Estimating Ideas..

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by rtmfd88, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    You have to have a floor to cover dropping the gate at each client.

    I work off hourly cost with a minimum cost for showing up. On large properties I go on a straight hourly cost.

    I break down cost by overhead - shop, advertisement, administration

    I then look at labor cost including burden by the hour.

    I then look at equipment cost by the hour over the expected life, include fuel, maintenance, insurance and such.

    Consider utilization to I know I can work 9 months but have to cover 12 months of expenses.

    Consider finance cost, inflation and capitalization on your investments.

    I then add profit.

    Then consider the market. Do not be afraid to be a little more expensive than what you think the market will bear cause you can not compete with low ballers.
  2. andyslawncare

    andyslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 812

    I created a bidding program on my ti-83 graphing calculator. Input a few simple things, along with sq. footage and press enter until it displays the program type the customer wants, IE frequency and if weed control is included. There are about 8 different read outs that it gives me. ITs all based on sq. footage formula. I then guestimate the time required for the year and compare the numbers vs. my labor rate. Whole process takes about 5 minutes with goilawn. I still view the property and don't rely solely on goilawn. It can't tell you what type of shrubbery and things like that.

    I made my formula by calculating mowing times on several known properties, walking speed while bed edging and concrete edging, etc.
  3. walnutgcllc

    walnutgcllc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I have actually been a little anal in my estimating. I measure the property completely. What I mean is I measure all the turf and determine what mower will be used because the rate is different in labor and equipment cost. I also measure the beds to determine how much pre-emergent to use and I also know the productivity rate to maintain those beds. I count shrubbery and determine their sizes because the productivity rate to prune different size shrubs are different. I measure the distance that would be walked to edge and string trim, sq ft of side walk to be blown. I may be going overboard but I can get pretty accurate on actual time it will take to maintain a property. I also know what my overhead will be on a property and profit that should be made. If there is a better quicker way to do please let me know.
  4. spazfam

    spazfam LawnSite Member
    Messages: 146

    We have been developing a spreadsheet for the last 10 years that basically inputs our overhead cost, production rates of equipment, labor, fuel burn and drive time into a certain figure then input square footage and the sheet calculates the approximate cost and price for that property. We then fine tune it for difficulty to come up with the final price. It is still work in progress but way more reliable today than when we started.
  5. green jeans 509

    green jeans 509 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 31

    I use sqft on sometimes when trees cover the property its time to bust out the wheel. One of the things I dont know is how to adjust the pricing for trees, islands, walkways etc..., on one yard thats 5k sqft it takes me 14 min at full speed to trim, mow and blow, another one thats 3400 sqft takes 28 mins full speed to do it all. The faster one is a wide open square, the one that takes longer is 2 front peices and a back peice. How do you adjust that into your bid?
  6. dnc19694339

    dnc19694339 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 208

    Ive been trying to implement the measuring system also. Seems like the only way to be accurate is to go out and look in person. Too many factors can go in to slowing you down.

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