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. OP

    _Cameron_ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 106

    Some People seem to think the 10 year old down the street can do the leaves for $25 and I feel like that leads to people thinking we should charge nothing. I get complaints most of the time if I’m not onsite during a job like this because little things are missed by some guys or jobs are done well but too quickly and they feel like we owe them more work and I’ll mention.

    Writing that makes me go with your method of just letting them know an hourly to cut down on complaints, just need to developer a pitch. If I get zero new cleanups this year I’m fine, just rather do Christmas lights where we get 0 complaints just the rare callback to fix lights that go out.
    ltdlawn, Charles and That Guy Gary like this.
  2. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,957

    Until you're finished, send them the bill then wonder why every leaf wasn't removed.

    I agree with the range. However in some areas by us I only do an hourly rate. If they ask, we explain that it is so variable it is not possible to give them a fair estimate. Leaves might fall and stay dry and it takes us 4 hours, or the leaves might drop during a rainstorm. Or, last year they dropped with the snow...we had leaves frozen to the ground. When they live in the middle of a forest, I can't guarantee anything.
  3. sjessen

    sjessen LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Knoxville, Tn
    Messages: 18,923

  4. Charles

    Charles Moderator, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 11,810

    2 good reasons to go hourly. Takes the guess work out of estimating the job. Customer is less picky about the results. I don't really care if I get the job. Hate doing leaves anyway. How long will it take you? Don't know. How many leaves do you have? Don't know. There you go. I will get started:laugh:
  5. E-town

    E-town LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    Love it LOL
  6. 1620cwj

    1620cwj LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    If the estimate you are doing is the first time, a range is good. quote a price for what you think it should be and then an add on price for if it goes beyond a certain time. that usually works and customer has to understand that many times you are looking at a property without leaves, it is prefall or pre-leaf drop. on regular full time customer, we stay on normal schedule and do our fall cleaning as we go, property looks great all the time and completed in small increments iso spending 2hrs at one time.
  7. MattCurbAppeal

    MattCurbAppeal LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    In my experience, customers really appreciate an honest bid. Just tell them that it's easier to guess the hourly then put a set price on odd jobs. However, if you're talkin about an hourly pay for regular mowing then that is not the way it works. You are a landscaping contractor your employees get the hourly, not you.

    RMLC_BZN LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    As a homeowner I would only hear the $450 and expect that to be the cost. Using your examples, I would give them a set price of $400. After the job, if the price comes out to be $350, I win $50. If it comes out to be $450 I lose $50 but gain some experience and hopefully don't underestimate the next job.

    I am absolutely not saying you are wrong, I'm just saying what I would do.
  9. Charles

    Charles Moderator, Friend, Angel
    Messages: 11,810

    The thing is that you never learn how to estimate leaves accurately. You're always guessing. Too many unknowns. I have been half way through a job and it got really windy. Crispy dry leaves blow much easier than damp ones or ones that are loaded with water. Dump location? Leaves up against the house? Blown out from under bushes and around trees? I have also been in the middle of a job and the rest of the leaves start falling. Leaves blow from the neighbors lawns. You have a fixed price and there are many leaves where you just cleaned.
    Job price can work out well or it can be a disaster. Many just guess high. This may leave the customer unhappy if you zip through the job. You may not zip through that same job the next time--if there is a next time
  10. MowDaddy

    MowDaddy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,505

    100% true on the above. ^^^
    hort101 and Charles like this.

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