Fall Cleanup pricing

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by dmk395, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. petscanning

    petscanning LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    call them i know they ship out. But if your leaf season is over and you dont plan on using it for snow no reason to pay for shipping just wait. This thing is a beast and I bet it would be badass at blowing snow
    Delmarva Keith likes this.
  2. PLLandscape

    PLLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,653

    If people are willing to pay this then it is not steep. This is the mindset that kills everyone in this industry. "I'm just a stupid unskilled lawn jockey so I don't deserve to be paid well"

    I'm not saying you need to charge $100/hr but why not if you can get it? It's also ok to be in the middle pack that charges the same acceptable rates as everyone else and compete for 80% of the same customer pool. If you're the low cost model and it works then that's ok too. Also if you are in the northeast, which it looks like you are, you have to make all your money in a shorter season than the southern business so your rates NEED to be higher.

    But why knock someone making great rates? The last time I checked my equipment costs me a fortune to purchase, maintain, and upgrade.

    Let's do some math on this. Being in the Northeast we get about 7, maybe 8 months, to complete landscape work. If you chose to try and live a normal work life working 40hrs/week. This is billable hours not what you spend doing other day to day things. So at $100/hr that's $800 per day. 20 working days per month for 7 months is 140 days for a grand total of $112,000. This also assumes you are 100% efficient and bill every single working hour of that 8 hour day all 7 months. Idealistically I would think maybe 80% is a better budgeting number so $89,600 in total revenues. Now start subtracting all of your operating expenses that come with owning this business (truck, trailer, mowers, dump trailer, handhelds, hand tools, fuel, repairs, maintenance, advertising, insurance, and miscellaneous expenses). If you live in a state like I do take the number you are left with and remove 30%-40% for taxes. Not much to be had after that with the $100/hour model. Even if you added a month onto this it's another $12,800 or basically $100,000 for the year in revenue. Let's say your expenses add up to $30k/yr so you are now left with $70K. Take away 35% for taxes and you have $45,550 as a yearly take home. Thats you, working your tail off as a solo operator year in, year out and you cannot make any more money unless you decrease your costs, raise your rates, or work more hours.

    There is a pond install company (a big one) that can do 2 pondless water features a day for a profit of $5,000 per day all year long or $700,000 a year (7 month season) with less equipment and 2 guys than a mowing company. So that actually works out to $625 per hour or $312.50 per man hour. Sure maintenance work will NEVER fetch that price point, I agree on that, but it's ok to charge more than $100/hour......
    Mdirrigation likes this.
  3. Groomer

    Groomer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,159

    They do 2 ponds a day for 7 months out of the year? Who knew there was such a demand for ponds, that's alotta ponds.
  4. PLLandscape

    PLLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,653

    The name escapes me now but they are a HUGE pond only company. They build them all in terms of pondless and full size ponds with falls and streams and each he’s at something like 70% profit on each job. It’s insanity.

    I don’t know exactly what they do per day but that’s basically what he was saying is that’s what they’ve been doing.

    Maybe Aquascapes?
  5. petscanning

    petscanning LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    PLL is completely right. Don't be afraid to explain how and why you are at the rate you are.
    A good gage is there a lawn you started doing a couple of years ago as a new guy. Lets say took you a hour and now because you have learned a bit and are using better equipment now only takes you 3o mins. Well then you know your per hour has gone up right there alone and that translates into a lot of jobs that you do. I can knock out a lot of leaf jobs twice as fast so I should charge twice as much in my head. By doing that I'm paying for my equipment and for knowledge. Dont discount what you know but dont give a dollars worth of work and expect $100 hour. Ive seen it many times and those guys get a job or two then they are gone like the wind.
    PLLandscape likes this.
  6. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,361

    Quoting a customer an hourly price is the best way to scare them off . Look at the job and give them a flat price . Total done . Now if you have good equipment and help you can make over your "hourly" price .
  7. Groomer

    Groomer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,159

    makes me realize how fortunate I am at this stage of the game-long-time clients don't even ask what the cleanup fee will be-trust and fairness is never questioned-and everyone ends up pleased. after all these years, they all kinda know where I'm at price-wise, give or take the variables that come with each year.
    PLLandscape, Mdirrigation and Doc8406 like this.
  8. PLLandscape

    PLLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,653

    I’m not trying to be right or wrong or anything like that at all. I just think you can be worth more if you can make it happen.

    Just going back to the numbers above. Let’s say you’re able to have that salary of $70,000 off of a bit over $100k in billable time, which I don’t see being possible, you’re essentially making $35/hr yourself if you divided it into regular 40hr weekly pay periods of over a 12 month period. I mean you need make money all year, right? So out of the $100/hr charged you only end up with 35% of that rate. Again it’s a bit screwy math because it’s based on 7-8 months per year.
  9. caseysmowing

    caseysmowing LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,280

    When you look at those numbers it makes you wonder why anyone gets into this business and plans to stay solo......
  10. PLLandscape

    PLLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,653

    Exactly. I’d even go out on a limb saying that salary number would be closer to $35-$40k before taxes. Outside of part time solo side businesses I don’t see many solo mowers/landscaping just making a ton of money. You just cannot complete the work as efficiently as a crew and can get backed up to a point where you’re getting in trouble of not completing work.

    Plus if you’re just a lawn mower with a packed schedule how can you get the other and often times more profitable work done?

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