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Old 11-18-2014, 02:39 PM
caseysmowing caseysmowing is online now
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Staunton VA
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Originally Posted by Kawizx62003 View Post
Looking forward to more posts from this guy! Wow. Sounds like someone who knows how to make money.
He started a thread on here last year this time that's a good read. I can't remember the title of the thread but I'm sure you can find it by searching x3 and leaf plow. It was something like his take on leaf season.
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Old 11-18-2014, 06:26 PM
Mdirrigation Mdirrigation is online now
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 2,029
Like I said earlier , as a consumer , I wont pay someone "by the hour" to clean up leaves at my rental properties . As Kawizx62003 pointed out efficency is the key . If everyone bids a clean up job at $ 200.00 . And one guy uses a rake and tarp and it takes him 2 days , thats fine with me . If another guy shows up with equipment and does it in 1/2 an hour , thats fine with me . They both got the job done .

The customer doesnt care what equipment you use , or what you paid for it , or how many men you bring . Only that the job is done right .

A man is the most costly piece of equipment you can have. They are slow to start in the morning , take breaks , take 1/2 hour to refuel , they slow down by the end of the day , they are affected by heat and cold. They are constantly costing money . A machine will work at the same speed , hot or cold all day long for much less.

That x3 blower looks real cool , and yes its pricey , buy it looks like it will last 10 years if not more . But it also looks like it can do the work of 2 or 3 men . All day long . Over the course of 10 years , thats 1000 a year in basic cost , you clean up leaves for 4 to 5 weeks , so thats $ 200 a week . ( not including depreciation ) How many more jobs can be completed with the same amount of labor . When you run the numbers it makes sense. Unfortunatly you have to spend money to make money .
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Old 11-18-2014, 10:28 PM
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XC skier XC skier is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
Posts: 206
X3 money maker

The X3 is great. I was talking to my equipment dealer about it recently and he mentioned that my workers had told him that they were not too happy with it. They told him that yeah it was great for me but, now they worry about getting the hours in. Geez, what a problem! I guess that I've got to scrounge up more work.

This is an expensive blower. It will run you up to $9K with taxes. Most contractors will balk at spending that much on a piece of equipment that you only use in November and a little bit for spring clean ups. So how do you justify it? I decided that I would add an additional $20 per hour for its' use based on how much time it saves us over pushing a blower around all day. So let's say that we get in 25 days during leaf season at 8 hrs per day (billable time). That's 200 hrs X $20 = $4,000. So the machine pays for it's self in less than 3 yrs.

Before I sent out last Novembers' bills I did a time analysis of each property compared to the year before. Based on that I was able to bill virtually the same amount (actually 3% more for inflation) while realizing the labor savings as the result of incorporating the X3 into the lineup. I did not just pull a number out of a hat, so you could confidently use a similar figure for your own purposes.

My numbers for the leaf pusher are a bit more arbitrary. I have always included some number whenever we have used it. We do not use it on every property and we use it more on the 1st clean up than we do on the second. For years I have just figured $25 per hour and just estimate how much we used it on an individual job. Sometimes it might be $5 and others $100 . So imagine spending $1,500 on a pusher (I had 2 built for around $1,100 each 20 yrs ago) and on 1 job you make/ save $100!

Not only is the man using it more valuable but, it makes every crew member much more productive. As an example say you are blowing in a back yard and you have built us a good sized pile. Typically 1 or 2 guys have rake the pile onto the tarp which means that they are not on the bp blowers and the big blowers have to stop. With a pusher you can blast the pile (actually there are no more piles but windrows) and everyone keeps moving.

There are also the less tangible considerations. Raking and dragging a tarp is exhausting, pushing and pulling a wheeled blower is not only tiring but, also dangerous because you are walking backwards half the time. With a pusher you can condense the pile into a smaller area with less blow back. Everyone feels better about using the best equipment and it's actually fun. I'll tell you that I love arriving at a job site where another company is working nearby. We zip through it and wave goodbye as they eat our dust.

With these 2 pieces of equipment you can truly be a one-man operation making $80- $100 per hour or a 3 man operation making $210 per hour!
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Old 11-18-2014, 10:37 PM
gdavidson gdavidson is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Cincinnati, OH
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I charge $45 per man hour as well. Typically when the leaves are light we simply mow over them. We have a mower with a large vac attachment that we use on final rounds. Once all the leaves are down we then blow the beds out and pick everything up. There is obviously no point to blow the beds until the last round. However we have a few customers that are very particular and willing to pay to have the beds blown each time. Typically we are at a residential customer's house 3 times once the leaves are falling. The last time being the final cleanup. I make sure that they are aware of what work will be done as well as what the charge per man hour is as you cannot give a set price for Fall cleanups. We also snap a photo of the job before pulling off so when the neighbors leaves blow in once we've left they are aware that we were in fact there. When I first got into business years back I actually had a customer call and demand I come back out due to all of the leaves that had blown in and did not want to pay for me to do that either. You're not going to make everyone happy. That's the nature of doing business.
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Old 12-04-2014, 11:17 AM
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Emar Emar is offline
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Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 95
How do you determine when you will be charging $40-60 an hour?

Originally Posted by eddie12065 View Post
im amazed at how some people run their businesses. doing cleanups just once at the end? mulch the leaves into the lawn? charging $35 a man hour? i do well over 100 cleanups, i could never wait til they all fell to start cleaning up my customers lawns. id have 2 weeks to do 140 cleanups. plus my customers would be screaming about the leaves blowing all over their neighbors yards. my customers would never tolerate having their leaves mulched into their lawns, holy jees are we hicks? i charge $40-60 a man hour for cleanups. i give them an estimate if theyre a new customer for a fall cleanup, we pick up their leaves when we mow through october and then come twice during november. i live with whatever price i gave them, even if i dont make out but i keep track of man hours and adjust it the next year. heres my advice for what its worth. i never compete on price, i have a standard rate i charge. if you try to compete on price you work longer hours and make less money. id rather do quality work and have my professionalism and quality work speak for me. ive had several people call me back after the "cheaper guy" didnt workout because either his quality sucked or he was too busy cutting 3 extra lawns a day trying to makeup for his cheap prices to service them correctly. you can either be a quality guy who works smart or a mow nd blow guy that work hard.
"i charge $40-60 a man hour "

Totally agree my customers are the same.

How do you determine when you will be charging $40-60 an hour? What factors do you use when charging $60 an hour?
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Old 12-05-2014, 04:54 PM
PLLandscape PLLandscape is online now
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Western New York
Posts: 761
Originally Posted by Emar View Post
"i charge $40-60 a man hour "

Totally agree my customers are the same.

How do you determine when you will be charging $40-60 an hour? What factors do you use when charging $60 an hour?
Because someone is guessing at what they need to make or when the cleanups are done the evaluation of time on the job vs income yields an average. So at $40/hr they make no money and at $60/hr they make a profit.....

Makes no sense to me unless it is the evaluation after the fact. So if you need $60 but got $40 then you lost and either way under priced or were not efficient enough?


I know it's not just that easy but aren't there rates you need to make to operate?
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