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Help please--how much to charge for hedges and small tree pruning...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by dcplace2004, Jun 6, 2005.

  1. dcplace2004

    dcplace2004 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 423

    I have a lady that wants her hedges shaped and one or more small trees pruned...do I charge by the foot, etc...so far, I have given estimates but need more accuracy...please help...thanks...david...also, how does a person estimate a yard...some here in town go by the sq feet, etc...maybe you all have layout of different prices per sq foot or such...thanks...
  2. ince8728

    ince8728 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 249

    we, use an hourly rate plus disposal for hedge & tree pruning. Lawn estimates we just do my eye, if you really arn't sure just do like between this & this sqft it will cost this much and add in for obsticals, extensive trimming etc...

    - Matt
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    You'd be wise to charge by the hour at this point in your business. I know it's usually commonly said to always charge by the job. And I agree. But if you have no idea how long something is going to take you there's nothing wrong with saying something like, "Honestly, Ms. Smith. I'm still fairly new at this. I'm not as good at estimating time for things like pruning as I am for lawn care. I'd just have to charge your hourly plus expenses. There will probably be some minor expenses relating to dumping and - just a guess - maybe 2 or 3 hours for me to do the pruning. My hourly rate is $35 per hour."

    Then just see what she says. She may well say, "Great. When can you get started."

    Over time, you'll have more experience and you'll nail estimates like this. You'll know in just a few minutes EXACTLY how long a job like that will take you. But for now - in the beginning - try the hourly method. At least that way you won't lose your arse.
  4. mastercare

    mastercare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 289

    I've had this problem in the past too. I still get asked to do odd-ball jobs that I don't have as much experience in, and I've given estimates like this.

    I will charge you hourly at $xx per hour. I'm guessing that it it will take from 3-5 hours. Or, I can give you a flat price, but not knowing how long this will really take, I'd have to over-guess the time it takes me, and charge you a flat price of $xxx. Would you rather pay hourly or a flat price?

    So, you give them the hourly price, or an over-estimated flat price. I've even gone to the point before where I'll say: "Here's my hourly, and my flat price....I'll give you whichever is less."

    99% of the time, I overshoot the flat price so much, that I just get my hourly rate, which is what I wanted in the first place....but the customer likes it becuase you've given them a cap, or a worst-case-scenario.

    This will get them to accept the hourly price, and more likely to use you becuase they know you won't show up and take your sweet time... there's a max amount that they could have to pay you!!

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