Fall Cleanup pricing

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

  1. JMK26

    JMK26 LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Missouri
    Messages: 10,832

    I'm solo but planning on hiring a guy as I get older.

    I make a comfortable living, which is all I'm about really...get through life doing something I really enjoy doing and spend time with people I really enjoy being with.

    I'm not giving exact figures but I'm around $40,000 a year....my wife has her own seamstress business...brings in about $30,000 a year...after taxes and all....that's $70,000ish a year we're doing....not rich, but above national average and we have a pretty good life. Currently looking for property. Having no kids makes it easier sure, but that's our choice...not having or needing brand new everything helps too....

    I'm currently only taking on new clients along this two mile stretch of road about a mile from where I live....I have 17 clients on that one stretch of road now and I get those 17 lawns done...I'm getting 5 lawns done every two hours on that route so I can fit another couple lawns on that one day...expand to where I get another 17 to 19 lawns on that route on another day instead of driving all over for 8 to 10 lawns....My goal is to have 3 to 4 days of mowing on that route. No more than 10 minutes from home, 15+ lawns a day depending on size and neighboring properties etc....

    I dropped mulch, shrub trimming and the more profitable jobs because I get bored doing them. I get bored easily...to the point if I have more than 3 homes at one stop my mind starts wandering...I'd be installing mulch and I just get so freaking booooored. I know it's weird but I do...I can mow the same lawn for 7 years now and be fine, but if Im' stuck somewhere for all day or most of the day....I keep itching to go to another job...

    I'm concentrating on mowing, leaf removal and aerating....

    Sure I ain't gonna get rich or have a super company with 20 crews and 50 plow trucks but me and the wife are happy and relatively stress free and haven't had an argument in over a year....

    Sorry for off topic, just wanted to get a viewpoint out there...
  2. Doc8406

    Doc8406 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,954

    Self happiness is the ultimate goal bar none what someone else is doing.. you do it for you and not them anyway!
  3. PLLandscape

    PLLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,653

    Other viewpoints are great!
    caseysmowing likes this.
  4. caseysmowing

    caseysmowing LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,280

    I'm not too wrapped up in how much money you can make doing basic maintenance. Yes you can make a living doing it but for how long and how many hours are you REALLY working. I always find myself fixing stuff, sharpening blades, changing oil and filter, cleaning, and adjusting things with the little time off I have. I mean it never really ends it seems like.
  5. PLLandscape

    PLLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,653


    My main worry with solo work is you are one injury away from bankruptcy and complete unhappiness. Especially if your life and those of wife or kids depend on you.

    Retirement too. You can't keep up the workload into your 80's and have you even paid into SS that wont be there anyways?

    I'm all about others completing the work for me. Allows me to pursue other things I want whether it be other work or enjoying life.
    caseysmowing likes this.
  6. PLLandscape

    PLLandscape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,653

    I need to recant my pond statement. The figure was 120 in a season at $2000-$2500 to the company for each pondless waterfall. So $240,000-$300,000. I agree it may be difficult to find that many people who want them but maybe they did a massive marketing campaign that cost them $25,000. I'd still take $215,000- $275,000...... Even if that turned out to be a 1 or 2 year deal to make them I'd say that could boost a business for the next phase.

    The same could be said about installing front foundation landscapes. Each one I do brings in about $2500-$3500 after subtracting direct costs like the plants and other needed materials taking about 1.5 - 2 days each to complete. I could be much faster, one day only, if I owned something like an excavator or mini skid. Not sure I could get 120 in a year but maybe I could? Once you do a few, they're all about the same just like the ponds. Changes in designs and whatnot but still the same procedures. I know the big nursery around here sends out about 4-5 trucks a day to install landscapes like that all season. So it's possible and somewhat easy to replicate. I've seen their invoices from people I've worked for and I'm in line with them on pricing with them often times a tad higher.

    So using this I'd be at $125-$175 to $250-$350 per hour (1-2 days) for work that I don't think is any more skilled than a "lawn jockey". Just like when I first started working with someone doing mowing, I didn't have a clue how to stripe a lawn and needed to be shown and explained. Preparing beds, planting plants, and installing mulch is a process that can be explained, written down, and repeated. Something like pavers, walls, and other structural items take much more technical skills, calculations, regulations, etc... to learn. With the right people in place it is probably again a repeatable process in certain applications.

    If you choose not to bill what your company is worth that is your choice. It is, however, ok to build a nice company that is put together well and has nice things to help them complete jobs. Sure your area will dictate what you can and cannot do but if I'm forced to make less than that above this business just is not worth it.

    There was someone on this site that I directly communicated with some years ago about pricing. He operates in a year round working climate for the most part with a multimillion dollar business. He broke his pricing down to half days and days. Basically was at $1000/day in labor for a 2 man team for a 8-10 hour workday. Sure that is $50/hr per man but that's also a 12 month operation vs an 8 month. Plus this was probably 6-7 years ago or more with that conversation so I can only imagine it's gone up.

    My long winded point? $100/hr is nothing to get upset over. Go get what you company deserves as long as it deserves it.

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