Need help on a job, pricing question, please help!!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Orkin Yards, May 11, 2003.

  1. Orkin Yards

    Orkin Yards LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 256

    Ok....Friday night an oak tree split in one of my customers yards leaving a large limb in the road. They asked me if i could take care of it and i said i had never done anything like that but i'd be glad to....so me and a worker tackled the job....sat he was there clearing the street...spend 2 hours one man.....sunday morning we spent 3.5 hours with 2 men getting everything on trailers, i'm going to spend atleast an hour and a half dumping 2 trailers tomorrow at the dump and it is $20/load....i had told him just guestimating that it would be atleast $300 if not more and that i'd just charge by the hour to get a price.....

    the final that i came up with was $400 and he's not liking that price at all, he asked me to break it down for him so i did and he said that he's not paying $40/hour for this work....what do you guys think?? thanks

    Jeff
     
  2. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Posts: 776

    How big of a limb was it diameter wise? If it's a 5" diameter limb.. there is no way in G-d's name I would pay you $400 Now if we are talking a 1' diameter limb... I would probably pay you $400. Don't forget, this is emergency work. 2x the normal rate
     
  3. Orkin Yards

    Orkin Yards LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 256

    this is firewood size limb.... i had to come from under over and both sides to cut through the largest parts of it.....i'd honestly say more than a foot.....
     
  4. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Posts: 833

    I'd say you learned a good lesson to have in a customer's service agreement "Additional worked will be billed at $xx hour. OR agreee to the rate in writing before working. verbally quoting $300 or more tends to be forgotten about when you hand them a bill...


    To help resolve it, maybe make a couple calls to other tree choppers for their hourly rate and write them on a letter to the homeowner. You may end up filing a claim to get your $400 so keep everything in writing and formal.

    Is it worth the $100 discrepency if you lose the customer?

    You did gain something more than $100 in this case-- the education of how long it takes to clear a tree that size and to put quotes in writing... If he's acting like a putz the long term relationship may not be worth the mowing and then stick to your guns for $400. Otherwise compromise on it and make it up on future service to him in writing with a higher price for him only. Don't expect to get the renewal next year though.

    Did the homeowner say what he would be willing to pay?

    Is $40 your normal rate? It's certainly a reasonable rate esp considering the job. But 10 hours seems like a lot for a limb, although you do have two trailers full of debris... Do you think the 10 hours was accurate of full hard effort and efficient work?
     
  5. Orkin Yards

    Orkin Yards LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 256

    Yea I called a local tree service that i knew and he said $30 is his WEEKLY rate and that saturday and sunday emergency work is OVERTIME, is 2x the hourly rate the typical OT?? He's going to pay he just needs to understand it, great customer but i mean he watches his money....we had 2 16 foot trailers pilled very very very high with all this stuff....and alot of good firewood came out of it....i'm not going to turn this into an argument very good weekly acct i don't want to loose....but i just want to have something to back it up with, i told him i would call around and do some reasearch and get back to him....but $25 hour that he wants to pay is just way to cheap if you ask me, especially for sunday morning work...not to mention it was raining for an hour and half at the end, which sucked....thanks for the opinions guys anything else?
     
  6. fblandscape

    fblandscape Banned
    Posts: 776

    :eek: $30 per man hour????? I try to get $50 per man hour and I KNOW that's cheap. Storm damage is 2x the hourly rate because everybody wants you there NOW. One thing about that kind of work though, is that they will agree to any number just to get you out there and get that limb off the road. But once the limb is gone, they have some leverage over you now, unless you have a signed agreement... and preferably some money down :)
     
  7. Orkin Yards

    Orkin Yards LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 256

    yea i'll definately do the signed agreement prior to....i'll let you know what happens
     
  8. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Posts: 833

    Who got the firewood? You or him?

    Also keep in mind it's not your normal line of service so unless you had 20 people callin you from the phone book to have to do emergency work--- 1.5 of your regular rate may not be justified.

    If you would've been sitting on the sofa instead, your regular rate may be the best route to go to keep him happy and your bank account happy.
     
  9. Lawn Tek

    Lawn Tek LawnSite Senior Member
    from u s a
    Posts: 457

    So the customer gets to set your prices after your finsh the job ?
     
  10. Orkin Yards

    Orkin Yards LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 256

    he wanted this thing hauled off, and i gave the wood to a friend of mine who had let me borrow his trailer which was larger than mine.....good point on the not my normal work thing....i think $40 was reasonable for what i did...we'll see what happens
     

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