Unified Standardized Little GREEN Book (why not?)

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Envy Lawn Service, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    There is a whole lotta :realmad: about pricing, so.....

    Why not have a Unified Standardized 'Little Green Book' with solid basic info for the entire industry? A big industry index.... plenty of entries.... and a cross reference guide to pricing various tasks....

    Why not? And why don't you think we already have such a thing? Don't tell me it's because we can't or because it's considered price fixing either. Other service industries have such 'guide books' at their disposal.

    How many of you have ever went to an auto mechanic with an uncommon repair issue.... and he pulls out his big book, looks up the vehicle, references up the job, reads the brief overview of everything involved, takes his hourly rate and multiplies it by the job/hour factor, calls for a parts quote.... then turns and says to you, "it will be $ X amount." ???

    I for one have had that happen to me several times over the years.
    They have them. Why shouldn't we?
    Don't you think such a publication would be beneficial to our industry as a whole?

    I for one think that it would help raise the bar to a degree. Whatever you think, even if you think it would have to be published 'by State' for a while until some sort of standard was achieved.... do you not think it would help out in the end?

    I do. For example, you look up the mowing square footage in tables like the tax tables, go over to your mower size, get the $ rate, if a considerable amount of area requires say a 21" on part and a 60" on the rest, select the split rates and add them, multiply it by a difficulty factor for hills, ect....

    Bam! There is your average mowing rate, look once more for give or take +/-.

    Do likewise for the square footage to be blown off.

    The do similarly with your linear footage of edging and trimming.

    Most anything lawn and landscape related could be indexed, tabled, factored and rated. This would atleast create a minimum level staring point for everyone to start at and build up from.

    I think something like that would help industry wide...
  2. lawncare4u

    lawncare4u LawnSite Senior Member
    from S>C>
    Posts: 399

    If a person don't have enough sense to quote a bid,they should stay at home and play in the sandbox! :p
  3. Mo Green

    Mo Green LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,487

    How would it handle the differences of supply and demand from each region, as well as the differences in each areas cost of living? The basic idea is not a bad idea, but it would need a lot of tweaking to make it feasible.
  4. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    that isn't the big problem. mechanics are all trained and certified by the manufacturers or ASE or someone with a clue. Most people use mechanics trained this way over the shadetree mechanics. So these guys are trained to use the books as guidlines for thier billable hours for a project. So say an alternater swap is 2.5 hours x shop rate of $60, it is no big deal to figure what to charge. The guy down the street charges $55 shop rate, also easy to figure. Bottom line is they have a time average to work with.

    Our business is very different. 1/4 acre lots come in lots of different configurations. Sort of like the alternater on my 66 mustang would be way easier than on a 2005 mustang. Their book covers that difference, how would ours.

    But probably more importantly, who is the group that is training us and distilling in us a sense that we need to get paid for our work. NO ONE. Bottom line is the scrubs wouldn't have the book, so they still would have no idea what to do or charge.

    Maybe someday when the price of admission goes up / enforcement of licensing is increased; the industry will get better organized. I doubt it though.
  5. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,889

    the motors guide has been around for ever and it is still full of improper time estamates. some things are way over timed and other things are way under.
    mainly due to improper info when updating model year changes.
    this could be a nice way to set a standardized price structure. which i think could help the unintensional lowballers. what i mean by that is the newbee's that don't do the home work and find out what other LCOs are charging for certin services that with a little homework they would find the market price much higher than the actual cost +profit basis adds up to.
    2 main services come to my mind, aeriating, and prunning and trimming,
    mowing rates are all over the board from town to town, but aeriating is one of the true profit services, if guys would check the per 1000 rate they wouldn't kill a good paying addon service.
    something like this as a guide for startup business would help a lot in my opinion. the best way for it to be distributed would be at the county clerks when guy register. it could be handed out just like the SBA book. :D
  6. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,028

    Lawnsite is as close to the little green book as we can ever get. I know what you are trying to get at and it is good to think that way but as Precision said, ours is a different business. There are so many variables it would be impossible to pin the logistics down. Auto shop rates are great for auto shops. An arbitrary difficulty factor cannot cover the differences of the lawn care business. I can think of hundreds of different conditions and situations that will logistically clog up a volume of encyclopedias. No one would want to read that let alone abide by it.
    How then would you "enforce" the rules short of a state or federal regulating agency doing it which they will not. Then what would be the "punishment" if they found someone was not complying with the book. I don't think a one of us would have to be held to a pricing standard. I know I make more on certain jobs than a guy from Florida. His conditions are different than mine but why should I lower my rate (profit) to make sure Florida LCO's make more money. No way.

    I think that we should be aware of our market, know our expenses and do the best we can on a local basis. There will always be lowballers but then again there are also some highballers that have the business down. I myself have a mix of people in this area. Some come and go, others are here and will continue to be here. You either survive or move on but there is no book that can guide you one way or the other.
  7. Littleriver1

    Littleriver1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 811

    Just what the world needs. Another well meaning person telling us how to live our lives. Must be a liberal. There's no other way to explain it. Why is it so hard to understand that setting your prices as high as you possibility can, is a good thing. If you need some one to hold your hand through life then get a job with the Gov.
  8. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210

    Are you serious about the 'little book of pricing'? I just can't see it working, ever. Too many disparities in costs from state to state...region to region...etc.
  9. aries

    aries LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Posts: 334

    I agree their are to many variables! unless it's set up for different area's maybe?
  10. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    Lots of good points. Flat rate manuals tell how much time it takes to do a job and then you X by hourly rate, true but like also said it is done on Standardized things not a bunch of variables like in this business. Those manuals are also made by only factoring in hand tools. So would this manual be based on doing it with a 21? If it was done like that you may be able to get around some of the differences in time, but what about hills, obstacles, measuring the intensity of the edging,hedges, etc? Sounds like a great idea but every yard is a little different.

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