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charging for estimates

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by jbturf, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. jbturf

    jbturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,502

    1st off, thanks heritage - as i read this in one of your posts

    who charges for estimates?
    what do u charge?
    and how does it work out for you?
    do you refund the cost for a signed customer
    on a recommended program or services?

    ive had a message on my answering machine for a few
    years now, stating that Im fully booked.

    i have been booked (especially this year, still no help) but
    i hate to think of potential good customers i may be missing
    out on- next door neighbors to current customers or highend
    accounts that pay well.

    now a days, im really trying to tighten the belt- so to speak,
    cutting down my service area- im currently in 8 towns
    would like to cut that 1 or 2 towns
    also would like to start decreasing the less profitable accts.,
    be it in raising prices or replacing an acct.
    maybe set a threshold of $75/hr to start things

    so maybe starting a policy like this would be a great benefit to me
  2. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,352

    Glad you like the idea.

    The 1st thing they teach you in Economics class is Nothing Is FREE.

    It's a fact...

    I do not charge people that were referred to me BUT when I send them the Proposal I DO mention that I waved my Proposal fee of $xxx Dollars, because of .......Client's or Contractors name....And they will respect that, and they will get a feeling that they are dealing with a "Business" minded person/company.

    Now the BEAUTY of the "Proposal Fee" is that it will weed out the people that just want to pick your brain and or price Shopping.

    If they are serious about hiring you, let them know that included in the cost is a Soil Test (s) depending if you do Ornamentals as well.

    My fee is very Fair I feel at $125. Up to 3 tests (20-60 dollars my cost) plus at least 2 hours of my time.....

    Do the math and you will quickly see that you will break even at best for time spent.

    Folks doing Free Estimates are inviting (in my opinion generally speaking) everybody........Do you want everybody???

    As you are telling folks you are booked on your machine, it may be worth some extra consideration to have "Short " return call with them and feel comfortable letting them know your "Fee" and what they will get for it....QUALITY!!!!!

    The results of the test(s) OFTEN will show problems you can remedy with "Amendments" like Lime/Fert/Micronutrents/Organic Topdressing, ect.

    Don't Fear asking the FEE, and DON'T compete with Big GREEN......You cannot compete, again generally speaking.

    Think about this.....When you did your business plan, what was the dollar Number your Accountant wanted you to have set as your Minimum Hourly Rate?

    What does it cost you to run your business INCLUDING your Wage AFTER Taxes?

    This reply will likely get you thinking..........GOOD beacause the thinking Businessman that selles Quality and Service makes good $$ AND is not dealing with too many PITA Clients....By Design :)

    Ponder This.

  3. jbturf

    jbturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,502

    Pete , thanks for taking the time to post this info-
    i know it does not make sense for all people/business's
    on these boards, but it is usefull for some.

    i will try an adapt some of these ideas into my business,
    seems to me like a win-win situation

    btw- 65/hr used to be that rate i needed to be at, to
    cover all costs and have acceptable income.
    however i find this year that does not cut it

    see alot of people stressed over fert prices, but in the
    end it really our bottom line- and there are alot of components
    that will dictate our bottom line, and that is what i am analyzing
    and making changes to .


  4. heritage

    heritage LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,352

    Josh you are on the right track.

    Best wishes,


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