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  #11  
Old 01-12-2014, 01:40 PM
smitty108 smitty108 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: S.C.S. MI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smitty108 View Post
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I agree. I'm starting a small to learn the ins and outs of running a small business. I'm not sure what the attitude is about but my experiences here and with others in the industry has been positive and informative.
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  #12  
Old 01-12-2014, 02:02 PM
A. W. Landscapers, Inc.'s Avatar
A. W. Landscapers, Inc. A. W. Landscapers, Inc. is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CNYScapes View Post
Im curious, how do you do this for say a list of 100 lawns with varying amounts of turf and trees? Especially when they hire/renew with you a month before spring comes. Do you actually go and look at each lawn to come up with an estimate?
If you are talking about client's you are already servicing, you should already be familiar with the needs of the individual properties you service so you should know how to price the job in the spring to cover the work you do every fall.

If it is a new property, you should be able to estimate the approximate man hours needed to complete the leaf job based on visual inspection of the property and comparing it to past experiences with other similar properties.

Here in Texas, I mulch everything into the lawn so "leaf jobs" usually take place over several weeks. When the grass stops growing, I'm still mowing (mulching leaves).

If someone wants a one time service, I take a look at the property and estimate my time and multiply by my hourly rate and that is the price I will charge to do the job.

Having lived most of my life in Northern New Jersey, I'm quite familiar with making an educated guess as to the approximate amount of leaves a property will get based on the type/size/quantity of trees on and around the property (this one is similar to ______ property). Then it is just a matter of estimating your time to handle that approximate amount of leaves and multiplying by your hourly rate.

Hope that answers your questions.
__________________
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Scott
A. W. Landscapers, Inc.
www.awlandscapers.com

Hustler X-One 60"
Wright Stander RH 36"
eXmark 21" ECXKA21 Mower
Stihl FC110 Edger
Stihl FS90 Trimmer
Stihl FS55R Trimmer
Stihl HS56C Hedge Trimmer
Stihl MS391 25" Bar Chainsaw
RedMax EBZ7100 Blower
Earthquake 16" Rear Tine Tiller
Honda 9" Mini Tiller FG110
2014 GMC Sierra Denali HD
7' x 16' Enclosed V-Nose Trailer
6' x 12' Dump Trailer
Equipment & Work thread: http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=415830
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  #13  
Old 01-12-2014, 02:27 PM
A. W. Landscapers, Inc.'s Avatar
A. W. Landscapers, Inc. A. W. Landscapers, Inc. is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smitty108 View Post
Thanks for the reply. As a new business owner and a one man operation what do you consider to be a fair price per hour for spring/fall cleanup? I'm starting off small with a pick-up, trailer, 30inch walk behind, weed whip, edger, blower, and a lot of drive to grow my business. I'm in the metro Detroit area with yards averaging 1/4 acre or less. I plan on mulching most of the leaves and tarp or bag what I can't mulch.
No one here can answer that question for you without first having an intimate knowledge of every aspect of your business. As the owner of your business, it is your job to know how much your company needs to charge in order for you to make a profit for your business.

What my business charges and what anyone else's business charges doesn't mean squat to what YOUR business needs to charge to make your company a profit. What I consider to be a "fair price per hour for spring/fall cleanup" may or may not be what you need to charge.

You need to learn what your market will bear and charge a rate that is somewhere at or below that amount. Then you need to figure out if your company can be profitable if it were to charge that particular bearable rate. If you don't know how to do this yourself, I'd suggest hiring a qualified CPA and contacting your local S.C.O.R.E. chapter score.org
__________________
Regards,
Scott
A. W. Landscapers, Inc.
www.awlandscapers.com

Hustler X-One 60"
Wright Stander RH 36"
eXmark 21" ECXKA21 Mower
Stihl FC110 Edger
Stihl FS90 Trimmer
Stihl FS55R Trimmer
Stihl HS56C Hedge Trimmer
Stihl MS391 25" Bar Chainsaw
RedMax EBZ7100 Blower
Earthquake 16" Rear Tine Tiller
Honda 9" Mini Tiller FG110
2014 GMC Sierra Denali HD
7' x 16' Enclosed V-Nose Trailer
6' x 12' Dump Trailer
Equipment & Work thread: http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=415830
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  #14  
Old 01-14-2014, 08:49 AM
arl250's Avatar
arl250 arl250 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Sandy Ridge NC
Posts: 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by TPendagast View Post
Smity,

as usual with 80% of these 'how do I price this" posts. IT is clear that you do not have any idea what you are doing.

These forums are not the right place to get information on "how to run my business" and "what do I charge"

No one here can actually answer those questions for you.

AW's pricing or my pricing or anyones is going to be different than yours.

IF you don't know how to estimate, and don't know how to create a budget forecast and arrive at an hourly rate for your work... You don't know how to run a business, which means you shouldn't be doing this.

Too many people have a pickup truck, because they think it's a manly vehicle, then when work gets tough, or the wife decides they need extra money, they buy a poulan weed whacker and a craftsman mower and poof, they are a landscaper.

This is a terrible idea and a bad way to do it.

If you are interested in the industry, sign on with a company, learn the trade, work for them for a while.

What? you don't want to work hard and earn 9-12$ an hour?

Let me tell you the secret you are trying to find out, IF you go into this blind, asking these imperative questions here on a forum...you WILL earn LESS that 9-12/hr floundering around yourself...you have a greater chance of actually LOSING money, than making any.

IF you work for someone for a while, you will see things that they do that are mistakes, as well as what they do that makes sense.
My suggestion? I would spend three seasons working for three different companies. After that, if you still like the industry, you might have enough of an idea on A) how to do the job correctly, B) How long most typical jobs should take and C) have done enough reading and research to learn how to arrive at your own individual pricing.
However, in this time frame you will also have gotten enough experience to be a crew foreman and within a few more years time, possibly a manager for a larger company.

You may mistakenly think you can "make extra money on the side" and keep your day job.
You may think you are going to "get rich quick" by doing easy work for big money.

These things are not going to happen.

Most start up companies will be out of business in 1-3 years after losing more money than they can afford.

If you want to blow some money and have free time, buy a boat, or if you live where there is lots of snow, buy a snowmobile. They will cost you less in the long run than having a failed landscaping business.

The guys on this forum who have been at it, whether they are the heads of large companies, or solo guys who do have another job... have invested more blood, sweat, tears, time and MONEY than a newb can possibly comprehend.

I am not trying to be rude or mean, I am however, giving you sound, REAL advice. Learn the trade first, like any other trade, carpentry, electrical, plumbing.... you need experience first.

you may listen to inspirational speakers in the industry, who tell you (like Ed Laflamme, I used to be one of his managers) that they started with a station wagon an a push mower.... this WAS so, it is no longer that way. The world, the market, the industry have changed, ALOT.

do not go off throwing your time, money and effort into something you know so little about. You would be better served by trying to invent a new product than sinking yourself into a misled business venture.

Trust me, In the first few years you WILL make MORE money working for someone else, even as a side or part time job, learning the industry at 9-12/hr than you will trying to fumble along yourself.

Take that money you earn from Joe's Landscape or Brickman, or whoever you go to work for, and bank ever red cent of it.

At the end of three seasons of part timing it, you will have enough money saved up to invest in your new business... if by then you decide landscaping isnt for you, your saved money will make a sweet down payment on a boat.
this is very well stated, I worked with two different companies before going full time with my business, and let me tellyou this there are many things i learned that made me more sucsessful than them. Had I not worked with them id clueless about the things going on behind the scenes.. I must say theres nothing more aggrivating than seeing a trailer load of homeowner equipment though
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  #15  
Old 01-14-2014, 05:34 PM
32vld 32vld is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: LI NY
Posts: 3,060
Quote:
Originally Posted by smitty108 View Post
Hey everybody I'm new to the business and was wondering what is the best way to charge for spring/fall cleanups. Iím starting off small with residential cutting and spring/fall cleanups. My question is whatís better charging a flat rate versus an hourly rate and how much per hour is the norm? Any suggestions?
If you do not know how long it will take you to clean a 1/4 yard we will not know either.

For a 1/4 acre I would say a good guess for you working solo will take you 6 hours. Your were given a $60 an hour starting point. So see if you can get $360. Record the time it took you including the dump run. You will then start to build data to be able to do estimates.

If you get no takers then ask $300. If you get every job you bid at $360 then raise your price.

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  #16  
Old 02-07-2014, 12:41 PM
bamp's Avatar
bamp bamp is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Port Elgin,Ont.Canada
Posts: 4
Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by TPendagast View Post
Smity,

as usual with 80% of these 'how do I price this" posts. IT is clear that you do not have any idea what you are doing.

These forums are not the right place to get information on "how to run my business" and "what do I charge"

No one here can actually answer those questions for you.

AW's pricing or my pricing or anyones is going to be different than yours.

IF you don't know how to estimate, and don't know how to create a budget forecast and arrive at an hourly rate for your work... You don't know how to run a business, which means you shouldn't be doing this.

Too many people have a pickup truck, because they think it's a manly vehicle, then when work gets tough, or the wife decides they need extra money, they buy a poulan weed whacker and a craftsman mower and poof, they are a landscaper.

This is a terrible idea and a bad way to do it.

If you are interested in the industry, sign on with a company, learn the trade, work for them for a while.

What? you don't want to work hard and earn 9-12$ an hour?

Let me tell you the secret you are trying to find out, IF you go into this blind, asking these imperative questions here on a forum...you WILL earn LESS that 9-12/hr floundering around yourself...you have a greater chance of actually LOSING money, than making any.

IF you work for someone for a while, you will see things that they do that are mistakes, as well as what they do that makes sense.
My suggestion? I would spend three seasons working for three different companies. After that, if you still like the industry, you might have enough of an idea on A) how to do the job correctly, B) How long most typical jobs should take and C) have done enough reading and research to learn how to arrive at your own individual pricing.
However, in this time frame you will also have gotten enough experience to be a crew foreman and within a few more years time, possibly a manager for a larger company.

You may mistakenly think you can "make extra money on the side" and keep your day job.
You may think you are going to "get rich quick" by doing easy work for big money.

These things are not going to happen.

Most start up companies will be out of business in 1-3 years after losing more money than they can afford.

If you want to blow some money and have free time, buy a boat, or if you live where there is lots of snow, buy a snowmobile. They will cost you less in the long run than having a failed landscaping business.

The guys on this forum who have been at it, whether they are the heads of large companies, or solo guys who do have another job... have invested more blood, sweat, tears, time and MONEY than a newb can possibly comprehend.

I am not trying to be rude or mean, I am however, giving you sound, REAL advice. Learn the trade first, like any other trade, carpentry, electrical, plumbing.... you need experience first.

you may listen to inspirational speakers in the industry, who tell you (like Ed Laflamme, I used to be one of his managers) that they started with a station wagon an a push mower.... this WAS so, it is no longer that way. The world, the market, the industry have changed, ALOT.

do not go off throwing your time, money and effort into something you know so little about. You would be better served by trying to invent a new product than sinking yourself into a misled business venture.

Trust me, In the first few years you WILL make MORE money working for someone else, even as a side or part time job, learning the industry at 9-12/hr than you will trying to fumble along yourself.

Take that money you earn from Joe's Landscape or Brickman, or whoever you go to work for, and bank ever red cent of it.

At the end of three seasons of part timing it, you will have enough money saved up to invest in your new business... if by then you decide landscaping isnt for you, your saved money will make a sweet down payment on a boat.
This is true,Not ignorant!
Put in your years,get experience,
then if you still love the business.Start one!
It seems Everyone buys a truck,Lawn mower
& trimmer,As a second job.
__________________
BAMP
Property
Maintenance.
Saugeen Shores
Ont.Canada
(519)374-0759
Www.BAMP.co
Www.Saugeenshores.com
Www.touristtown.ca
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  #17  
Old 02-14-2014, 05:49 PM
recycledsole recycledsole is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: MD
Posts: 1,712
Hello,
Basically it would be difficult to charge a flat rate (unless you had a townhouse complex and each yard was about 100sq ft). You generally don't want to charge per hour either.
Estimate how long it will take you, add a little more time and multiply by your hourly rate. Be sure to include any extra fees like a disposal fee, etc..
Say your spring cleanup you have to remove a lot of leaves, trim some shrubs, and rake the lawn of sticks that fell. You have a substantial amount of leaves that will fill you trailer. You think the job will take 2hours. Driving to the dump takes 30 minutes and will cost you a fee of $15. SO say 2.75 hours X $40 (or whatever your hourly rate) + $15 = $125.
Good luck
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  #18  
Old 02-14-2014, 06:20 PM
JonesLawnCareWV's Avatar
JonesLawnCareWV JonesLawnCareWV is offline
LawnSite Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Charleston WV
Posts: 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by smitty108 View Post
TPendagast,

I know you’re ignorant, condescending, and ill-informed quotes about my experience, my full time job, education, blood, sweat, and tears are not common place in the lawn care profession, thank god for that. I think 15 plus years working in law enforcement has proven my manhood, not my pickup truck. Let’s stay in touch and I will let you know how my “pickup truck, poulan weed whacker, and a craftsman mower” do in your industry. In the mean time I will let you be a tough guy behind a key board. Any time you’re in Detroit lets get together for a beer.
You know, I had the same feeling coursing through my veins when TPendagast hit me with the same sort of advice. Suggestion, take it as advice, because that's what it is. The more time you take to read into an LCO's profile on Lawnsite, the more of their posts and threads you read, the more you realize they have experience and are giving you quality advice, rather than trying to deter you.

He was simply informing you the hardships you might face and some info about why starter companies fail.

If you have the passion and determination to push the company regardless of zero or negative gross, then go for it. I've made the same decision for this year; getting licensed, insured, new gear and all. I'm putting a lot of money into it and am not expecting any significant gross profit. But I've already accepted that. My company has been a thought in my mind for a couple years and I'm very determined to make it work. If however, I lose that determination, or it literally just doesn't work out, then I'll reconsider.

I guess what I'm getting at is:

Take the info/advice these guys give you as advice, and not criticism or deterrence. They have been there and done that, know the ins and outs, the do's and dont's, and they are only trying to help you.

P.S. - I don't think being in the law enforcement field makes you any manlier than anyone else here or in a pick-up truck. It's a profession like any other. Yes you may have put your life on the line every day, but that was your choice. Every guy out mowing a lawn daily is in just as much risk as you were (considering thousands of $ sitting on a trailer, which probably looks mighty tasty to someone with sticky fingers); especially considering they don't have a gun on their hip (Some LCO's do) and a radio to call for back-up.


Last edited by JonesLawnCareWV; 02-14-2014 at 06:24 PM.
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