To Itemize or not to Itemize!

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by classy, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. classy

    classy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    I like to breakdown prices to customers so that they will get a better grasp on the situation. That said. I'd say %50 of the time, it seems to cause more confusion and perhaps silent criticism, especially when it comes to the labor rates.

    What do you find makes your customers most comfortable when quoting? Itemized lists or total job cost?
    Explain if you have the time.

    Thanks ahead of time!
     
  2. Waddle

    Waddle LawnSite Member
    Posts: 26

    When I send invoices for lawn maintenance it's just listed as maintenance and the price. When I do it for a landscape job I itemize everything. Sometimes they say something about the labor and sometimes they don't. When they do I just explain payroll, taxes, insurance, fuel, wear and tear on equipment, and permit fees all come out of my labor rate. They usually never question anything after I explain all of they. For some reason they think that all goes in my pocket and are suddenly ok with it after I tell them.
     
  3. classy

    classy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    Yes, I too do it for landscaping, and this is where the strange looks of "this guy is trying to rip me off", when really it's "this guy is trying to give me a decent price, and not end up spending 2 extra hours working FOR FREE.".

    I really have trouble imagining other people doing it for a lot less AND doing the same quality work. But I'll be the first to tell you, I don't work cheap, we are here for PROFIT, not to earn a WAGE "on our own". I'd say I land %40-%58 of the jobs I estimate. And you can tell when people are working with a limited budget, and I try to help as much as possible, but there is only so far I can cut myself.

    Hey thanks for your reply @Waddle
     
  4. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,067

    I itemize also for quotes so the customer can see how they got to the final price...I mostly try to leave out important details such as quantities and calculations-so other companies can't simply look at my estimate and just undercut the price, they would actually have to go to the sit and do their own homework-
     
  5. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,533

    Itemizing tends to send customers into vapor lock. They think your labor rate should be 10 bucks an hour and your materials should match the latest Home Depot flyer.:usflag:
     
  6. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,132

    For resi work I do not itemize anything at all. The price I give is for materials, labor and tax. I used to put tax on a seperate line, but if you do that the customer can easily do the math and figure what the materials and labor is. People tend to be in shock when they see a labor rate for service work in the 100-125 range. If I am doing a proposal for an install then I will usually give them two prices, one for the complete job, and another without a few options.
     
  7. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,541

    I itemize jobs that is seeding and landscape only
     
  8. grandview (2006)

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

    I used to,but most people just want to know the price.If like others say your breaking down the labor they stare at you like your crazy. Also if you list say 8 hrs labor and get done in 5 they think a refund is due to them. But they forget you have time in getting the supplies for the job. So I list all the material needed but no price for it.
     
  9. classy

    classy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 45

    @Weekend, great point. They probably do take my estimates and show it to my competition. I also normally leave them with a written estimate, so that they can know the processes they need to carry out. I'M DONE WITH THAT.

    @Patriot - exactly, labor rate sends them into Vapor Lock

    @Snyder, as of right now, I am completely finished with itemizing, they just look like Deer with headlight eyes. But if it works for you, do it. When I get off the mower to do real WORK, ie. landscaping, the price goes up $15-50 per hour just for me. My laborer rate stays the same.

    @all - Foreman rates for construction run $75-$150 per hour. I told one customer $85/hour for 2 people, one Foreman, one laborer, you could see the Great Wall of China, being erected in milliseconds.

    @grandview - EXACTLY, EXACTLY, EXACTLY. Most do just want a price, and they stare at you like you're Darth Vader of Landscaping. I think your way is the best compromise.

    How are you guys avoiding the "Price Shoppers"?
     
  10. clydebusa

    clydebusa LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,660

    I list what will be done but do not price each item out. I will itemize adders out as in an extra service. You go to most places and their is a price for the product. They don't list cost for each thing. Once the job is done I do itemize the job out to see what the cost of each phase was.
     

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