Estimations & "how to" books

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Volhunter, May 15, 2001.

  1. Volhunter

    Volhunter LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 33

    Once again....I'm fact finding. And thanks for the replys to my previous post. This is a great source for info., especially for someone new like me. My question is what is the best way to estimate a job? I know guys that just look around and shoot a price and some others that are a little more scientific in their approach. What is your opinion? I was looking at Nilsson books offered on there covering this subject and many more. I was seriously thinking about purchasing a few of these books, but would like to know if any of you had read any of them. If so, are they a good source of valuable info? Are they worth the expense?
  2. joshua

    joshua LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,226

    my personal opinion is not to buy those books, 1st you have to look at your over head (how much you have in equipment, paying people, gas, insurance,ect...) then you have to look at its costing you x amount a day to have your over head, lets just say it costs you $40 a day for over head and a 6 hour day you pay your guy $10 a hour, so just for that its a $100, and in those 6 hours you cut 12 lawns, at $20 a pop that means you grossed in sales $240 but had to pay $100 for over head plus what ever for taxes. so that leaves you around $120 give or take $10.

    ok now about how to price a lawn, i try to make from $.90-$1 a minute when i cut drive time not included, so that when i pull up to the lawn to when i pick the gate up. i just have to make around their to put any kinda of money in my pocket that i would be satisfied with. but then again i'm using a 52" lazer, 48"w/b -2 man crew.
  3. turfguy33

    turfguy33 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 121

    I have bought a few books from Nillson. I've even chatted with him a few times. He is an adviser for PLCAA and is very educated on running a business effectively. On smaller jobs, the small residentials that you charge $20 or $30 dollors a cut, it wasn't hard to figure out, as a matter of fact it's easy to figure out time to do the job. But if you are planning to do larger properties, I was uncertain on figuring up total time. He has a book called bidding and estimating guide that has really helped me. Of course this isn't an exact science , but it will get you in the ballpark. Using his book helped me get within 45 minutes of the alloted time to do this certain 13 acre commercial site. Luckly for me, I always tack on a little extra time for problems or misc. things like trash removal, broken belts, or customer service (most commonly referred to when the client walks out and wants to talk about everything, thus slowing me down)
  4. John from OH

    John from OH LawnSite Member
    Messages: 144

    I'm a firm believer in education on the business side of this industry. Lets face it, anyone with a little desire and motivation can do what all of us do. Making money and staying in the industry is a different story. Read up on running the business end, take the time to carefully calculate your overhead. The consultants that write the books have been thru the war, so to speak. They will point out things that you might miss and give you ideas on implementing systems that will allow you to focus on your business and make sound financial decisions. There is no need to reinvent the wheel on your own.
  5. Volhunter

    Volhunter LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 33

    Thanks for the input guys. Has anyone else read any of his books? Are there others you would recommend?
  6. curlawngreen

    curlawngreen Banned
    Messages: 309

    I read them. Good info.
  7. AltaLawnCare

    AltaLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 961

    I've also debated on ordering some of these books. I did a search on "Nilsson" and read a few threads on the subject. I believe there were some posts by members there who had the books.
  8. Volhunter

    Volhunter LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 33

    Well, I went ahead and took the plunge and ordered a "3-pack" of books on estimating, pricing, and labor time data. I spoke with Nilsson on the phone for a while and seems eager to help, of course I guess he should, he a consultant! Anyway, they should be here in a few days. I'll post my opinions on them in a few weeks if anybody is interested. Thanks again for all the input.
  9. Mike (MLC)

    Mike (MLC) LawnSite Member
    Messages: 183

    :cool: I think you made a good decision ordering the books. The more you educate yourself on every part of the business. The better off you will be in the long run. It might keep you from making too many mistakes. Good Luck.

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