Estimate/Billing?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by ron mexico75, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,685

    I'm trying to get a feel for what most people do or if their are drawbacks. When you are e mailing or leaving a paper estimate, do you describe what you're going to do and then at the bottom list how much it will cost for time and then how much for materials and then the total? Or, do you just give the price as a whole without listing them separately?

    Do you do an estimate and invoice the same? Or one price for the estimate and then if they agree and you perform the work, you list time and materials on the bill?

    I have been listing time and materials on estimates and bills and haven't had any issues. I was just trying to get a feel if a lot of people did it one way compared to another.
     
  2. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    I always estimate and bill per job. I dont break it down.
     
  3. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,685


    Yeah I can see that might be better. Maybe showing time and material could set you up for price negotiating. When I go to the auto shop for any work they list labor and material, actually 2 different auto shops. I have also seen a security install company list labor and material.

    Maybe landscaping is different because I think a lot of people feel they can do the work themselves because it isn't a learned trade like auto mechanics or security camera installations. I don't know, you think that's a possibility?

    Maybe it is better to just give one price and not break it down. As I am typing this out I think what you do might make more sense.
     
  4. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,685

    anyone else?
     
  5. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    In my area, people have a blue-collared background even if they have a white-collared job.

    What this translates to is most of my customers have a general idea of what things cost, which can be a good thing or a bad thing.

    Ultimately, I break everything down into general catagories, such as mulch + supplies, hardscaping goods + supplies, etc.......

    With that said, I'm not able to mark up items as much as companies do in other parts of the county. If my estimate is too high, then my customers want to save a buck or two and get some of the supplies themselves.

    I try to make it up in labor if I can. And even in my estimates I have an Astrix that states that hauling and handling is figured into the estimate.

    When I go to bill, I break everything down the same as my estimate.
     
  6. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,538

    I dont break things down because i dont need a customer to know i made $80hr of them. I dont need them questioning it. However if you give a the whole price without a breakdown then their just deciding if the job they dont want to do or cant do is worth your estimate. If the job took half as long as you expected do you adjust your bill? I dont, its by the job.
     
  7. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,685

    You're right, that does make sense. I guess my problem was these are neighbors. Can't let personal feelings get in the way of business though. Thanks for your responses.
     
  8. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 548

    When I estimate and bill I always list Labor as a whole. Materials will be broken into: 1. Plant Material, and 2. Other Materials.

    I use to list plant prices individually, but then its harder to get your money if plant prices come out to be a little bit different at the supplier, than what's in their catalog.

    I never tell clients what our hourly rate is, because that will lead to negotiating, or what they think is reasonable. Especially on jobs where there is alot of behind the scenes work. I had a client I did an install for. Everytime we were on the property she would watch us, and keep track of our time. When it came time for the bill she wanted to know why our bill was so much for 6 hours of work on the property. I had to explain to her that there was additional time spent for getting the supplies, plant material, design time, and all the gas we've been using. She paid her bill, but its a conversation I don't like having with people.
     
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    Ya, I hate that conversation. I always make sure my labor comes out to "X" amount of hours for "X" amount per hour. This way I'm armed with the correct figures for the bill if that question comes up.
     
  10. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,685

    I wasn't listing it as labor per hour. I was stating something like plant material and then time. I'd break down the plant material (I think that's fair) and then list time at the bottom as a whole. I don't say how many hours or what the price is per hour.

    I guess maybe not listing time at all avoids issues. Maybe having it written down for that job file and keeping it in the truck would be handy. Maybe in case the customer asks you have an answer right on the spot.
     

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