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Customer wants bag-worms pulled off of four hundred trees by hand.

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by leadarrows, Oct 30, 2003.

  1. leadarrows

    leadarrows LawnSite Senior Member
    from N/A
    Messages: 925

    I have a customer who wants bag-worms pulled off of four hundred trees by hand.
    I tried to talk him into getting them sprayed in the spring. There dormant now and I don't think spraying would be effective now. (Isn't that right?) I still don't have a license to spray any way and if I want the money for this pulling them by hand is my only choice anyway.
    So this is this deal. Pull them by hand,bag and dispose.
    I just got the call a minuet ago so I haven't been there to see the trees but I an familiar with the place he's talking about and it's a seven year old condo addition. I'll need to see the height of the trees. I need to now what I'll need to have to reach the worms. I know with this unknown helping me with a price is only going to be a guess unless some of you have done this before. I'm thinking maybe yes?
    If I can reach all the worms with a tall step ladder I think I could put my son to work on this job he needs the money to fix his car. He works for the company part time already so I had to put him on the insurance at the beginning of last summer so that's not a problem.
    I realize this is just a simple thing and you might think me silly asking about it but every once in awhile I over look something and I have this great resource so I'm using it.

    My first thought on a price was ten dollars a tree but thats four-thousand dollars. I don't think he'll go for that. LOL I don't like the sound of a dollar a tree ether even though thats four-hundred bucks. I like the idea of pricing by the tree best but how much? You think three dollars per tree is too much?
    My second thought was by the hour open ended because I have no idea how long it will take. And then I would have to give an hourly figure and from what I have read here thats not such a good idea. The guy is a Realtor. He handled my house six years ago. Nice guy and I think this could lead to more work.

    Comments,pricing suggestions and problems you can think of with something like this are what I need. Thanks.

  2. CSRA Landscaping

    CSRA Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,232

    payup I would do it by the hour ... payup
  3. twins_lawn_care

    twins_lawn_care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 932

    I would do it by the hour, as you don't know how many worms each tree will have, and how long it will take to do them all.
    Also, make sure you are not held liable if you miss one, meaning if they come back because of one's you did not get.
    I am not familiar with them at all, so take my advice with a grain of salt.
    By the hour, and give the guy an estimate of amount of hours you think it would take. sounds like a big job though?

    Hope you don't have to mow his grass with scissors!:dizzy:
  4. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,211

    Removing them by hand is the proper way to deal with it. You can research that at any of the university web sites, too tired to do your search right now LOL. Anyway, if I recall correctly the branch that they have killed by taking up residence needs to be correctly pruned & disposed of (preferably by burning I think, but we can't burn here so they usually just go to the organic materials dumps to continue their merry distructive lives?). So you are talking about potentially a large amount of debris to dispose of as well. So my advice is to research the particular pest to learn about the correct whats, hows & whys for dealing with them (I think I have seen several different pests that make these tents?). Then go look at the trees to see if there are 1 or 2 on each tree, or if there are many. I have seen both. If there are major infestations on some trees, those may be shot & may need to be completely disposed of. As you are walking along looking at them, you can better determine about how long it will take you to prune & how much material you will have to dispose. Depending on how bad it is, 5 trees \hour? 8 trees\hour? 10 trees\hour? If they're bad & spread out over a large area its conceivable that 5\hr might be the production rate, so you're looking at 80 man hours plus disposal costs? If you can do one every 5 minutes then thats 12\hr, so that's about 34 man hours plus disposal costs? Good luck if you go for it.
  5. T.E.

    T.E. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 799

    Tell him to get after it, if he's that set on having them pulled off by hand. I would not do it.
  6. leadarrows

    leadarrows LawnSite Senior Member
    from N/A
    Messages: 925

    You see my problem with this is it's such a simple job but very time consuming. I can't help but think I'll need more money for this than any one would want to pay.
    He called tonight and said none of the trees were more than 15 Feet tall. Most of them are about eight feet.
    If it takes five minuets a tree. Thats 2000 minuets or 33.3 hours.
    Given a lot of you say to shoot for a dollar a minute. Thats 2000.00 dollars. Sounds kind of high. But with driving time and more than one day involved.............. well what do you all think?

    What are four-hundred eight foot trees worth? I could tell him what it will cost for replacements as a selling point.

    BRL I hadn't even thought about the pruning ....Your right about that of course. Disposal is not a problem I have a place I burn construction waste all the time any debris can go there. That will be up to him of course. He might choose to have an Arborist do that. But I'll give him two prices on with branch pruning and one with out. I'll have to fall back on my experience with fruit tree pruning to keep from damaging the trees. :) See what I mean about forgetting something? Thanks for the input. I go see it tomorrow at noon. So I'll no more tomorrow. The thing is though he will probably want a price then.

    T.E. I understand what your saying but I really need the money so if I can make enough I will do it. But I wont be scrubbing this job. I'll make good money or follow your advise. I guarantee.
  7. KerryB

    KerryB LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 661

    This is not your average run of the mill job. Its not something you do every day, so definatly by the hour. And charge according to the job. Low trees not bad $35.00 hr plus disposal. Tall trees, ladder work dangerous, at least $50.00 per hour.
  8. mexiking

    mexiking LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 565

    The damage in bag worm is done by the immatures.

    Best way to deal with this:

    Sanitation: Hand picking
    Bacilus Thuringiensis (BT) [ Early season only ]
    Contact Insecticides ( diazinon, malathion, carbaryl Sevin) Spray in mid-June and repeat after 10-14 days. [ Just in case u didnt know ]

    Right now its overwintering as an egg in the bag so you can either wait until it hatches to spray but since your customer doesn't want just hand picking will give you a nice extra work. For the pricing, just tell him you will charge per hour per man $40.
    You can't give him an exact estimate but it will go from around this many hours to this many hours so expect a price from this range to this range.
  9. ProMo

    ProMo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,468

    my father used to use a propane torch and burn the nests on the tree
  10. leadarrows

    leadarrows LawnSite Senior Member
    from N/A
    Messages: 925

    I went to see it yesterday. There is two separate sections covering about four aches a piece. I'M going to go back this morning and count the trees. I ran the idea by him of pricing by the hour or by the tree and he says the condo committee wants a solid bid so I'm going to bid by the tree. There is only about forty evergreens that are 15 feet high the rest are six to seven feet tall. I don't know what the total bid is going to end up being. Right now I thinking of pricing it at 15.00 for the tall trees and ten for the smaller ones. I know now after my first visit that hoping to do one tree every five minuets was wrong. The walking time involved alone shoots that idea in the foot. He did ask me to submit a mowing bid. :) It gets a once a week mow ,trim and blow. With edging done once a year. But guys this place has a lot of potential for further sales. There a a lot of torn up grass that is so bad additional dirt is needed. It has never been aerated and it could use over-seeding as well. They also want the bushes and shrubs trimmed in the spring. So I need to keep all this in mind when I write up my bid tomorrow. I will be submitting it monday. So I have till then to make my mind up.

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