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hourly rate, and better equipment

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Nov 30, 2002.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    today we moved/transplanted 35 arbs. we did it the old fashioned way, shovels, wheelbarrows, and picks. for this i charged an hourly rate, and im glad i did, because removing them was easy, replanting them sucked. the part of the yard we replanted in was about 4 inches of decent soil, then broken rocks, clay, real hard digging. this took my two man crew 4 hrs. i charged my hourly rate times 2 men, times 4 hrs. my question is this: if i had a backhoe, the job would have taken less than half that time. but would it make sense then to charge hourly in that case? i mean, u bring an expensive piece of equipment to the jobsite to make your life easier, u dont charge the same hourly rate do u?
  2. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,501

    To be perfectly honest bobby, I would charge what ever amount would be the most of the two...backhoe vs. by hand.
  3. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,051

    Anything that I do I stimate in hours.
    this is what I shoot at whe I give a stimate

    Man hours are charged at 35.00
    Bobcat $65 with operator, minumum 4 hours charge for travel time too

    Z mower $50
    walk behind $40
    Back pack $40
    Push mower$50


    Hope this gives you an idea
  4. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    ok, im gettin somewhere. man with a shovel(my price) $45 per hour. man with a backhoe, $65 per hour, 4 hour minimum. i charged $360 for the labor today. im thinking if i brought a backhoe, and it only took 2 hours, would i really want to only charge $180?
  5. KLMlawn

    KLMlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 443

    I have posted on a similar type of question before ...
    Basically, if a given job is worth X amount of dollars, and you have larger - more productive equipment which enables you to finish the job faster than someone with say less experience and smaller, less productive equipment .... you both should be entitled to the same amount of money.
    The person who gets the job done faster gets more per hour than the guy who doesn't.
    You shouldn't lower your price because you could do it faster with a Backhoe, instead of just paying labor and for the use of a couple of shovels, you would be either paying the rental fee or the monthly payment on the backhoe as well as the maintenance and repairs too.
    If you have a $30 lawn, and you can do it in 15 min. with a 52" hydro, and another guy does it in an hour with a 21" push, you should theoretically be able to make $120 per hour where he only makes $30 ... the job is still worth $30.
  6. Doogiegh

    Doogiegh LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 871

    And the guy who does a lawn in 1 hour for 30 bucks only spent $500-$600 maybe for that 21 inch mower, whereas the guy who can do the same lawn in 15 minutes, making $120 an hour, spent $2400-$2700 for the 52 inch machine.. Just very rough examples..

    So your equipment cost is 4 times as high, but you can do 4 times as much work.

  7. PaulJ

    PaulJ LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    ON a job like that, I would probably charge hourly for labor + equipment charge. Would you have to rent the beckhoe?? Then pass that on to the customer. If you oun the backhoe still pass the cost on to the customer. My Idea is that the job is worth X$ weather it is done 100% by hand or with machines.
  8. PR0 TURF

    PR0 TURF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,088

    We have found that charging by the man/hr tends to be too much of a headache. If a customer ever asks about your pricing and we say that we're getting $50-65/hr for some particualr job they just cant comprehend that easily.
    We price all of our work by the job. Estimate the man hours...supplies...costs of doing business etc...then come up with a price. We don't like to start a job with us or the customer not knowing what the final job price will be. If we price a fall cleanup at $250 and we're only there for an hour & they ask why we got $250 for an of work I let them know that we just used equipment valued at over $50,000 to do the job...we didn't just use a few rakes & some barrels. Equipment being 2 walkers...2 littlewonder blowers...Buffalo Turbine Blower...3 backpacks...leafvac...1-ton dump...enclosed Trailer...not to mention costs of doing business. Let them know they are paying for the most up to date equipment & technology to get the job done quicker & more efficiently. I tell them (politely) if they were to have done there leaves on there own they would be outside all day...not just an hour...me & the guys that I work with have a system & we work together so our time is used to the fullest and no one stands around wasting time & thats how we get it done so fast.
  9. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    i know what u guys are saying, now i see. there are jobs that are just too hard to estimate accurately, like the one i described. therefor, i never take a chance, i always price hourly for"non calcuable" labor. my question was answered. if i have 2 men with shovels and picks, i need $90 an hour. but, if i have 2 men with heavy equipment, ill need maybe...$130 an hour. got it, thanx guys

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