Getting estimates

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by rowdyz92, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. rowdyz92

    rowdyz92 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 33

    Has anyone ever called up competitors to get estimates on yards to see what competitors are charging. I hate to waste others time when they wont be hired but im just trying to get a feel for what others charge so i know what to charge because im new to the business
     
  2. Marshmallow

    Marshmallow LawnSite Senior Member
    from IL
    Posts: 329

    No because they may have to drive more maybe less. Maybe their mower isn't as efficient. You decide your price based off of cost and profit. Make every job so that you get a certain amount of money for yourself after all your equipment has been made whole and something's been saved for repairs and new gear.
     
  3. trock

    trock LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 430

    Thats pretty shady... would you like people doing that to you?
     
  4. ncpete

    ncpete LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    rowdy, check out this site, for some great base lines for you to start your estimates with.

    I have it bookmarked on my laptop, and on my tablet, too, so that I can do estimates in the field easily. Also, I find Zillow to be pretty useful, too, as it gives square footage of lots in their property description summary.

    If I can figure out how to make the calculator work on my blackberry tablet, I will buy the app, too.
     
  5. ncpete

    ncpete LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    I have felt the same way, but have repeatedly heard that give as advice. When I was working in retail management, and working 90 hour weeks, we had a lawn service. I used that as a starting point for jobs I have done. So far I have been shot down a few times with that estimate, and I am okay with it. But, once I found this site, and a few others, I have found the wealth of information found here to be the best tool available. Sometimes I get underbid, especially for cleanup jobs, and sometimes I don't. but I know that when I leave the job site, it will look good when I am finished, and I can't say that for some of the sites where I was underbid. $100 for 1/4 acre of waist high and higher grass behind a narrow gate? The client no longer has the high grass, but the back yard still looks like garbage.
     
  6. rowdyz92

    rowdyz92 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 33

    I like that calculator but that gives a total time to do the job not a price, i would need to know an hourly rate for that calculator to work
     
  7. TTS

    TTS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 615

    If you scroll down on that page there's another calculator where you plug in your overhead costs, your time to do the job and your desired profit and it tells you a price. It's not that hard of an equation to do if you know your numbers ahead of time but it simplifies it a bit if you're not rock solid on your numbers.
     
  8. ncpete

    ncpete LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    It is a great tool for that. I have been to a few jobs where I didn't have the calculator, so I did the mental work and guessed using my basic rate schedule that I have in my ad - and just about nailed what the calculator gave me when I reviewed numbers at home.

    If I can figure out the programming, I am going to do one like this for blackberry and android devices. The math isn't too hard, but I haven't written any sort of code for 25 years.
     
  9. TTS

    TTS LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 615

    I don't know how to write an actual program code but it would take about 10 minutes to put it all into an excel spreadsheet if that would help you out at all. You could use the spreadsheet on your tablet and just put your numbers in and have it automatically calculate your time and or billing rate.
     
  10. ncpete

    ncpete LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 282

    True, I can do the excel, but if I set up something like that as an app that I could use, AND sell, it would be a great way to supplement my income, and be a feather in my cap as I move into IT work as my primary source of income.
     

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