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Am I charging too much????

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    One of my good customers from last year wanted me to prune some crepe myrtles and trim some photenias. In total, there were 8 crepe myrtles and 2 photenias. Two of the crepe myrtles were small, two were so tall we had to have a step ladder and 4 were medium/large height. Both photenias were about 10' tall. We had to climb on the roof to trim them. I also have a new Stihl trimmer with about a 7' reach, so I think I'm using the right equipment.

    I charge by the minute to trim shrubs. $.60 per man per minute.

    What we do is clip off a crepe myrtle branch, hold it over the trash can (which has a plastic trash bag strapped in it) and clip the crepe myrtle branches into smaller pieces so they'll fit in the bag.

    We had just charged the guy for fresh cypress mulch last fall, so when we trimmed the photenias, we spent a lot of time picking leaves and clippings out of the mulch. We spent a lot more time picking up clippings and leaves than we spent actually trimming.

    We spent a total of just under 4 hours (a two man crew). I'm actually very surprised that it took us so long. At .60 per man per minute, our charges are around $275.00

    I'm wondering if there is a more efficient way to do this. Or if this is considered standard operating procedure? I just don't have much experience with pruning crepe myrtles professionally. But the only other option a landscaper would really have around here would be to just clip the branches, throw them on the trailer and pay $20 to get into the city dump (which would easily eat an hour of your day).

    Should I just charge the guy for what I've done? Have I done something wrong? Are my prices too high???

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. Gene $immons

    Gene $immons LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,028

    Just a Sooner fans opinion.

    Your prices are not too high, ...but do you tell the customer that you charge by the minute? I would thing this might scare some of them.

    I have a dump truck that can hold large pieces of debris rather than extra time cutting it all up, but you gotta do what you gotta do to get the job done.

    Dumping became such a problem for us that I bought 5 acres of wasteland between OKC and Edmond. 24 hour dump is nice.

    Nice B-ball season. Maybe OU can "tear it up" in the N.I.T. lol
  3. coonman

    coonman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 686

    One of us trims the branches and the other walks back and forth to the trailer with them. I think you could save a lot of time by doing it this way. I would rather make the dump drive than do it the way you described. We have a house with 6 crepe myrtles and a few shrubs. We usually can do them in about 1.5 hrs(2man crew). So we would charge a little less than you just based on the time spent. Your prices are fine for 4 hrs.
  4. grassperson

    grassperson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    your prices are right in line for the DFw area, we charge the same in DFW area
  5. Michianamowpros

    Michianamowpros LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 11

    You might want to consider using a tarp underneath the bushes you're trimming it might save cleanup time

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