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Formula for prices?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Ericfischer100, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. Zen Lawn

    Zen Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    Thanks for the info XLS, luke and wise. I'll print these posts out and try all of them- develop a system that will work for me. This is good info!

    XLS- I'm going to try the groundskeeper trial when I get a chance to sit down and figure out the process.

  2. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    exactly, i probably forgot to mention in my post, those numbers I used are my costs. Then I can multiply on top of that my pm, in which I have different levels. Usually ranging from like 10-30% profit on my jobs.

    By having a sound system in place that you use over and over and over again, you will be successful. Plus with our system, we can mark up profit on any part of the job we want to. Say were getting pinched on cost a little bit, well instead of just saying ok ill drop it by this much and not knowing what were losing, we can go in to each service, take something off and still know where were at. Plus then we know our cost on everything too.

    Say Im at a property and i measure everything. I come up with 55k of lawn that can be mowed with the 56", 2k linear feet of trimming, 10 objects to trim around, 600 linear feet blowing, 250 feet of stick edging.

    Thats 1.25 acres. Average people will say ok $75.00-85 figuring it will take them like 1.5 hours or so do the entire property. This is without measuring and having a formula in place.

    Me I can measure the property and plug it into my excel sheet and determin it will cost me $64.50 to maintain this property a week. That way, I know I can bid from 71-83$ per cut and still make money on the job.
  3. Zen Lawn

    Zen Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    Keeping track of overhead is a good idea, luke. Maybe I should start with knowing what each job should cost me.

    This is my first season, though. I'm still learning how to realistically calculate for everything.
  4. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    Luke are you a solo operation? it looks like you can use this formula for about anything I've struggled all season (this is my first also) trying to come up with a good consistent formula to bid jobs with, What about fertilizing and weed control, aereating and overseeding and such, also bed maintence stuff like that.
  5. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,673

    $900.00 house payment
    $800.00 car payments
    $1200.00 for everything else for the month
    =$2900.00 divided by 10 yards = $290.00 per visit.
    I hope gas doesn't go up! P.S. I'm really good at cutting gas.
    You may have to make changes to make this work for you.
  6. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    OUCH! I'd hate to be in your shoes.
  7. kemco

    kemco LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 889

    Figure out what your BreakEven per Man Hour. This includes ALL of your costs broken down by man hour. If you dont know that you can really end up over a barrel if you bid wrong. At least this way you know the absolute min that you can bid without loosing your shirt. Add in your required spread for profit and you know your top end (or at least your target). Then that way when ur in a competitive bid you know just how much you can move before you need to walk. My BEPMH is going to be different than yours and everyone else. And your BEPMH is going to be a lot higher than just your labor cost.
  8. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    no im not a solo operation. fert/weed control is subbed out, so I just take the price they charge me and mark it up 10-20% and thats what I make. aerations power rakes etc are the same. You need to know how long it takes you to do a certain amount of area. For power rakes we do, power rakes which is considered a light raking of the yard and the dethatching which is more agressive. Bed maintenance is simple too. We time how long it takes to spot spray areas of flower beds and how long it takes to pull weeds by hand, how long it takes to turn over mulch using a cultivating fork vs using our trimmer with the mulch pro head on it.

    Every single job that we do, we time it out and measure everything. Then thats our number. For example, say aerating you can do 10k/hour. That means your averaging 1k/6minutes. So to figure out your cost per k, youd do 6/60=.1 multiplied by your hourly break even rate which is say $30/hour and you get $3/k. Now say you want 50% profit on aerations, so your up to $4.5/k. I would do a minimum charge of $30 for aerating for 1k. To cover everything. But then I figure ontop of that. 44k (4.5)=198 + 30 minimum visit= $228 for a 1 acre aeration job, which is right in line where it should be. Now say you were in a bidding war with someone, you need to know that a one acre property will truthfully cost you $152.00. So you need to be anywhere between 152 and 228 and youll be making money. People can say your driving the price down becasue you will be low, but I dont care about that stuff. I bid my jobs at a number I need to so I can be profitable, period. If I can charge $200/acre on aerating and it only costs me $150, well thats fine by me im making a good healthy profit on the job which after making sure my customer is satisfied is next on the list of importance.
  9. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    I'm going to ask a newbie question here, what is a cultivator fork or a mulch head on a trimmer I've never heard of those two items?
  10. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    cultivator fork is a garden hoe but instead of being a solid plate its like a pitch fork. heres an example of the ones we use: http://www.seymourmfg.com/productimages/highres/gc20gc.jpg

    and the mulch head for the trimmer is a product called the mulch pro. I cant actually find the product online anymore. Not sure if its still in production or not. But basically you take off your entire trimmer head and replace it with this. Its probably about 8-12" wide and it has like 2-3" tines on it probably about 12-15 or so. And when you give this thing gas this head spins and you can put it into the mulch and it breaks it all up. Theres a little shield on it so the mulch doesnt fly back and hit you or go all over the place and you just go back and forth and it breaks up all the mulch.

    The mulch pro does a better job becasue it breaks up the big clumps and its much easier but the cultivator fork does the same job more or less. IF were using the mulch pro we have 1 guy on the trimmer and a second with a leaf rake smoothing everything out. And if were using the forks 2 on the forks and one on a rake.

    Usually we just use the forks throughout the year and the mulch pro in the spring prior to mulch installation jobs.

    You may ask yourself too why break up the mulch. In the spring we do it so the mulch has a better spot to rest on (new mulch) and it makes the surface the same down to the soil, not a fluffy layer of mulch ontop of a hard compacted mulch. Plus sometimes if you have a good mulch base you can actually use less product. And usually monthly we break up the mulch to keep it all looking fresh and so then it doesnt get really hard either

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