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View Full Version : Charged $50/hr,am I justified?


K.Carothers
12-10-2004, 06:38 PM
I had 1 job to do yesterday, not a large job. I had to remove 1 shrub and 2 small trees and replant in another location on my customers property. I went over to his house Tuesday and went over the details as far as the transplanting goes(we didn't talk price-he is a good customer and I did a large mulch job earlier in the season for him). I jumped in my truck yesterday and headed to the store to buy the needed items(top soil,fert) for this job and went straight to the house and started working. I charged him $50/hr starting from the time I got in my truck until the job was completed. My questions is should I have started the clock when I arrived at his house?

BryPaulD
12-10-2004, 06:41 PM
nope, I think you did right. IMO

tiedeman
12-10-2004, 06:46 PM
I think that it would be better to charge a travel charge, and then charge the hourly once you arrive at his place

Woody82986
12-10-2004, 06:52 PM
I would have done what you did. I think you did just fine.

K.Carothers
12-10-2004, 06:53 PM
I think that it would be better to charge a travel charge, and then charge the hourly once you arrive at his place

Tiedeman, what do you charge for travel time? Is it a set fee no matter how long it takes?

tiedeman
12-10-2004, 06:57 PM
usually yes its a set fee of $45 per trip, but usually I only have to go to one of three places with the farthest being only 12 miles away. And when I do have to travel I make sure it is not a lost cause just for ONE customer, but for many customers, or even for myself. For example, if I know I have to pick up something for a customer, but I might be low in stock with something, I pick that up at the same time because then that can save me a lost trip in the future. Most of my travel time takes only 12 to 15 mins.

coastallandscapesolutions
12-10-2004, 07:00 PM
Yes.... you are.

blankenshiplawncare
12-10-2004, 07:02 PM
Most all construction company's (Horizontal, earth moving) charge an in-out fee. i.e. delivery of equipment and personal and removal. A friend of mine owns a ASV RC100 and Bull-hog. He charges $100.00 per hr with operator plus a in-out fee. my .02

Phil

K.Carothers
12-10-2004, 07:04 PM
Yes.... you are.

Are you saying I should have started the clock at his house?

YardPro
12-10-2004, 07:19 PM
you did what you should have

bobbygedd
12-10-2004, 07:20 PM
you shouldn't have charged by the hour

pjslawncare/landscap
12-10-2004, 07:21 PM
You may also want to up charge the customer for his supplies. I get a discount at the local landscape supply yard and charge the customer full price + travel time.

K.Carothers
12-10-2004, 07:46 PM
you shouldn't have charged by the hour

Here we go again. The customer was not told a price. I simply used an hourly wage in order to come up with a final cost. This way I know exactly how much I am making instead of guesstimating for the future. A barometer you can say for future jobs.

NickN
12-10-2004, 10:32 PM
<i>he is a good customer </i>
My good customers get special deals.No,I wouldn't have charged him for travel time,IF he is a really good customer.
I have a customer who is exceptional.No complaints,always on time,compliments the work,etc.,,You know the type.I gave them wholesale price for a weeping jap. maple(Red Select).No fee for delivery.The wife loves weeping maples.Wouldn't ya know,they(actually the wife) upgraded their seasonal package from $1600 per season to $3800 for next year,not including any landscaping or shrub trimming.
Of course,they've been with me all season,so I got to know their habits and their personality pretty well.I'm just saying,don't cut off your nose to spite your face.Throw some freebies their way from time to time.Nothing big,but something like not charging for travel time to pick up a couple of suppies for a good customer.

SodKing
12-10-2004, 10:42 PM
An old plumber trick is to show up at the job, asses what it needs then say they are going to the supplier. (they could go to breakfast for all we know) their clock starts the second they show up at your house untill they leave when the job is done plus mileage from their warehouse.

Randy Scott
12-10-2004, 11:13 PM
If you would have given the customer a price, " Mr. so and so, this job will run you about $150 to $200" or whatever the anticipated cost, you wouldn't have any second guessing as to what to charge him. You wouldn't have to wonder what his reaction will be, you wouldn't have to wonder if someone has a clock on you, and you could get the money you need to survive this industry. Most people are not going to understand you when you tell them, "oh, you have to pay me from the time I leave the shop". They don't need to directly know this. Oh, they have to pay for it, but they don't have to know it.

There is no customer in my mind, good enough to not give them at LEAST a ballpark price while standing there with them. We have customers year after year that pay 4 and 5 grand up front for their seasonal service, they, we, have built 100% trust, and I STILL give them ballpark numbers for ANY work, ANY work.

Apparently you're not sure about times on jobs and that's why you did this the way you did. Unfortunately that procedure will create
a little static with some customers. You'll just have to plug through it until you get the experience to quote jobs confidently while at the site estimating. It just takes time.

HOOLIE
12-10-2004, 11:21 PM
You didn't say the whether the customer was unhappy with the final bill or not. If he's happy, and you made money, then it was a good deal for both sides.

Mycannon
12-10-2004, 11:33 PM
I don't feel that telling a customer that you charge by the hour is good cause they have know idea how long that is going to take I always feel that giving a direct quote is always the more professional way to do things.

treedoc1
12-10-2004, 11:41 PM
Include your travel time from starting point to finish at client. Next job is billed from that starting point (client #1) to finish at client#2. You don't bill for windshield time driving home.
This is how I bill hourly jobs.

brentsawyer
12-11-2004, 09:54 AM
Lets face it, alot of customers don't ask for a price and this is a trust issue. The issue is that they trust that you'll be fair and not rip them off by charging an exorbanant amount.

K.Carothers
12-11-2004, 03:03 PM
You didn't say the whether the customer was unhappy with the final bill or not. If he's happy, and you made money, then it was a good deal for both sides.

Talked with the customer today and he is very happy. Like I said before this was a small job. It took a total of 3 hrs. The job was to dig up 2 smaller size trees and 1 shrub and replant them in another area on his property plus a couple small items. The soil was rough so I did take longer with elbo grease.
Labor cost $150
materials $10
Total Bill $160
For those that would of gave this customer a quote, what price would it of been?

Randy Scott
12-11-2004, 03:25 PM
Lets face it, alot of customers don't ask for a price and this is a trust issue. The issue is that they trust that you'll be fair and not rip them off by charging an exorbanant amount.


Yes, it is. The problem is that once in awhile, a price for something will take even the best customer by surprise. So for 30 seconds more of your life, you can give them a quick ballpark quote that will eliminate ANY element of surprise to your customer.

out4now
12-11-2004, 04:01 PM
Seems fair to me. You're time spent getting the materials is valuable time. He basically paid you a trip to Lowes/Depot whatever. Your time andgas aren't free and the oportunity cost of going to get supplies versus doing additional jobs has to be weighed so if you would be pulling in 50 bucks for the same amount of time that seems right.

Precision
12-11-2004, 07:11 PM
I have a couple of clients who say just do what you need to and give me a bill.

YEAH RIGHT. That works right up until you exceed their internal estimate.

Sure Mr. Jones, let me measure it out and get you a rough number.

My quick guess is about $150-$200 on the top end. sound fair.

Sure.

Now I am covered anywhere between those numbers. And If I see that product went way up since last time or I encounter a watermain where he wants the tree planted, I know to get back and update the customer and convey new cost estimates.

Always include something for drive time and for disposal. whether it is just a higher labor cost or billed as disposal fee. If you do it get paid for it.

For my clean ups, I charge a $75 dump fee no matter how small the job. Some times I get 3 fees for one trip. Sometimes not, but everyone understands when you spell it out. Don't keep them informed at your own risk.

Lux Lawn
12-11-2004, 07:18 PM
I would have charged him for the travel time also plus you did have to stand in line to pay and do the job so yes it was justified IMO.