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When estimating a job

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by 1MajorTom, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    When you estimate the time a job will take you, do you look at the job and say to yourself, "ok this will take me one hour to do, this is how much I need to make." or do you say, "this should take me one hour to do, but I may run into problems, I better price a little higher incase this happens".
    When Matt prices out a job, as example, he just did a small paver patio, he looks at it and decides what his hours are, then adds in some extra play room for errors. I don't care if it's a cleanup, a mulch job... if he runs into problems, he can tolerate it, cause he knows he planned ahead for any mishaps. I'm not talking grass cutting, I'm talking other kind of work.
    Does anyone else price like this or do you just strictly bid on how you estmate your exact hours, and if you run into problems, you just take the loss? We aren't out to win every bid anyway, so we do come in higher most times, but it sure beats underestimating our time.
     
  2. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,128

    When I do clean ups and the like, I always build in a cushion, in case of unforeseen circumstances.
     
  3. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,503

    I usually try to figure the cost of clean up/ mulch then add 50% to it for error. If I think I can do it for $100 ,I charge $150 usually Im not off to far. I never was full time untill last year and I feel more comfortable bidding theese now and try to be a little closer and my figures the more of them I do
     
  4. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Posts: 7,827

    I estimate what its going to take and then double that
     
  5. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,410

    I always add cushion because more times than not you will need it and its easier than adding more to the price after the fact.
     
  6. packerbacker

    packerbacker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,433

    Good question. I just bid a job for 2.5 yards of mulch, 450 SQ FT of sod and 45 feet of drainage to be put in. I bid it for $750.00.

    Basically I came to that price taking what it would cost me for supplies.


    2.5 yards of mulch for $93.00
    56 rolls of sod for $154.00
    45 feet of hose and all the other supplies (basin, tee for guttering, odds and ends) for about $125.00


    Total- $372.00

    Which leaves about $375 for labor. I figure it will take me about 1.5 hours to do the mulch. 1.5 hours for the sod and 3 hours to put the drainage together.

    Thats 6 hours total. Which means ideally Ill be making about $63.00 an hour.

    That 6 hours is the MAX the job should take. Id like to think I could get it all done in about 4.5 to 5.

    So in answer to the question. I do give myself a coushion on labor in my favor.

    And BTW I got the job.
     
  7. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    always cushion especially on jobs that you KNOW often have hidden problems arise. That I yet another reason that I never bid things hourly but by the job.

    I still get burned sometimes, but the cushion on others makes up for it.
     
  8. all ferris

    all ferris LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,307

    Jodi,
    To be honest, it depends on how busy I am when I do the bid. My time becomes much more valuable in the spring.
     
  9. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    ok, so, jodi....you get a call for a lawn cut customer. you show up, you will charge $45 a cut. you quote it as $45 per cut. great, you're hired. you show up on cutting day, you pull the 48" off, and the lady comes out, "oh, dear me, no way do i want you to use that big monster on my lawn. i want you to use that one (pointing to the 21")." same price right? $45 a cut?
     
  10. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    That wouldn't happen though you see, due to the fact that we actually communicate intelligently with our customers, so they know exactly what to expect before we start to work.
     

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