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Fall cleanup pricing?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by laxweber37, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. laxweber37

    laxweber37 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 7

    When I was working for another company I had a crew of three and was charging $50 a man hr. Now I am on my own and I am a crew of one for now. I'm in Long Island NY. Is $50 a man hr too much for a solo operation. If a crew of three can do a job in lets say 2 hrs, or 6 man hrs. I may not get that same job done in 6 hrs myself. this job may take me 8 hrs and I have now charged $100 more now then i would have with the crew of three. If I am making any sense. What should I do? I can just look at it and give a price. If I am there way longer than I thought I would be then I get burnt. In the past customers have ask for a set price. I give them one but it ends up costing them more. I think about how long it will take me and then I add a few hrs and then multiply by my $50 an hr rate just to cover myself. Am i thinking about this right. I tend to charge for my time not so much the service. No matter what I am doing they are paying for my time. Of course on jobs like walls and patios and ponds I have different prices. But for most services it's $50 a man hr. Help please.
  2. hackitdown

    hackitdown LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,505

    I think you are on the right track. If you have decent equipment, you will be very productive, and can justify $50/hr. I find that many customers want me to quote a price, so I give a range, like $350 to $450 for the job. I don't talk about hourly rates.

    If you underestimate, and it takes too long, chaulk it up to experience and move on. But stick to your quote.

    Remember, when working for yourself you will be trying to constantly get things done faster, so you can make more money. You will be surprised at how fast you can do things when you work for yourself.
  3. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    people will shy away form hrly rate,,,

    2 reasons. it sounds too high...50 or 60 an hr. as too 3 to 400 for the job.

    IF a homeowner or anyone else for that matter hires you at an hourly rate..... YOU are NOW an employee...... making them responsable for insurance and such....
  4. loom-gen

    loom-gen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 150

    Don't tell the client the hourly rate. My rate secretly is $60 an hour and $30 for extra labor hour. Two men = $90 an hour. I look at the job and guess how long it will take. I just bid a leaf removal for four hours, It took four and a half (wind shifted three times). I made $360.00. I payed my help $54.00 and $15 to dump. Still made $64.00 an hour.

    Tarps still rock!

    TREEGUARD LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 303

    If your only 1 person what kind of equipment do you have. Just one blower leaf loader or are you raking. how big is the property. your bet bet is just to quote a price on the job make it fair but don't cheat yourself if your taking the leaves with you. another thing can you do another job that day if not what are you worth for the day of busting your ass.
  6. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 537

    what i do is charge my going rate for the time i'm going to be there. if they agree i do the work. i try to guess it right but if i short myself i don't tell the customer "i messed up and i have to charge you more. what i do is try to bid it better next bid..
  7. northwoodslandscape

    northwoodslandscape LawnSite Member
    from wi
    Posts: 1

    IF a homeowner or anyone else for that matter hires you at an hourly rate..... YOU are NOW an employee...... making them responsable for insurance and such....
    Where do you come up with information. Hourly rate charges are no different than a plumber or electrician coming to your house. They are not your employee. Or even taking your vehicle into the dealer for service. They to charge an hourly rate and they are not your employee. If you believe that if you charge a customer an hourly rate you are their employee, what are your sources??? As much as a flat rate for something is great, there are items that are just easier at an hourly rate. Although I agree that it is easier to sell $300 vs $50 an hour.
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    If you don't have the experience to do as much or more work in two hours as 2 men can do in one (and so on), then you probably should adjust your prices accordingly... Have you tried 45 / hour, makes a big difference, you don't need to go but so low here, then use that low price as an incentive to figure out ways of doing it faster.

    It does take years, but there's hardly a one hired helper who can get things done as fast as I can. Thou I do agree that it helps to have someone along, it would take some long and hard looking to find that one in my case, it's not that I'm that good but then most helpers either haven't a clue or lack the motivation or any number of things and the combination of factors.
    I reckon you could go down to 40 thou it does bite, but I've done it, more than a few times.

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