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are you really getting what u should hourly?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, May 3, 2004.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    got on a job the other day, lots of different things we were doing. some trimming, some topsoil, this and that. customer asked that i also do something else(this was not part of the work we were doing) i said sure, and in fact, i'll get it done today since i have to run out for a while, i'll leave my man here to do it, and it will be charged extra according to time. she said fine. i left my man there, stepped out for 2 hrs, he was just finishing up when i returned. i charged 2 hrs labor @$45 per for this extra project, she flipped. this project was IMPOSSIBLE to accurately estimate, that's why i charged by time. are you guys really, honestly and truly getting the hourly rate per man that you claim you are? i could almost understand her shock when i told her the price, i would have freaked also, but i must stick to my guns. so, the question is: if u r on a job doing things, and customer throws in a few extras, are you gonna bill those extras accordingly at your hourly rate?
  2. juststarting023

    juststarting023 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 84

    I started thinking the same thing last fall when I sat down and started adding up the numbers, so to fix this problem I started adding a little more to my original bids to account for these little things and up my per man hr price a little. I felt that was the only thing I could to hit my goals.
  3. DJL

    DJL LawnSite Member
    Posts: 237

    As always (IMO) depends on the situation. If this is a weekly lawn account that gives me work the whole year through, then I might not be so inclined to charge extra, or as high...knowing there is plenty more down the road.

    However, if this is a contract off an ad or referral from a friend of a friend and a contract was set-up...Then YES, I would charge more. However, with my contract I have something that says additional work requested will need to be in writing. That way when they turn around and say "I never said for you to do that" I can say, correct, you wrote and signed for me to do that extra work and agreed to this price.

    If you are doing a hourly estimate, do you ever place on the contract "Not to exceed x-amount" That way the homeowner has a little more confidence you aren't going to milk the job?
  4. GeeVee

    GeeVee LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 421

    Its tough when you have to justify your hourly rate to a client.

    I understand you didn't feel confident about estimating the task, no big deal, but the downside is now having to explain your hourly rate.

    Point to your truck full of equipment, your hired help, and remind the client that insurance and licensing, along with everything consumable, comes out of that hourly rate.

    "There are things that have to be paid for whether we are working or not."
  5. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Posts: 2,702

    Indeed. I never understood how plumbers, carpenters, electricians charged so much by the hour.

    Now that I'm running my own small biz, I completely understand. $45/hr is a minimum.
  6. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    dj, the only time i charge by the hour, is for things i can't possibly estimate. usually big leaf cleaning jobs, i always put , "approx time=4-6 hrs, etc." in this particular scenerio, the client had a huge tree taken down, and the stump ground. we were to remove the grindings, and dump in the back woods, and level out the mound. now for you guys that have ever done this, there is no way of telling how far down the guy who ground the stump went, and no way of telling what you're in for. i've made the mistake once of quoting a similar job at $150 which included hauling away the grinding, it took 6 hrs and 2 truck loads to complete the job, i will not make that mistake again.
  7. DJL

    DJL LawnSite Member
    Posts: 237


    I'm confused, if you estimated 4-6 hours and it took you 6, then what exactly is the customer complaining about?.?.?.
  8. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    no dj, when i said 4-6, it was in reply to your question of wether or not i usually put a cap on the amount of time a job would take, it has nothing to do with this particular job. on the job in question, i did not put a cap on the time. i just said, "it will be billed extra and accordingly by time." she said fine.
  9. rookie03

    rookie03 LawnSite Member
    from OK
    Posts: 184

    I have learned from others that have been in business a long time. What they do is give every customer the option of a cap on the amount of time they spend maintaining their yard. They stick to their price of $50/hr and whenever the customer wants them to quit, they quit. They are still making $50/hr. They only stick to smaller lawns though. They don't spend 4 - 6 hours on any job site.

    Of course we have all learned that everyone in the country wants something for nothing. As the yard gets bigger, the more time you have to spend on the yard and the less you're able to charge the customer b/c someone is always willing to do it cheaper. Everyone needs to stick to their guns and charge accordingly if we are going to make it in this industry. Never lower your price! Good job Bobbygedd....keep putting that foot down.
  10. MJLsLawnCareNmoreLLC

    MJLsLawnCareNmoreLLC LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 841

    what was it that the guy was doing for her?

    Tell her go hire an electrition or plumber to do some work and she'll find out they make $80 an hour or so. $45 an hour is not unreasonable. You have expenses and labor to pay out, plus its actual work, that obviously she doesnt want to do. People need to understand that anybody can go buy materials, but when you hire someone to do it, you have to pay what they want to do the job for you.

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