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Don't want to be a low baller!!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Pullstart, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. Pullstart

    Pullstart LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Hey everyone,
    I check this site everyday sometimes more, so much info to soak up for a newbie. I am starting out very small just me. I have another job full time and do this as a part time job. I don't want to bid so low that I drive work away from those that make their whole living doing this. I charge a basic $35 per week for an average 1/4 acre lot. Mow trim, blow and keep the shrubs in check. I think it is easier for me to do the shrubs as needed rather than waiting until they are out of control. This $35 is what I charge when I think that it will take no longer than 1 hour. What do you all think? Also I have been getting a lot of yard cleanups. I usually charge 200 for a days work. I think I am taking it in the shorts on these, because I have to hall atleast one truck load of crap away. Thoughts? Personal experiences? Suggestions?
  2. Tom c.

    Tom c. LawnSite Member
    Messages: 218

    Hey pullstart Your pricing on lawn cuts seems to be ok You should try to get between 50-60 pr. hr. On your clean-ups I make up a rate sheet. Labor without using equipment,[mower,blower etc,] I get 35.00pr hr. solo.using equipment 50.00 solo charge 15.00 for a helper, I pay the helper 8-10 depending on experience. I usually try to get a high school kid , although not too many kids like manual work any more. Hope this helpsTom:waving:
  3. noseha

    noseha LawnSite Senior Member
    from MI
    Messages: 554

    What Do You Have For Equipment? How Much Is Your Ins. If You Have A Job Why Do You Have To Mow ?
  4. terrapro

    terrapro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,234

    3 simple rules of thumb to make profit

    1. set up an hourly labor rate and stick to it(mine is $45 for all labor) after taxes, gas, truck, phone, insurance, tools, blah blah its about $15-20. no matter what you do make sure you average your per hour rate or more. example if you mow 2yds in an hour make sure you do one for $30 and one for $35(you should usally make more for lawns, more overhead) or if you charge $65per yd for mulch and the mulch costs $25 make sure you can lay 1.2 yds per hour.

    2. charge something for delivery...same with hauling. do not short yourself, every other labor based business runs it like this. if a carpenter has to go get wood or nails from home depot he gets paid for it one way or another and so should you.

    3. charge for heavy machinery to be on site- dumptruck, bobcat, tractor, roto-tiller...and if you have to rent someting pass the cost on to the customer. again do not short yourself!!!

    if you charge less or dont charge at all see ya later cause you wont last...remember other people get paid good money for their labor. plumbers around here get upwards of $150per HOUR!!! HVAC guys $80-120. carpenters get $55-65. mechanics $45-75. painters $55-65.......get the drift
  5. Pullstart

    Pullstart LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I have just the basics for equipment. A honda commercial 21 incher, echo backpack blower, and an echo combo tool (trimmer, hedge clipper, dethatcher, edger). I do this because I like doing yardwork. Call me crazy!!
  6. terrapro

    terrapro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,234

    thats why i do it too. i love labor with a passion, if i wasnt doing this i would be laying bricks or throwing shingles. my point was even though you arent in it to get big get what you deserve out of it.

    one day=8hrs 8x$45=$360 plus you have to haul the debri away and unload it(which i probably wouldnt charge for unless it was an absurd amount).
    even $35perhr is better then $25perhr which is what you make for your $200 days

    *edit*oh yeah.....i started out with a bucket, pruners, shovel, and a broom. youre already worth more than i was.*edit*
  7. noseha

    noseha LawnSite Senior Member
    from MI
    Messages: 554

    :dizzy: I Don't See $45 Per Hr With The Equipment You Have ! Do You Have Ins? What Do You Have A Truck And One Push Mowwer? I Would Say You Are A Lowballer Until You Get Ins, More Equipment And Give Up Your Day Job! YOU SHOULD STAY AT $25 PER HR.
  8. Pa Teeny

    Pa Teeny LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Most large landscape companies are not worried about low ballers- They may gripe but if they are doing quality work they should have no wories. Low balls if they do not include overhead- They will go out of businness sooner or later because of to cheap.

    They best tool any small business can buy is Quick book pro for billing and tracking costs moneys out and owed. It a great tool!!!!!
  9. Pullstart

    Pullstart LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I Appreciate you cander but everyone has to start somewhere!! Yes I have limited equipment, and yes I don't have insurance yet. I can't see being quantifeid by the amount of equipment I have, or the lack of insurance. These things take time to aquire, after five years I am glad to see that you have all the gadgets you think you need. I hope to someday get there myself. I only work 10 days a month as a firefighter, so in reality I will be spending more time at this than my "day job".
  10. Phoenix

    Phoenix LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    I started out full time with an old 6.2 suburban, a free push mow and a broom. 10 years later I sold the business for enough money to go into semi-retirement.

    My one piece of advice would be, think ahead! Don't bid a job thinking of what it's costing you to do the job now, think about what it's going to cost you to do the job later with all the right stuff.

    Yes, better equipment will cut your job time down, but that equipment will also cost you alot more!

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