Quoting Landscape Jobs?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by GreenBlade, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. GreenBlade

    GreenBlade LawnSite Member
    Posts: 207

    I've been in business for awhile now, but one thing that always gets me is giving an estimate & then the actual bill on a landscape job!

    Here is an example:
    I have a lady who wants her beds cleaned out, & new mulch put in. She also wants me to make a new bed around one of her trees.

    NOW, I did not write her up an estimate on paper I just simply said $600, which honestly is really low, but can't go back on it now. Being that its an estimate the bill will either be more or less.

    So, how do you guys go about giving a landscape estimate & then giving them their actual bill. It's just confusing to me. http://www.lawnsite.com/images/smilies/confused.gif

    Please help out with this, thanks!
  2. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,466

    Well when you said 600,that's the price ,now if she wants anything above that,then it's extra. You charge her any more then that could be considered bait and switch,which is illegal.
  3. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Unless it is sales tax :laugh:
  4. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,466

    Sales tax is a givin in NY. Even then if he needs to collect sales tax then he should be saying ,600 plus tax or she might think the tax is in the 600 already.
  5. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Funny how people do that to us but they know better when buying other goods and services. Only do they want the lawn guy to eat it. :hammerhead:

    Must be some big beds if 600 is too low.
  6. GreenBlade

    GreenBlade LawnSite Member
    Posts: 207

    They are big beds, plus making of a whole new bed around a large maple tree. I don't have to worry about sales tax here in Tennessee, they don't tax services, or an income tax :)

    Anyway, my question still remains on how you guys go about quoting. How do you figure everything up? Do you just ask them what they want done then call your supplier & see what the price is gonna be, then add labor charge and then get back to them? Thats what I usually do.
  7. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,652

    Materials with markup+ estimated time to complete times hourly wage. That's all there is to it. As you do more, you will learn how much Time things take and can bill accordingly. I charge 70/yd for double ground mulch installed BC I know what I can get it for and how long it takes to spread. Same with hedgerows. Once you have a general idea of how long it takes to prep plant secure and water in one 3 gallon plant, you can come up with a price per plant with some wiggle room for unknowns
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  8. GreyFlames

    GreyFlames Inactive
    Posts: 90

    Go to the property for an in person estimate. For an estimate on cleaning and mulching you will need to measure the perimeter of the beds you are working on to get the square footage. From there, you need to figure out how long it takes you to clean and mulch this area to calculate your labor costs. Then, what are the costs of materials and any extra expenditures you may have (gas to get there, etc...). Remember it even costs you to get to the store to pick up a pallet of mulch. When showing to the customer have it broken down. Hope this helps.
  9. rob7233

    rob7233 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 861

    You can suggest that it is an ESTIMATE (which is exactly that) and NOT a Quote. Something like that might work for you if you handle it correctly. This might be something you may need to do if the job is involved and you can't tell how deep the "rabbit hole" goes. Make sure specifically detail what is included and not and watch out for all those (post signed agreement) customer requested add-ons that are not in the original scope of work.

    You have to advise the customer at the time of the add on request, that it is an extra cost (if need be). Those can add up to your costs and eat up profits. Not good if you've already low balled the job.


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