20,000 Sq. Ft HIGH END Estimate

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by sancho_man_orlando, Apr 25, 2008.

  1. sancho_man_orlando

    sancho_man_orlando LawnSite Member
    Posts: 216

    Went to meet with a potential customer at their property. They have tons of azaleas, jasmine, hibiscus, ligustrum hedges 10 ft tall, about 10 palms, bunch of ferns, oleander, mexican petunias, oak trees you name it and their 20,000 sq ft property. They have a small turf area in front and a small piece in their back yard.

    Property is easilly $800k in todays depressed market.

    The potential wants to have everything trimmed and beds mulched. He says he used to have a solo come out to handle it but he wants to step up to a 2-3 person crew because he felt things weren't getting done.

    He called me because of my professional image and wants me to give him an estimate for the clean up and for maintenance.

    This house is beautifully landscaped. Looking around I thought it looked nice. Could use a little trimming & weeding here and there but overall was maintained nicely.

    I'm thinking roughly $400 per month maintenance. Which would be myself and a helper spending about 1.25 hours there per week handling the lawn, trimming & weeding every week.

    Does this sound reasonable or am I too high?
  2. gandk06

    gandk06 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 509

    So you are the "professional" that he is looking for but you don't know how to price it?
  3. capnsac

    capnsac LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 702

    This is how I would bid it. I am just going to list how I would charge the customer.

    -Charge him for the cost of mulch (nothing more) and hand him a copy of the invoice to show credibility.
    -Charge him for the time (man hours) it took to get the mulch.
    -Charge him for the amount of time it takes to mulch the beds and trim everything.
    -Charge him for any disposal fees (nothing more) again, show him the receipt/invoice.
    -Charge him for the time (man hours) it took to dispose of anything.

    After all that is said and done you should have your figure.

    Now in my area an awesome hourly rate per man hour is $25. So lets say you have Joe, Shmo, and Larry doing this job. You send Joe to go get the mulch while Shmo and Larry are trimming everything. It takes Joe roughly an hour to get the mulch (there and back), and then it takes an additional 3 man hours (a piece) to trim everything and lay the mulch down. So you're at 1 hour for pickup of mulch and 1 hour of trimming for each man, then you're at 3 additional man hours to get everything all wrapped up. Then you have 1 or 2 guys dispose of the clippings (another man hour per guy) so you come up with a grand total of 14 man hours which comes to be $350 in labor costs.

    This isn't including the cost of mulch or disposal fee, you aren't actually making any money on the cost of either, but you are making money on the time it takes to get it and get rid of it. Make sense?

    So this way you aren't underbidding or overbidding anything, and the guy thinks he's getting a deal because he is paying for only the cost of the mulch and the disposal fee. Now tell him that you think it should take about X amount of hours and you are going to charge him $25 per man hour, this should let him know what he's looking to pay.

    Then after that is agreed upon let him know that the mowing will be X amount of dollars a week.

    9 times out of 10 this has worked for me. I have repeat customers all the time, and referrals as well. That's how I do it and wouldn't do it any other way.
  4. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,206

  5. coif_kid

    coif_kid LawnSite Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 93

    To the capnsac post... Are you joking?

    $25 a man hour... even in florida they are doing better than that.

    Bid by the job, never by the hour. How is it fair for the customer if you slack off and it takes longer to do the job and they pay more? How is it fair to you if you work harder and get it done faster, but get less money for it? Doesn't make sense.

    I also notice how you wouldn't be charging for the wear and tear on the truck and the fuel to get the mulch.

    I'm sorry, but I just can't believe the last post :hammerhead:
  6. CALandscapes

    CALandscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 946

    Bump that.

    I know how much I need to make per man, per hour in order to turn a profit. Remember, as landscape contractors (or whatever you choose to dub yourself), this is our profession. That being said, we ought to know how to bid a job; i.e. material cost, man-hours to complete the job, etc.
  7. capnsac

    capnsac LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 702

    did you read the entire post coif_kid?? if you did then you wouldn't have make you the ignorant comment of 'you wouldn't be charging for the wear and tear on the truck and the fuel to get the mulch.'
    In my example estimate, you would be the guy labeled shmo. :dizzy:
  8. capnsac

    capnsac LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 702

    Yes and then what happens when something goes wrong and it takes longer then in your infinite wisdom bid? What if there is a new guy asking a question, hence the reason this post is under "starting a lawn care & landscaping business" There isn't much more I can say besides you didn't help him at all with his question did you? What good did you and Coif_kid do for sancho_man? You did absolutely nothing except put more doubt into this bid.

    He comes for advice and you objectively decide that it would be best to bash on other people for what works in their area? Is this making sense to you, or are you to far above everyone else on here to realize that? I wish I could meet incosiderate f*cks like yourself and put you in your place. Instead I am subjected to writing how much I loathe and despise what you are about. So, next time you feel like writing something, make sure it pertains to the subject at hand. Just to refresh your memory, it wasn't ridiculing my bid. It's a tough concept I know, but I'm sure even you can get it.

    Oh and just a bid of wisdom to throw at you, I did $29,500 in gross sales for spring clean ups in April, and the fun hasn't stopped yet. So, what is that phrase I am looking for... oh ya, go f*ck yourself.
  9. capnsac

    capnsac LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 702

    This is a correction for my poor grammar.
  10. Liendeni

    Liendeni LawnSite Member
    Posts: 218

    Not picking sides....but so far....I have been doing my jobs like Capnsac states. Why?

    Am I screwing myself by doing this? I made $1200 profit from a single job in the last 6 weeks alone. Why? Because the lady was floored when I actually brought her a receipt. She said, "Nobody has ever brought me a receipt from a single job I have ever hired someone to do." And that is exactly why I do it. Because nobody has ever brought me a single receipt from a single job either.

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