quoting and estimates

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by jaymo3141, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. jaymo3141

    jaymo3141 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 15

    Whats the best way to quote a lawn? I find that when im desperate i quote low and when im comfortable i quote high. All and all i dont really know what im doing when i quote a new lawn. I kinda just look at it and ask myself what sounds reasonable. Is there a formula, like for square footage.
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  2. PeeblesLawnCare

    PeeblesLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    I am in the same boat as I am a new small business and seems Like I quote too low, I need a pro To let me know if there is a formula to quote the lawn or should I just gauge the time. I am now cutting a lawn for an older lady who has a lot of lawn to cut, It takes me 2 hours and she pays me $55.00. I am blessed to have her as a customer but I need to know when to say no and when to say yes. Most yards I am doing are pretty much $60- $70 yards
     
  3. PeeblesLawnCare

    PeeblesLawnCare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    I am trying to get into several local neighborhoods here to pick up more than one yard so I can have a lot of jobs in one location. Cuts down on the
     
  4. nozzy

    nozzy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 67

    I try to estimate how many minutes I will be there and that is my cost per time. 28 minutes on site - $28 dollar lawn. I will adjust that price down a little bit if I know the potential customer is getting multiple quotes AND I have other lawns nearby. I will bump my quote up a little bit if I get the sense that the customer is going to be flakey or a pain to deal with. Obviously the price will vary by markets - maybe in some areas you can only get 75 cents per minute, etc. As you walk each section of the lawn before giving the quote just try to guess how long that section will take. The more you break up lawn the closer you should be able to come to accurately estimating the time required.
     
  5. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,021

    I have read that a rule of thumb is 1$/min. I will also tell you that I am almost certain I would go broke quoting @ 1$/min. It really depends on the size of your operation and your market. Obviously, a solo guy with a light setup can bid lower than the guy like me who runs a fairly large rig with employees.

    Short answer is there really is no set bid amount. You have to know your operating costs in order to know exactly what to bid to make a profit. Initially you will tend to underbid properties. As soon as you get a month or two of numbers put together and bounce expenses against sales you will have no problem bidding a property higher than before:)
     
  6. exmarkking

    exmarkking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,012

    Have to know your cost per hour in order to be profitable.
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  7. Marcus Barnwell

    Marcus Barnwell LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Ive been quoting a few years but just recently, about 2 years, I've got a good eye for quoting. There are book that will tell you how much a 21" mower can do, a 48" walk behind, line edging, string trimmimg, etc. Those are awesome if you are bidding off the landscape design or large commercial jobs. But, Ive started quoting on HOURLY basis. this is the only way to insure we make money. Set an hourly rate for yourself. What do you want to make an hour? $30? $35? So you have a 30 min yard. you have a 2 man crew. if that yard takes 30 mins with 2 guys, that is a 1 man hour yard. If you have a 2 hour yard and 2 men, thats a 4 man hor yard. Times that to your hourly rate. but set a minimum charge. $40 most likey for small company. We have $60 minimum. Use common sense too, If a yard takes an hour with 3 guys, and you have a $40 hourly rate, $120 a cut wont happen. it does for us bc we are in a good community, and well established, but doesnt work all the time. Also watch for pruning, I add extra costs in for pruning large shrubs and crape myrtles.
     
  8. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,452

    This is the very first starting point of the process. I disagree with guys that say they reduce it down to one system. I will look at the yard, anything that affects the time such as gates that require mower switch out or excessive trimming. The next part is reading the customer. I know the minimum I have to get to make a profit. The older folks, middle class, single mom types probably won't go much above that. However the high end, management, definitely have money types I will push higher on the price scale and throw all the extras add ons at them. Its a skill that takes time and yes you will botch a few. Just never ever go below your minimum operating cost. Which also means be very sure of your true operating cost. Don't be afraid to walk away. Guys have posted on here about taking a job at breakeven or loss just because they can't say no and think its all about big numbers. That's ludricous.
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  9. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,021

    Excellent advice!
     
  10. CreativeLawncareSolutions

    CreativeLawncareSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,025

    $1 a minute a man. Tried and true. If you don't make gobs of money at that rate you're doing something wrong.
     

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