I would add that price per hour really doesn't mean much except to the penny pinchers and price shoppers.
I probably an nearly 12,000 hours in a skidsteer and additional hours in other types of machines. I have a college degree (don't mean much in my line of work), 17 years of experience, highly insured, a bunch of really productive attachments and tools, and some would say I do a good job. My price per hour can and often does get beat by someone renting a machine with half the horsepower or by a competitor who knows my basic prices. If the other guy is $10/hr cheaper but has very little experience, little care for whether or not the job looks, good, has a MUCH less productive machine and has virtually no attachments, tools nor the ability to run them, was the customer better off saving $80/day?
The reality is there a ton of people who will do that and think they got a good deal and then when they call JimBob a few months later his phone is disconnected. That's the frustrating part about pricing. I personally have kept my prices about the same for the last 4 years partly to help people out in this economy and partly because I feel comfortable there. The problem is, I get a lot of calls wanting to know what I charge per hour.. I guess some things you can just do by the hour but I prefer to work by the day or for small stuff, by the half-day. For example, I'm on a job right now where I'm going to use a tree shear, mulcher, grapple, several buckets and a compactor to start. The customer knows my day price but that price includes hauling, setup, my insurance both workman's comp and liability, my knowledge, and the use of a bunch of tools. The rental place is about $300 cheaper for smaller machine and one attachment but you never know what's available and what condition it's in. What I'm carrying tree-wise with a 9,000lb machine versus a 6,000 pound machine proves I'm a lot more productive plus I'm more flexible than a cheap guy (or someone who relies on renting what's out available) could afford to be. I charge more because I'm in that machine every day and have owned plenty just like it so I know it like the back of my hand. That knowledge is worth something too because it equals more productivity if the owner-operator is competent and I believe I fall into that category.
I understand the need to get into the market but don't be the cheap guy! Practice first and work cheap for your buddies but go into the market armed with experience and knowledge and charge a price that will allow you to grow. If you are booked solid for months either you are the best in your area and everyone wants your services or you are too cheap. Less customers paying more will allow you to breathe and grow.
Hope this helps... It can get frustrating and I wish I could figure it ALL out.. I just know what works in my case.
"Life is tough, but it's tougher if you're stupid."