am i ripping my customer off?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by slicey, Oct 20, 2005.

  1. slicey

    slicey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    hi, was doing pruning, raking, removing a tree here and there. Plus i had to get rid of weeds amongst some flagstones she had. then cust. wanted a flagstone patio created adjacent to some already existing stones(6ft. by 8ft.). now, i had to pick up all existing stones to smooth the base and raise it a little before getting the whole install underway. where i live, it's crushed granite anyplace you don't see a road or sidewalk. same situation w/ the base i was prepping. i ordered an additional 3100 lbs.(delivered) of rose flagstone, which is covering about 175 sq. ft. total area is about 225sq. ft. i'm doing this at 12hr. so far the labor has added up to 39 hours and i figure when completed, labor will total about 50hrs($600). out of 3100lbs, there are close to 15-16 stones. one of them is 2.5ft. by 5ft. by 2.5 in. i am doing this all by myself, very carefully. when i give her the bill, i'm afraid she is going to freak out and i don't know if i should feel guilty or not? one thing i'm sure of, i had fun cutting some of the stones to shape using some of the proper hand tools for the trade. i'd really appreciate it if you could give me an estimate on what this job would cost. now i know i didn't do this by the "book" but she didn't want to spend the money on materials and labor to build the base the way it is supposed to be done.
    thank you!
  2. cgland

    cgland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,929

    Dude - $12/hr! That's insane! I charge $47/man hour! The way i see it is she is getting a hell of a deal, especially for flagstone work.(although I don't know the quality of your work) Don't be afraid, if anything raise your price.

    P.S. In time you will learn not to let customers tell YOU how to do your job. The base is the MOST important thing in a patio installation. It seems as if this project will have a VERY short shelf life!

  3. neversatisfiedj

    neversatisfiedj LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,028

    I was charging 50.00 per hour per man. Next year its going to 100.00 hr/man. Sorry if they don't like it ,they can go dig. ;) We're in legit business here gentleman. Insurance, mechanical responsibilities, payroll, fuel ,out of control workers comp. Benefits ? It looks like you are making a ton of money until you take everything out of gross. I turn down cheap skate jobs here lately. I only want to work for customers who will pay for my honest , quality work. Just my .02
  4. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,641


    I typed a whole post and it disapeared.........
  5. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    $50 per man hour labor...$75 man hour for the crew chief...I bill myself at $150 hour when it needs to be separated out...special plant material selection, pickup of stone and other material that needs my approval, etc.

    Come work for me and you get $15 an hour to start, just like the other crew leaders.
  6. NNJLandman

    NNJLandman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,306

    Well the prices you are charging seem extremely low first off and if thats the hourly prices you told your customer about, then you must follow through with your promise. But dude $12/hr how can you make money, gas in the machines + gas in your truck + any misc. business expenses bar chain oil, new chain, tools for the job. There goes your $12/hr....Id get around $40-45/hr when i work by myself $60/hr when i have another guy or 2 working with me then the price just goes up from there.

    Anyways give her the bill have no remorse. She needed work done, you did it, top quality, its off her to do list, your a professional, either way, one way or another to have it done she was going to havta pay to get it done. So bill her, if she freaks out, oh well.

    In other news, if your billing her hourly I would bill her around $1500 for the hours + any materials or dumping.

  7. dantheman984

    dantheman984 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    This is something I have always told myself, "If they ain`t complaining about how high your price is, you ain`t charging enough!!" :eek:
    Dan :cool:
  8. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    Man when i screw up a estimate of a job and only end up making 35 bucks an hour i feel like crap. At 12 bucks an hour i guess your using the customers shovels and rakes.

  9. PAPS Landscape Design

    PAPS Landscape Design LawnSite Member
    from us
    Messages: 81

    You'd make more working at McDonalds, and get a free lunch...
  10. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Twelve an hour!!?? You need to come to Blackshear, Ga. and I can get you all of these you want! You are doing hard backbreaking manual for nothing. Let the client try it for awhile if she does not like it. My first year in biz (I'm ashamed to admit it) I laid some concrete slabs for 5 bucks an hour and that was a one time I will never in h-ll do it again. Not trying to be insulting but this cheapskate thief uhhh client you are doing this for will tell all her old haggy cheapskates how cheap you are. Do you want to attract these kinds of clients? I learned that real fast my first year. What you are doing should at least be 50 an hour and thats in my cheap area. Make it worth your while or don't do it! Give her a bill for 50 per hour and watch her gasp wheeze and choke.Did you not give her a price before you started and get it signed? Come on and earn what you are worth. When you do it dirt cheap like this it lowers the price for everyone else in your area trying to make a living.

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