hourly rate?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Jul 28, 2001.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    hi all, i have a question concerning hourly rates, i have seen people say they charge hourly. here is my question: if i feel a good hourly rate for myself is $42 per hr., then if im using help, do i also charge for them? at what rate?
  2. EROSS17

    EROSS17 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49

    Everyone talks about hourly rates on jobs. I never once considered how much an hour to charge. I just consider want I think the job is worth for me and my guys to do it. That's why we buy expensive equipment, to make our job easier and cut down on time spent on jobs. Just wanted to jabber a little bit.
  3. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Messages: 3,010

    bobby--to make an informed decision, I think you need to know what the employee is costing you. workmans comp, insurance, hourly rate, etc.

    MATTHEW LawnSite Senior Member
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 665

    Some numbers I have seen. One guy-low overhead-$25.00/hr
    Three man-med over. -$35.00/hr
    Big operation-big over. -$45.00/hr
    My advice is to have a number in mind, but do not tell them about it. I don't mind cleaning out a bed for $25.00/hr, but I am not going to haul gravel or build a block wall for that!
  5. bruces

    bruces LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 648

    You've got to charge for the extra man. If you are worth $42 per hour, is your help worthless?

    You should probably be able to gross 2 to 3 times the employees hourly rate for his time. It will take this to cover payroll taxes, work comp, down time, etc. You've got no benefit to having an employee if you can't make a profit from his time. You should get paid a reasonable price for doing the job.

    If the job takes you by yourself an hour and your rate is $42 / hour, then the job is worth $42. If you have a helper and it just takes 1/2 hour, the job is still worth $42.
  6. bubble boy

    bubble boy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    bruces hit it right on the head. charge by man hour. total time on the job in hours multiplied by # of workers. you definately want to charge for the worker.
  7. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    Heres an example that I gave on hourly rates for shearing of shrubs. If your basic hourly rate were the $42, here is how I would have charged for the job on an hourly rate.

    For you to shear the shrubs I would have charged $42/hr. For you to shear the shrubs if you have to use a ladder, I would charge $47/hr. For your laborer to clean-up after you as you shear, I would charge $32/hr.

    The obvious factor for us is the more dangerous/precise the work the higher the rate. When we bill for the laborers to do clean-up work we wont charge clients the same rates we do for operating machinery/equipment. This is only fair in my mind.

    Hope this helps.
  8. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,403

    I'm not sure the replies are hitting the mark here. I think he wanted to know what hourly rate is the general norm to charge for a helper. The answer is...that varies from place to place and job to job. But.....

    Everyone knows the typical employee is not as productive as an owner of the business. I charge $48/hour for myself when doing general labor on- ite and nobody complains. That's because I work very fast by habit and do the work of 2 or perhaps even 3 if they're loafers. In fact, I get told I don't charge enough sometimes. This is for work that is mostly manual (trimming shrubs, cleanups, mulching, etc). I would say that with a $10/hour run-of-the-mill employee, you might reasonably charge $28/hour for labor. That allows after labor burden enough for you to net about $65 to $75 per employee per day, assuming you can find 6 billable hours in an 8 hour day. Enough to make the hassles of hiring people and managing and scheduling pay off. But the local market will ultimately set the prices. My pricing model is for a small operation, and may not work well for large jobs or large companies. I have no idea where I fall in the spectrum of pricing, but I do know that I never get complaints about price, ever.

    I base my rate for scheduled mowing a little differently. Since it takes just as long to drive to a tiny lawn as a big property, you have to factor in travel time, instead of sticking to a fixed rate per hour on-site. For mowing, I base my price on $36/hour plus a fixed $12 trip charge. So, if I spend an hour on site, the customer will pay .....yep...$48. Basically, it means that you are getting a higher price per hour on-site for small properties(more paperwork, billing, communication per dollar of revenue) and giving a sort of "volume discount" for large properties. I also much prefer mowing to other work, so I probably charge a little less than I could.

    Finally, when charging for mowing labor, factor in your employee, and most importantly, your equipment. A solid guy on a ZTR mower is worth 3 times what a labor-pool man with a 21" push mower or 48" walk behind is.

    It can get complicated, and everybody has their own method. But I think the question was about how much we are all charging for a "helper" type guy. The key is to find a pricing model that works and stick to it.
  9. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    thats what i wanted bruce. thanks to all

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