Charging more than proposal/estimate

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Red Shed Landscaping, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. Red Shed Landscaping

    Red Shed Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    Right now its just me and one other guy so I am there working 10-12 hrs days 6 days a week right beside him (when he does show up). I love doing the work and building walls and patios.

    Like I mentioned before that I have taken the hit on around $10,000-20,000 this year and haven't charged the customers for it since I don't want to be "that" contractor and have done it that way since I started 10 years ago.
  2. Red Shed Landscaping

    Red Shed Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    I have given the guys that work for me almost all the hours they want. I have been telling people I couldn't do their landscape this year if they call wanting it done right away. I have started scheduling for next year about 2 months ago. Most of them have barely want to work a 40 hour week. I say in the employee handbook that we work saturdays and long days so they know that when the get hired.

    Getting someone with little experience but very interested in the construction of landscaping would be ideal for me so I could teach them the way I do things and not already have set ways which my current guy does. He worked for someone that cut a lot of corners he said but can see the difference in doing it right now.
  3. ztman

    ztman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,115

    Maybe you should try trolling the trade schools to find some young eager workers wanting to learn about the trade. As many posters say, you cant charge more because you have incompetent workers. Only charge more when there is a change in the scope of work, or unknown conditions that were not reasonably foreseeable.
  4. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    I just re-read all the posts in this thread and I am mildly disgusted at the lack of meaningful suggestions you have been getting. This is a serious situation you must be scared if your not well you should be. I did not realize you are a 2 man show until your latest post. Being a 2 man show makes it easier to fix the issue. A 2 man show loosing 10G to 20G in one season is a Jack Boot stomped on the neck of even the most tightly run 2 man show. You need to learn or re-learn your numbers. Stop price quoting jobs do this yesterday. If not well you may not be the guy that charges more then the estimate you "will" be the landscaper that just disappears. Start working T/M and while simultaneously doing a detailed audit of your business and your life expenses not leaving the smallest detail overlooked does your current per hr. labor rate cover these expenses plus a healthy profit? if not you must change it to do so. Start keeping production records and efficiency notes for every day for every job for the next few months to determine your current production rates. if you don't do any of this then you cant have a healthy respectable business above all you must be brutally honest with yourself during your audit. Not knowing the intimate details of your business this is all I can offer good luck.
  5. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,620

    This is a rough industry to make a living with.

    What is fun about not making money? What is fun about having no profit?

    I'm not kidding when I say a person could make more money driving a tractor trailer.
  6. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    I totally agree, their is no joy absolutely no f_in joy in working your bones to the bones, to just in the end subsidize someone else's landscaping bill and this is exactly what this is
  7. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Messages: 5,281

    I have a simple question and maybe its been asked. Are bidding at your pace? Or a workers pace? You plus him does not equal half the time. It never works that way.
  8. Will P.C.

    Will P.C. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 966

    It is tough getting guys excited about being a laborer bc realistically speaking they will make out at poverty level. The majority of people I have worked with have been Mexicans. They do your recruiting for you by bringing on a cousin, brother, etc. When I worked in the golf business, a worker would bring a cousin to work and the cousin would ride around for free learning the ropes until he was offered a job. I still keep in contact with some of the Mexicans I have worked with years ago. I am always impressed with their loyalty and they seem to value friendships and boundaries much better than Americans.

    You can tell they take their job seriously and the wages are very acceptable to them.
  9. Red Shed Landscaping

    Red Shed Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    I have been figuring my hours more so from what I can do and based on other similar projects but have tried to add more hours to it for the new employees and clearly hasn't been enough. If I add an extra day that really adds up to the estimate but seems like I will have to start. The homeowners already complain that its so much money already but am thinking it would be better to not get as many jobs but make more on each one.

    Not trying to say I am better than everybody else (feel like I am sometimes :)) but everyone says they don't know how I can work as hard as I do and keep the same pace all day. I tell them we have to work with a sense of urgency since we only have 7 months to make money. Not many get the picture. Also tell them the faster we work the more money the business makes and can afford to pay them more.
  10. Red Shed Landscaping

    Red Shed Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    We now a 2 man show for the last few weeks. During the middle of the summer I had 3-4 guys plus me working which was a big mistake. One of them was experienced but the others weren't so it was very hard to train and be productive when they couldn't figure out what to do unless I was there next to them guiding them each step. I have learned form now on to only have one inexperienced guy at a time.

    I have thought about writing down things and have tried at the beginning of the year but then slowly stop doing it but I know it is very important to do and really need to concentrate better on it so I have numbers to go off of for future jobs. I do know that my overhead is right around 30% of the total business for the past several years so I need to make 40-50% from each job in order to make a profit. As far as production rates i have been just estimating on the premise that "this base prep for the patio will take half a day or a full day" depending on what is involved.

Share This Page