Basic Price

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by jbailey52, Nov 1, 2006.

  1. jbailey52

    jbailey52 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,089

    Ok, I know there are also variables in this dept to such as digging, design time, tree climbing etc etc etc.... If I want to give a cost to a customer how should I go about it?? Materials will be 2 600 Wt. Kichler transformers... ($ 400 a piece or so) $400 in wire.. and about 30 lights (Path, spot) Should I charge by the light flat rate? Or should I go off of my cost and multiply
     
  2. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,180

    this is in no way meant to slam you but if you dont know how to price a job for profit you probably shouldnt be doing it. This stuff is too expensive and there is too many things that can bite you and put you under.

    I personally estimate all wire etc with a measuring wheel. I then take my spread sheets i been working on and figure out

    x amount of yyy fixture $$$$
    x amount trans $$$$
    Estimated wire $$$$
    etc

    I know my overhead... I can bit accordingly. Sometimes it takes you a bit longer sometimes a bit less but if you estimate wisely you should come oout ok.

    We did a system that was 30 lights and it was close to 5 figures. Just a real pain in the butt... 2 driveway bores lots of wire... high end fixtures

    On the contrary we did 49 lights at a home for about the same price. Straightforward installation less wire than the other job no bores. Same profit %

    You have to know your costs period. Then add in your profit you desire and the write up a nice proposal and give it to your client. If they are on the bubble show em what some lighting can do for them with a demo.

    For us having a detailed proposal outlining the advantages of going with a lighting pro has worked well. There are many different techniques. This is whats worked for us.
     
  3. jbailey52

    jbailey52 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,089

    Pro.. you must have had a bad day.. a lot of slamming here.. Im new to THIS part of the industry doing it myself.. I have designs Hundreds of jobs where I have had contractors doing the LV lighting... Now We are going to start doing them ourselves.. just like the hardscaping in those pics.. we used to sub them out.. now we do it... Im sure the morning you woke up and decided to do LV lighting you flew out of bed, and knew exactly how other price and install and bla bla bla sorry If I am being a bit blunt.. But im asking questions, and as I said earlier you have been very helpful, but I dont need you to be telling me what you think/do not think I should be doing.
     
  4. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,180


    I told you i wasnt slamming you. Its true in any business. If you dont know your costs then your going to get burned. Since your in business and it looks like your pretty busy I would say you have figured out your costs. Lighting estimates just like any other business. You gotta know your product costs up front (be sure to figure in shipping charges if any on special orders)

    I think its great your wanting to do them yourselves. I think its a great field to be in... I love it so far. If you want to discuss specific numbers we can do that in private but im not getting into them in public. I just strongly feel there is too many variables (and no the clients wallet is not one of them) to be pricing generic and especially on the low end of the price scale. You can get burned and burned bad specially if the job has alot of 10ga runs.
     
  5. jbailey52

    jbailey52 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,089

    Pro.. I appeciate your honesty. I do. You have helpmed me before and I just know the business well (Not this aspect) and was wondering what/how people charged. I know my price/cost for business/materials are a factor in the final cost and I of course would figure that in. Basically if I didnt have this board, what I would do is figure all my total costs at the end of the job, and times it by 3. In some design fields of the business I know this is not the way to go, and I was just wondering by what/how people bill their jobs besided their prices just as a guideline... I.e. "I charge X amount per foot of cable, X amount per fixture Etc... Also what do you mean that you can get burned for a job with a lot of #10 cable? Do you mean if you dont figure that in before you make a proposal then use that your going to lose money??
     
  6. extlights

    extlights LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 439

    Estimating can get as complicated as you make it. I don't make it complicated at all.....I don't need the stress.

    Here is how we go about it. I know all my costs. Most of the time these numbers never change unless my supplier informs me of a change. Unless there are super long runs, I usually figure 50' of wire per fixture..(for us this is pretty close to actual.). The only tricky part of it is labor. My labor charge is never the same for installs.....there are too many factors to take into account....How many guys, how long the project will take....how many other jobs we already have booked, how hard the project is among other factors.
     
  7. jbailey52

    jbailey52 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,089

    Makes sense. I was just wondering if people had a 'by the book average' for how they charge.. i.e. by the light, etc... Can you explain the 50' of wire per fixture tho? you have each fixture on a homerun? or am I confused again?!?! Thanks for the info!
     
  8. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,180

    keep in mind Dave lights some pretty big spreads on the north shore. very large homes and properties. 50' may work for him. I dont suggest going with that route until you know your averages (YES KEEP TRACK!)

    If I am asked to itemize I charge XX cents per foot for wire (Right now its 85 cents per foot for 10 cast wire) then retail on all supplies plus labor. I could never add up my materials and times by 3 here. If you can then KUDOS!

    Creating a spread sheet (thanks mike for the idea!) that lists your commonly used material then price per quality 2-3-4-5-6 ect has really helped. I can glance at it and see 6 Cast bullets go for XXX price and a 900w master series trans goes for XXX and Small mushrooms go for XXX ea (or 6 got for XXX)

    This enables me to quickly check my prices and give a VERY close estimate. If they agree to my prelim then I provide them with a detailed proposal (have this in word format then edit it to suit needs) and get that signed and collect a Check for the deposit.

    I set an tenative installation date at that time. We do the install.. I collect the balance and issue the invoice. I then create a detailed "As built for" document that includes a drawing of where I buried wires and a detailed explanation of my warranty. I factor in this time it takes me to create these documents into my time when I issue a proposal. Generally the people that are willing to pay for high end work want high end attention and service.
     
  9. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    that is one of the worst and least accurate ways to price jobs...
    "I know my price/cost for business/materials are a factor in the final cost.."
    your costs are not A factor, they are THE factor.

    the best and most accurate way to price ANY work is to calculate your costs in the job and then add a % profit to the job...
     

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