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Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by mjohnson, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. mjohnson

    mjohnson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    pardon me if this question is asked all the time, but i'm trying to come up with a bid. i'm new, so getting the job is important. i work with two other guys and we figure the three of us can finish the job in 6 hours. we'd like to charge $30/hr...so would it be outrageous to charge for $30/hr for 18 hrs? we'll be trimming bushes, trees, hedges that have been neglected for 5 some years and filling in some tiny bare patches on the lawn with seed and hauling out the rubbish. Is $540 for the whole job ridiculous? do people spend that much for maintaining their plants? i should mention this is just outside of the metropolitan area where the more affluent can afford to live in gated communities and all are *very* well off. i really need some solid advice on how to do this bid and some feedback as to how $540 sounds....how would you handle this situation?
  2. JFGLN

    JFGLN LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 952

    What about the time to go to the dump? The dump fee? The cost of seed? Sales Tax? Top soil? Starter fert? Add it all up and then add another 20% to cover what you fogot to include or the time you under estimated.
  3. mjohnson

    mjohnson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    But $540 for a labor charge doesn't sound too high? I'd be willing to charge more, I just want to make sure I'm not charging a ridiculous amount.
  4. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,940


    That is what a legitimate company would charge for such work. Why stoop lower?
  5. BCSteel

    BCSteel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876

    %540 sounds really low to me. I'd say up your price by at least $300. Of course it all depends on what type of equipment you are using to get to these 18 man hours. If you have the wrong equipment for the job your projected hours will be much higher than someone with the proper tools for the job.
  6. mjohnson

    mjohnson LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    i don't have a whole lot...electric hedge trimmer, garden shears, blower for cleanup, sturdy rakes & shovel for see prep...i'd definitiely say i'm on the lower end for equipment...maybe not all the proper tools
  7. twins_lawn_care

    twins_lawn_care LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 932

    If this is what you are getting into for a business, it may be a good idea to bid around $1000, and buy some better equipment to do the job. that way, you look more professional, can do the job faster, and can do a more quality job as well.
    from the sounds of it you're just starting out, so be careful not to set the image of your company in the gutter right away. Charge a fair market price.

    Your comment on will people pay this much for maintenance, is really not valid, as what they are paying for is 5 years of neglect. It's cheaper to put a quart of oil in your car, then to pay for a blown engine when it runs out. Sort of the same thing here.

    Good luck with it.
  8. EastProLawn

    EastProLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,110

    Sounds just about right to me.
    I would charge $55 x 18 hours = $990
  9. irishrpm

    irishrpm LawnSite Member
    Posts: 5

    I would charge about $1k, too.
  10. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,342

    1 k may be outrageous though here’s why it will take him and his friends 18 man-hours. Their newbies with non-commercial equipment it could very well be a properly outfitted company could do the job in 10-12 man hours. Its kind of like the clowns who want to cut a very large lawn but only have 21 inch mowers so instead of 20-25 mins they are looking at 3-4 hours. But feel they should get 60 an hour or 240 dollars for such a lawn when the going rate with proper equipment for such a lawn would be perhaps 40 dollars.

    That’s why I think 1k is probably way off since they lack the experience and ability to get a job like that done and a time span that their competition could do.

    I read a post here once in which a guy bid 180 dollars for 3 hours a raking since that was all he had a rake. And he couldn’t understand why the customer freaked that he felt he was entitled to 60 dollars and hour for using a 15-dollar hand tool. God is wish my equipment could pay for its self in 15 mins.

    Your prices need to be profitable but you also need to be reasonable if you aren’t equipped for certain jobs then you either need to spend some money first or take that into consideration before you bid. When ever I am offered tree work, which is usually about once a week I always turn it down. Not because I cant do the job since I can do a lot of it but because with out a woodchipper and some better chain saws or a bucket truck I can not give a fair price since its that much harder for me to do it then a tree professional

    On the question do people realy spend that kind of money on jobs like this. All the time the harder the job the better since they are less likely to want to do it them selfs I happen to love brush removal jobs since no one in their right mind will take them. I go in bid it for 35-40 and hour which sounds reasonable but I am very good at stuff like this so I tend to finish in half the time ie its now 70-80 an hour now thats my kind of pay rate.

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