Higher rate for clearing/reclamation?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Darryl G, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Hey! I was just wondering if anyone else charges a higher rate for clearing work such as overgrown areas and hedge/shrub removal and that type of thing.

    For most work I'm happy to be making somewhere between $45 and $60/ hour with the low end being for light work requiring only hand tools and the higher rate for mowing and spring/fall cleanups and heavy labor that requires power tools. I will go even higher than that if I'm using my tractor/loader/backhoe.

    Lately I've been getting a lot of work clearing out overgrown areas and removing hedges and shrubs. For this type of work I'm having to bring out a couple of chain saws, a power pole pruner and a bike handler trimmer with a brush blade along with my dump trailer. It takes me a while to gear up and get all my equipment sharpened and ready for the job and it's not uncommon to trash a blade or chain or break a handle on a tool. It's hard labor that requires some special tools and skill, moreso than something like mulching or whatever. It's the kind of work where after 6 hours working in the heat you've about had it for the day. It's also the kind of work that could overwhelm the average homeowner and even "Joe Pickup-Truck" (not just anyone can do it). So I've been using $75/hr as my rate when estimating these jobs, with hauling and disposal being additional.

    So I guess my question is does anybody else bump up their rates for this type of work? I don't seem to be out of line because I'm landing the jobs...
  2. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    Yes, when I look at these jobs I often include the cost to service and repair small tools.

    So I will definately be in the top of my hourly range plus about 100.00 and some time for runs to the dump, dum fees and stuff.
  3. Most def. usually people want it done ASAP and jump on the price from my experience. If its more pita, it's more $$
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  4. Barrett Landscaping

    Barrett Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,629

    tree crews try to get around $150 for a 2 man crew around here per hour. since what your doing is in a way similar to minior tree/ brush work id say for yourself your right on target.
  5. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    yep, alot more so then you are even but i also bring my 77hp diesel chipper with me, 15 yard dump truck if the chips have to be hauled away, and two stihl commercial top handles ones a 201t and ones a 200t either way both are 600 dollar saws with only 12" bars, and my 440 magnum with a either 20" bar or 28" bar which is close to a 1000 dollar saw, also i bring an old but powerful husky 240 trimmer with a brush blade on that goes through stuff 4-5" thick like butter, and a few pairs of clippers and 2-4 man crew depending on the job, but i usually get 350 an hour and i land a lot of these jobs, its not uncommon for me to do a small job sometimes i under bid stuff and get 150 an hr but. still not bad. i've done jobs that were pretty big, but then again i'm geared towards brush removal so i have everything any tree company around has. i did one today where i had to clear an area, that had been sprayed to killed all the poison ivy which was 60ft by 3ft wide, and clear off a chicken wire fence which had also been sprayed to kill everything and cut down a yew bush to a stump, i told her 350 which must have been a cheap price because instantly said do it asap, but it only took me and another guy 1hr and, no chipper was required and everything fit in the back of my pick up truck, and i have few spots where i dump no charge.
  6. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Hmmm...Manchester...will you waive the travel charge and can you do it this weekend? LOL, just kidding.

    Yeah, this type of job kind of overlaps with the services a tree service company would provide. I used to work as a ground man to a friend of mine who is an arborist. I'm not equipped the way RSK is but I've got all I need to do this type of work, as long as it's not a big job....pickup truck, 8 yard dump trailer (7x12), Husky 55 Rancher, Husky 136 (probably wouldn't buy that unit again), pole pruner with 12 inch chain, barrels, rakes, heavy duty tarps, big backpack blower and a strong back. I can usually get one of my sons to help too, but the older one is heading off to college Friday and won't be available. My 15 year old is good for loading brush on this type of job but that's about it...he's still in training and requires a fair amount of supervision. He's mostly my trimmer/blower guy for the mowing route. I think it actually took me longer to have him help on a mulch job we did!

    The most recent job opportunity is pretty simple...clearing the sight line along the road. There's a pretty big dense and overgrown clump of "crap" there...totally inpenetrable. The hard part is going to be deciding where to stop because part of the bed is to remain, but all the plants are grown into eachother so there will be dead areas on them I'm sure. Some of them are large Junipers which don't regenerate very well...one side buried in the the clump and one side out toward the lawn.

    I did the property across the private lane from this one 2 weeks ago...cut down a large Forsythina hedge. Basically someone complained that they couldn't see backing out of their driveway so the town sent letters to a bunch of people. The funny thing is that it's a state highway and it's illegal to back into it anyway, lol.

    This guy originally just wanted things cut to the ground but now he wants the stumps out too and probably some low (less than 3 feet tall) plantings installed. I'll have to see what it looks like after I cut things back and decide whether to bring my tractor and hoe out for the stumps, have them ground or dig them by hand.

    Well, thanks for the comments!
  7. USAProLawnCare

    USAProLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    Hey Darryl where have you been?
  8. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    yeah, i also have friends that own tree services and we all share our laborers, so they know how to safely run a chainsaw, some much better then others, but they can all make basic cuts, without spilling a drop of blood, lol so that makes jobs go a lot quicker, and whoever doesn't want to run a saw, gets the brush cutter which is quicker for clearing overgrowth anyways as long as its close to the ground, and not much over 6" in diameter, i usually bring hedge trimmers with me too. those are great for clearing all sorts of pricker bush, and big weeds that are over 4'. it is nice when you can chip 12" pieces of wood especially when do chipping jobs where you can chip into the woods but, theres a truck load or two of logs cut into 18" pieces neatly stacked up and i send 90% of them through my chipper and end up taking away a half truck load lol.
  9. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I am forbidden to say where I've been.....not allowed to mention the names of other green industry forums, lol.
  10. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    My brush cutter is on the small side...the Stihl FS110...should have stepped up to at least the 130 but it's good for 1 to 2 inch stuff. I can always rent a full blown clearing saw right up the road if I need one.

    I also have a 5 foot "brush hog" for my tractor but I'd be way too close to the road to use it for my this job and the stuff is a too big for it anyway I think. It makes pretty quick work of clearing light brush though, up to 1 or 2 inch....I keep the front-end loader on and knock things down a bit in front of me and can use the loader to feel for rocks and other obstacles too...just run it raised 6 inches or so.

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