They already know the prices we get on all of our jobs (maintenance). If one of them is looking at a job to quote and are unsure of a price to give, I tell them to first think of another job we already are doing that is comparable to this new job they're looking at. Now based upon that, they can use that price to give the new prospective customer an estimate (until I give the final price).
Do you ever run into problems doing this? Like, for example, quotes that are just way too low in an obvious attempt to get paid a commission? Is there anything, by means of a written guideline for pricing, that you can refer to for disciplinary action with an employee? I would think that if you are telling employees to eye-ball stuff and quote prices, eventually, you might notice that over time your gross per hour starts declining. At least if that employee has an incentive to see the deal close.
I am trying to figure out how to expand my business to multiple crews and eventually hire a salesman to bid maintenance work. I've got a concrete formula for pricing small residential (up to 13,000 sq ft of lawn) that I just created this winter. I've back tested it to all of my existing accounts and it seems to work pretty well. It leaves nothing to human subjectivity. Basically, you measure the square footage of the lawns and the beds and then start deducting and adding for various elements present in the landscape. I know this is going to give me a lot more uniformity in pricing than what I was getting last year with the eye-ball approach. And with minimal training, an employee could do it and get the same price I would. When I worked for Chemlawn years ago, that's how they did things. They had a concrete pricing system that didn't rely on human subjectivity. Obviously, their system works. They've been in business for years.