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hourly rate/"free estimates"?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Nov 29, 2001.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    as i said in another post, we changed our billing to an hourly rate for leaf cleanup. it seemed to go well at first, now im getting alot of requests to come out and look at the property. this is defeating the purpose, i dont care to drive around for many hours burning fuel and time . when i quote to them on the phone the hourly rate, they say well come by and tell me how long it will take. then i tell them ok, but if i do that and u dont take us on, u pay me for the trip over. that is not going well either. any suggestions?
  2. MOW ED

    MOW ED LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,028

    It seems like more of a business problem Bobby. I don't have a huge problem with this but I try and include this cost in the hourly wage.
    What is it costing you to go and do these estimates? The actual cost should be compared to how many jobs you are pulling and then divided for an average. You can then add it into your hourly rate. Of course you won't know this unless you get out and estimate. If you aren't getting many jobs you have to reevaluate if this is the right method for you to use. If you are getting enough work then increase your hourly rate to cover the no go's.

    It is not the easiest thing to do but it is possible,, you just have to start keeping track of all time and money spent in chasing the potential customers. Good Luck.
  3. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,822

    I tell them an hourly rate over the phone and describe my equipment. I get the same question you do. How long will it take you to do such and such acreage? I just tell them I have no idea. Its just too stressful for me to give a guess and thats all it could be is a guess. Its also a waste of time and money to drive over to their home and guess. its all depends on how deep the leave are and how much moisture is in them and how many beds you have to blow out and if the wind is blowing that day. I learned that lesson along time ago. nothing worse than getting stuck in a leaf job that seems to have no end and not getting paid for the extra time. The customer also is not as picky when you are doing it by the hour. Its my way or now way and I will just waite on the grass season to make the real money.
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    that it is sort of a catch 22 situation. Either way you quote it, by the job or by the hour, you STILL need to see it to know what you're dealing with. Describing your equipment isn't really going to help, because most people don't know anything about this stuff or what it will do. Therefore, there is just too much guesswork involved. About the the best way you could narrow it down, simplicitically, would be set a minimum, and tell them it's going to be between THIS much, and about X much.

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