how much do i charge?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by ghettoscaper, Aug 3, 2004.

  1. ghettoscaper

    ghettoscaper LawnSite Member
    from NE ohio
    Posts: 6

    i see that everyone on this page advises the charge of $50-100/man hour.... I plan on doing some shrub trimming and i want to know if i should double the price if i am working with another guy. Also, if i do come up with an estimate, is it uncommon for the price to be different upon completion of the job? ex. if it would take longer or less amount of time....or should i just come up with a solid number i am happy with and stick with it?

    also should i charge the same hourly rate for bush removal and fence removal etc. I understand you guy's distaste for low ballers and i dont want to screw myself or workers in the area.. let me know what you think.. thanx
  2. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    If you dont feel comfortable with a solid estimate, then let them it. Anotherwards, let them know that this is just an estimate and not a written in stone price. Give them a range that you are expecting, but you might want to tell them you think is should be close to $XXX.
  3. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Posts: 4,041

    Hi ghettoscaper,

    If you are charging per man hour, then yes.
  4. dmc337

    dmc337 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    Pricing is dependent on the market in your area. You need to investigate what others are charging in the same areas that you service......Different areas work differently as well. For instance, some areas charge rates according to $$/man hour, where others charge flat fees based on the job. You should check to see what your area customers are accustomed to so as not to shock them with something different. It's all a customer service it right and you will almost always win.
  5. jsfrk

    jsfrk LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 126

    How would one investigate what other companies are charging?
  6. dmc337

    dmc337 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    My wife and her Ex used to own a landscape company before we got together, so she already had built up a bunch of contacts with other LCO's in the area.....but that was about 6 or 7 years ago. She tried to be as friendly as possible with the competition, just in case her previous company needed extra help with larger contracts...worked very well in her case (especially during winter when the snow really flew and her ex broke his plow trying to keep up). And I worked for a couple of seasons with a friend of mine who is also a very successful and busy LCO.....he was able to tell me everything I needed to know. He's even thrown a few jobs my way since he was way too busy.
  7. furball3

    furball3 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    When doing these kind of jobs I tell people what I charge per hour (broken into 15 minute marks) I then tell them how long I think it will take if all goes well. I also explain that not every thing is as it seems.

    Best example. This past weekend I was removing a tree/shrub thing that was UGLY! (about 8' tall 4 or so feet wide with lots of sprouts instead of 1 big trunk) Things were goind great. Looked like it would onlyl take 2 hours. Then when it came time to pull the trunk & roots out I could not do a dang thing. Turns out that it was planted on all the leftover cinder blocks from the construction. I removed well over a dozen full blocks plus a large pile of broken blocks.

    The 2 hours took 10 hours instead. There was no way anyone could have known about those blocks. I asked her if she wanted me to continue or stop. (she is 5" 90lbs so I knew that answer)

    When I was done she had a full steak dinner ready for me to eat. (Plus a beer to wash it down) I charged her for my time minus the dinner and she was ok with that.

    31 may 016.jpg
  8. furball3

    furball3 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    a before pic

    Its the one on the left corner of the house.

    3 may 012.jpg
  9. furball3

    furball3 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 59

    When I was done.

    She was more than happy to pay what it took me to make her house look this much beter.

    31 may 018.jpg
  10. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    Pricing has NOTHING to do with 'local market area' .... the local market pricing is ONLY a reference to developing a business plan

    It tells you if the market has room for growth .... if local pricing is $15 per yard the market is dead if the pricing is $40 per yard the market has room for another business ... this has much variables the biggest one which is equipment ....push mower vs. a Z .... getting off subject as this is getting into scales of economy n effeciency's

    One's price should be based on one's cost + resonable profit ... period

    Say one's TOTAL cost relates to having to mach $28 per hour to cover ALL cost .... this is based on projected hours of work against estimated cost .... granted that 1st year is kinda a guess so have back up $$

    Anyways this company charges $40 per hour ..... had total labor of 10,000 hrs last year so they made a profit of $128K ... not too shabby .... especially if the owner is not in the field

    Other company has cost of $35 per hour but charges $50

    Who do you think will be the busiest .... the 1st one ... and they made 32% profit while the other company even with $500K gross only made 30% .... I'd say they need a consultant to find the fat n cut it

    ONLY Examples .... the key is know your hourly cost n charge with this rate plus a profit n you will get work ....

    Granted some jobs deserve greater rates .... it may be a PITA .... you might already be booked n are charging more to slow growth (great way to drop old loser accounts for better profit jobs) .... may have construction .... spray or chain work which requires higher rates as this type of work has high working cost

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