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Charging hourly for cleanups?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by scagman, Jan 9, 2002.

  1. scagman

    scagman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 270

    I'm not sure about this, but I thought it might make things easier. I was thinking of charging $52.50 per hour for those who do this how do you make it so the customer is not watching out the window making sure your not wasting their $$$ and how do you take breaks. Is the pricing right and is this the way to go, also if anyone offers this service what do you charge per hour for pressure washing?
  2. BigJim

    BigJim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 382

    Give them a price for the whole job,we never quote per hour,most people prefer a fixed price,they know then the cost of the job,saves a lot of arguements at the end of the job,you dont have to justify the time taken and they cant clockwatch,just make sure you do your maths when you figure out the price,If you finish early and the customers got the job done they expected,you get paid and everybodies happy,simple isn't it..,remember your looking at a job but the customers looking at it as a problem they need fixing,they're often happier to pay to have the problem solved rather than they are worrying about how much per hour etc its costing...
  3. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899

    Use the search for clen-ups for this as it has been discussed many times before. We charge by the hour, but if client has a budget, we'll do areas they specify up to budget. We will also quote a flat fee as BigJim stated, by trying to estimate (slightly overestimate) the number of manhours, travel and disposal. Then if we get done quicker, we can pass off the savings and look great in clients eyes. If your guys are taking breaks, document the times and deduct from the bill - it's the only ethical way to do it.

  4. ohiolawnguy

    ohiolawnguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    i believe there are cerain instances where chrging by the hour can work. we have 3 baic tpes of customers.

    A plan: full sefvice monthly
    B plan: mowing and leaf removal monthly
    c plan: charge per cut, and all other jobs(cleanups, bushtrimming, bed edging)are charged by the hour.

    ive had customers say: "well i want a spring cleanup, but dont want to pay over $125.00" well thats fine. the clock starts the minute we get there. if it isnt as clean as they had hoped, i remind them that they decided on the budget for the cleanup, not us.

    as far as $52.50 per hour goes for cleanups-WOW. i wish we could charge that much. I supose you can charge as much as the market will bear. But, even the biggest companies in this area dont charge that much per hour.

    WE are debating whether to raise hourly rate to $30 plus hauling. then for other jobs involving specific machine uses we would charge the 30 for the simple labor, but more for he time period the specific machine is used.

    Does that $52.50 per hour include hauling away the sticks and leaves?
  5. You all posted some realy good advice.

    Search some of the other posts on "Fall Clean Up" or Clean Ups"

    And pick and choose what you want to use.

    However mine is $75 per a man hour and no side walk supers.
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I almost never charge per hour for anything. There are VERY few exceptions where you'd want to do that. But I won't get into that. As a basic rule of thumb, you're always better off charging by the job.

    Go about it this way; estimate how many hours you'll spend. Then give yourself an hour or two extra just for incidentals. Then mulitply your desired hourly rate by that number. Figure in any other costs like dumping, etc. And that's what you bid. If you do it right, you'll find that you over estimate more often than you under estimate. Then you're effectively making more per hour than you want. As for the times when you under estimate, consider that a learning experience. We've all done it.

    But no good contractor in any trade charges by the hour. If you wanted some roofing, or siding, or painting done on your house would you go with the guy who charged a per hour rate or the guy who just gave you a flat bid. As a homeowner and being familiar with how pro contractors work I'd always go with the former.
  7. Well that's what I used to do, till client wanted more for their money, so i switched to T&M on the things I was getting hammered on.

    Specialy with leaves, the times it takes to do pick ups very so much with the weather, I had to go T&M.

    When it's dry it can go faster, when it's wet it takes much longer.
    And with the size props I do, it can make the differance of several hours.

    I am not a painter.
    I am not a roofer.

    Electritans and plumbers charge by the hour.

    Home repair by the hour.

    You never know what obstical you will run into in lawn care.

    Do what ever works for you.
  8. ohiolawnguy

    ohiolawnguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    LGF, when you refer to no sidewalk supers, do you mean someone who stands there watching to make sure job is done correctly? I think thats what you mean, but im not certain.

    Also, is the rate quoted, close to the average for your area? the biggest companies around here charge around $42-$45 per man hour. Most of those who charge these prices, also charge hauling fees on top of that rate.
  9. No customer standing there watching.
  10. Nathan

    Nathan LawnSite Member
    Messages: 193

    Agreeing with both the Jims. Use hourly rates to figure job costing but only give the customer the total job cost. If they are smart enough they can figure out approx. how many hours you have estimated, but if the agreed upon price is fair to both parties you usually get very little complaining.

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