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First Customer! spring clean up billing.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Keith1981, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. Keith1981

    Keith1981 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    I got a response from an add on I put on Craigslist today and Im very excited. :clapping: Im going to a womans house to give her an estimate on a spring clean up. Clean up the leafs and trim some bushes. I was wondering how you guys bill this type of work and if you have any tips for estimating. Any help is much appreciated
     
  2. biggin69

    biggin69 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 142

    $1 per minute. Figure out your time, material, dump fees, fuel for equipment, ect. Add it all up and that is your price.
     
  3. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    Strictly by time. But, I estimate the time and then just give a final price.

    IE, last spring I did a clean up, pulling a lot of weeds and un-desired overgrown plants, etc. I estimated it would take me 2 hours. 60.00x2 hours equaled 120.00, now I have a place I can dump for free, so I tacked on 15.00 for the dump fee.

    It ended up taking myself and my partner an hour and a half to do the job including the time to dump the debris(dump site was about 10 minutes away). Yes, I was a little off on time, but I learned. And you will learn once you bid numerous clean up jobs, you'll get good at knowing what kind of time it's going to take you.

    If anything, over estimate a little in case it takes you longer than you thought. Better to NOT get the job and be a little high then be too low and get the job(hence losing money).
     
  4. Keith1981

    Keith1981 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    Being my first season and the fact that I'm trying to build a customer base, is it ok to price a little lower or give the customer a discount to build a good relationship and possible get some referrals?
     
  5. Keith1981

    Keith1981 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    That is assuming I'm still making a profit of course.
     
  6. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,128

    Keep in mind that if you start off lower, you are not only potentially leaving money on the table, but you are sending a signal to the client that those are your rates. When you get more experience and try to up their "low" rates to be more in line with market prices, then you might end up getting the boot... Just charge a fair price. Don't lowball, and don't highball. Charge what you are comfortable charging and what you know you won't lay awake at night stewing over.
     
  7. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,988

    I'd say no. Reason? You're building your customer relationships on price and not service. And customers who use you because of price will dump you in a heartbeat for no reason simply on price alone. Doesn't matter how good a job you do or how good you are to them, or how long you've been servicing their account(just ask rodfather about that...).

    I myself would not want referrals due to "He's got the lowest prices around here", I'd rather it be "He's got excellent service and he's very friendly and reliable."
     
  8. NC Greenscaper

    NC Greenscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 446

    Set a fair price and do an awesome job. If you set a cheap price and when the job turns into more than you bargained for then your really regretting it. The customer will always expect a deal.
     
  9. zz4guy

    zz4guy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 901

    I just got my first lawn cleanup customer tonight too!!! Awesome feeling isn't it!!! :usflag:

    We agreed on a $30 charge. I initially said $25 so they would be hooked but they insisted on $30. They also want a quote on summer lawn mowing. Their lot was a typical small city lot (50' x 30' or so).

    I don't mind undercutting the one time jobs as much as a seasonal agreement. If you undercut a seasonal you just signed your summer away to doing a lot of work you'd rather not do for the price you are paid. Really sucks. But on a one time job you are done at the end of the day and you can try to sell the customer on more expensive services. Just my .02
     
  10. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    No...being new you will already have a tendency to underestimate...a 10 hour job might look like a 5 hour job...already you are hurting, then if you throw in a further discount you're really in deep. But still you'll mess up a few of them, but you'll learn and get more savvy with your estimating.
     

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