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  #11  
Old 05-02-2011, 11:32 PM
DavesLL DavesLL is offline
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Originally Posted by ImperialLandscaping View Post
Another question I have is when you bid for a job for the summer would you add on the price of gas used to mow the law?
My prices are set to cover my costs and generate a profit; this includes the fuel. Not hard to figure out; note the tank size of your mower, fill it, mow property, eyeball what's left in the tank. Multiply by the price you paid for fuel, and you've got your fuel cost for that property. If you don't already have an idea, after you've run a piece of equipment for 10-20 hours, I'd say you *should* have a decent idea of fuel and oil usage for an hour's use.

Keep in mind you've got some fairly predictable costs, other than fuel and oil, for operating your equipment. Things like air filters and spark plugs usually have replacement intervals specified by the equipment manufacturer; so every 20 or whatever hours, Toro or whoever says you should put a new widget in. That widget has a cost, and you can easily spend a minute or two with a calculator to figure out how much that maintenance item costs you per hour of using the mower. If you're not a small engine mechanic and are paying someone to do the widget replacing, back to the calculator to figure what the guy charges you for widget replacing as an additional cost per hour.

When the phrase 'know your costs' is thrown around, this is the kind of thing it means to an LCO. If you take a job that will have you spending an hour running a tractor or a blower, what did that hours' use of the equipment cost you? If you don't know, it's harder to set good prices to cover the cost. Sure you can fudge it by pricing higher just to avoid some math, but if a customer balks at your number, there goes that job. If a customer balks at your correctly set number, either your price isn't competitive, your costs are too high, or that customer wasn't a good customer for you. I've quickly learned, and have seen mentioned repeatedly in threads here; there is no such thing as "any customer is a good one".
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  #12  
Old 05-03-2011, 12:02 AM
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Aaronnc Aaronnc is offline
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Originally Posted by yardguy28 View Post
since your just starting out knowing your cost of doing business is near impossible. the formula thing like one stated charging a dollar per min. and knowing how long a long will take is difficult as well since your just starting out. the square foot thing is a pain the @ss.

i just called around and got estimates on my own lawn and took an average of that. i adjusted my numbers for larger properties and smaller ones.

i'm on my 5th profitable year in business and i'm just now starting to examine my cost of doing business and what not. up until this season i never knew my cost of doing business.

i've always priced mowing jobs my looking at them. same with mulch jobs. other services are done by the hour but i've learned how long certain services will take.

i usually just price a lawn off of what i want for it based off of hour hard or easy it will be to service. i don't pay much attention to the time thing.
You'll never be more than a two bit lawn jockey if you don't pay attention to your time. You might as well change your landscaping business to a landscaping hobby. Regardless of how many years you've been profitable. If you get up to servicing 8-10 accounts a day, you better cool believe that you have to know how long each client will take. But I do agree, just starting out, you kind of have to wing it the best way you know how as you learn. There's estimating software out there you might be able to check out, or even strike up a friendship/network with a established LCO and ride along or work part-time to learn the ropes. The old cliche "time is money" is truer than ever. Learn to manage your time and do the very best job you can, the quickest you can.
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  #13  
Old 05-03-2011, 01:41 AM
PPS.inc PPS.inc is offline
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  #14  
Old 05-03-2011, 02:01 AM
PPS.inc PPS.inc is offline
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Shoot for $100.00. Pull up, cut 5, 1acre lawns for $40.00. $200.00 in less than 2 hrs in spring growth. Do good wrk n ppl will wait for your services. Lowest u work is $35.00 per man hr. With no tractors. Just bought a bad boy, cuts perfect, and I saved atleast $2500.00. I feel good about life. Boraborabora fella is a joke. Hes pry running gravs...... Ill sleep till fall n watch for a few more months of this site. I know all the common posters, what ppl will say b4 I read it. My fav is the fella from indy with a profile pic of a rolling hill with a house in the far back round. Perfect stripes....... Do what u say ur gonna do, when u say u gonna do it, and ull never starve. I have a 4 year degree in business education, so I know how to wrk ppl. Business is good. Picked up 3 lawns in 2 hrs today. All next to current customers. I am glad fuel us up... I charge a surplus on top on being the most pricey.... Lowballers n midballers will have issues.
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  #15  
Old 05-03-2011, 02:07 AM
PPS.inc PPS.inc is offline
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oh, and 35 lawns a day. 2 guys... 4 days a week now.... Baby loves her new Mastercraft.... Matches the truck.....
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  #16  
Old 05-04-2011, 05:36 AM
Hell on Blades Hell on Blades is offline
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A wise uncle told me along time ago, "Estimate the best you can. Most of the time you'll make some money. Sometimes you'll lose a little and sometimes you'll make a killing. Do your best not to lose your ash!!!"
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  #17  
Old 05-04-2011, 06:53 AM
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vencops vencops is offline
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Almost 100% of these estimating questions are actually just simple math questions....and have nothing to do with anything technical.

Hourly rate desired X time required to complete task = Estimate.

Any estimate that doesn't include time is (IMO) useless.
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  #18  
Old 05-04-2011, 10:05 AM
Darryl G Darryl G is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vencops View Post
Almost 100% of these estimating questions are actually just simple math questions....and have nothing to do with anything technical.

Hourly rate desired X time required to complete task = Estimate.

Any estimate that doesn't include time is (IMO) useless.
Agreed but I often adjust for the difficulty and wear and tear factors. So if it's a dusty/dirty or lumpy/bumpy lawn or has gnarly slopes I will charge more. Some would call it the PITA factor. Similarly if I'm doing a landscaping job that is all hard labor and I know that I'll only be able to put in 6 hours before I'm totally exhausted, I'll charge what my full day rate would be.
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  #19  
Old 05-04-2011, 10:14 AM
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Runner Runner is offline
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You can take the dollar a minute concept and throw it out the window. It's just a generic easy answer that is easy to write. Not only does it not make sense, but it will just end up wasting more of your time until you realize it doesn't work and have to reconfigure it the RIGHT way. Do a search under my name, and use the word "costs" AND "end".
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  #20  
Old 05-05-2011, 08:52 PM
yardguy28 yardguy28 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaronnc View Post
You'll never be more than a two bit lawn jockey if you don't pay attention to your time. You might as well change your landscaping business to a landscaping hobby. Regardless of how many years you've been profitable. If you get up to servicing 8-10 accounts a day, you better cool believe that you have to know how long each client will take. But I do agree, just starting out, you kind of have to wing it the best way you know how as you learn. There's estimating software out there you might be able to check out, or even strike up a friendship/network with a established LCO and ride along or work part-time to learn the ropes. The old cliche "time is money" is truer than ever. Learn to manage your time and do the very best job you can, the quickest you can.
well considering i already service 8 to 10 clients a day, sometimes a few more and i don't know to the second numbers on how long each client takes, i'd say i'm an exception to your rule.......
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