I don't know where you get that $35/hr is standard where you are. I would figure it would be more down your way than up in NH. You are either low balling or don't have the right equipment for the job. Hourly rates and the right equipment go hand in hand. Any time that we bid on an hourly basis (which is rare) our minimum is $50/man hr. That is a figure that I am not really happy with but at least I know that I am going to get that risk free. I usually expect more per hour for mowing than mulching because mowing requires more overhead. Irrigation work has a minumum of $65/hr plus all the mark-up on parts. No one seems to have any problem with that rate.