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$35 per man hour

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, May 3, 2006.

  1. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    Maybe he pays low wages and is busy enough not to worry about down time. he's obviously happy with what he is bringing in or he would raise prices. It doesn't sound like he is a newbie.

    In my area I charge top dollar but the work comes in a lot slower. A company doing 100 lawns with 2 guys charging $60/man hour will make less then a man sitting in the office while his 10 employee's go out and bring in $35 man/hr on a continuous basis. Plus he doesn't waste as much time giving high dollars bids that are tossed in the trash the minute he pulls away. You have to look at each truck as a crew. each truck isn't going to have anymore downtime then you or anyone else, but if he pays a lot less in labor and has tighter routes with more work he can make some money in volume.

    The fact is no one really knows what this guy is making and you can't assume anything until you have been there and tried it. I wonder how many lawn companies are charging $60 man/hr and have 5 or more crews running at full schedule?
  2. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Messages: 1,237

    I wouldn't rake leaves for $35.00/hr.
  3. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Well, $35 per man hour is the industry average they say in reports.

    But I'm here to tell you, $35 per man hour billing ain't no money.

    By the time you cover your direct expenses, payroll and employer burdens, there might be enough left to cover the rest of the expenses. Maybe.

    Most are just trading equity in there equipment for pocket money. By considering that profit, they are able to sustain just enough cash flow to 'finance' themselves in business.
  4. Hermanator

    Hermanator LawnSite Member
    Messages: 223

    Company here charges $25.00 per man hour on all per hour stuff....... this is not bidding work, just hourly work. They charge more when they bid, but the customer does not know what they are charging per man hour in a bid for sure. Did 25 to 30 million in gross last year. Was just sold for $13 million.
  5. wski4fun

    wski4fun LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    35 a man hr is standard around here. of course mowing brings in more than that a so does fert and mulching. when I estimate a job I use the 35 per hr. If it takes me less time then I make more. If I underestimate then I stop at the price and say that's what the price gets you. No one would stay in business around here if they told thier cust they are charging 45 or more per hr for maint. If I end up making that on avg. so be it but I could never tell the cust. that.
  6. SWD

    SWD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 988

    I am at the rare point where I agree with Bobby -gasp!
    Hourly rates start when the employees butts hit the seat - travel included.
    Lunch comes out ot heir pockets though.
  7. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,087

    Well Bobby, I have concluded that a lot of people in the green industry have been out in the sun a little too long if you know what I mean.

    I am by no means trying to be mean spirited here... just trying to knock on a few foreheads to see if anybody is home. Here is the challenge...

    Take any job you billed at $25, $30, $35 per man hour.
    Itemize all the expenses.
    The subtract the line items.
    Then show me a NET subtotal of your Net Profit.

    Yep, show me how you are making money and I will bring it to your attention how you are really not making what you think you are by suggesting everything else you forgot to subtract.

    Just think about it a minute for God's sake...
    Put one employee on one mower and you are already in the red just right there.
  8. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Well I wondered how long it would take before all the solo operators figured this out. You are already paying all your expenses and trying to generate revenue off one person.

    Lets say your expenses are 6-K per month, you have to earn 36 bucks per hour just to cover expenses. With 3 guys in that same truck now your only talking 11 per man hour to cover expenses, now you add the labor and your up to 23-25 per hour and your making 10 bucks per man hour, multiply that times 5 crews and you can see being a solo is not so attractive. Yes I know there is the windsheild time but you should still be able to bill for 85% of the work day. With that many crews there are supervisor expenses etc too. But you should get the gist of the economics, it is done all over with very profitable companies. Commercial rate around here is 25 per hour. Residential 30-35 for most.

    Think about it, how much more will your expenses go up if you add one or two laborers to your operation, As long as you can efficiently manage your labor you may have to buy another mower maybe get a bigger trailer but the truck, insurance and fuel are your big expenses and they don't change with one or 3 employees in the truck, the cost only changes significantly when you put another truck on the road.

    No disrespect, but if you are solo you own a job. If that makes you happy great. I had lots of jobs, I don't want to own a job.
  9. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    This guy runs a much larger business then you or I. Plus I doubt the 35/man hr is for mowing. I have never seen anyone charge mowing by the hour it is usually per cut, month, or year. If he has a few guys on a mulch, pruning, etc. type jobs then he can make decent money with cheap tools and cheap labor. The lower price keeps them busy so he can easily make it up in volume. These type of business owners usually don't do the work themselves so they look at what the bottom dollar amount is and not the per man hour profit.

    At this point we are all assuming to know what this guys expenses and profits are. For us smaller companies to say he is or is not making decent money is just assumptions.
  10. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    Well said, but we all know Bobby can't see past the dollar in front of him.

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