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Priceing Hedges

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Poncho25, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. Poncho25

    Poncho25 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 369

    I normally include hedges in my prices for normal maintenance but today a new client who i don't have their maintenance yet wanted me to do their hedges, she has A LOT!! none of them are over 6 feet height so not that hard to do, I figured I would just charge her by the hour. Did I screw myself here or is this a practice that others do as well? I figured 2 - 3 hours of work, all the debris they said I can just dump in their back yard area.
  2. deere615

    deere615 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,676

    I usually charge by hour plus a little for taking the clipings away.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I've done and did a lot of these kind of jobs, one has to stop and realize that even if we burn ourselves, the biggest thing is that you learn something from the experience.

    So use a stopwatch OR see how much fuel the trimmer consumes.
    I would also, before you start, get a real good mental picture of what it looked like.

    Yes I know this is going to be hindsight material, but that's how I do it when I'm not sure, at least I want to become informed of how it goes, then if I lose out I can kind of reason it out as an educational job. With that mental picture, this and that, it all becomes clearer for next time.

    Back in the old days I used to charge by trimmer fuel consumption, no joke.
    Just don't let it sit around idling, that wouldn't be right.

    But yeah, I think you'll be fine, so use this job to gain experience, trust me, always going to be that first of a kind like that.
  4. RonB

    RonB LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 429

    I usually use these opportunities to possibly get an additional customer, and it happened just yesterday.

    Last week a regular customer passed me on to a friend that needed some hedging. When I got there it was about a 30 min. job, told her $30. Then she asked about 3 - 30' dead dogwoods she wanted down. $100 total. Got the job. While working she comes out and needs the yard done at their lake house - $60 app. (sight unseen) - got the job.

    When I was about finished her neighbor came over and wanted a quote for her hedges - $40 - got the job.

    THEN - when I'm leaving, my regular customer was visiting and comes out and says she has another lady wanting a quote, she also comes out of the house and today I'm going there to quote for some tree trimming ..

    Three jobs from that little hedging work! And I get my foot in the door for their regular lwan care.
  5. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834

    does working at your hourly wage cover your business goals? if it does and it should you are ok....
  6. Poncho25

    Poncho25 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 369

    my hourly rate for these types of jobs I charge 60 an hour so yeah it covers me.
    and the fact that I don't have haul the clippings away helps, still have to haul them to the end of her backyard area :) I gave her an est of 2-3 hours and I am sure if it takes more she will have no issue, the hedges have not been cut in almost a year so they are really bad about 2 feet of overgrowth. Either way you guys are right, this is a good learning exp and I do plan on timing myself. Also her current lawn guy who doesn't do any of this stuff charges her 60.00 a month!! she complained to me about him not edging all the time and blowing the clippings into her beds as well as not doing anything but cutting..I told her for 60.00 to not complain!! she laughed, she then said she would probably start using me for her maint as well as my service would include taking care of her hedges as they are needed so we shall see..so far its been a good season for me, she has me doing her mulch in Nov when its cooler out and some new plants. and I have 3 other mulch jobs lined up for Nov also. But thanks all for the input. Was glad to see that I am on the right page as you guys who have alot more exp then I do!!
  7. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834

    Good to hear!!
    do not forget your per hour machine charge.....
    for exhample only...a 4 hour trim job at your labor rate....

    4 man hours 240.00
    3 machine hours at 8.00 per hour 24.00
    total would be 264.00 this is a exhample only use the figures you set for your machines and for the time they were running.
  8. Poncho25

    Poncho25 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 369

    this is a first for me, hearing about charging for machine hours...how do you figure that out? is there a formula that I don't know about? Please explain this!!
  9. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834

    the per hour machine charge covers labor to sharpen fuel to run and funds to replace or repair
  10. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,834

    weather you itemize the machine charge on the bill or not is up to you but I strongly suggest you charge one if you do not charge a machine fee you are not having the business pay for the tools "You" will be paying for them.
    a place to start is get a list from a 3 Major tool rental places and see what they are charging for rental. if a tool is 68 or 75 per day do the math and adjust up or down for what you customers or local economy will tolerate. it is important to use the best possible tool you can afford when buying them. a tool like a trimmer that does not have a hour meter you guess, it is not hard when you spend a 8 hour day trimming and cleaning up it is just common sense knowing how long you ran your tools for it comes with experience. all your expenses need to be covered or you are loosing money, a rule of thumb is if your tools are being used and not making money your are loosing it. why buy 450.00 trimmers and not charge for them? that is just a example.

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