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test on quoting hrly

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    every fall, i put adds in the newspaper for leaf cleanup. the way it works is, you MUST have the add run in 3 different "zones". well, last year i did estimates in one of the zones, came up about zero for 25. i decided to not even bother in that area anymore. the clientelle seemed extremely cheap, despite having expensive homes. well, low and behold, 70 % of my total calls this year came from that area. i'll be finishing up all my scheduled stuff within 3 days. i will then start replying to the calls from that area, as they come in. i will quote price over the phone on an hourly basis. the price will be , for a two man crew, $135 per hour, plus $100 for disposal, per truckload, or any partial truck load. if they ask for me to come down and quote approx how many hrs it will be, i'll tell them estimates are $45 each, then deducted off the final bill should they use us. how do you think i will do? i'll keep you posted.
  2. chevyman1

    chevyman1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 852

    pretty poor. Not good to quote the hourly rates over the phone like that without giving an estimate. People think you are ripping them off at $135/hr, but if you look at a place, know in you head it will take around an hour (and it would take them all weekend) than $150 for the job sounds like a fair deal. And asking for the $45 estimate will make people standoffish, and leary of you
  3. cward

    cward LawnSite Member
    Posts: 190

    Everything seems in order. IMO, your 100.00 dump fee per load may be high. Everythings up-front and spelled out.
  4. cward

    cward LawnSite Member
    Posts: 190

    I do not think that charging the customer for a quote and then applying it to the bill is a problem. I'm curious if it will help weed out the "not-so-serious" customers.
  5. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Posts: 2,702

    I'm thinking of doing away with the "Free Estimate" b/s too. Too many people that don't value your time. Think they're gonna get a $3000 walkway for $300, then won't even return a follow-up call after they get a proposal.
  6. Remsen1

    Remsen1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,020

    I like the idea of charging for an estimate then deducting it from the bill if the accept your proposal. It could actually help you increase revenue. When you arrive for the estimate, you can ask for the $45 (cash only) right off, then feel them out a little to see if they are a PITA, figure out how long you feel the job will take and give your estimate. If they are a PITA you can give a higher quote and if they don't like it, you walk away with $45 and if they do like it then you will make the kind of money that you deserve. Going a little further I would think that it would be appropriate to ask them to pay you the agreed price when you arrive to begin the work, that way they can't say "I paid you $45 already, it only took you 30 minutes, I'm not paying you anymore."

    I don't like the idea of giving the hourly rate over the phone, but maybe it will work for you. I think it would scare people off cause they don't realize the amount of work that we can get done in an hour compared to the amount of work they can get done in an hour.
  7. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    like i said, there are an enourmous amout of people calling from this specific area, but selling to them, at realistic prices, is impossible. that's why i don't want to waste my time going out for the estimates.
  8. Mo Green

    Mo Green LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,487

    You bring up a good point with this. It's kind of a double edged sword. I'll explain.

    Most of the time telling a customer how much we charge by the hour blows their mind. If you just quote them a price, they seem to handle it better.

    The $45 charge for estimates is a good idea. Maybe a little steep. I think $20 is a little more acceptable to most people. But most people are not considering how good the work you will do will be. They just want it done, and done cheaply. The $45 may scare off customers that are willing to pay your price, but don't want to fork out the estimate fee. What if you arrive, give them an estimate, and they don't feel comfortable with you or your price? Then they are out $45. I'm not sure many potential customers would want that risk.

    What I have been doing for leaf removal is this... I tell them on the phone that the average yard in our area runs between $150 and $200, not including disposal. This has seemed to work well with weeding out undesireables.
  9. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    remember now, it's dec 3rd. leaves are wet, and sometimes froze to the ground. this area is easily a 20-25 min drive one way. i aint running back and forth for these cheapos for free. most guys won't even return thier calls at this time of year. my attitude is simple....take it or leave it
  10. Mo Green

    Mo Green LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,487

    I understand. Didn't realize they were so far away. Do what you have to do. If it works for you then go with it.

    I wasn't trying to say to do it for free. Just trying to say to use a little more tact to get what you want. Sometimes being so direct doesn't always work in our favor.

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