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View Full Version : Does this sound fair?


newbomb
12-10-2004, 09:33 PM
Last weekend I did a small bush removal job for a regular lawn customer. I dug up 4 small forsythias and hauled them away. 2 hours on site and 3 bags and 4 root balls on the truck. I charged him $80.00. He cried and acted as if I cheated him. We agreed on a price of $50.00 and he is supposed to mail a check. I expect that he will. I based the $80.00 on 2 hrs @ $30.00 each and $20.00 for the dump. I worked alone. Does my price seem out of line?

Thanks,

Paul

bobbygedd
12-10-2004, 09:35 PM
how tall were the forsythias?

Zach76
12-10-2004, 09:37 PM
Even at $80 you were giving him a deal. I would have been more around $120-$130.

dfor
12-10-2004, 09:40 PM
$30 per hour for you and your truck is way too low. $120

locutus
12-10-2004, 09:46 PM
Your price seems about right to me. This sounds like the kind of guy that would have complained at $50.00. Some people are used to throwing a fit no matter what number comes out of your mouth. That being said, since you have already capitulated on your price once, look forward to heated negotiations everytime your do something for this guy. I'm afraid you may have set a bad precedent by letting him beat you down.

bobbygedd
12-10-2004, 09:47 PM
can someone tell me, HOW BIG/WIDE WERE THE FORSYTHIAS?

out4now
12-10-2004, 09:50 PM
Did you quote 80 before you started and then agreed to 50?

newbomb
12-10-2004, 09:51 PM
Bobby Just small forsythias maybe 2 ft. They had been cut back many times. Not a tough job just a little sovel work.

newbomb
12-10-2004, 09:54 PM
No quote was given he told me he wanted it done and to do it when I could. I feel like such a jerk. I will never do anything again with out a quote first.

bobbygedd
12-10-2004, 10:02 PM
ok, i think i would have had them out of the ground and in the back of the truck in 40 minutes. chainsaw and pick . i can't imagine 2 hrs. but, reguardless, you are the contractor, he ALLOWED YOU to do the job without a quote. to me, that means he MUST pay whatever you bill him. don't bend, ever.

Shuter
12-10-2004, 10:13 PM
2 hours labor x $45 = $90
1 hour for dumping = $45.
Disposal fees (min) = $35.
Total = $170.00

$80 is a great deal.

pjslawncare/landscap
12-10-2004, 10:22 PM
I would have charge about $80 or so, but I cant imagine 2 hours there for 4 two ft tall bushes

out4now
12-10-2004, 10:22 PM
Next time quote first, if they have a heart attack on the spot at lleast you haven't done any work you can't collect on, lol. Stick to your prices once you quote too like bobby said.

SodKing
12-10-2004, 10:47 PM
I did a job like this for another landscaper. 5 Spreading yews. Time on site 18 minutes including unloading and loading the Kubota onto the trailer. Trucks loaded, dumped on the way to the next job. Charge: $175

treedoc1
12-10-2004, 11:36 PM
I do no maintenance so take this accordingly.

Our minimum stop charge is $100 for a 15 minute to one hour fix.
4 man crew bills $1500-$2000 daily. (32 man hours). thats $46+ per manhour minimum for a full day on a site. If it is going to take more than $100 it's not a service call, but a small job that needs to be scheduled, so time is not wasted.

For an example on Wednesday I had a crew run around for service calls.

Stop 1 9 am Plant 3/4' weeping jap maple and 7 #3 blue rug juniper in an existing bed.

material cost $250 labor cost 4 x 20 minutes @15/hr each = $20..$270 total
client billed $680

Stop 2 9:45 am Plant 3 6/7 redbud and 3 #3 conifers(warranty) in existing beds.
material cost $270 labor cost 4 x 20 minutes @15/hr each = $20...$290 total
client billed $600

Stop 3 10:15 Plant #5 butterfly bush, transplant and move 3 grasses, 3 clethra, 1 barberry (all warranty work)
material cost $10 labor cost 4 x 20 minutes @15/hr each = $20...$30 total
client billed $0

Stop 4 10:45 drainage install. 140 feet 4" solid corex, 2 popup emitters, 6' channel grate
material cost $150 lab or cost 4 x 4 hours @ $15/hour each = $240...$390 total
client billed $1400

Unbillable costs owner plant/material pickup/delivery 4 hours @$40/hour = $160
Supervisory time 2 hours @$40/hour = $80
Drive time 2 hours @ $40/hour = $80

Total costs material and labor $1300
Total billable $2680
profit margin 51%

Without planning in advance the stops could have been killers. Thats why we bunch small jobs.

Your small job shouldn't be a time killer either. $50 won't let me stop, let alone do some work and labor.

$40/hour cost...$50 charge to client only a 20% profit margin if it took 1 hour total including drive time...if it took 2 hours total you lost money at $50...broke even at your original $80 charge.

Don't sell yourself short...no other contractor will do these small jobs...it's not profitable. Price it accordingly. payup

Del9175
12-10-2004, 11:45 PM
If it took you thirty minutes a bush to dig them out, you need to figure out a better way to do it. Try a shovel next time. I'm just teasing ya, but that seems like way to much time to do it.

work_it
12-11-2004, 12:12 AM
2 hours for 4 2' forsythias? What are you digging them out with....a spoon? Needless to say, it was still underbilled at $80. My basic dump fee is $60 no matter how small the load (the larger the load the higher the price). Basic labor billed at $45/hr (w/ a 1 hour minimum), and anything that requires a power tool is $60+/hr depending upon the equipment needed. Even if it took me 1 hour I would have billed him $45+$60=$105. Let him throw a fit if he wants but he would still have to pay me $105.

richard coffman
12-11-2004, 12:17 AM
before doing a job, have a quote done and a copy of it to you and the customer with their signiture agreeing to the fee and terms. don't sell yourself short, you need a profit margin. :D :D

bettergrass
12-11-2004, 12:58 AM
i agree 2 hours does seem like alot of time....if you were really there for 2 hours and were working your but off though id say you under bid him

jeffex
12-11-2004, 05:56 AM
Newbomb I know your dilemma. If your going to go full time you have to take the risk of charging enough to make it full time. Every turf magazine and professional publication PREACH constantly about raising prices. I remember the feeling of wanting the customer to be happy with me about the price. Now I want me to be happy with the price and them happy with the work!! You'll loose a few jobs but you'll make more money!! You have been doing this thing long enough now to be worth more per hour in your market area. I know most of the guys working in our area and they all charge more . Why not you!

arborist-28
12-11-2004, 06:23 AM
that's too bad ... I agree that even 80 was well below what was needed to actually turn a fair profit ... Even if was 4 small plant I would have had to charge 60 for an hour + 40 FOR DISPOSAL ... C

CAN'T LET THE CUSTOMER BELITTLE YOU , BE CONFIDENT AND AGGRESSIVE WITH YOUR PRICING YOUR IN THIS TO MAKE $ NOT DO THEM A FAVOUR ...

newbomb
12-11-2004, 09:35 PM
Thank you all for the input. You told me what I knew to begin with. I am going to cut this customer loose in the Spring and move on. Got to clear one thing up though. These bushes were in a raised bed on a terraced hil in the back yard. No place to stand no room to work and if I swung a pick at them, the flagstone "planter" they were in would have fell over. Hence the 2 hrs. Real PITA job. Thanks to all. Paul

jeffex
12-13-2004, 06:02 AM
Don't just cast him aside. let him know your prices up front. Give him your price and let him decide to cast you aside or pay what your worth. Don't get your feelings hurt just move on to the next job. Always keep your door open for customers to come back to you at YOUR price. I have experienced that good customers don't want to constantly find new people but they will test you once in awhile. In the spring when you get new people calling is a good chance to raise your pricing. The best ones are the poeple who wait until April and it is a foot high.

tiedeman
12-13-2004, 06:25 AM
I have to agree, don't cast him aside just for that one mistake. But I do feel he was getting a deal at $80

crawdad
12-13-2004, 06:55 AM
Last weekend I did a small bush removal job for a regular lawn customer. I dug up 4 small forsythias and hauled them away. 2 hours on site and 3 bags and 4 root balls on the truck. I charged him $80.00. He cried and acted as if I cheated him. We agreed on a price of $50.00 and he is supposed to mail a check. I expect that he will. I based the $80.00 on 2 hrs @ $30.00 each and $20.00 for the dump. I worked alone. Does my price seem out of line?

Thanks,

Paul

Let's see, you came down to 50 bucks. Do the math, subtract 20 for dump, 30 left. How long, from when you started loading your truck, preparing to go to this job, until you unloaded your truck and put your tools away? Half a day? For 30 bucks? Oh, yeah, you must have burned a bit of gas in the truck, take out 5, you worked half a day for 25 bucks.
Now you tell us if your price is out of line.
Crawdad