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  #11  
Old 12-14-2012, 10:25 PM
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RSK Property Maintenance RSK Property Maintenance is offline
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Location: Manchester,CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl G View Post
You never really know how a customer is going to react, even if you give them a fixed, lump sum price. I have had more than one customer claim that I was taking advantage of them when I billed them exactly what I said I would.

On the other hand, I have an account isn't all that big, 1/2 to 3/4 acre, but it has tons of mature trees, including nut trees and a big Sycamore that makes a mess with both bark and huge leaves. Lots of nooks and crannies and different yard areas. Add the hurricane mess to it (mostly sticks/twigs but a few larger branches requiring a little chain saw work) and my bill for the second service came to over $600 with tax on top of a $400 bill for the previous service. I half expected her to freak out, but I got the check yesterday with a note on it. Thank you Darryl!
I could imagine that since you are billing hourly, you probably clean all of your accounts to perfection? unlike me someone who gives a set price and really does everything in my power to go in clean up the leaves and get out within the time i had estimated or faster. I really crack that whip if we end up going over the allowed time, but when i finish on time or faster, people really are amazed at how fast and how clean everything is for the money. I go through my clean ups with speed over quality now. I used to do them with only back packs, much better job but unless you are billing hourly its not worth imo, and even if you are billing hourly I think most of my customers would feel very strongly against billing them 50 or 60 dollars per man per hour. especially when there are 2 or 3 of us on a single clean up. they would want to know how long it will take and whatever time i say they would try to hold me too it, some anyways. So i just give them a fixed price.
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  #12  
Old 12-14-2012, 10:56 PM
yardguy28 yardguy28 is offline
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Originally Posted by RSK Property Maintenance View Post
nope better off staying in your neck of the woods, my area is saturated with landscapers as it is, and there will probably be another 1000 or more opening up april 1st 2013 in just this half of ct. Lots of new guys think they can be a landscaper, but a lot of low ball to get work to pay for all this new equipment they just bought and they soon realize, they aren't making enough money to live....or pay for the 4.30 a gallon diesel or even 4.50 a gallon at times. It's all relative to where you live. just because someone in a different part of the country may make 150,000 to your 40,000 doesn't mean they are doing much better. I don't give a per man hour or hourly rate anyways, I actually estimate how long it might take to do the job and i give a price, I never tell a customer an hourly rate. I've lost jobs because of it, and that is fine by me.
I know believe me I know.

I never give my rate either unless pressed and even then I try my hardest to stick with just the price I gave them take it or leave it doesn't matter what my hourly rate is.
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  #13  
Old 12-15-2012, 05:44 PM
H & M Yard Improvements H & M Yard Improvements is offline
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Location: Bloomingdale, NJ
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I try to give just a flat rate if possible. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't! I've noticed that the customers don't care that u are trying to run a business. They just want it done cheap as possible! I had one call from someone wanting his property cleaned and he only wanted to pay $30. I told him no way and walked away and left!
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  #14  
Old 12-15-2012, 06:28 PM
Darryl G Darryl G is offline
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The standard of detail I apply is based on the particular property and even different areas of the property. I am going to do it in a "workman-like" manner no matter what and I'm not going to milk it. Some properties I'll break out the shreder-vac at the end and get the last bit of leaves from corners, window wells and ground cover but on most I don't take it that far. The smaller the property the pickier I'll get, in general. Whatever standard I apply is usually more than the customer expects...most have done leaf cleanups themselves and leave a fair amount of debris behind when they rake.
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  #15  
Old 12-16-2012, 12:26 AM
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RSK Property Maintenance RSK Property Maintenance is offline
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Location: Manchester,CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl G View Post
The standard of detail I apply is based on the particular property and even different areas of the property. I am going to do it in a "workman-like" manner no matter what and I'm not going to milk it. Some properties I'll break out the shreder-vac at the end and get the last bit of leaves from corners, window wells and ground cover but on most I don't take it that far. The smaller the property the pickier I'll get, in general. Whatever standard I apply is usually more than the customer expects...most have done leaf cleanups themselves and leave a fair amount of debris behind when they rake.
I wasn't implying that are milking the fact that it is hourly, i just figured since you are being paid hourly you would get very very detailed. milking it in my opinion is working slow to get paid more. From what you have said in other threads it seems like you move at pretty quick pace. I agree with standard of detail, you can't polish a turd, to say it lightly, when a customer has a crappy lawn full of weeds, moss everywhere and just wants it cut 2x a month or less, I'm not gonna go out of my way, or even spend any extra time trying to make it look nice, I'm gonna cut it as fast as possible and trim as fast as i can walk, and blow the driveway off as fast as i can and leave. vs a nice account, i'll go a little slower so it looks nicer.
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  #16  
Old 12-16-2012, 09:33 AM
Darryl G Darryl G is offline
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Originally Posted by RSK Property Maintenance View Post
I wasn't implying that are milking the fact that it is hourly, i just figured since you are being paid hourly you would get very very detailed. milking it in my opinion is working slow to get paid more. From what you have said in other threads it seems like you move at pretty quick pace. I agree with standard of detail, you can't polish a turd, to say it lightly, when a customer has a crappy lawn full of weeds, moss everywhere and just wants it cut 2x a month or less, I'm not gonna go out of my way, or even spend any extra time trying to make it look nice, I'm gonna cut it as fast as possible and trim as fast as i can walk, and blow the driveway off as fast as i can and leave. vs a nice account, i'll go a little slower so it looks nicer.
I just do what I think is right for the particular lawn and customer. I used to say that you can't polish a turd too...until MythBusters ruined it for me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiJ9fy1qSFI

But this is a lot of the reason I charge my cleanups hourly. What is the standard? What is the end point of a fall cleanup? What happens when your standard and the customer's don't match? What happens when you bid it as a lump sum price and you think you're done and the customer doesn't. When billing hourly the solution is simple....fine, I'll go spend more time on it.
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  #17  
Old 12-16-2012, 12:07 PM
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RSK Property Maintenance RSK Property Maintenance is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Manchester,CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryl G View Post
I just do what I think is right for the particular lawn and customer. I used to say that you can't polish a turd too...until MythBusters ruined it for me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiJ9fy1qSFI

But this is a lot of the reason I charge my cleanups hourly. What is the standard? What is the end point of a fall cleanup? What happens when your standard and the customer's don't match? What happens when you bid it as a lump sum price and you think you're done and the customer doesn't. When billing hourly the solution is simple....fine, I'll go spend more time on it.
i always exceed customer expectations. always, I used to be really anal about my clean ups like I would get every single leaf out of everywhere, every little twig, acorn, nut or berry, almost every grain of sand, i used to clean my lawns to damn near perfection, then i realized I was doing too good of a job for the money i was getting paid, and over a 5 year time frame i have lightened up and go a bit faster but with the newer equipment i have i can still be very detailed and exceed the customers expectations every time.
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  #18  
Old 12-16-2012, 04:36 PM
dtford dtford is offline
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The bottom line is, this equipment and repair costs us a fortune. If Im running 2 backpacks,2 Walkers and a leaf loader, I'm charging a whole lot more than I would for 3 guys and wheel barrels. We spend a fortune for labor saving devices*(which we beat the crap out of and has to be replaced fairly regularly) so we can do more more jobs in a shorter amount of time. For a job that takes 2 guys 1 hour with thousands of dollars worth equipment as opposed to 10 hours for 2 guys with rakes,brooms and tarps. Its difficult to convey that to a customer.I'm always glad when they go off to work.
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  #19  
Old 12-16-2012, 06:08 PM
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PerfectEarth PerfectEarth is offline
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Location: Louisville, Kentucky
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Two man crew, 45.00 per man hour so 90.00/hr billed to the quarter hour + dump fee of usually 10.00-15.00. That's what we tell all our leaf calls over the phone. We do not do leaf estimates. And of all the calls this year, maybe 2 people didn't call back.

Everyone else wanted to hug us after we finished the work.

Our average bill per yard seemed to be right at 190.00 (2 hrs typically)
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  #20  
Old 12-16-2012, 07:11 PM
dtford dtford is offline
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I got no issue with that, way higher on the dump, even if in your back yard
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