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Old 02-05-2013, 11:35 AM
Arvydas Arvydas is offline
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Making Large Property More Profitable?

Hi everyone,

I have an issue I hope I can get your opinions on.

I've been landscaping for a large residential estate property (12 acres of ornamental gardens) for the last 4 years. I don't tend the lawns, but the landscaped garden areas.

I charge $25/hr at this property (haven't raised my price since I started), which I know is low to a lot of you guys, but it's also my most steady work. I'm usually there at least 2 full days a week.

After reading the thread that Sean posted in the general discussion forum, I've been thinking about how I could transition the account to a monthly flat rate, instead of hourly.
On average, I gross around $1600-$2000/mo in the Spring and Summer months, and $1100-$1400 in Winter (mild Winters here). This is my biggest account but it's hard when the numbers fluctuate so much, and I make less per hour here than anywhere else.

However, I don't think that my client would agree to simply paying more per hour. You guys know what a tough sell that can be.

Basically, I'm trying to figure out how I could be there less per week, make more per hour, hopefully lower the average cost for my client, and provide the same (or higher) level of quality service.

Any ideas from more experienced business owners? Am I even asking the right questions or thinking about this right?
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:03 PM
HPI_Savage25 HPI_Savage25 is offline
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Any way you could try to up sell some other stuff?
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:15 PM
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knox gsl knox gsl is online now
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I would talk to them and raise the price up to around $30 or more if you think you can. I know there are several guys on here that rave about $60/ hour but in this setting I think you're about maxed out (depending on your market). I'm assuming that most everything is done by hand and that there is very little power equipment being used. There is a difference in getting $60/hour and doing a one time project and $60/ hour and being on site 2 days a week.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:28 PM
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clydebusa clydebusa is offline
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Well maybe hire a helper. I take it you are doing this alone. If you hire someone and for easy figuring at 10 an hour and have 5 hour in expenses on him that makes his total at 15 hour. Making you a 10 hour profit on the employee and changing your work load from 2 days to 1 day at $10 more an hour. This would free up the other day to make more money at other locations.
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:37 PM
Monroe74 Monroe74 is offline
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Making Large Property More Profitable?

When you say you tend the gardens.
What are doing?
Are you using plant growth regulators, preventive weed control and charging for them and the benefits they provide?
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:59 PM
Arvydas Arvydas is offline
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Thanks for the responses everyone. I agree that I'm close to maxed out for my hourly price considering the context. Hiring someone might be the best option. There's not a whole lot more I could up sell, I don't think.

To be more specific, I do all-organic maintenence at this property, so no weed prevention chemicals are used. Most of my time is spent weeding, pruning (lots of it), fertilizing, tidying, mulching, etc.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:22 PM
larryinalabama larryinalabama is offline
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If your not using much heave equiptment and burning alot of fuel to get to the property I wouldnt rock the boat.

Sounds like the 25$ is pure profit. 400$ per week is a good "base".
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:59 PM
Arvydas Arvydas is offline
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Larry: all the equipment I need is on site, but I use about $15 dollars in gas to get there. Between gas, and taxes, I net about $17/hr, which sounds good but isn't that high in the Pacific Northwest.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:09 PM
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headz77 headz77 is offline
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Hey Arvydas- good to see you here. Been meaning to email you. Does she have a good relationship w the guys who care for the lawn? I know you don't generally do lawns- but maybe just for her?

Might be a way to roll it all together and squeeze some more profit out of it. Just a thought...
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:07 PM
larryinalabama larryinalabama is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arvydas View Post
Larry: all the equipment I need is on site, but I use about $15 dollars in gas to get there. Between gas, and taxes, I net about $17/hr, which sounds good but isn't that high in the Pacific Northwest.
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Its a tought call, actually 17$ after expenses and taxes is real good in the Pacific Northwest, as the illegals will work for less than 10$. Even if you can get 30$ your net will only be close to 20$. If your not satisified with the situation "phase it out". In my personal situation Id love to have account like that. However generally running equiptment on weekley accounts is alot more profitable.
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