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Cleanup pricing help

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jdjoe_97, Nov 13, 2001.

  1. jdjoe_97

    jdjoe_97 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    Hey guys. I have been in the lawn care for 6 years. I don't do much leaf cleanup so I am curious if my pricing is on target or not.

    The job I did today sucked. It is a large lake propery that is entirely on a 40 degree slope. I used my JD 455 with 60" and track vac for 4 hours and had a total of 5 man hours. I was thinking of charging the following

    JD 455 W Vac = 25/hr = 100
    Man hours of raking = 5 = 75

    Totaling 175 . All the leafs stayed at the propery piled up. The customer wanted me to lite a match to them but I am not willing to take that kind of liability even though I carry $2 million in coverage. Thanks for any help
  2. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773

    I haven't done leaf cleanups (of that size) personally, but I have done a lot of side work in the biz.

    $175 for 5 hours of work equates to $35/man hour (assuming you worked alone). Does that cover your costs and deliver the profit level you're looking for?

    Markets vary, so it's hard to say, but for a job that arduous (you did say it "sucked" ;) ), I would want $60/man hour. Again, markets vary. Was there any agreement up front at all?

    Another man on here just did a cleanup job at $43/man hour (in the 'Price For Cleanup???' thread) and most seemed to find that a suitable rate...
  3. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    If you are going to use your equipment to take the place of a second employee than you must charge accordingly. If you think that your labor is only worth $15/hr and the foremans at $20/hr I think that you need to combine them both and charge $35/hr for labor.

    Then your bill for your services would be $350 for the job you performed today. ;)

    NEVER - NEVER - NEVER burn a pile for clients. This is a violation of fire laws and usually accompanies steep fines for doing so if enforced. If they wont pay for the hauling or dont have curbside pick-up than your job is complete.

    Hope this helps.
  4. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773


    How'd you come to 10 man hours?
  5. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    It seemed to me that he was trying to bill his equipment out basically as an additional laborer. If he wasnt he should have since the machine did an awful lot of work that would have otherwise busted his back to accomplish. So if the job took 5 hrs with two employees that would have been 10 hrs or $350.

    Hope this clarifies.
  6. TGCummings

    TGCummings LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 773


    That definitely clears it up, thanks. $350 sounds fair for this job(again, depending on your market and your personal costs), but I just wondered how you got to it. Like I said, working alone, I would want at least $300 (5 man hours @ $60/hour). ;)

  7. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    You actually pulled a rake?

    There is no way in the world I would rake or require someone to rake for 5 hours. I wouldn't rake for 15 minutes. You should think about a backpack blower.

    I know the job is done and you probably are feeling sore but 175 is a gift to the property owner. If that homeowner came out to rake and tarp those leafs they would probably be there at least 2 to 3 times as long as you were. Assuming there time is worth more than yours, they called you. I am not comfortable giving you an hourly wage that you should shoot for but I can guarantee you that 175.00 is not enough to make you feel better about doing this job, otherwise you wouldn't be posting here. You have expenses that you may not even know about, and some that are hard to put a dollar figure on. The start of getting what you are worth and then making a Profit is a neglected part of this business but without you knowing this puts you at a disadvantage. I am not getting on your case, I am just trying to say that you have to get your costs figured for YOU and you have to remember why you are doing this work. Its not your property so you have to come away with a fair settlement when the work is done.

    That Deere costs money to run, the rakes cost more than the Deere. You have to figure out how much you WANT after you figure how much you NEED. Good Luck.
  8. jdjoe_97

    jdjoe_97 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    Thanks for all of your help, sounds like I am a little cheap on my price. I didn't rake for 5 hours straight, most of the time I was skiing down the hill with the trac vac and the mower on. However some of the property is to steep to go down and barely can climb up it. So that portion I had to rake it accros and suck it up in the Vac. There was no price neg. up front on this. Last year I charged $225 for the same job. These people are ritzy and I don't want to take advantage of that, I just want to charge a fair Market Value for the service I provide.

    As far as my costs, my labor is worth at least $15 per hour for me. And the JD costs 10K new and the Vac (I don't know cuz it was part of an old trade) I suppose almost 2K. So I know that in depreciaiton of the equip it costs around $5 per hour. As far as fuel expenses I know I only used about 3 gal of Diesel and half a gallon of gas. So my consumbables are relatively cheap. And yes i know the normal wear and tear and maintance.

    This Job I did by myself and I understand Kris's theory on $35/ man hour. But how do you bill that to the customer?? Thanks Joe
  9. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    Its very simple. You have a gage for what you think a site will be worth and when you give a price add $20 to each unit of $15 you are selling.

    You have a machine that does the work of another employee. Quite simply put: If the client wants your services it will cost them $35/hr. Otherwise you are working for free. There are many factors that you forgot in your pricing structure. I dont see PROFIT, wear and tear, replacement, STUD time (start-travel-unload-dump), complete operating expenses (you hauled your equipment there), insurances, taxes, etc. etc. etc.

    Dont sell yourself short. If you are looking to make that $15/hr because it beats flippin burgers or selling burritos then you MUST figure what your entire overhead and operating expenses are. Your only cutting off your own fingers and hurting yourself. So far its a win win for your clients.

    Good luck in the future.
  10. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    every year we post an add for leaf cleanup, we get tons of calls from people requesting free estimates. this year i made it very simple. when they call, i tell them that i dont need to look at their property. the fee is $65 per hour, and an additional fee for disposal, full truck=$45, any partial is a minimum of $25. i got alot of takers, and alot of "ill call u back", but never do. this works out great for me, no estimates to do, and i get paid for every minute im there. no more guessing either, i got smoked too many times trying to estimate leaves. and, i think $175 is way too cheap.

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