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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have a new account lined up for next year. It is fairly large with about 8-10 acres, its hard to tell exactly how much, i'm working on taking a picture from the air next time i go flying to get a better look.
We plan to price the job by the hour, i've been having difficulty pricing this job by the visit. It will be done twice a week through the growing season. Also, There is also another 4 acre section that only gets done when necessary.
I plan to charge by the hour, atlesat at the begining so i dont loose my shirt if the estimate is off.
How much should i charge(buy the hour) for two of my guys, one 61" turf tiger and one 48" walk behind? There is about one hour of trimming and atleast another 15 to blow off the drive way, which is prolly a 1/4 mile.
Any ideas questions or comments are welcome. I believe that we bid most accounts very well, but not have come across one of this size to date, so it has stumped me a bit.
Thanks,
Travis Tyler
Tyler Associates LLC
 

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You could get the a lot map from the city assessor's office and subtract out the house, drive, woods, etc with a combination of measuring wheel and estimation based on the map. It's not as fun as flying, but it sure costs less! good luck..
 

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I do some large areas and I've been charging,on average, $30-$35 per acre if the land is fairly level...I add a little more for land that is hilly.If there's alot of trimming and blowing, I would add about $50.00 hr. If this lot is fairly level, and is 10 acres, I would price this job at about $350.oo. With those mowers, you will probably be done in under 4 hours..Good Luck...Clean-Cut
 

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The last really big non-commercial we bid, we didn't take the time to estimate it correctly. We were not completely sure what the homeowner expected. It was approx 8 acres with only about 5 that were improved areas that would require regular mowing and only about three that would need cutting every week. It was well landscaped and the owner expected an all inclusive bid. That would require knowing how often the "natural" areas would need brushcutting. We simply just didn't have enough info and the guy was in a hurry. We bid high and didn't get it. The owner seemed somewhat shocked at the bid, and it probably caused him to refine his requirements a little bit, LOL.

If this is an account you want, you need to be fairly accurate in your calculations. Know exactly what the customer wants. If not you may price yourself right out of it or worse, lose money.

 

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Travis-

With the equipment that you have mentioned you can cut about 5.5 acres an hour (assuming you have a sulky for the w/b) at 80%. And you have a total of:

Weekly 8-10 acres: = 2 hrs
Biweekly 4 acres addl: = 1 hr

So for argumens lets only look at cutting time. You want to charge by the hour so lets say you do $75 hr (?????) that would mean your only looking at 225 per cut (with the addl 4 acres). Now lets look at flat rate per acre of $35 (sounds more reasonable). Every week your going to get $315 ($35x9), then in the other week your going to get an additional $140.

Then you can take and figure in your hour and a half for trimming and blowing and put it on top of the flat rate. That is a much more appealing job now isn't it. Lets compare: Hourly approx $300 max
Flat rate appros $390-530

Just my .02
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I figured around 75 an hour for the job, travel time is about 20 mins from the shop, though i didnt really factor that in. We have jobs near by but once a week the trip will be solo to cut this place since it needs to be cut twice a week.
Any ideas for a cheap wide cut mower??
How much is the turf tiger worth? its a 99 61" 25hp kohler 525hrs, very good condition, well maintained.
ideas?
thanks,
Travis
 

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Only losers that work for wages work by the hour.

The whole idea of being in business for yourself is to NOT
be paid by the hour.

Again if you are too lazy to buy a wheel and measure the site you should go back to working for the man for you will never have the knowledge need to BE THE MAN.

How do you expect to apply the proper amount of fertilizer or pesticides if you have NO IDEA of tht ACTUAL size of the turf?
 

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Were going to visit this again..

You need:

a stop watch
a measuring wheel
your mower(s)
an open area.

Measure an open area of one of your existing accounts, or borrow a large open area of grass.

Unload the mower (s) of choice.

Start your stop watch.

Mow the damn grass that you measured off.

Stop your stop watch.

The amount of time it took you to mow that given area is your production rate for that unit. Do this for every unit you use in your operation. Those are your production rates.

When you give a quote ( that's a quote, not a bid or estimate, it's a fim quote) measure the property,apply your production rate formula, add 20% time for support( drive, shop, office) multiply by your selected rate per hour, and you have.....

THE PRICE TO MOW THAT PROPERTY. This can be done with every function you perform in landscape maintenance, mowing, trimming, pruning, fertilizing, aerating.

Landscape maintenance and mowing is so quanative in nature, it should just about be impossible to miss a bid estimate or quote or whatever you call it in your service area.

After you have the account, then you look for ways to become more efficent in your process, like improved equipment or a larger mowing unit. But, you do not change your price down, only up if you become more efficent. The client should NEVER, EVER, be quoted a per hour rate unless it's a healthy T and M job. Focusing on hours will always limit you to X amount of hours for X amount of dollars. Some guys make $ 35 per hour, some make $ 70 to $ 100 per hour in this business. It can be done.
 

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Everything in landscape maintenance can basically be reduced to hard, consistent numbers.

You can mow grass so fast with X machine, and Y machine, and Z machine.
You can fertilize say, 20,000 sf per hour with a push spreader or 160,000 with a tractor spreader.
You can spray 1000 square feet of lawn with broadleaf weed killer in 10 minutes with a back pack sprayer.

It takes 450# per acre of fert per application. Fertilizer costs $ 350 per ton , there fore it costs X amount plus labor.
It takes 1 ounce per 1000 of Surflan for weed control.
You should charge $ 1.80 per ounce sprayed.

ON, and ON and ON..

Find your own numbers, then build from there. Quanative means it can be quantified with a number. There are less subjective things needed in the business. Pruning is subjective, being you need some experience or history to arrive at a production rate. I just make sure time is sold in blocks of 4 hours mininmum. 4 hours, 8 hours, 12 hours..

Most landscape business are or should be 80% labor efficent. That means that for your on site time on a job, you need to add an additional 20% time to cover support, drive, repair, shop and office times.

It's all about numbers. Landscape maintenance is very hard to screw up if you use some hard and fast numbers consistenly. These would include your operatng budgets and overhead recovery's also.
 

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it seems to me that a trial period may be in order here. go ahead and give an estimate then discuss the potential variables with the customer giving yourself some leeway. most customers with properties this large didnt get them being stupid so they should understand this approach they will also appreciate your honesty if you limit yourself to 10 percent either way. we have had an account like this for about 7 years and when we first bid it i explained this to the customer and he gave me the difference right then and there and said let me know when you need to raise me another 20 percent. we have since done that too and have increased productivity with better equipment getting to about 125 per hour for 2 guys. charging by the hour would have made this impossible since i would have been hurting my profits by gearing up to be more productive.
 

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thelawnguy, funny
I am with you 100% HOMER
Big account residentials have great ideas and expectations, but are usually surprised that they will have to pay for those dreams and ideas. Reality to them often comes to them about the same time my pay check comes From them.

Acute Cut
 
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