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  #11  
Old 12-08-2012, 07:51 AM
Duekster Duekster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shovelracer View Post
No one can tell you whether $60/hr is fair because we do not have access to your overhead expense, cost of living, desired profit, etc. I can tell you the biggest mistake you could make is to undervalue your time. I can understand throwing in a freebie or few man hours at the end of a season here or there only for the very best customers and only on your terms after they have given you 5 figures in a season. However even if you tell them this straight they will not appreciate it like you intend. What essentially happens is that you have undervalued your time and they will forget the savings the very next time you hand them a contract renewal with price increase. If you do this to anyone on a regular basis you have shot yourself in the foot because it will become very difficult to raise prices later and anyone they refer will expect similar pricing.

Your setup is enough to support additional laborers. Please understand that if you expect to charge half the amount to have double the man power you have again done yourself wrong. Generally having extra laborers does not decrease your rate. The only people who can make this happen are large scale and are using reduced rates to make it up in volume. I can not imagine that legit organizations are working for $20-30/hr anywhere. My cost to be on your property is greater than that per man. There is one company around here that intentionally lowballs other contracts when competing straight labor by offering $35/man hr. They do large volume, but they make up for it by overcharging the customer for bad material. IE charging inflated pricing for recycling center mulch and then arguing it is premium grade. They have gotten a few of my customers once or twice, and I see them all the time when we are dropping off our garbage brush, pallets, poison ivy rip outs, rotten stumps, etc.
In my area $35.00 a man hour was a decent rate for commercial job bidding about 7 years ago. That is a job that you expect to have weekly work and payments year round. The only way to get to that rate was to put 3 or 4 guys in the truck too.
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  #12  
Old 12-08-2012, 08:00 AM
caseysmowing caseysmowing is online now
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Location: Staunton VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shovelracer View Post
No one can tell you whether $60/hr is fair because we do not have access to your overhead expense, cost of living, desired profit, etc. I can tell you the biggest mistake you could make is to undervalue your time. I can understand throwing in a freebie or few man hours at the end of a season here or there only for the very best customers and only on your terms after they have given you 5 figures in a season. However even if you tell them this straight they will not appreciate it like you intend. What essentially happens is that you have undervalued your time and they will forget the savings the very next time you hand them a contract renewal with price increase. If you do this to anyone on a regular basis you have shot yourself in the foot because it will become very difficult to raise prices later and anyone they refer will expect similar pricing.

Your setup is enough to support additional laborers. Please understand that if you expect to charge half the amount to have double the man power you have again done yourself wrong. Generally having extra laborers does not decrease your rate. The only people who can make this happen are large scale and are using reduced rates to make it up in volume. I can not imagine that legit organizations are working for $20-30/hr anywhere. My cost to be on your property is greater than that per man. There is one company around here that intentionally lowballs other contracts when competing straight labor by offering $35/man hr. They do large volume, but they make up for it by overcharging the customer for bad material. IE charging inflated pricing for recycling center mulch and then arguing it is premium grade. They have gotten a few of my customers once or twice, and I see them all the time when we are dropping off our garbage brush, pallets, poison ivy rip outs, rotten stumps, etc.
This is the info I'm looking for. Thank you!! No I wouldn't add more help to make less money. I think I need at least one helper and charge more. I'm thinking around 2700. Do you think a big company could do it for less than that?? This lady is tight and picky and really likes my work. I know she doesn't want to find someone else because she has before and been unhappy with the work. More info I'm part time right now time is limited.
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  #13  
Old 12-08-2012, 08:18 AM
caseysmowing caseysmowing is online now
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So I guess it is safe to say that at best a company would be at 35 a hour for more like 90 hours. I'll tell her my price for next year and wish her the best of luck. She did offer me 20,000 of I could find someone to rent her warehouse.
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  #14  
Old 12-08-2012, 08:40 AM
Darryl G Darryl G is offline
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I'm also at $60/hr solo and I consider myself a baragain at that rate. You'd have to look pretty hard to find a hired crew member who works with the intensity I do. I think that goes for most solo operators. I'm not interested in milking the job, goofing off, talking on my cell phone and I'm certainly not disgruntled. What's on my mind is getting the job done as fast as humanly possible and moving on to the next one so I can get them all done before winter really sets in.
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  #15  
Old 12-08-2012, 10:37 AM
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jonthepain jonthepain is offline
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Originally Posted by shovelracer View Post
However even if you tell them this straight they will not appreciate it like you intend. ...and anyone they refer will expect similar pricing.
anyone i've ever let talk me down has turned out to be a pita customer that demands 10x what customers that pay full boat expect.

one in particular posted a somewhat negative review on angie's list after i quit taking her 10+ phone calls per day to ask me the exact same thing over and over, just in a different way, and expecting me to talk to her for 45 minutes. in the review she also mentioned that i came down $50 on her bill once. that is not something that i want going around.

it seems ironic but it's been my experience in 37 years of doing business that the people who want to talk me down are the ones that later make unreasonable demands and neglect to pay their bills.
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  #16  
Old 12-08-2012, 11:04 AM
Duekster Duekster is offline
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Originally Posted by jonthepain View Post
anyone i've ever let talk me down has turned out to be a pita customer that demands 10x what customers that pay full boat expect.

one in particular posted a somewhat negative review on angie's list after i quit taking her 10+ phone calls per day to ask me the exact same thing over and over, just in a different way, and expecting me to talk to her for 45 minutes. in the review she also mentioned that i came down $50 on her bill once. that is not something that i want going around.

it seems ironic but it's been my experience in 37 years of doing business that the people who want to talk me down are the ones that later make unreasonable demands and neglect to pay their bills.
This is a true statement in many cases.

Bottom line is know your cost and value and stick to it. If someone is value minded, I often tell them to price the job out or call me in the off season.
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  #17  
Old 12-08-2012, 11:09 AM
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jrs.landscaping jrs.landscaping is online now
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3k for a 5 acre cleanup seems steep. Maybe I misunderstood the numbers you gave, but $40 PMH x 80 MH is over 3k. That does seem high IMHO.
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  #18  
Old 12-08-2012, 11:44 AM
Duekster Duekster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl G View Post
I'm also at $60/hr solo and I consider myself a baragain at that rate. You'd have to look pretty hard to find a hired crew member who works with the intensity I do. I think that goes for most solo operators. I'm not interested in milking the job, goofing off, talking on my cell phone and I'm certainly not disgruntled. What's on my mind is getting the job done as fast as humanly possible and moving on to the next one so I can get them all done before winter really sets in.
Since you are twice as good as everybody you likely bid on it at $30.00 an hour but do it in half the time.

In otherwords you likely do not quote $60.00 an hour for general labor but you earn $60 because of production.
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  #19  
Old 12-08-2012, 12:03 PM
Darryl G Darryl G is offline
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I don't even give a price for most of my cleanups. I just do them and bill them hourly. I'll do a lump sum on some one-time cleanups but I don't do many of those. I just wrapped up all of my mowing customer's cleanups on Thursday and will be calling some cleanup-only customers over the weekend. I spent a few hours yesterday on areas of my property that hadn't gotten a hurricane cleanup yet. Any yards that haven't been cleaned up at all yet are getting harder....long grass, matted wet leaves, sticks all over the place. I'll think about building a new leaf box for my dump trailer and chasing piles and one timers, but at this point I'm not feeling very excited about that, lol.
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  #20  
Old 12-08-2012, 02:58 PM
Roger Roger is offline
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I've worked solo for many years. I would never consider a job that takes 80 hours for leaf cleanup. That may be a very good time for a solo, I don't know.

However, it does not matter. I have 40 other customers who need attention too. Having a very large job that takes so much time is very hard to manage, while yet keeping up with other customers as well. In fact, I really don't like to have jobs that take more than 1 day. Quickly, my schedule for other customers starts to get too skewed. The 1 day is about the maximum granule size of time I want to devote to one customer. Frankly, I would like to have one customer require 80 hours in terms of work time, travel, etc. But, trying to keep the others happy, while devoting such a large block of time to one customer is not how I like to work.

On another front, I would never take these jobs because too much financial stability is packed into one place. When one customer starts to take near 10% of the sales, then the granule is probably too large. I only have a couple that are around 5%. I would rather have my work spread over many places, lest one large job cancel out, or otherwise leave my customer base, the loss is too much In other words, "Too many eggs in one basket."
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