Bobby G. I think I am working in one of your yards!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Sharp Services, Sep 5, 2005.

  1. Sharp Services

    Sharp Services LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    I got stopped the week before last from a man that has had the same Lawn Company for the past 5 years. He explained that he gets his grass cut and the trimmed for $30 a visit. But he said that he can not get the guy to blow the drive, pick up limbs or trash, weed or fertilize. He has even offered to pay his Lawn guy extra for it, but the guy want do it.

    So, I offered to give him a price on doing his entire yard. My price would include all the services he wanted. The customer refused ... stated that he had been with the guy for five years and felt obligated to let him keep cutting the grass.

    So now, I go to the mans yard every week for two to three hours a visit and do all the other stuff that his yardman want do. This past Friday, I got $75 ($25 an hour) for picking up pine cones out of his beds. I gave him a price of $25 an hour for labor and an extra $5 an hour if I had to run any of my equipment.

    His yardman is missing out on a lot of money. I think I might follow his truck around and pick up some more easy money.

    The only catch is that I can't come on the same day, because the customer does want his yardman to know about me. I feel like a mistress. But that is not a problem because his yardman comes on Tuesday and I am not in his neighborhood until the end of the week.

  2. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    I'm not one to comment much on pricing, but $25 an hour is not much especially if this income is being reported and taxes are being paid on it. Add in the cost of doing business and the taxes, and how much do you have left from that $25 an hour?
    I'm just playing devils advocate here, but did you think maybe the guy cutting the grass did give a quote on the other services, and the customer just didn't want to pay the price so he went looking for someone cheaper. (you).
    Honestly, not trying to be a smart butt here, just trying to get you think about it.
  3. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Where I'm from Ill pick up cones and limbs all day for 25 per hour. That is very high for my area for that type of work. I actually had a lady run me down today when I was leaving a yard. Wanted to know if I could do her yard and shrub trimming for less than her current LCO who was doing it for 25 bucks for all! He has not shown up in over a month though, I cant imagine why. I quoted her a a price that was 3 times what she was paying and she said I guess I better try to get my other one back. I told her she better kiss him a cook a steak for him for what he was doing her yard for. :D
  4. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    So are you.... I'm with Jodi on this one, $25 isn't enough. I bet the grass cutter is making more per hour then you. Also, Bobby does Fert and would jump all over the extras, but not at your prices.

    I know equipment cost more to operate then just plain manual labor, but the manual labor is harder to find and is harder to perform in many cases. I don't give no breaks on my hourly charge because no equipment, or cheaper equipment is being used. I average $60 a man hour on a ZTR, and I average $60 (sometimes more) using a $350 hedge trimmer. If anything, I'm going up on price to use a rake (I can't believe I just used the 4 letter word :))
  5. Eddie B

    Eddie B LawnSite Senior Member
    from gone
    Messages: 859

    bobby wouldn't go near that for $25/hr I'm sure.
  6. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    I agree with Qualitylawncare4u,I would pick up pine cones all day long for 25 and hour,all I gotta do is drive there and use a pair of gloves,In year when I was first starting out,Both my freind and I were in between jobs..We DID pick up pine cones for 75 cents a cone up in the high country and sold thenm to a guy who ran them thru a machine to clean them,shrink wrapped them with a little ditty about Sugar Pine cones being the biggest pinecones in the world...and sold them all over the country to florests and gift shops for $25.00 a cone!!And he made a damb good living out of it too.We quickly fiqured out,that HE needed to pay for our permit to gather,pay for our bags to bag them and go in 1/2vesies with us on our gas.So 1st load we lost out but the 2nd and 3rd loads,we just threw them into tarps then into the trucks,then bagged them at home and we both made about $500.00 in 3 loads total.
    And at the time that paid few utility bills and filled our stomachs for awhile,so yea,I will pick up pinecones all day long,for 25 an hour
    (IF I NEED TO)
  7. Sharp Services

    Sharp Services LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    Just picking on old Bobby ... around here most people are getting between $20 - 40 an hour. I have been trying to get around $30. Once I fill my schedule up, I will replace the less profitable yards with ones that are more profitable.

    That the plan anyway ... but right now I just need to fill my schedule and get some bills paid and pay off my equipment. I know that most of you are doing better, but this is better than selling the house and living in a tent.
  8. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    So you are saying it takes him almost an hour to cut this lawn for $30? Also, I'm not going to diss your hourly charge, but unless you get mowers cheaper then we do hear. I wouldn't work to pay something off just to have to replace it because you used up many of it's useful hours paying it off. What does a trades job pay in your area. Around hear you would be better off finding a trade and working for the man compared to your prices. Remember Net is less then Gross.

    Again, I'm not going to diss you because I don't know your market.
  9. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    i wouldn't even apply kitty litter for $25. the conditions you mentioned though, seriously, leaves, sticks/branches/pinecones.....i have 6 properties in a row, they have these same conditions week after week, i get more than $80 an hour to cut + clean on a weekly basis, AND I'M DROPPING ALL 6 OF THEM. why on earth would i do work like that, when there is so much "desireable" work available. btw, did i mention, it's tuesday, my day off?
  10. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,758

    Eighty an hour! For that I would kiss them square on the lips, massage their back, wash the dog and change the babies diaper too! Some of you folks just dont know how lucky you are. I need to come to Jersey and give you some competition, then I would be called a lowballer. If I get 40 an hour here that is considered great pay!

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