Hiring an Estimate Coordinator/ Project Manager?

Discussion in 'Bidding, Estimating and Pricing' started by WarriorLandscaping, May 16, 2019.

  1. OP
    OP
    WarriorLandscaping

    WarriorLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Male
    Messages: 254

    Yes it was a mistake made for sure. I am now re-calibrating at $50 per man hour.

    This was not consistent across the board, just generally on residential homes that asked me to bill them hourly. $170 an hour with 4 guys. I now know that this is not good enough.

    Its early enough to make some big changes which I have.

    Hopefully things work out.
     
    Mitty87 likes this.
  2. SFL

    SFL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    As for current customers, I’d go ahead and do an increase now. But i wouldn’t do it all at once because you probably need to raise some at least 5 dollars or more and most customers won’t appreciate that.

    Call each customer, explain your situation. Tell them you’re new to business and you’re learning every year how to be a business man. Tell them you’ve figured out how to properly calculate your numbers and that you’ve figured out you’ve been under bidding your work. Let them know you’ll be raising their prices slowly over the next few months.

    For example, if a lawn is currently $25 but needs to be at $32, tell them you’ll increase each week incrementally until it reaches your new price, or maybe do it a bit slower. Whatever you feel comfortable with.

    You’ll probably end up losing some, specially if the price change is over $5. Don’t worry, the new customers you gain at the better price will be worth it.

    But with your new increase in pricing you also have to offer better service.

    I’m in high end residential and I basically sell each one one of my clients on their time being too valuable to be hiring cheaper guys. We have the reputation to back up my claims. I’ve got over 20 5 star reviews just on google, and more on other sites. Not only do I perform top notch work, but I won’t let them down. They will never have to worry about their landscape maintenance again. They shouldn’t have to. They’ve got kids, they’ve got a busy job. The last thing they want to worry about when coming home is wondering why their lawn mowing crew hasn’t mowed the lawn on the scheduled date and it’s a few days before their holiday party and now the lawn doesn’t look good.

    We do simple things like brining trash bins back to their normal place, ALWAYS close gates, blow off their cars, doors, fencing, windows, siding. Don’t leave clippings anywhere. None. Edge, every time. Fill up their dog bowls with fresh water. Bring the paper to their doorstep. Send holiday cards. Tell them you appreciate them each time you see them. Those are just small things that they will notice and appreciate more than striping.


    Don’t race to the bottom by making just anyone your customer. Choose your customers. Learn to decipher which ones are the cheap ones over the phone and throw a higher price at them to make it worth your time.


    Lawn mowing is probably one of the lowest profitable services in this industry but it doesn’t have to be a race to the bottom and you can definitely make a profit every day.
     
  3. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,872

    Won't he have to raise his prices even higher if he's going to just start making money at $32, but now adding even more time to his time there?

    This makes zero sense.

    IME, if you're going to raise prices, do it all at once. And explain it. Some will leave or not be able to afford it. It is what it is. Incremental increases makes them resentful since it is like a slow drip.

    Then again, I've only been doing it for over 30 years. My dad another 30 prior to that. My greatgrandfather another 30 before that. Time overlaps. We haven't quite hit the 90 year mark yet.
     
    m_ice and GreenscapeCT like this.
  4. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,872

    OP, listen to Ted. NOT SFL. He might have some good advice, but there's numbers that aren't adding up.

    Hence the Abe Lincoln comment.
     
    m_ice and GreenscapeCT like this.
  5. SFL

    SFL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 50

    It was an example. You, nor I, know if he’ll be making profit at that rate. Maybe he was breaking even at 25, maybe he was in the red. It was random numbers.

    Maybe the way I’ve explained price increase won’t work. I don’t know. Ive never had to raise prices a considerable amount. Just yearly increases. So that’s how I’ve imagined I would have done it if I had to. My residentials have been priced well, not so much my commercials. Which is why I’m getting out of it slowly.

    Mark, whats not adding up?
     
  6. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Male
    Messages: 16,181

    I do this for a living, a hobby, recreation and unhealthy time away from my family.

    Sometimes I get paid really well, sometimes I do it for free, and usually somewhere in between.

    But what everyone seems to agree with when I’m done is, I’m really good at estimating, selling and teaching other people to do it.

    Another amazing talent I have, which is a product of being well travelled and continuing to do so; is knowing my numbers practically anywhere in the USA.
    In fact I’m so good at it, I know other people’s numbers.

    Does that mean I’m right 100% of the time? No
    If I don’t have all the information, no math problem is solvable.

    BUT , when you do it often enough you can take really good guesses at the answer even if you don’t have all the information and be close enough to being right , you can bet money on it.

    That’s essentially what estimating is.
    Betting on a Math equation with your livelihood, when you don’t have all the information.

    That’s what mark means by “doesn’t add up”
    He can predict the answer with the information on hand and unless the missing information involves Fort Knox, this isn’t going to come out positively for the person taking the gamble.
     
  7. Nick crisp

    Nick crisp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    granted me and sfl jumped off topic, he was helping/giving me input. reguardless of whether you think its helpful or not. i thought these kind of forums were no judgement passed
     
    hort101 likes this.
  8. prezek

    prezek LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 554

    Skipped a generation?
     
  9. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 18,872

    Kind of...my grandfather actually started another company...they're a friendly competitor and they do great work.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    WarriorLandscaping

    WarriorLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Male
    Messages: 254

    Lol you guys are going in.

    I have 48 5 star google ratings, doesn't really mean anything to me anymore.

    Prices going up asap.

    Looking only for seasonal estimates currently.

    If we land this large bid for our township we will be set for the season. No more estimates required.

    I've been relentlessly pushing forward and working 7 days per week and it has not gotten me anything but burnout.

    Looking at June to relax and let the referrals work their way over. Today is like day number 15 or 16 for me working in a row at catching up lol, pretty unhealthy.

    We have more rain coming, and its still cold. Worst spring we've ever had.

    But things get better, time to relax a bit and enjoy my craft a bit more. The money will come.
     
    hort101 likes this.

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