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View Full Version : How much are we worth?


TTG
11-18-2004, 09:11 PM
My brother and I spent the day doing a fall clean up for an account that we recently picked up in the spring. The customer (husband and wife both doctors waterfront home) simply asked if we could do the fall cleaning we agreed but no price or estimate was needed.
Pulled up at 8 am with 1ton dually boxed 8ft. high, new 16 hp Lesco truck loader, 8hp push blower, 751 echo BP blower,48" & #36" hydro WB's rakes tarp the whole nine.
We left there at 4:30 two and a half truck loads later and the job is not done. Leaves were dry- not a breath of wind. the mowers did'nt pick up a single leave, cut flower beds, blow, tarp ,and suck all day.
I am new to the truck loader and am totally amazed at how many leaves you can put in a dump truck ,we also jump in the box and pack em down.
With that said, how much would you say we are worth??

Smithers
11-18-2004, 09:46 PM
i'd say about $100-$150/man hour...that makes you $1,600-$2400 if you had a 30 min lunch. With all of that equipment, you are worth the money.

lawnprosteveo
11-18-2004, 10:00 PM
For my area, $50 to $75 per man hour plus dump fees... I would charge a minimum of $1,000 to $1,300....

dvmcmrhp52
11-18-2004, 10:36 PM
Not to rain on your parade or anything...........BUT,
Why would you do that amount of work, and say you are still not done, without giving the customer a price?
I don't care what the customer says, NEVER do this much work without pricing.
This must be one large property to take all day with dry leaves.

TTG
11-19-2004, 07:15 AM
WE have many accounts were we do weekly lawn main.,then when fall comes the simply ask: can you take care of the leaves. If you were to see the property dvmcmrhp52 , you would understand why no estamates are needed.
We trust the customer just like they trust me to give them a fair price .
This seems to work for use because we have 6 accounts in less than a 1/4 mile all waterfront homes , all were acuired by word of mouth, we dont advertise.
Knock on wood, we have never been burned by someone who owns 2-3 million dollar property.

bobbygedd
11-19-2004, 07:28 AM
trouble here, i can smell it. when people think "leaf cleanup", they think of a little boy with a rake and some plastic bags. when you hand them a bill for $3,000.....crap is gonna hit the fan. let us know

65hoss
11-19-2004, 07:49 AM
I agree with the others. You are in trouble. My opinion, you will learn a hard lesson with this. Its one thing to go without price on a $200 job, but when you get into bigger $$$ its very dangerous.

HOLLYWOOD6973
11-19-2004, 08:24 AM
For are weekly customers we charge $120 hr. for a four man crew ($30.00 A man hr.)
Non customs $ 150 hr. 1/2 min. The going price around here is 30-40 hr.
Not giving them an estimate I think $ 500-600 would be fair.

Lets us know what you ended up charging. payup

Smithers
11-19-2004, 08:26 AM
$hit, i did two (1 hour each) cleanups for two of my regulars that cost them $125 each. They had a fit when they saw the bill. They started calling and saying that we were great for everything else, but the cleanup is a little high.

My wife had to spend 15 min with each to explain why the fall cleanups cost more.

brentsawyer
11-19-2004, 08:28 AM
hate to say it but tarping is kiling you. If I were to do the job, by myself, I guarantee you I would be done way before you and that is also taking the leaves offsite. For one, I have a 32 bushel bagger on a Z which is equal to 300 gals. or about 6 large trash bags. Remind you that these leaves are compacted an unbelievable amount and weigh approximately 400lbs. per bag when I'm through. Also, I have a dump similar to you but since my leaves are so compressed, my 30 yd. dump will hold in the neighborhood of 6000 lbs which takes 4-5 days to fill up. With that said, I doubt that I could give you a good price but you must consider that if I were there I would charge and tell them upfront $60/hr. no matter if I'm blowing, mowing, loading and be done before you.

Smithers
11-19-2004, 08:32 AM
brent,

you seem like you have a sweet setup....you mind giving us a little more details? Like what kind of bushel bagger on the Z that will hold that much leaves?

Also, if you have a few pics, it would help as well. :blush:

Turf Medic
11-19-2004, 10:34 AM
hate to say it but tarping is kiling you. If I were to do the job, by myself, I guarantee you I would be done way before you and that is also taking the leaves offsite. For one, I have a 32 bushel bagger on a Z which is equal to 300 gals. or about 6 large trash bags. Remind you that these leaves are compacted an unbelievable amount and weigh approximately 400lbs. per bag when I'm through. Also, I have a dump similar to you but since my leaves are so compressed, my 30 yd. dump will hold in the neighborhood of 6000 lbs which takes 4-5 days to fill up. With that said, I doubt that I could give you a good price but you must consider that if I were there I would charge and tell them upfront $60/hr. no matter if I'm blowing, mowing, loading and be done before you.

Not to question your information, but if you have a Z that holds 6 bags and the bags weigh 400 lbs each, that would be 2400 lbs plus the Z. Not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I would think that 2400 lbs equally divided on a Z would push it so far into the yard, it would look like irrigation canals. Could you please clarify a bit, maybe with pictures. Also how do you lift the bags into the truck, and what brand of bag are you using that will hold that kind of weight without tearing. Thanks

brentsawyer
11-19-2004, 10:59 AM
Sorry for the confusion. 400lbs total. It is the commercial grade cyclone. Many here have one, I was probably one of the first, they have come down in $$ a bit and made some minor improvements. I bought it b/c I had a lot of properties with a ton of leaves that would fill a regular sized bagger up in a few minute. Bad thing was we had an ice storm last year that wiped out a lot of the larger trees around here and it is rare to fill the thing twice on any lawn now. Have considered a smaller bagger but I don't want to spend another $1,600 plus on an smaller bagger. I'lll take a pic of the dump and post. Next time I have to dump all my leaves, I'll try and take a picture of the trail. Last one was about 4' high and 20-25' long.

brentsawyer
11-19-2004, 11:07 AM
As you can see, it pretty much dwarfs a full size Titan. I have a single door arcross the back that I hinge with a chain and cone-along by myself since a 300 lb. loader can throw a double gate around easily.

TTG
11-19-2004, 05:11 PM
hate to say it but tarping is kiling you. If I were to do the job, by myself, I guarantee you I would be done way before you and that is also taking the leaves offsite. For one, I have a 32 bushel bagger on a Z which is equal to 300 gals. or about 6 large trash bags. Remind you that these leaves are compacted an unbelievable amount and weigh approximately 400lbs. per bag when I'm through. Also, I have a dump similar to you but since my leaves are so compressed, my 30 yd. dump will hold in the neighborhood of 6000 lbs which takes 4-5 days to fill up. With that said, I doubt that I could give you a good price but you must consider that if I were there I would charge and tell them upfront $60/hr. no matter if I'm blowing, mowing, loading and be done before you.

Sorry brent but your Z would have been sitting in the trailer at this job.
The drive way alone is over 100 yards long with mulch beds 6-8ft. wide on both sides then woods after that.
The pool area is totaly closed in, tall red oaks surround half of the pool area ever leave must be tarped out.
The gardens are loaded with hostas,montauk daisys,and all sort of peranuials.
I looked at your pics and your set up is almost identical to mine exept my loader is mounted on the front of my trailer.
Oh, we did use the 48 hydro to push big piles up the drive way.
It takes you 4-5 days to fill that truck???
Are you doing this full time???

packerbacker
11-19-2004, 05:19 PM
8.5 hours of work with 2 guys and most of you are quoting over a $1000? That seems a little high for everything.

Lawnworks
11-19-2004, 05:26 PM
i'd say about $100-$150/man hour...that makes you $1,600-$2400 if you had a 30 min lunch. With all of that equipment, you are worth the money.

Good luck bidding against me. $100-150 a man hour? Keep inhalin dude!!

TTG
11-19-2004, 05:45 PM
i'd say about $100-$150/man hour...that makes you $1,600-$2400 if you had a 30 min lunch. With all of that equipment, you are worth the money.

I think your rate is fine if you are doing a job that takes 2-3 hrs.with the equipment I have, but to spend the day there and send them a $1600 bill I dont think I'll be cleaning leaves there anymore.
I was thinking around $ 700.
The job is not done my brother and I I still have to go back and spend another half day finishing up the leaves and cutting bittersweet that grows inbetween rocks at the water front.

TTG
11-19-2004, 06:16 PM
These all day jobs might not bring in as much $ as say 4 or 5 2hr. jobs but we can't complain. We have plenty of 2hr. jobs we put on the back burner till the biggest, best paying customers are taken care off.
The way I see it, these accounts that take all day to fall clean also have the biggest lawns that we mow every week all season long.
We have to treat them right or we will lose in the long run I think $700 is fair for that day of work.
I'd like to hear from someone that does spend a whole day, 2 guys ( my brother and I are partners so we make the same) cleaning leaves on one property how much is the bill?

bobbygedd
11-19-2004, 06:23 PM
i don't spend all day at one property. monday morning, i have a 3 hr job (i know it's 3 hrs, i do it every year). i get $450 for this job. there is no disposal. $700 for you and your brother, all day, and disposal, AND YOU'RE NOT DONE YET, is an absolute crime. do you split this with him, or do you pay him hourly? lawn or no lawn, i wouldn't do it.

TTG
11-19-2004, 06:37 PM
We are partners 50/50.
How much do you pay for gas in NJ??
What is minium wage??
In my area I think it is fair.
I do realize there is more profit on jobs that take less time.
So tell me how much is this job worth in NJ????

paponte
11-19-2004, 06:40 PM
Good luck bidding against me. $100-150 a man hour? Keep inhalin dude!!

Good luck bidding against you? Your proud of that? What a piece of work. Hope your licensed, insured, carry workers comp. and pay taxes, or I'll really go off on you for that comment.

Then you guys wonder why prices are so low, and why no one makes any money. 2 guys with equipment for 8.5hrs straight, and 2 truck loads of leaves, and your willing to make less than $1K? Insane I'll work for less time, less leaves and STILL make more. Unreal.

Oh, and #2. NEVER work without agreeing on a price. :realmad:

dvmcmrhp52
11-19-2004, 06:42 PM
WE have many accounts were we do weekly lawn main.,then when fall comes the simply ask: can you take care of the leaves. If you were to see the property dvmcmrhp52 , you would understand why no estamates are needed.
We trust the customer just like they trust me to give them a fair price .
This seems to work for use because we have 6 accounts in less than a 1/4 mile all waterfront homes , all were acuired by word of mouth, we dont advertise.
Knock on wood, we have never been burned by someone who owns 2-3 million dollar property.




All of this is very nice but apparently your not getting it.
You trust the customer?
Hmmm, not with a day and a half cleanup job you won't.
If I were to see the property I'd understand?
No I wouldn't. The size of the property and house has nothing to do with running a business and recieving payment for your work. 2-3 million dollar properties don't impress me.
There is NEVER a time when estimates are not needed, only a perception exists that this is the case.
Simple business practice.

We work with plenty of folks with muliple millions under their matress but none of them get a bill for 1 1/2 days work without knowing the cost.

Smithers
11-19-2004, 06:42 PM
Lawnworks,

There is a comma before "Dude". don't forget.

Anyway,

TTG,

Let me get this straight...you spent (let's round down) 8 hrs there. That's 16 man hours. You got a ton of leaves that you still have to dump. You also said that you have to go back and spend half a day, that's another 8 man hrs or so.

So, for 24 man hrs, you are going to charge them ~$700 or so. That is just under $30/man hour. If you are fine with that, i'd say, "Go for it". I know that sending a $1,500 bill to someone would shock them and send them into convultions, but i do not work for peanuts either. I have made mistakes bidding leaf jobs before, and i am very careful pricing out those since.

you said, "Rich area, Doctors", that's why i said $1600 or so. Personally, i'd not start a job worth more than $500 without telling the customer how much he/she will pay.

I am with bobby.....i would not spend all day at a person's yard and split the profit with my brother. If you do that....you have worked a day and a half for $350. If you are fine with that....go for it.

I work with my wife....whatever we make, we bring home. :alien:

bobbygedd
11-19-2004, 06:44 PM
first of all, i price the job. the job has a market value, it doesn't matter what you are using to do it. but, visiualizing this monstrousity from your description of the time it took you, the machines you used, seemingly 2 guys hustling, you still have disposal, and there is still more work to be done. off the top of my head, $1500. 50/50 is a tough split, i think you'll never get ahead like that, either of you. just think, even at your rate of $700, if you had an employee instead of a partner, you'd have dragged in at least $600 for the one day, minus expenses. now, you're at $350 minus expenses. min wage here i believe is $5.15. gas, $1.89.

packerbacker
11-19-2004, 06:46 PM
Good luck bidding against you? Your proud of that? What a piece of work. Hope your licensed, insured, carry workers comp. and pay taxes, or I'll really go off on you for that comment.

Then you guys wonder why prices are so low, and why no one makes any money. 2 guys with equipment for 8.5hrs straight, and 2 truck loads of leaves, and your willing to make less than $1K? Insane I'll work for less time, less leaves and STILL make more. Unreal.

Oh, and #2. NEVER work without agreeing on a price. :realmad:





What does any of that have to do with overcharging someone? The prices i have heard today are a rip-off. 16 man hours for over 1000 bucks? If i sent a customer that bill they would call me and fire me.

Smithers
11-19-2004, 06:49 PM
i just went back over the posts, and i realized that i said $100-$150/man hour..

Sorry, i meant that price for two people. Since i work with my wife, we try to shoot for that. So, i technically meant $50-$75 PER man hour, which would bring it to $1,600-$2,400.

Paponte, i am glad at least someone understood where i was coming from.

:waving: :waving: :waving:

TTG
11-19-2004, 06:50 PM
Maybe I did'nt explain well enough the $700 is only for the first day I mention ed in this post not the other half day work that is yet to come.

packerbacker
11-19-2004, 06:50 PM
Maybe I did'nt explain well enough the $700 is only for the first day I mention ed in this post not the other half day work that is yet to come.




Thats a little more realistic then.

paponte
11-19-2004, 06:52 PM
What does any of that have to do with overcharging someone? The prices i have heard today are a rip-off. 16 man hours for over 1000 bucks? If i sent a customer that bill they would call me and fire me.

Now were overchargeing? You guys are unreal! Leave your truck at the mechanics for 16hrs, go see a doctor for 16hrs, a lawyer, burner man, electrician, carpenter. Shoot call any professional and have them work at your house for 16hrs. See what they will charge you.

OH YEAH!! Then tell them to pay for the dumping too! :angry:

Smithers
11-19-2004, 06:53 PM
packerbacker,

What do you mean? Are you saying that you can not send a customer a bill for over $1,000 just because we are landscapers??? Please....

you guys talk about lowballers, but yet, so many of you are underbidding like crazy.

If i want a new roof on my 2 car garage, it will cost me $1200-$1500. And guess what....they will spend 3-4 hrs on it.

You mean to tell me that for 24 hrs of work, i will not feel confortable charging over $1,000? :dizzy:

bobbygedd
11-19-2004, 06:54 PM
yea, the rooffers were at my house for 10 hrs, they charged $4,000. and guess what? if i didn't pay $350 for the dumpster, they would have left the old roof right where it landed

TTG
11-19-2004, 06:55 PM
Maybe I should put up a new post- How many guys out there send a customer a bill for over $1000.00 for 2 man leave clean up?

packerbacker
11-19-2004, 06:56 PM
packerbacker,

What do you mean? Are you saying that you can not send a customer a bill for over $1,000 just because we are landscapers??? Please....

you guys talk about lowballers, but yet, so many of you are underbidding like crazy.

If i want a new roof on my 2 car garage, it will cost me $1200-$1500. And guess what....they will spend 3-4 hrs on it.

You mean to tell me that for 24 hrs of work, i will not feel confortable charging over $1,000? :dizzy:






No thats not what i mean, but im solo and if someone got a bill for a 1000 bucks just to rake up leaves i think they would shoot me, i dont have much overhead so im not complaining about the price of equipment but for god sakes all we are doing is raking leaves, lets not turn this into rocket science.

Smithers
11-19-2004, 07:00 PM
bobby, exactly...that's my point.

Our job seems easier than a roofer or a plumber maybe because 99% of the general public can do the work themselves....but nonetheless, we are professionals and we have the equipment to back it up. we get the job faster and better then any homeowner.

packerbacker, i dont know if you are (and why) you are just "raking" leaves, but i have invested $12,000 in equipment. A roofer has a $500 compressor, gun and a damn hammer.

If it is just raking leaves, they would not call us. They can do it themselves and see how long it would take them. If they are doctors or lawyers, their time is worth $200/hr.

packerbacker
11-19-2004, 07:03 PM
bobby, exactly...that's my point.

Our job seems easier than a roofer or a plumber maybe because 99% of the general public can do the work themselves....but nonetheless, we are professionals and we have the equipment to back it up. we get the job faster and better then any homeowner.

packerbacker, i dont know if you are (and why) you are just "raking" leaves, but i have invested $12,000 in equipment. A roofer has a $500 compressor, gun and a damn hammer.

If it is just raking leaves, they would not call us. They can do it themselves and see how long it would take them. If they are doctors or lawyers, their time is worth $200/hr.







Maybe i said that the wrong way. My point was lets not try to turn lead into gold here.

Yes, we are preforming a service but to compare us to a doctor or lawyer is ludicrous. We're mowing lawns, were picking up leaves. Thats all it is.

I to like to make lots of money but im not going to do it gouging someone for 1000 to do a fall cleanup. If it took 3 days, then hell yes i would. But 8 hours???

And no i dont rake them , it was just a figure a speech

bobbygedd
11-19-2004, 07:03 PM
it is not considered work that requires skill, but it is physical. and either way, if you don't have the skills, or the physical well being, you can't do the job.

Smithers
11-19-2004, 07:07 PM
packerbacker, i perfectly agree with you...we are no doctors....

but he did not stay there 8 hrs. he technically stayed there 16 and he is going back for another 8.

When I do landscaping work (planting, sodding, etc) i get $1,000 profit for just being there 6-8 hrs. It is different because there i mark up the prices of the plants, but still, i give them a $2-$4,000 bill at the end.

I agree with Bobby....it is a physical job that many people dont like to, or dont want to do.

packerbacker
11-19-2004, 07:07 PM
it is not considered work that requires skill, but it is physical. and either way, if you don't have the skills, or the physical well being, you can't do the job.






You can say that about everything...

TTG
11-19-2004, 07:16 PM
How long is that roof going to last you?
Do you figure in a new roof every year when your going over your property maintence?
Maybe I am lowballing thats why I put up the post, the bill has not been sent yet.This web site is a great source of info and I am just looking for some opinons on job cost.
You can call me a lowballer and Ill call you a rip off artist, I am looking to give them a resonable price that will keep me and my brother happy as well as the customer happy thats all.

packerbacker
11-19-2004, 07:23 PM
How long is that roof going to last you?
Do you figure in a new roof every year when your going over your property maintence?
Maybe I am lowballing thats why I put up the post, the bill has not been sent yet.This web site is a great source of info and I am just looking for some opinons on job cost.
You can call me a lowballer and Ill call you a rip off artist, I am looking to give them a resonable price that will keep me and my brother happy as well as the customer happy thats all.







First off dont listen to anyone that calls you a scrub or a lowballer. This is a cutthroat business. And we need to do what we can to make it. Ive been doing this for 11 year total and i have seen dozens of companies come and go every year. You do whatever you have to do to survive. The people that call you that are pissed because you have taken money away from them.

GreenMonster
11-19-2004, 07:31 PM
I'd like to hear from someone that does spend a whole day, 2 guys ( my brother and I are partners so we make the same) cleaning leaves on one property how much is the bill?

2 guys, eight hours for me would be $800-$900, up here in NH. I'm not exactly sure where New Bedford is, but as a general statement, you can charge more in Mass.

GreenMonster
11-19-2004, 07:35 PM
First off dont listen to anyone that calls you a scrub or a lowballer. This is a cutthroat business. And we need to do what we can to make it. Ive been doing this for 11 year total and i have seen dozens of companies come and go every year. You do whatever you have to do to survive. The people that call you that are pissed because you have taken money away from them.

I think you're wrong. The "pro's" aren't necessarily pissed because you took money away from them on one particular job that you bid lower, but instead, you are taking money from them on EVERY job -- because you aren't charging enough. In turn, is makes it harder for everyone to charge a fair rate. You're cutting everyone's throat, including your own.

packerbacker
11-19-2004, 07:38 PM
I think you're wrong. The "pro's" aren't necessarily pissed because you took money away from them on one particular job that you bid lower, but instead, you are taking money from them on EVERY job -- because you aren't charging enough. In turn, is makes it harder for everyone to charge a fair rate. You're cutting everyone's throat, including your own.






We are in the business to make money though. When i say a few bucks lower im not talking about LOSING money but if i can pick up a weekly mow for a couple dollars less and still make a great profit then why shouldnt I?

TTG
11-19-2004, 07:48 PM
Thank you Packerbacker,I am 31 my father has been doing this his whole life he retired 2yrs.ago and left the busn. to my brother and I who have been doing this type of work off and on since we were kids in high school, and man have things changed I can remember my father going to work with push mowers and garden shears, rakes , hoes, edgers, and a broom . There was no weedwakers , blowers,and no even dreamed of a truck loader.There wern't many pepole even doing this type of work, but my dad made a living at this because people loved his work and he never ripped anyone off.
Maybe I am old school too but if I retire doing this I know I am doing something right

paponte
11-19-2004, 07:49 PM
You're cutting everyone's throat, including your own.

Now there's a quote! :blob3:

if i can pick up a weekly mow for a couple dollars less and still make a great profit then why shouldnt I?

Cause the real companies out there will charge what the job is worth, and give them quality for their money. If you are dealing with customers that are all about $$, you can keep them. Maybe it's a good thing, your weeding out the cheapy's. I know one thing... "I hold my head up high knowing I'm the best... not the cheapest." :waving:

dvmcmrhp52
11-19-2004, 07:50 PM
I know one thing... "I hold my head up high knowing I'm the best... not the cheapest." :waving:






Good for you!

TTG
11-19-2004, 07:59 PM
Thanks for your price quote Green Monster I may have to reconsider.
Are you using about the same equipment?

GreenMonster
11-19-2004, 09:24 PM
We are in the business to make money though. When i say a few bucks lower im not talking about LOSING money but if i can pick up a weekly mow for a couple dollars less and still make a great profit then why shouldnt I?

Well, you do what you have to do. Gotta put food on the table.

That said, there is nothing I hate more than leaving money on the table.

TTG,

My set-up sounds similar: 1 Ton w/leaf box, 16hp L/W loader, 10hp L/W blower, 2 b/p blowers, Grasshopper with collection. So yeah, I know where you are coming from. That is A LOT of money invested, so make sure you're charging applicable rates so you can pay for it! I had a customer complain that his skilled carpenter only charged $35/hr when I charged $50 an hour. Well, the carpenter didn't pull in the driveway with $50k worth of equipment ;)

Where is New Bedford?

paponte
11-19-2004, 09:39 PM
Rip off or whatever. We've got to be doing something right. Just dumped our 125th yard of leaves today, truck is full again, and were not even done with November. If you guys want to leave money on the table, I will surely take it. :)

grassworks
11-19-2004, 10:28 PM
It 's because of some of these attitudes towards leaves I will no longer be offering leaf removal services next season for residentials. No other add on service can compare to the investment required to do the job properly and the abuse on the equipment and labor/time requirements outweigh any other service you will offer. Yet it is still looked at as a "lower value" s by many who don't want to pay or charge accordiingly....

Some People will pay me over $100 hour to aerate but will let the same lawn rot with leaves rather than a pay 1/3 of that per hour to blow/vacuum.

Lawnworks
11-19-2004, 11:56 PM
Good luck bidding against you? Your proud of that? What a piece of work. Hope your licensed, insured, carry workers comp. and pay taxes, or I'll really go off on you for that comment.

Then you guys wonder why prices are so low, and why no one makes any money. 2 guys with equipment for 8.5hrs straight, and 2 truck loads of leaves, and your willing to make less than $1K? Insane I'll work for less time, less leaves and STILL make more. Unreal.

Oh, and #2. NEVER work without agreeing on a price. :realmad:


Did you catch the fact that he said 100-150 per man hour???? That would be 200-300 per hour for 2 guys. I usually don't underbid, but I give people a fair price. I don't want to come off like I know-it-all, but if somebody can do a job cheaper than you it does not mean they are a scrub. Some companies are set up for volume. Would you like my tax id #?? (bowing before you... oh lawn god)

petrentz
i just went back over the posts, and i realized that i said $100-$150/man hour..

Sorry, i meant that price for two people. Since i work with my wife, we try to shoot for that. So, i technically meant $50-$75 PER man hour, which would bring it to $1,600-$2,400.

I still don't understand your math. If it was 50-75 per hour per man it would be 800-1000 for 8 hours of work.

Lawnworks,

There is a comma before "Dude". don't forget.

There is no coma needed, but if you want I can call my english proffessor and get him to fax you some text book examples. Oh and thanks for the lesson, you are a fine example yourself.

cutnedge
11-20-2004, 12:11 AM
grassworks]It 's because of some of these attitudes towards leaves I will no longer be offering leaf removal services next season for residentials. No other add on service can compare to the investment required to do the job properly and the abuse on the equipment and labor/time requirements outweigh any other service you will offer. Yet it is still looked at as a "lower value" s by many who don't want to pay or charge accordiingly....

Grassworks, you summed it up perfectly. I've thought long and hard about investing in the proper leaf removal equipment so as to offer this service to my customers or others. But, when quoting someone around here what a quality clearing job is going to cost them---you might as well be pulling their teeth. When asked what I will charge for a clearing, I'll tell them point blank that I use nothing but a mulcher, and most are satisfied with this. Oh, I would love to have all of the right equipment for removals(truck loader,leaf box,LW blower, etc) but I can't justify the investment/return for this area. Much less the :eek: :gunsfirin when I give 'em the bill!

geoscaper
11-20-2004, 12:12 AM
I do think that many homeowners see leaf removal as a lower service. They think that they can pay the neighborhood kid to do it for $10 an hour. Another thing is landscapers are willing to do this type of work for a cheaper price. Many want to bring in that last amount of $ before the work stops for the winter.
I think a lot of times you're better off sticking to the jobs that take less than a half a day. Better profit margin. Good topic.

impactlandscaping
11-20-2004, 12:17 AM
I am with Paul. We sell time and quality to our clients, not services, and are well compensated for it. I think the client should have been informed of a loose estimate for the service before starting, then you wouldn't need to rationalize your pricing structure to everyone here, worrying about handing them a high bill. Would you lower your price after completing service because you felt sorry for the client every time? A couple hundred here and there in "discounts" adds up over 8-10 months of production time, probably enough to buy that new mower or other piece of equipment ou want. Don't cheat yourself out of any money by rationalizing the time spent to "fit" with what you think the client would pay. Give the estimate, if they balk at it, say thanks and move on . Don't beat yourself down trying to nail down every job you bid on by making the price "right" for the client.You have to recover your overhead and expenses no matter what .If you don't add a desired profit margin , you can work yourself right out of business that way.

HOOLIE
11-20-2004, 12:23 AM
Yeah, I prefer the smaller jobs as well. From my experience, regardless of property size, once the price tag gets up over $500 for leaf removal most customers go into sticker shock. If you can get much more than that, that's awesome. With the smaller jobs its easier to give a good estimate, and ensure a nice profit. I think a lot of customers, they aren't thinking of leaf removal as something where you come in and get every nook and cranny. When they do it themselves they mostly just rake it off the grass. So they don't get why it is so expensive, they're not thinking so much that you'll get all the beds, ground cover, etc.

paponte
11-20-2004, 07:15 AM
I don't want to come off like I know-it-all, but if somebody can do a job cheaper than you it does not mean they are a scrub. Some companies are set up for volume. Would you like my tax id #?? (bowing before you... oh lawn god)

You don't sound like a know it all, and thats great if your set up for volume. Just a bigger reason to charge more. If you want to compare apples to apples, let's talk equipment that you say your set up for volume. Not to sound like a know it all either, but I am pretty well set up for cleanups and can definitely do volume.

Here's what we pull up with:

1 dump with a 25 cu yd. leaf box and a 65hp Giant Vac leaf loader. another truck with an 18' trailer packed with 2 48", 1 62", 1 52" & 1 32" mowers, 2 10hp little wonder ground blowers, 6 shindaiwa backpacks, and thats just the good stuff.

So don't talk about volume and make excuses. :)

AL Inc
11-20-2004, 07:42 AM
Paponte, you are getting $100-150 per man hour for leaf clean-ups? What areas are you working in? If I were to get that, I would be billing out $500-$750 per hour for my crew=$5000-$7500 for a 10 hour day. Or $25,000-$37,500 PER WEEK?

YardPro
11-20-2004, 08:10 AM
Paponte, you are getting $100-150 per man hour for leaf clean-ups? What areas are you working in? If I were to get that, I would be billing out $500-$750 per hour for my crew=$5000-$7500 for a 10 hour day. Or $25,000-$37,500 PER WEEK?

all depends on the equipment.

guy on a $150K bulldozer gets $250.00/hr
guy on a kubota tractor gets $80.00/hr.

you for the money the dozer is still be a better value.

Lawnworks
11-20-2004, 08:30 AM
So don't talk about volume and make excuses.

I am not making exuses. If another company has less overhead and is more efficient, would it be such a crime for them to do the job cheaper? I get what you are saying about "charging what you are worth," but when it comes down to lowering your profit margin by a few dollars or not getting the job... I think its different.

Smithers
11-20-2004, 09:29 AM
petrentz


I still don't understand your math. If it was 50-75 per hour per man it would be 800-1000 for 8 hours of work.

Lawnworks,
It would be $800-$1000 for the first 8 hrs. I made a mistake at first saying it was $100-$150 per man hour. That's why my initial price of $1500-$2400 was so high. But dont forget...he has to go back there again and spend another half a day.



packerbacker
Quote:
The people that call you that are pissed because you have taken money away from them.

That is not the case with me. Quite on the contrary, I am doing this as a part timer, not a full time LCO like most of you, guys. I can do the job for $10/hr and still make money becuse i have another high paying job. I am just telling you that you, as a full time LCO, would not be getting your time's worth for that kind of job. I am very careful of underbidding just for that reason alone. I am afraid that since i do not do this all the time (8hrs a day, 7 days a week) i MIGHT reduce the prices in my areas for every other LCO. I can do a weekly cut for $15, and get all the business i want and STILL do a great job because the time is not as valuable to me as it is to you....but i dont. I respect you guys and i do not want to be a lawballer.

TTG, you said it yourself......"I can make more money doing a few smaler, jobs, but i take care of my richer customers".

Then, why are you cheating yourself out of the money that these rich people might give you? Why are you giving them a break? Are you impressed by their professions or their house, and you feel intimdated to give them a bill? If you would have spend as much time at "poorer" people;s houses and made more money, why lower your fees just for them?

I honestly think that this whole discussion would have been avoided if you simply gave them your hourly rate, and honestly told them that you had no idea how many hrs it would take you.

Lawn maintenance is like painting......"What's so hard about painting a room" Well, some people just dont want to do it. They have the money, the desire, but dang it, they dont have the time, the energy, the "skill" to do it. That's why they call "Professional" painters...

I'd faint if i was to give or receive a $800 bill for fall cleanup. Stick with the smaller accounts and "process" them like an assembly line. Too much sticking around one yard might be bad, like in this case. You can't give them a huge bill, yet you truly deserve it.

Peace out. :cool2: :cool2:

paponte
11-20-2004, 06:55 PM
Paponte, you are getting $100-150 per man hour for leaf clean-ups? What areas are you working in? If I were to get that, I would be billing out $500-$750 per hour for my crew=$5000-$7500 for a 10 hour day. Or $25,000-$37,500 PER WEEK?

No AL, we get between $60-$75 per manhour, or $240- $300hr per crew. I had originally said to bill out at least $120hr for 2 guys. :)

TTG
11-20-2004, 10:47 PM
Lawnworks,
It would be $800-$1000 for the first 8 hrs. I made a mistake at first saying it was $100-$150 per man hour. That's why my initial price of $1500-$2400 was so high. But dont forget...he has to go back there again and spend another half a day.




That is not the case with me. Quite on the contrary, I am doing this as a part timer, not a full time LCO like most of you, guys. I can do the job for $10/hr and still make money becuse i have another high paying job. I am just telling you that you, as a full time LCO, would not be getting your time's worth for that kind of job. I am very careful of underbidding just for that reason alone. I am afraid that since i do not do this all the time (8hrs a day, 7 days a week) i MIGHT reduce the prices in my areas for every other LCO. I can do a weekly cut for $15, and get all the business i want and STILL do a great job because the time is not as valuable to me as it is to you....but i dont. I respect you guys and i do not want to be a lawballer.

TTG, you said it yourself......"I can make more money doing a few smaler, jobs, but i take care of my richer customers".

Then, why are you cheating yourself out of the money that these rich people might give you? Why are you giving them a break? Are you impressed by their professions or their house, and you feel intimdated to give them a bill? If you would have spend as much time at "poorer" people;s houses and made more money, why lower your fees just for them?

I honestly think that this whole discussion would have been avoided if you simply gave them your hourly rate, and honestly told them that you had no idea how many hrs it would take you.

Lawn maintenance is like painting......"What's so hard about painting a room" Well, some people just dont want to do it. They have the money, the desire, but dang it, they dont have the time, the energy, the "skill" to do it. That's why they call "Professional" painters...

I'd faint if i was to give or receive a $800 bill for fall cleanup. Stick with the smaller accounts and "process" them like an assembly line. Too much sticking around one yard might be bad, like in this case. You can't give them a huge bill, yet you truly deserve it.

Peace out. :cool2: :cool2:
Why are you given them a break ?
Job security thats why, In the sping when we clean , edge, and spread 20-25 yrds.of mulch I will also take the time to bill them accordingly.
Dont get me wrong , I would like to make as much profit as I can get, but I dont what to lose my cutomers or my reputation of doing great work at resonable prices.
Like I said earlier we dont advertise we havent even lettered our new dump truck we bought this spring, which we should so maybe we could weed out some of our PITA costomers, anyways are rep. keeps me and my brother busy 6days a week Mar-Dec, just wish we could find some good help, thats another issue. :)

TTG
11-20-2004, 11:16 PM
I got a question for you guys:
What makes a pro a pro?
Pulling up with with two trucks and an 18ft. trailer?
Charging $100 per man hr.?
The men working are all in matching clothing?
Is a pros job going to come out 50 leaves cleaner than mine?
The customer could give S*** , all he cares about is quality work and price.
And like Lawn Works said is there a crime in bidding lower just because you have a lower overhead? I think not.
I dont consider myself a pro but I dont knock the week end warriors that I see all the time towing a small trailer with a mower , weed wacker, and blower.
Give me a break there is pleanty of work to go around no matter how big your busn. is
Quoet:Cant we all get along? -Rodney King :D

TTG
11-20-2004, 11:46 PM
Green Monster , Newbedford is the armpit of America, if you look at Mass. on a map there is a long arm that sticks out that is Cape Cod (some of the best Striped bass fishin in the world) the armpit of that arm is Newbedford and believe me there our some parts of this city that are trully an armpit.
Most of our work is in the towns outside of the city.
GO RED SOX! - New bedford is 50 min. south of the real Green Monster.

GreenMonster
11-21-2004, 08:41 PM
Green Monster , Newbedford is the armpit of America, if you look at Mass. on a map there is a long arm that sticks out that is Cape Cod (some of the best Striped bass fishin in the world) the armpit of that arm is Newbedford and believe me there our some parts of this city that are trully an armpit.
Most of our work is in the towns outside of the city.
GO RED SOX! - New bedford is 50 min. south of the real Green Monster.

If you think Newbedford is the armpit of America, you've obviously never spent anytime in Newark, NJ :D

TTG
11-21-2004, 08:52 PM
Driven through there, it is just a bigger ,sweatier,dingle berries hanging off the hair armpit. :laugh:

Staffordnurseries
11-22-2004, 01:15 AM
I find it interesting and eye opening to see what the quotes are for work. In any business including the large manufacturing company I work for the margins are getting pressed tighter and tighter by foreign competition. One mistake in pricing and you are wiped out, your product line now overseas.

What does that mean to lawn care? I have seen more than a few of the employees that have left go into the business. In many ways it is a entry level business since for a couple of grand of equipment and a business policy you are in at a minimal legal level

I saw a comparison to roofing. Here in New York the insurance for roofers is very high because they are liable 100% for any fall injury even if it is employee negligence, thats one barrier to entry in the business.

There are more home owners willing to rake leaves and mow than there are willing to go up on a roof, and in a equal proportion there are going to be less employees willing to go that high either. Another barrier.

But the same as you guys, there are part time roofers out there taking the smaller jobs (working alone to minimize the huge liability). The price is a little higher because the barriers and the work itself is alittle higher

I think it is going to get worst in the business as more and more industries down size. Are these guys going to be your employees or your competitors?
More likely competitors for all the small accounts. Further many times your customer is your competitor if they are able to any of the work themselves.

Right now I work in one industry but accumulating the equipment to enter yours and the nursery business. Why? Because the margins are still there, you can enter part time and the point to reach scale economy is lower than other businesses I have looked at. ( crop farming and home construction ) .

Other reason not mentioned here is you can create demand for your services with each account because it is outside for all to see . The large variety of services you can offer that are a natural fit - chemicals, irrigation services, paving and outdoor construction allow for expansion or niche work depending on your desire

Viewing this leaf issue from a distance it may be the one part of your service that is lower margin just to keep the rest of the high margin work.
Because your competition is always coming

FBT
12-14-2004, 09:40 PM
Paponte, you're getting a little to creative. $75.00 an hour per worker, times 3 workers comes out to $225.00 an hour. After a light 8 hour day you would take in $1,800.00....times 5 days = $9,000.00 a week. That's $36,000 a month... times 9 months comes out to $324,000. And don't you run 2 crews? You must be a millionaire!

bobbygedd
12-14-2004, 09:43 PM
Paponte, you're getting a little to creative. $75.00 an hour per worker, times 3 workers comes out to $225.00 an hour. After a light 8 hour day you would take in $1,800.00....times 5 days = $9,000.00 a week. That's $36,000 a month... times 9 months comes out to $324,000. And don't you run 2 crews? You must be a millionaire!
no, he's full of crap like the rest of them