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Charging more than proposal/estimate

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Red Shed Landscaping, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834

    I recommend Completeing the audit, temporarily work T/M at least on questionable jobs and standardize daily record keeping, then work on a custom system of operation that will maximize your production and cash flow if you have questions you don't want in a open forum pm me.
  2. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417

    There is no such thing as a "half a day of work".

    And I don't think we've ever had a base excavated, aggregate installed and compacted, and clean up executed in less than 8 hrs. Even for a small walkway.
  3. Red Shed Landscaping

    Red Shed Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    My half day or full day of patio base prep was just some general example but you are right that it is very hard to get all that done in a day. The only thing about the half day is used is conjunction when its part of the job. I figure full days for the total project. A lot of people don't understand how much of the job takes place off of the property.
  4. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    Well, I think you already know the answer to your main question here. Everyone is pretty much in consensus here: you don't raise the price for a customer unless they added something to the job or there was some big surprise you ran into. Otherwise, if you under-estimated on time or materials, the honorable thing is to just eat it and count it as a learning lesson and learn how to bid more closely. That's how most all of us do it.

    It seems obvious that your real problem is the employee situation. For that, there's no single perfect method that will apply across the board, for everyone across the nation. The sort of laborers and labor pool you have over in IA is probably radically different from the sort I have here in Oregon. So what works for us may not work for you in terms of how to find good workers.

    I think there are only some basic truths to labor in general that you can count on. But other than that, you're probably just going to have to figure out on your own, through trial and error, how to come up with a really good crew. That's how I had to do it.
  5. SusieH

    SusieH LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    I have a few suggestions:
    1. Take a good look at your hiring practices since the people you hire are not staying long and may not have the correct skills to get the job done in a timely manner:
    * Do you have a job description that addresses the 'hard labor' aspect and expectations of the position and the skills needed?
    * Are you paying a fair wage for the type of work you require?
    * Do you have a previous experience requirement?
    * Are you checking their refenerences?
    2. Use a database program or Excel spreadsheet (even the old fashion paper way will work) to list out past jobs and capture:
    * The steps to complete the job
    * The time it took to complete each step
    * The cost associated with each step to include labor (hourly rate, worker comp, payroll taxes, etc.), equipment costs (cost, replacement, maintenance), fuel, supplies or product used, transportation time, value of your time for project management
    * Determine the real cost of the job
    * Determine the profit level you would like to achieve
    * Determine what the job should have been quoted at
    3. Consider that the above is time consuming. Many businesses I've worked with on business management relate that they are too busy, or have too much work to complete this process. However, it will be invaluable for you for future planning/costing. It will provide you with a framework for costing future jobs and aid in decision making on whether of not it is cost effective or profitable to take on certain jobs. Remember, the point of being in business is to make money, not give away your hard work due to poor planning.

    Hope this is helpful...
  6. DaveyBlue32

    DaveyBlue32 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 136

    If you're paying "pokey man" $17. An hour to wonder around you are getting hosed. You need to comply to rest/ break periods threw the corse of the day ...
    10am...lunch....2pm....5pm if going till dark.
    If you can't run an ad in a newspaper of a city near you and find a few hardworking Mexican fellows you might want the consider setting a trailer up as a rental on a property close to the shop.... And make cheap rent part of your deal...To help good guys relocate to you...you can't be a hardscaper without an experienced crew...and trying to worry about P&L Statements and things of that nature are totally irrelevant...if you can't get the work done. You need to be building the crew ...then the patios... Bra!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,417

    I am not saying RedShed is this person - but generally speaking - many contractors are piss poor bosses.

    1) Are you paying the guys for drive time to and from the job site?

    2) Employees are like women, you need to say nice things to them. Are you complimenting the workers?? And making them feel appreciated??

    3) Games with the money. Are you playing games with their paychecks? From time to time I hear stories about how bosses deducted money from people's checks for stupid stupid reasons.

    As an employer you always have to think about what you do and say. If you do or say anything that you as an employee would not like - then be assured your employee(s) won't like it either.

  8. Red Shed Landscaping

    Red Shed Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    I mention in the ad that the job is hard work and requires physical labor like shoveling, lifting heavy blocks, digging trenches and others. I am paying at or above other landscape, construction or factory positions.
    I wish I could do a previous experience requirement but I wouldn't been able to hire any except one this year. I don't require it because I think if someone says they are wanting to get into landscaping I would like to give the opportunity to grow and learn the skills.
    I will be doing background checks and drug test from now on.

    Yes I do need and want to keep track of each step it takes to determine a profitable price for jobs. Like you mention we are too busy and that is my excuse. When I am trying to do everything I just want to get the job done and am not concerned about trying to write down the process and checking the clock to see how long it takes. A lot of time we are working on different things at the same time so it is hard to seperate each step. I do hope to be able to implement something next year. Thanks for your response.
  9. Red Shed Landscaping

    Red Shed Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    The labor force is not real good in the Midwest or in the small towns anyway. Every type of business is hiring and I have been talking to other employers and said they can't find anybody worth it to work as well. All the ads on the radio are for job openings and the papers have a lot too. I have put ads up nationally and locally. No one wants to work unless they have a desk job making executives pay.

    I think I do need to be able to get a couple experienced guys and things would be much better and I then could concentrate on making the business more profitable. Pricing a job with one person is much different that pricing it with 3 people working. Just been a wild ride this year and want it to be over.
  10. Red Shed Landscaping

    Red Shed Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 182

    Yes I do pay to and from the drive site. One guy thought he got paid to drive from his house to my house since he lived in another town. He was done after that because he thought it wasn't right.

    I will admit I am not very good at giving compliments in the past but this year I have been doing much better and trying let them know the good things they do but that hasn't been much. One guy was so slow, that after we completed the job a neighbor came over and asked me if I paid him to not work. I felt so embarrassed.

    I pay regularly every two weeks. I don't play games. I don't pay cash and do everything the legal way, paying lots of taxes.

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