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Do you think I charged enough???

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Toastpuppy, May 14, 2007.

  1. Toastpuppy

    Toastpuppy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    :hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead: :hammerhead:
    ok, Here's the story...

    I have been mowing this lady's lawn, a nice lawn...not perfect but nice, sice I started my lawn business almost a year ago. She has been a pain in the ass from day one, but I'm getting $30 per cut 4 times a month on a yard that takes me about 40min to do, so I have delt with her...

    She asked me to flatten an area that had turned into a mound that runs the entire length of the back of her house and down one side, of mulch and dirt that she had been piling up every year for about 3-4 yrs now. She mentioned that she likes to put the mulch down herself, and just needed me to flatten the area, and haul off the dirt so that it could be re-mulched again to look nice.
    :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry:
    I Charged her $125.00. $100 for the labor, and $25 to haul the dirt and mulch away. I literally filled my 8ft bed about a foot over the edges with dirt. I estimate about 1500-1800lbs...maybe more. I did this by myself, with a shovel and a wheel barrow. it took me about 5hrs....non-stop!
    :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad: :realmad:
    When it was all said and done, she didn't want to pay me the full amout b/c she said she thought the price I gave her included dumping the old dirt, picking up a truck load of mulch and bringing it back and spreading the new mulch....keep in mind she thought that the price I gave her included what it would cost to buy the new mulch...she basically wanted me to buy the mulch for her...about $80 worth I estimate.... I guess she only wanted to pay me about $20 for the labor.

    I may just be venting here, but do you think I did her wrong or charged her too much??? I wish I had some pics to share.
    :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:
  2. charmill26

    charmill26 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 369

    i'd say you undercharged her a lot. even without the price of mulch i'd say its too low.
  3. green-pa

    green-pa LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 733

    Looks like u charged her way too low. I charge about tripple the price of the mulch and I've heard that's low. I charge like $10/bag to get it and put it in. THat doesn't include removing the old. If I have to do that, I'd just figure about $40/hr and whatever time it would take x that. She really sounds like a pain in the arse and trying to get something for nothing. I'd make her pay upfront from now on or let her do the sh#t herself!
  4. Grits

    Grits LawnSite Silver Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 2,994

    Sucks to be you. Should have gotten it in writing. Live and learn.
  5. paul vroom

    paul vroom LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 260

    You must have felt like one toasted puppy after that job! .........You need to talk to her and explain that your time is worth more than 20 an hour for that back breaking work and the ware on the truck. Ask her (nicely) how you could have possibly done that job with the mulch included. If she does not pay then I would seriously consider dropping her. There are a ton of people out there that are waiting to screw us....if she gets away with doing this to you then expect it again
  6. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,993

    I dont even think you charge her enough for mowing.

    30 bucks for 45 minutes worth of work???
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    You may wish to consider starting a customer pre-screening system, some kind of way where you can avoid the entire :angry: frustrating ordeal from the git go. I get it, too, folks calling for 'weekly grass cutting' and then I run out there and stupid me first I give them too good a price, then the pony ride begins, slowly but surely.

    So that's what I started doing sometime ago, I am sure I turn down 9 out of 10 potential jobs, just because I can see that problem coming from here to antarctica. But it takes time, I've always pre-screened to some extent but never as aggressively as now, saving your money and having stashed away some nest eggs helps, as does having several years worth of parts and supplies stored for later use.

    Which is to say, I sucked it up until I could afford not to, took me more than a few years to figure it out.
    More than a few jobs like that, more than enough, so many that I refuse because of the memories of it all.

    :laugh: oh dear, but then I know the feeling :cry:
  8. Toastpuppy

    Toastpuppy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    I figured I would get the responce I did from ya'll.
    She gave me a bunch of crap about what I was charging her when I first gave her the estimate. I difinately learned my lesson on this one. Yes, I'm still learning, and am still new at the game...so I guess your right...live and learn. and yes I agree...I am not charging enough to just do the yard...probably $40/cut would be better, which is what I originally bidded her, but she gave me a bunch of crap about it and I lowered it to 30 to get the job....trying to get just get the job...ya know?
  9. Jnamo

    Jnamo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    You need to start at $1 a minute and go (up) from there. $1 per minute should be your base starting point. Always try and figure a way to make more, and always x2 or x1.5 the amount of time you think a job will take. Being new, you never give yourself enough time. Jobs always take longer than you think.

    It seems a bit scarry (bidding high) but you get rid of a lot of the cheapo's. If you do good work, work will find you.

  10. Toastpuppy

    Toastpuppy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    Thats very true, and im learning the hard way! LoL
    Im getting more and more into the Landscape side of this thing, so I;m still learning how to figure it all out. I'm trying to weed out the crap yard and get moe of the good yards...and bids

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