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Old 04-09-2011, 10:01 PM
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coreyod21 coreyod21 is offline
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Location: Cleveland , Ohio
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How to price a spring/ fall clean up? Seeming to be losing qoutes.

Hi , I'm not new to the industry but I seem to be having problems closing new accounts because of my clean up prices. Do you guys charge by the job or by the man hour? I Charge by the man hour myself to protect myself from underbidding. My friend in the business is charging $25 a man hr and paying out $10 per man hr. He seemed to be getting alot of work. I was just starting off on my own last yr but had good back pack blowers and push ones. I was only charging $15 a man hr but paying my workers $10. I soon realized that I was not making enough profit. So this season i went up to $20 a man hr. I work extremely fast and well so my costumer's had stayed with no problems. The problem is I'm trying to grow bigger and i am receiving alot of calls and seem to have them, up until I say clean ups are $20 per man hr. People flip. I had someone slam the door in my face today after cursing at me. Its getting harder and harder to remain patient with people who don't realize I'm doing landscaping to make a living and that I'm not just some crappy quality $20 mow and go guy/rake and go guy. Can anyone help me with pricing? By the hr or by the job? What works? Thanks
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Old 04-09-2011, 11:37 PM
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Flatop Flatop is offline
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I am the owner and sole employee. I charge $35.00 and hour for spring/fall cleanup. I never tell the customers the fee per hour. I assess the property to determine how long it will take to pile and bag the leaves. To remove bags is an additional $3.00 a piece. My local landfill charges $45.00 to offload my 5'X8' trailer so I combine as much clean up I can do in 1 day to offset the landfill fee.
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:00 AM
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bohiaa bohiaa is offline
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Location: Bellville Texas, near Houston
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funny how the Customer is always CHANGING.

It's hard to 2nd guess what they will do.

We just landed a 3500.00 Clean up Job at a hotel. " The manager was doing the beds But he Quit "

The reason we got the bid was because the NEW manager said he had several around 1200.00 He didn't think anyone could do a GOOD job at that price....

MOST people Know that if you charge by the hour then you are there employee.
SO DONT DO THAT. in fact inform the customer of this.

TRY to calculate how long it will take, then do Like your friend's doing..... pay out 10.00 per hour and charge 25.00

I bid these by the difficulty, Because I dont want my employees wiped out for the rest of the week. If we have HARD JOBS, that I know will KILL them. then I pay them more. and give them an extra day off...

Best of luck
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:31 AM
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coreyod21 coreyod21 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flatop View Post
I am the owner and sole employee. I charge $35.00 and hour for spring/fall cleanup. I never tell the customers the fee per hour. I assess the property to determine how long it will take to pile and bag the leaves. To remove bags is an additional $3.00 a piece. My local landfill charges $45.00 to offload my 5'X8' trailer so I combine as much clean up I can do in 1 day to offset the landfill fee.
That helps me alot because I also use a 5x8. My company only did fall clean ups last year and normally I would just make a big pile for the city to pick up on the curb. In spring I know I cant do that so it threw a wrench in my pricing. So your idea helps me. Thanks. If you dont mind me asking so what do you charge on average for a city size ( smaller yard ) clean up? Those are my primary yards. I do have some larger suburb yards also.
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Old 04-10-2011, 01:44 AM
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coreyod21 coreyod21 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bohiaa View Post
funny how the Customer is always CHANGING.

It's hard to 2nd guess what they will do.

We just landed a 3500.00 Clean up Job at a hotel. " The manager was doing the beds But he Quit "

The reason we got the bid was because the NEW manager said he had several around 1200.00 He didn't think anyone could do a GOOD job at that price....

MOST people Know that if you charge by the hour then you are there employee.
SO DONT DO THAT. in fact inform the customer of this.

TRY to calculate how long it will take, then do Like your friend's doing..... pay out 10.00 per hour and charge 25.00

I bid these by the difficulty, Because I dont want my employees wiped out for the rest of the week. If we have HARD JOBS, that I know will KILL them. then I pay them more. and give them an extra day off...

Best of luck
You made a very good point on if I tell them my hourly charge then they will think of me as there employee. It makes perfect sense to me now. When I do a bid and they ask me " well how much will it cost total?" I have lately have been coming back with " well im charging $20 a man hr and Im going to run a 2 man crew and it will take us 1-2 hours to finish. So it will take $40-$80." Thats normally when they back out of my job. Im guessing their thinking well he is going to charge $80 when in fact i almost always get done early. Me being a really young looking 20 yr old prob doesnt help much ether. Although ive been working with landscaping crews since I was 10 yrs old (on and off) and have plenty of experience they prob think im inexperienced. Do you think their is ways around this stereotype? That is besides doing what I already do and let my work speak for itself? Thanks for the advice also.
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Old 04-10-2011, 05:02 AM
ClydesLawnService ClydesLawnService is offline
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Corey, I always estimate my time by man hours, add a little cushion and then quote a price... there is a chance of taking a loss on the job if it takes longer than expected but there is also a chance of extra profit for hard work... Also, we don't have the most respected profession out there... if you tell someone that your going to charge them 25-40 dollars an hour to pull weeds they might flip out... especially if they make less than 25 dollars an hour... they don't take into account all of your cost and overhead... I personally try to size up my customers and try to make as close to my model cost as possible... 60 per hr is the going rate here... but i also base it on how much i want the customer... if its something i really don't want to do and somewhere i don't want to do it... I bid HIGH... that way if they take it... i didn't turn down any money and even though the 8hrs on my hands and knees weeding their crappy flower bed that hasn't been maintained in three years, im still smiling the whole time ;-)... and i don't know about all you other guys, but im still new and i find a lot of people looking for a "deal" and not a fair price... I give deals to hook the nice yards in nice nieghborhoods where the number of landscaped yards is high, one because they are easier and more profitable, and two because there is more chance of picking up spill over business...
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Old 04-10-2011, 08:36 AM
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I very rarely work by the hour.....

Bid job's usually work out at $40.00 an hr. and up.
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  #8  
Old 04-10-2011, 09:53 AM
fireman gus fireman gus is offline
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Most of our new calls are from people who was referred to us by our current clientele. They know when we get on the yard we work steady and get the job done in a timely manner. They also know the job is done right. We figure our cleanups at $60-$70 dollars a man hour. We have had VERY few people balk at this price.
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Old 04-10-2011, 11:01 AM
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nobagger nobagger is offline
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I think spring and fall clean ups (more so in the fall with leaves, wind, rain etc.) should all be done per man hour. Seriously, 15.00/man hour? Why would you even bother. Even your buddy at 25/man hour is way low I think. At 20/man hour, paying a guy 10/hr, using probably 3-5 bucks an hour in fuel (assuming a couple back pack blower's going) your barely covering costs. Have you guys ever broke down a construction or an electricians bid? Its usually 50-100% mark up. A friend of mine owns a construction company and we're not in any competition so he kind of told me guys usually add up to 50-100%. By that I mean they take their total costs then add 50-100%, so if their cost on a job is 8,000 including labor and materials then the customer sees the final price of up to 16,000. I just had an electrician do some wiring at our shop and he had about 160.00 in materials and about 2hrs of work and our bill was 350.00 and he is a friend of mine.
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  #10  
Old 04-10-2011, 11:28 AM
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PerfectEarth PerfectEarth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireman gus View Post
Most of our new calls are from people who was referred to us by our current clientele. They know when we get on the yard we work steady and get the job done in a timely manner. They also know the job is done right. We figure our cleanups at $60-$70 dollars a man hour. We have had VERY few people balk at this price.
Yup. I could say the same. You have to show people your price and efficiency is WORTH the cost and that you can get done in one hour what would take them four.

I shudder to think about the clientele most of you have... I wouldn't begin to talk to someone if they expected a 25.00/man hr clean-up price. And if you're charging 15 and paying 10 to a guy, WHOA. Won't even get into that.

This is the old "hourly/job price" discussion. At the start of the estimate or pricing, everything for me is viewed hourly...."How long will it take us to get this job done." On the estimate, the customer views total numbers, They can do the math if they want, or figure the nuts and bolts, that's fine with me. I don't have much to hide because I know the quality of our work and the equipment I use is worth it.

I will also be up front with people and state that exact quantities (mulch) are subject to change, if this is the first year doing the property... Most of my customers are also cool with slight overages on the original price. If we are on a job a few more hours than I expect, they get it They see how hard we work and the results. They don't question the discrepancy.
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