Did I bid too high?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by sancho_man_orlando, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. sancho_man_orlando

    sancho_man_orlando LawnSite Member
    Posts: 216

    I had someone contact me about weeding/mulching their flower beds, pressure washing, and cleaning gutters.

    There is about 1200 sq ft of area. I bid 120 for weeding (4 hrs @ 30 bucks) 12 yards of mulch @ 65 per yard $780 which includes labor and materials and $75 (2.5 hrs @ 30/hr) for pressure washing the driveway, walkway and around the pool... and 45 (1.5 hrs @ 30 bucks/hr) for the gutter cleaning.
     
  2. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,587

    not charging enough... im a solo operation with very little overhead but completly legal and legit, and i could not get by on 30 per hour, that is half of what i charge, in toledo ohio, a very economically depressed area...:)
     
  3. PMLAWN

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    I hear FLA is low in what you can charge so you may be right but I agree that 30 per hour is to low to make it .
    I would say you are low to VERY fair.
     
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I can not advise much on anything except mulch and weeds, I don't do the other stuff but gutters run an easy $40 - $60 for single story homes, dunno about two stories... that's in virginia.

    Ok, so 1200 sq.feet of mulch, I can do that with a 1-2 inch spread with 5 cubic yards, $225 minimum... This is likely the only place you went overboard but it takes practice to get it down thin, and my price is $45 / yard delivered and spread thou for most premium hardwoods, 55-60 is more like it ... I figure 1 cubic yard covers at least the area two cars would take up when parked, and you can get 13.333 cars in there so I spread mulch at least half as thick as you do, see how that works. One car = 6 x 15 = 90 square feet thou I am sure I can do 1200 sq. feet with 5 cubic yards. Still, for first timers, I'd advise 7-8 yards and remember to spread thin the entire time and at your prices you're still at $400...

    The weeds I'm not sure about... Likely if you can just spray them with Round-up then cover with mulch, that would be the cheapest, I'd almost include it with the mulch or maybe charge a little extra but - If weeds are growing in the plants, that costs extra and if the customer insists on having them pulled by hand, I charge way high for that luxury, think 4 hours? Ok, 240...

    So maybe a little too high but not on the price, just a little on the amount of materials / labor, thou I think you were reasonable on the power wash and gutters, guess that wasn't enough to make up for it but there is only a 200+ dollar discrepancy if that is the case, dunno... If they freaked with a 900 dollar price, chances are fair to good that 640 is still a bit whew for them... So then you get into the haggling bit and if you bid 640 you can NOT go any lower so it might be best that you went a bit high, you could've always discounted later once you found out it takes less mulch or just spread it 2-4 inches thick, it's not unheard of, 2-4 inches is a standard method as much as 1-2 is.

    You win some, lose some, better too high than too low.
     
  5. PMLAWN

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    How many people does it take to pick up and move the cars around to get the measurement for mulch.
     
  6. yrdandgardenhandyman

    yrdandgardenhandyman LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 953


    1 - 2 inches? Was this a new bed? Why do you spread it so thin? I won't put less than 4" in a new bed. I put at least 3" on a bed that I've been wandering around in weeding. Depends on how cheap the customer is, I guess. If the customer wants to pinch pennies I won't do it. I want the job to look great.
    I think you are a little low too.
    Make money or stay at home. payup
    Always be honest though.
     
  7. Frosty03

    Frosty03 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 171

    I keep hearing about this Florida thing with low prices. It is somewhat true. The old clients are tuned to low prices. The lowballers can have them.

    However, I price between $60.00 and $75.00 per man hour and get it about 1/3 of the time. Which is about right.

    When I started out, I priced a few too low. Their price has since been adjusted or they have been replaced.

    My min for a postage stamp yard mowing $105 per month.

    Mulching, I price it by the actual amount of mulch needed.
     
  8. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,420

    davein is right $30 per hour is way to low for me also. Totally above board here also. Cost of doing business legally will put a hurt real quick to $30 per hour IMHO.
     
  9. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,420

    Ok, so 1200 sq.feet of mulch, I can do that with a 1-2 inch spread with 5 cubic yards, $225 minimum... This is likely the only place you went overboard but it takes practice to get it down thin, and my price is $45 / yard delivered and spread thou for most premium hardwoods, 55-60 is more like it ... I figure 1 cubic yard covers at least the area two cars would take up when parked, and you can get 13.333 cars in there so I spread mulch at least half as thick as you do, see how that works. One car = 6 x 15 = 90 square feet thou I am sure I can do 1200 sq. feet with 5 cubic yards. Still, for first timers, I'd advise 7-8 yards and remember to spread thin the entire time and at your prices you're still at $400...


    Yeah right spread it real thin, charge a premium price for that sort of crappy service and your worries will soon be over. They will never call or recommend you to anyone again.
     
  10. sancho_man_orlando

    sancho_man_orlando LawnSite Member
    Posts: 216

    Wow, I thought 30 an hour was reasonable.

    I have a guy who is going to work with me on this and I'll be paying $10 an hour.

    So I figure the 8 hrs of work can be knocked out in about 4-5 hrs. $50 for the labor help (signed an independent contractor agreement and reporting for taxes).

    So if I'm the 2nd half of the 2 man team I'm getting 30 X 8 = 240 - 50 = 190 for 5 hrs of work. I probably have 1 hour into the estimate as well. So 190 for 6 hrs of work is good money for me.

    I'm going through a divorce, wife threw me out into the street and I was honestly homeless... now I'm getting back on my feet again, have my kids with me for several nights a week, putting food on the table, have a roof over my head and fighting my way through these difficult times.

    If I'm a few dollars short no big deal for me right now. If I'm WAY low then I'll make my adjustments and use this as a learning experience.

    This particular client wants 3 inches of mulch.
     

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