Pricing advice please.

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by gazoneyo, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. gazoneyo

    gazoneyo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    I'm in the process of setting up my lawn care and landscaping business with the intention of starting properly in the spring.

    I've bid on a couple of jobs - both were rejected - and I wanted to know if my prices are way off.

    Job 1: Leaf cleanup and removal.
    Job site is 30 minutes drive away. 1 acre lot with small house on. Lined on two sides by trees. A dozen or so trees throughout the lawn. Total coverage with large leaves - the lawn could barely be seen at all. In some area - around the many flower beds and other obstacles - the leaves are a foot deep.
    My intention was to blow or rake the leaves from beds etc, mulch mow and bag then haul to the landfill.
    My bid was $264.
    Homeowner said for that price she'd might as well buy a used mower on Craigslist so she can do it herself each year.

    Job 2: Mowing, trimming and edging for 2014 season.
    Job site is 10 minutes drive away. 4.5 acre lot with church building and parking lot. 3 acres of lawn, 7650 feet of edging, 60 trees and other obstacles.
    My bid was $267 per visit.
    Church secretary said the bid was rejected. She wouldn't tell me why.

    I know I've only bid on two jobs and I'm sure in the future I'll have many more bids rejected but I'd like to get an idea if the pricing model I'm using is correct.
     
  2. TheLugNutZ

    TheLugNutZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 410

    Just curious, how DID you come up with those numbers? What is your pricing model?
     
  3. KeystoneLawn&Landscaping

    KeystoneLawn&Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 774

    Hard to judge your numbers without walking the properties and knowing the pricing in your area. One thing for sure.....better to start high and work your way down until you get the pricing right for your area. Good Luck!
     
  4. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,716

    I think you're in the ballpark with the first one depending on the density of the leaves and how much hand work is involved.

    The second one you are way off IMHO. Sight unseen I would guess in the ballpark of $165 per visit.........
     
  5. gazoneyo

    gazoneyo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    Thanks for the replies guys.

    How I came up with the numbers:
    Leaf cleanup - regular mow, trim and edge price ($66) x4.
    Church - took my regular residential price, scaled it up to 4.5 acres then discounted a bit. I guess I need to discount a lot more!

    I have a min price, a rate for up to 1 acre, a lower rate to 2 acres and a lower rate over 2 acres all based on total sq ft.
     
  6. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,287

    Why in the world are you multiplying your price for a "mow, trim and edge" job by 4 to come up with your price for a leaf removal job??? This makes no sense.

    What is the minimum price you need to charge per man hour of service in order to be profitable?

    How many hours do you estimate it will take you to complete the job?

    Multiply those two numbers then add in all job specific additional costs associated with the job (material, material markup, material acquisition, bags for the leaves, dump fee, fuel to drive to the dump, etc.) that's your price.
     
  7. gazoneyo

    gazoneyo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    I used the x4 method for a couple of reasons. Others on this forum said it was a good rule of thumb and local companies I called about the property in question gave prices which equated to about this multiple. The actual prices were between $230 and $330 sight unseen so I went just below the average.

    Due to my inexperience, I'm not good at estimating how long a job will take so I used a method based on the experience of others.

    Once I've gained more experience, I'll be able to calculate the various costs and time to see if my x4 formula is about right but I needed a formula based on the size of the lot to get me started.

    Also, since my original post, I've found out the homeowner was expecting a bid of about $60 to do the leaf job. I'd like to see her do it all in about an hour and a half!
     
  8. TheLugNutZ

    TheLugNutZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 410

    I would also like to see her buy a mower for that amount and do the leaves herself. What exactly does she expect to do with them?
     
  9. echo

    echo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,686

    Site unseen, I think you're right/close on both jobs. The second job I would probably be around $225.

    Most people have no clue about the work and time involved with leaves.

    When/if I get a smart comment like you received I always kindly respond with, "that's a great idea. Good luck". I thank them, go on my way and feel sorry for the next guy that gives an estimate to them. I always like it when I hear them tell me about the last guy that did it for $x. I kindly tell them "thats an excellent price and I would like to hire him myself. It always ends with the same response. "He doesnt do it anymore", or no response at all as he obviously didnt/doesn't exist.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013
  10. gazoneyo

    gazoneyo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    I've changed my pricing calculator based on the suggestion from jrs.landscaping.

    Can I presume the church job should take a maximum of 4 man-hours to complete?
     

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