Eyeballing for Dollars

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by turfproinc, Jan 6, 2003.

  1. turfproinc

    turfproinc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    Okay kids, I have done my searches on here today and I'm done with THAT, thank you very much.

    I see many charge their rates by the hour. Does anyone charge by the job? I understand each job is different, etc., but I'm getting the business plan together and am figuring the on average charge to be $40.00. I can't conceive mowing for less than $30.00, and of course the sky's the limit.

    My average x lawns per week gives me my weekly gross. Any thoughts?
  2. Fvstringpicker

    Fvstringpicker LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,660

    I believe time is about the only reasonable basis for calculating bids; whether you merely "eyeball" the property or go through an elaborate formula, you are essentially calculating your equipment and labor based on time (how long it takes you to do the job). In the final analysis however, no matter what you figure your hourly rate, the average customer is going to be comparing your bid with other bids or with the market and, everything else being more or less equal, is going to make his decision based on the lowest price. Here in Columbus Georgia, the "market" for a 10-12k sq ft residential yard is about $45 for mowing, trimming and blowing. So the bottom line here is that if I want to bill my services at $60/hr ( $1.00/min), I better be prepared to finish the average yard in about 45 min. I have to take a price that is relatively fixed by the market, and extrapolate whether or not I complete the job in sufficient time to allow me to make a profit. I suppose its like that everywhere. So yes, I believe an eyeballed job price will work if you know the market price of similar yards and don't get overly dependent on mental estimates . On large properties and commercial accounts, you're need to be a little more detailed in your estimates.
  3. greenman

    greenman LawnSite Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    I charge by the job, but its based on a formula that I use. When the formula is used to bid a job, it shows me how much to charge based on an hourly profit with costs added in. Understand? To be simple, yes, in most cases,with leaf clean up being one exception, I charge by the job. Most lawns (for mowing) are in $30 to $60 range (kind a broad range, I guess). Average yards up to about 15,000 to 18,000 sq. ft.,with most being in the 8000 to 12000 sq.ft range. $30- $45.

    BTW, where part of Hog country are you in?
  4. turfproinc

    turfproinc LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    About a mile from Fayetteville in south Springdale.

    And thanks for the info.
  5. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    Charging by the job is always precluded by an hourly rate.

    For example, if your base rate is $65 per hour and you eyeball a job at 30 minutes you think it will take you, then I guess the job is worth $32.50. I would then round it off to $35 or maybe even $40.

    just my 2 cents.
  6. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    for a business plan, i would not get into $ per hr. just estimate cuts per month, yr, etc and multiply by your $40 figure.
  7. 1stclasslawns

    1stclasslawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 565

    Welcome to the site Turfpro, I'm an hour and 15 min away in Harrison.

    As far as the "eyeballing" goes aginst the "hourly" I think you have missed somthing. a piece of equipment will only last so many hours. It dosn't care how many lawns you do, in xxxx hours it is dead, ka----put, junk. That same piece of equipment has certin cost per hour to operate. You must have XX.XX per hour to operate. Therefor thats where the hourly figure comes in. Its all figured on manhours If it will take you 3 hours to mow a lawn you and 2 helpers should be able to get it done in 1 hour.

    You must figure how much you must make, expenses, insurence, equipment cost all into an overhead figure that is your cost of doing business. Mine is somwhere in the 35.00 range per person, so that 3 hour lawn is going to be right at 100.00 depending on how hard it is to do. if it is a gravy job good, if it is a PITA a few $$ more.

    See what your market will bear, then go for it.

    BTW give Jennifer at Ark-Mo insurence a call for your liability ins she saved me hundreds of dollars!!!!!! They'r down by the big clock tower thing in Fayettville.


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