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help with bidding landscaping job

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Giant Menehune, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. Giant Menehune

    Giant Menehune LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Hey Guys,
    I've been fretting over this one for 2 days and need some help. I don't know how to price this job because I'm new at this. I don't want to cheat the client, but at the same time I don't want to cheat myself. I don't know what would be fair...let me explain.

    This client has someone taking care of the lawn, the problem is, whoever is doing it only cuts the grass and does no trimming. In a nutshell, the undesireable weeds and trees surrounding the outer edges of the property are encroaching on the lawn and she wants those undesireables removed so the the lawn will expand. There is a considerable amount of hand weeding involved, and some light to medium chainsaw work. I think I can do it in 2 or 3 days if I have my brother working with me. The property is about a half acre, not small but not big either. If I get the job, I could in all likelyhood get the lawn account too, which is what I'm really after.( I can do the landscaping thing, but it's really hard on my back and I'd rather just do lawn and trim.) It's been bugging me so bad I'm almost ready to pass on the job, and that might not be the best thing to do because I'm just starting out and I need accounts.
    I'm thinking I want $1,000, since it is labor intensive. I'm hoping someone out there can help shed some light on the subject. What do you charge for landscaping of this type?
    I'd greatly appreciate any advice any of you could give me.
    PS. I live on the Big Island Of Hawaii
  2. Miller Rules

    Miller Rules LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    How many sq. feet do you got to clear ,Its probably not going to take as long as you think.
  3. Giant Menehune

    Giant Menehune LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Probably around 80, to 120, or so.
  4. TClawn

    TClawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,036

    ok, is this in a good part of the lawn, or are you taking everything out, and leaving dirt? personally, I think it might be cheaper to rent a rototiller, and get 'er done. it should take about 1 hour with a rototiller to turn everything under, and then pull just gather up any weeds left over, and maintain the area when you get the account.

    the ideal way, to do it, would be to weed wack it to the ground, spray roundup, and then rotottill, and put down a pre-M. but I am assuming, that like me, you do not have an applicators license.

    oh btw, DO NOT go over $1,000 if you do not have a contractor's license. you get in big trouble if the contractor's licensing board finds out (but you can charge $999.99). hawaii is a very protectionist state, and the 50th worst state to do business in (read awfull). to get a contractors license, you must work in a supervisory position for at least 4 years, if you already have done this, it is much simpler. then you must be bonded, insured, and all that jazz....

    an applicators license is not that hard, you only have to work in that field for 2 years before they let you have a license :rolleyes:

    if it is weeding, I would bid $850 for the area you are talking about. if it is totally taking out the area (field of weeds) I would get the rototiller, and charge $500 + rental. I trust you would have truck to haul the tiller to her yard?

  5. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,163

    Post some pics of the work required, you'll probably have a better reply amount. Good Luck.
  6. Miller Rules

    Miller Rules LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    Yea. I would have to see some pics.
  7. Giant Menehune

    Giant Menehune LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Thanks for the info and advice. The client was adamant about hand pulling and removing those weeds. She also wanted a few other things done. I thought about it, and I quoted the lady $850(which I thought was fair), she initially said "No way". Then she asked "why so much?"
    So I went through the property with her and explained everything that would actually have to be done in order to get the yard into the shape she wanted it in, and I told her I thought $850 was fair because it was alot of work! ;)
    But she was firm, so I was polite and said my goodbyes.
    The next evening, she calls me, and said she'd reconsidered..turns out she called a few "professionals" and they all over bid me! Hehehe :p
    Anyway, I accepted, and my brother and I did it in two 6 hour days... :rolleyes:
    It was hard work, but worth it...and I did get the lawn as an account,(which is what I was after anyway)...thanks for the good advice. That's twice you've helped me man. I'm gonna start calling you my "Yoda" pretty soon...lol
    Thanks buddy, much aloha to you.... :)
  8. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Only in my first 2 years did I have clients who insisted I pull weeds by hand. ONE time I did it and then I never did it again BUT that was in my first year and it was so slow likely I would do it again. Today, I don't do no pulling weeds by hand and if someone insists, then it's time to get out of there BUT...
    Back to the issue at hand, 2-3 days work would run upwards of 1,000 dollars, regardless of sq. footage if you looked at it and you think it will take 2-3 days, then 1,000 dollars it is. I read the post about the contractor's license and I do not know what this is about, I think here in VA the limit is 10,000 dollars but why not play it safe and stay below 1,000, doesn't hurt anyway you look at it, 850 is good.
    Still I think the job is a pita, it frustrates me when they call me back AFTER they called around because now they've confirmed I'm the cheapest kid on the block and I don't like the argumentation bit BUT it is a LOT of work and the money is good this time of year 850 dollars would be like 30% of a month's gross income, even during a good month of august I hardly gross 2k so closing in on 3k would be nice and 2-3 days I always got.
    Seeing how it took you 12 hours of grumbling work over 2 days, 850 dollars is not bad at all, I charge 400 dollars/day and a day can be as long as 8-10 (or 12) hours so you did good ... I am glad you got the account but I would keep an open mind towards it, it may or may not hold out long-term for the only reason things started out a bit shaky, still you never know and in the meantime you got a good thing going, congrats.

    The other thing I like is you stuck to your guns, you did not rip her off while you still made out like a bandit in ways, you gave her the best price around and you got it done in good time without letting her talk you down further when you were already the cheapest (even thou nobody had a way of knowing this).
  9. Giant Menehune

    Giant Menehune LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Your e-mail made me feel good. And face it...in this life we live, feelin' good is good enough. LOL But yeah she was kind of crotchety and wierd while I was working, it was good because it made us work like hell so we'd get outta there faster...The lawn account is an easy one and she's starting to refer her friends to me. No business yet from them but I have 2 appointments to give an estimate on. Could be worse eh? But honestly though, it was rough, I'm still feeling it in my back, But it was good money.
    Anyway, thanks man, and good luck to you.

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