$1464 per hour.....and some think We are overpriced?

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by NickN, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,009

    I had a bit of septic tank trouble today,so I called the local "Rooter" service.
    I had dug the hole to drain pipe,drilled a hole in the pipe,and could see the tank was backed up.(Due to one of the kids,I'm sure)Anyway,the guy grabs his motorized snake and proceeds to clear the obstruction.From start to finish,5 minutes.My bill,$122.00.His equipment cost was at the most $500 for the electic snake.Of course he had a nice van,when painted logo and all.
    Now,I'm thinking,where's this guys $10,000 mower,$400 blower,$400 trimmer,$600 hedge trimmers,etc.,,He had no trailer either,but there I was,stuck with a $122 bill for 5 minutes of service.Also,he never told me how much it would be before service and I didn't ask.
    Suddenly $50-$75 per hour for mowing doesn't seem like such a big deal.Only difference is,he's not at my house every week.
  2. MudslinginFX4

    MudslinginFX4 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,170

    He is doing something that most homeowners can't do. Any homeowner can cut their own grass, giving they don't have certain health issues.
  3. lawnandplow42

    lawnandplow42 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 508

    Lets hope not. You gotta do the 2 flush method.

    Well while we are on the subject, i might as well add this sick, but very true story. My little cousin clogged up the pipes bad at my aunt and uncle's house. So they call this so called plumber they knew to come take a look. Anyways, he locates the spot in the pipe where its clogs, gets it open, and BARE HANDS the crap out of the pipe, right in front of my aunt.
    If that isn't sick, i don't know what is!
    i hope to god that wasn't before his lunch break
  4. promower

    promower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,233

    I'm not bare handing no poop even for $122 for 5 minutes work.
  5. greywynd

    greywynd LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    I'm not trying to defend the plumber, so much as trades in general, but, you have to also think about the fact that these guys/gals usually do a 4 year apprenticeship, with schooling intervals, and also have exams to write before they become journeymen. A lot of trades also end up taking courses throughout their career to upgrade and maintain their knowledge. Now, I realize that their are people on here with degrees in botany, or horticulture, I'm sure there are others. Then there's also people on here that 'at 15, have their own lawn care company'....I know these ones haven't done anywhere near the training or learning that a tradesman has.

    Being a toolmaker by trade myself, I know there are times when I have done things of great value to a company in a short period of time.

    I would also have to wonder, is $122 his hourly rate? I would have to think that they would have a minimum charge, had you not already done some of the work yourself, he may have done that without your bill increasing that much more. You also mention that he's not there every week....think of the number of calls that he requires to service to put in a full week....and the number of PITA customers, the non-payers, and so on. He may have to have 5000 customers to make a living, whereas you may only need 50. And he has some real s#!!+y jobs to deal with to boot! :(
  6. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    I would gladly pay that turd chaser 122.00 to unclog a pipe. That kind of thing is best left to a pro and that pro ain't me.
  7. ztoro

    ztoro LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 735


    Working with doody should demand a high hourly rate.... Its not for the weak....
  8. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    He had it and you needed it. No need to say more, cha-ching
  9. NickN

    NickN LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,009

    I think you're missing the point and my post wasn't clear on that.I'm not griping about his charges.As Mac said,I needed him and he had it.What I can't get over is the fact that so many in this trade(landscaping) will go on and on about how plumbers are "tradesman",while at the same time walk hat in hand to a customer a beg for $30 per hour for sweating their rear ends off while having $40,000 worth of equipment sitting behind them.
    The point I was trying to make is this;Appreciate your worth and value.Price accordingly.I'll guarantee this "tradesman" couldn't tell an Azalea from an Indian Hawthorne,much less which time of year to trim them.Customers are calling us because 1)they don't have time to maintain their landscapes,2)They don't want to maintain their landscape,3)They don't know how to maintain their landscape,or 4) they want an install professionally done with plants that will not only live,but also compliment their home design.Until we as an industry start appreciating our worth and value,we will always be "the gardner" or the "lawn jockey".
    As for anyone with a mower being able to cut grass,that may be true,but anyone with a supply of PVC and a few hand tools can also do plumbing.
    This was just meant as a discussion.I see it missed its mark,but also see how much some value their own trade as well.If we don't appreciate ourselves as a whole,how can we expect our customers to?
  10. betterlawn

    betterlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from MI
    Messages: 426

    I agree with some of what you're saying. But "cutting grass" is not a trade. Anybody can cut grass. Landscape design, horticulture, etc. are proper trades. Soil enrichment, pest/fert application, etc. are all high level activities.

    Anybody can unclog a sink, but not anybody can be a plumber with a "supply of PVC pipe".

    This isn't demeaning LCO's, but like you said, its just that we need to focus on what it is that makes us more than just a lawnmower. We can't compete with 14 year old kids mowing lawns, because they CAN do it "good enough". But they can't put in a bed, and recommend supplements for soil, lay out a bed of perennials with diagrams showing how it will look in 1,2,5 years.

    If you are just a mow/blow type outfit (not you specifically) than you can only survive on volume. If you really are a "professional" than you should have no trouble leaving lowballers in the dust.

    If there was a guy advertising septic tank service for $30, would you have called him? There aren't that many lowball plumbers, because the equipment cost might be low, but the education cost is high. With his parents mower any kid can start mowing lawns for $20.

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