going to a a community school to become a firefighter. I would say that i just actually have started mowing commercially this year, what I mean by that is I have trailor, truck, real mower, (dixie chopper) and I have 19 yards now. Before that I did what this kid did I would have 5 or 6 yards do with a 21 inch toro. Heres the problem that I have found. It is hard for someone of that age to actually charge a higher amount, when i say that age I do include my self. The customers don't think you can do as good as a job or somthin, I mean you could show them other yards but 9 times out of 10 they just arn't gonna pay it. So what i do is charge as much as I can and take the job, I figure if i make between 15-20 dollars on mulching and jobs like that i am better of then working anywhere else at my age. At mowing I average about 20-25 dollars an hour, and that puts me way above anybody else at my age. I take home usually somewhere between 450-500 after expenses and stuff which is way better then anyone else I know that is 18, So back to the post what I am trying to say is take the 10 and run, If I were you and try for 12, gain the experience then next customer tell them 13. thats my 2 cents for what its worth

08-23-2004, 11:45 PM
When I go to bid on a job I calculate the amount of hours it is going to take me and also the amount of materials I will need. I am currently getting $55/hr for each employee on side jobs plus the cost of the material. Like others have said, it really depends on your overhead and the area that you live in. With me having 2 trucks, 3 trailers, all the equipment, taxes, insurance, licenses, employee pay, up keep on the equipment, etc... I have figured for me to make ANY money I have to make atleast $25-$30 per hour per man. As you can see, cost of business is really high.

08-23-2004, 11:45 PM
My advatage is that at a young age I was very out going and became a daily site for the homeowners in the neighborhood. They could not drive through the developement without seeing little Evan Riding his mower or pushing his wheel barrow to his next account. I let my work speak for itself. One by one I started "taking" accounts from the so called pros. Not only was I do a better job but I was always charging at least a few dollars a week more. By age 11 I was receiving driveby threats from other LCO owners who accounts I was taking. Little did they know I was charging more then they were. Now that I am in my 11th season I still have several of my first clients. And they still joke with me about the days when I rode my mowers to there house with the weedwacker and blower strapped to the front of the mower...some times pulling the push blower being me. I only wish I still had the same passion for this business as I did growing up. At 10 years old an exiting day for me was having mom drive me to the equipment dealer to buy a new string trimmer. Unfortunatly now an exiting day is not having to even look at a lawn mower or hedge clippers all day! Amazing how things change when your hobbys becomes your career.....

As of now....I maintain 46 accounts in the neighborhood I grew up in and where my business started.

08-24-2004, 12:35 AM
my reccomendation is to charge by the job, not by the hour! I started at a very young age and always charged by the job. I burned myself a few times along the way, but in the long run, I've come out way ahead doing it this way. I agree with everyone that says that $10 per hr. is too cheap. However if you tell your customer that you charge 25,40,80 or whatever per hour, chances are "especially if you are young" they will think you are nuts. Thats why I give a per job cost. If a customer calls for a fall clean up and I look at it and I know it will take me about 3 hrs. and I want to pull in $60 gross per hour, I will just tell them $180. Chances are they will call for another estimate, or envision the job taking them all day and not being able to golf or spend time with the family and say go for it. Oh, and another piece of advice. When you price yourself where you make decent money, you will definately not get every job you quote. There are plenty of customers who want something for nothing or next to nothing. Leave those jobs for someone else!

08-24-2004, 02:17 AM
I was charging $25 an hour when I was 14. My expenses were almost the same as everybody else (no truck, but had insurance). So I figured I had to charge almost the same. I had a lot of people who had a problem with that. But they quickly realized it was worth it. My lawns look just as good as the rest. I never took any of the other companies lawns. Unless they said I could. None of them knew another 14 year old with two walk behind(48"+32") and a bunch of other stuff. They all wanted to teach me something. Most were actually sad to see me leave when my father's job moved us. You should have seen some of the customers. I had one almost cry when I told them I was moving. I got more work, by running behind my walk behind down the street. (also got to met every cop in town, too)

08-24-2004, 08:30 AM
its ok to start out cheap as a high school kid price wise but as you get more expenses you need to charge more.at least $40/hr.

08-24-2004, 09:10 AM
Looking at your profile you are 15. At that age not being able to drive you are making a killing! That is my personal opinion. Best of luck to you.