Bidding by the hour

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by tgl250, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. tgl250

    tgl250 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Long story short. 11 million dollar house not yet completed in Iowa
    20,000 sq feet main level with half of it with lawn up to the house, lots of trimming.
    Amphitheater with stone seating in a half circle going down to a pond
    apprx 2 feet of foot room in front of stone seating with 15 rows of seating.
    all clipings nead to be picked up. Untill house is done need to bid on a hourly basis. I have a hourly figure in mind just wondering how others may bid on a hourly basis for mowing and trimming only.
  2. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,381

    In this business you need to price your services at $50-$60 per hour without telling the customer that they are paying $50 per hour or more to have their lawn mowed. Some people would fall over dead if they thought they were paying that much for lawn care. So if you bid this on an hourly basis you're probably going to have to bid a ridiculously low price per hour. Otherwise the owners might show you the door with a puzzled look on their face.
  3. milkie62

    milkie62 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    You are the first one that I've seen here saying that we need to charge a certain amt but really can't tell the customer what we charge.Everybody else in the service industry seems to have their per hour rate displayed.I tell my customers that I charge $45/hr
  4. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,381

    This is my business motto:
    Never tell a customer how much you charge per hour. Always tell the customer how much you will charge for the entire job.
  5. ExtExc

    ExtExc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 204

    if someone is building an 11 million dollar house, and has an issue with paying 50 an hour for lawn care while expecting their yard to refleft the same image of their house, walk away and dont look back. I do agree with Dennis and others, tell them you dont bid hourly, just tell them what the whole job is going to cost if thats not a good enough answer for them, walk away and dont look back.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    See this $60 an hour stuff is like saying a lawyer fresh out of law school should earn the
    same amount of money than a firm partner who has been practicing law for 30 years...

    Now y'all say what you want but in all of 7+ years I can count the times I actually earned that much
    SUSTAINED per hour on one hand. And there's been a time or two where I went above $60 an hour but
    again we're talking once or twice in more than a few years...

    It's not bragging, I'm not calling anyone lazy, it's not about talking down on folks but ...
    See it from where I'm standing when here comes around Johnny-come-lately who just fell off the banana
    truck yesterday acting like every customer is just going to pay them as much, too?
    No, I mean, some are fresh out of high school, but perhaps one might can see how it doesn't work that way.

    And maybe I am wrong but I also believe if I try and price stuff at $60 then it is also possible
    I price myself right out of the market... Especially with this economy, my rates are way lower.
    I also tell my customers upfront, if they want to know my hourly rate, I'm not afraid of telling them.

    So maybe I would recommend a gentler rate, try between 30-40 maybe 45.
    Now nobody gets rich in any type of order and then we all underbid some, I'm sorry already but at least it's a job.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2009
  7. yamadooski

    yamadooski LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 434

    OK so you say you cant get 60 per hour?
    Why then is it OK for plumbers to get 100 per hour and electricians too?
    Don't tell me its because they went to school or have to be licensed.
    I have been around and around this subject many times here.
    I make net of 80. per hour. Of course my gross is more. I'm also a solo operator.
    Why do all the irrigation companies charge 65 per hour plus materials around here?
    I have the answer to all of that. Its because people don't want to do it or learn to to do it.
    Auto dealerships are at 90 and up per hour now even with the bad economy.
    Granted I'm in business that has 95% of the most dumbest business people in it. But I love what I do.
    I have a masters in business and finance and ask my self why I do this all the time.
    I get from my customer all the time, how much they like that I know so much about plants and palms and they are glad to have me on their property.
    And my education and they way I speak to people face to face, some ask my I'm the business that I'm in when I could sit behind a desk. I tell them I in charge of my own destiny and then point to the laid off neighbor with the same degree I have.

    Never tell anyone what your hourly rate once again the ones that do are dumb. And when the customer insists on it ask them how much they make.
  8. punt66

    punt66 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,536

    I completely agre with you. I average $85hr on mowing service and that includes drive time. Now i know markets are different. I also mow with a ztr not a WB. Production, production.
  9. kaferhaus

    kaferhaus LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,444

    There's one guy here that when pushed for what he "makes" and hour will tell customers that he "makes" about 15 bucks an hour but he has to charge them $50 bucks to make that 15.. he keeps a little laminated card in his truck that shows all of his expenses broken down by the hour including depreciation on his equipment.... he says most don't even understand it but hand it back to him and say something to the effect of "oh my"...

    I have never bid any residential job and disclosed our hourly rate. Nor will I. The way I handle it is to simply tell them we don't charge by the hour we charge by the circumstances of each property. We give everyone a fair price for the work we do.

    A few of our commercial accounts we do give a hourly labor rate for "extras" in the contract. For example, irrigation maintenance on an "emergency" basis or replacing shrubs or frost damaged plants...

    However with commercial accounts you don't get the questions that go something like this, "you charge HOW much an hour?!!!!" or "that much JUST to to this?"
  10. bahamamills

    bahamamills LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    Know what you have to make to get by and make a living. Get better and get a better income. I can't understand again why you feel you have to explain to any customer what you charge per hour period. If you have a customer asking you what you charge per hour for a "specific quoted" job they are shopping and will end up being a PITA.

    I would never try to start a relationship on how much I make per hour its really not their business and if they don't want to pay me for the job so be it.

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