Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by iski3d, Apr 16, 2001.

  1. KD'sLawns

    KD'sLawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    You purchase better equipment to save you time, so that you can turn out work quicker and easier. When you started out with a 21' mower and started picking up work mowing for 25-50 bucks a yard. When you went out and purchased that 37"-52" walkbehind or that ZTR did you drop your price to half of what you were getting since you could do it in half the time? I think not!!! I charge by the job on my quality of work, not my quantity work. So, I charge the same regardless of what equipment I use. If I can do it in half the time with the equipment than I could by hand raking, then good for me, because I have to pay for that equipment and the maintenence on that equipment.
  2. dhicks

    dhicks Member
    Posts: 771

    Minimum of $50.00 per hour for two man crew. Raking and blowing no big deal. However, if you had to dump dead tree, branches, vines, leaves etc, then add another $100-150.00 for hauling.

    Clean up are tough but money can be made.
  3. NateinAtl

    NateinAtl LawnSite Member
    from Atlanta
    Posts: 121

    There will always be customers that complain about the time spent, and think that they are paying for the time rather than the service. I just ask these type customers if they needed to go from LA to NY would they pay less for a plane ticket than they would for a bus ticket. They surely don't complain to the captain of the plane that he went too fast. Pricing cleanups is hard to do. If a customer got 10 bids, they all would be different. The only sure thing to do is once you do a job, keep records of the price so you can call them the following year and tell them you will do it again at the same price as you did before.

    By the way, when you guys quote leaf cleanups, do you give them a time frame? because there are thos that would take your quote in early October and then call in late december and want you to honor the before mentioned quote. What do you guys do as far as a timeframe when you give a quote?
  4. KD'sLawns

    KD'sLawns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 160

    When I give a bid on anything, on the bottom of my bid sheet I state that my bid is only good for three weeks because of changing conditions and unexpected increases in materials. that way, you will find out sometimes a little quicker. I have had to re-bid some jobs after the three weeks. I have picked up every job that I have had to re-bid, and my price has never come down. Either bid it the same if not much has changed to the property, or increase bid to compensate for anything new.
  5. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    I know one thing for sure, you will not be able to continue that pace with two guys towing rakes. I can talk from experience from this one. I don't even put a rake on my trailer. I use a backpack blower for all the tight areas and blow it out on the lawn to be vacuumed up by the Walker. I run the spring tine dethatcher over the lawns and vacuum the debris up. I can do this on a regular size yard (1/4 acre) in less than an hour for about 100 bucks where I am at. I dethatched a 3 acre lot (mostly flat open land) and vacuumed all the debris in less than 6 hours. I do not think you could even bid this job with a rake.

    My point is, try some equipment. Get a backpack blower, get a JRCO dethatcher for the front of your walkbehind. Save yourself some major muscle aches and make some money. You can pay for the equipment in 1 season if you hustle then the next years are profit. I know that money can buy alot of rakes but your body WILL wear out before you wear out 2000 rakes. Good Luck
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    It all depends on the community you live in, how much you need the money, etc. For some, $250 for that job would be just right. For others it's too low. If you can make a profit at that price and aren't overwhelmed with work right now, go ahead and charge $250.

    Just FYI, I began charging for clean-ups using the following method last year and it's worked wonders. I have a 'clean-up only' crew getting this rate 5 days per week;

    We charge $550 - $650 per day for clean-up work. For that, the client gets two of my best guys for 8-10 hours, as many truckloads of debris as is needed to haul away, and any clean-up work that doesn't require expensive materials (that is, cassaron, mulch, etc. are extra, but raking, weeding, etc. are included). And even though this isn't $35 per man hour, it' fairly close. And we can make a good profit at this rate. Dumping debris costs us almost nothing so that's how I can make this work.

    I don't think you can really charge $50 per man hour for clean-ups. For landscape installs, maybe. It's a little high for that even but it could work. But if you told a customer you want $50 per man hour for clean-ups 90% of them will go elsewhere. It's a little above the going rate for maintenance work. I think $25-35 is about standard. Plus, obviously, other expenses.

    BTW, if you learn to spray weeds a week before you do clean-ups and then use a Hula Hoe to harvest the dead weeds, it cuts down the time on a clean-up (where you'd be hand weeding if you hadn't sprayed) in about half. Work smart not hard.

    Just my 2 cents.
  7. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,412

    "What do you guys do as far as a timeframe when you give a quote?"

    Three days.

    "This proposal may be withdrawn if not accepted within three (3) days of above date."

    This is preprinted on all my estimate forms. Seems pretty standard in my area FWIW. Mind you, it doesnt necessarily mean you will bump the price after three days but gives the customer an incentive to get off the pot, and covers your rump if they drag it out.

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