Best way to sell a client on an hourly fall cleanup rate.

Discussion in 'Bidding, Estimating and Pricing' started by _Cameron_, Jul 28, 2019.

  1. MowDaddy

    MowDaddy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,505

    Yes !
    Bottom of range you can live with if need be. But leave wiggle room to go up. It seems we never (over) estimate our abilities.
    It's easy to look and say ahh 3 hrs should be good. 4.5 hrs later !!:(
     
  2. dfcam

    dfcam LawnSite Member
    Messages: 117

    Bets way is to tell the client that you just want to be fair to them and you, they pay for the time and you don't give them an est that may be too low and you get screwed...win/win
     
  3. JMK26

    JMK26 LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Missouri
    Messages: 14,527

    what I do is give them a range. "$250, not to exceed $350."
     
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  4. MowDaddy

    MowDaddy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,505

    And when you tell them you charge $75-$100 per man hr for leaf cleanup they show you the door.
     
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  5. OP
    OP
    _Cameron_

    _Cameron_ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 106

    If everyone would do 35-42 visits per year then our cleanup charge would be priced with the monthly amount they pay but that’s only for commercials and a handful of residentials.

    Most homeowners want us to only come when they call in the off-season meaning a trip just for an estimate. Wasn’t bad when I was giving the estimate and then performing service right then but now cleanups have to be scheduled at a later date.

    Kind of what I’m getting at. We don’t charge that much for cleanups. Most of our cleanups the total lot size is under 1/4 acre.

    I guess a range using what the hourly total too but let them know the final price is based off total hours spent. In the past, they ask what the rate is and I tell them and then they decide never mind on the service. Ex. My nieghbor wanted hedges trimmed $50-$100 estimate given but he’s a huge talker so I told him the total would be based off an hourly rate of $45/hour which was discounted from $60/hour because it’s my nieghbor. Job would’ve taken me 1.25 hours but my guys seem to take twice as long. So 2 hours or so, price is within the range they were initially okay with, but just hearing the number $45/hour makes them think their time is less valuable compared to mine since they may earn $10-$45 working as an employee. When in fact I have a ton of expenses in that $45/hour.

    At times I’ve thought of marketing it has $XX/Hour for Labor, Equipment, Traveling, Insurances, and other direct/indirect Expenses. Maybe that’s the way to do it.
     
  6. MowDaddy

    MowDaddy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,505

    Never ever tell customers what your hourly rate is. Never.

    The only time I ever use an hourly rate is on commercial contracts.
    And that is for extra's only.
    Example would be:
    Any extra item's on written notice only. Hourly labor rate is $48 per man hr.
    Equipment and materials extra.

    You being in Texas do not have fall cleanups like northern states do.
    We will literally have every tree loose all they're leafs in a 1 week time frame.
    It's not a slow process. I've got many yards we will cleanup over 10,000 lbs of leafs in one shot. You can't just mulch them. They have to be removed period.
     
  7. OP
    OP
    _Cameron_

    _Cameron_ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 106

    If everyone would do 35-42 visits per year then our cleanup charge would be priced with the monthly amount they pay but that’s only for commercials and a handful of residentials.

    Most homeowners want us to only come when they call in the off-season meaning a trip just for an estimate. Wasn’t bad when I was giving the estimate and then performing service right then but now cleanups have to be scheduled at a later date.
    Do you have any recommendations?
     
  8. That Guy Gary

    That Guy Gary LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,392

    The total price range is good, you are still doing it hourly but aren't sharing your rate.

    It also gives a chance for negotiation if they are on a budget. Some people don't care if every leaf is gone, they just need the bulk hauled away.

    If they ask why you have a range throw them the price it would cost if you did it immediately and explain what about it could change by the day it's completed.

    Hopefully that number is mid range or higher. Even better if they like the idea of a windstorm saving them a buck at the expense of neighbors. :laughing:
     
  9. Charles

    Charles Moderator, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 11,810

    The problem with the job price is people do the math after you finish and think you ripped them off. They think you will charge $10 per hour for leaves. You bill them $100s for half a day. I always lesson the shock value by tell them my hourly rate up front. Give them a price range.If needed, Explain why I charge what I do. Give them a chance to back out. A lot less stressful for me. I am always upfront about everything. This is one reason I always get paid. AC people tell their hourly rates if you ask them. So do mechanics. So do the bug folks. Why should we be ashamed to tell our hourly rates?
     
  10. MowDaddy

    MowDaddy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,505

    I've never been (ashamed) of my hourly rate it's really nobody's business.
    Plus it scares them off $75 per hr, they're thinking it might cost $750- $1000
    Customers who have done their own fall cleanups in the past, take several days to rake and bag their lawn. So $350- $450 is a fair price.
    We come in and are finished in half a day, saving them days of blisters and work. They are just happy they no longer have to do it themselves.
    I always get paid also. Never had to chase money.

    Picture bringing your car to 2 different mechanics for a repair estimate.
    One says, " not sure how much it will be, I charge $100 per hr and will just bill you when I'm done !"
    Second mechanic says, "It will be $350"

    I would pic #2.
    I know what final price will be. No suprises.
     
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