Hourly versus by the job

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by TBotine, Apr 7, 2004.

  1. TBotine

    TBotine LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    For those of you that offer spring and fall clean ups (ie. leaf removal, lawn raking) in your opinion is it best to charge by the hour or by the job? Also, what is the going hourly rate throughout the Midwest?
  2. Joe25

    Joe25 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 30

    I would charge by the hour. I am not sure what the going rate is for the midwest but I charge $50.00 an hour. If you give a flat fee you may be ok on some jobs but you also may sell yourself short on others. Hourly seems the better way to go in my opinion.
  3. meathead1134

    meathead1134 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    I charge by the job because there is always something that will come up that you didn't notice before that may take you extra hours.

  4. twins_lawn_care

    twins_lawn_care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 932

    Charging by the job is the way to go. Being the business owner, you should have the knowledge to estimate how long it is going to take. That comes with experience, and what makes a business successful. This is the whole reason people mowing lawns for $15 no matter what size do not last. Trying to sell to your customers that they will have to pay you $50 per hour is next to impossible, but telling them you will do this job, for this amount is a lot easier for them to take.
    If you suggest the by-the-hour rate, they initially compare it to what they make at their job, and 9 out of ten times, it is a whole lot more, and they just say no.
  5. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,157

    Are you sure this is what you meant to say? If you charge "by the job", and then it takes you extra hours, you will lose your shirt.

    When starting out, sometimes it is better to charge by the hour, until you figure out how long jobs take. Once you figure out costs, charging by the job will "reward" you with extra profit when you work really hard and fast. Make it clear to the customer what you are charging for, so that when the extra "stuff" comes up you can adjust your bill to them, and they should understand why (LOL, right!). Well, it is good in theory.
  6. meathead1134

    meathead1134 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Thats why I'm here is to learn things, as I get better at estimating I should see my profits go up :rolleyes:
  7. ColePyck

    ColePyck LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 208

    I charge by the hour 60.00 here in Indiana, most average cleanup take me anywhere from 1 hour to 5. Doing one on a half acre lot this weekend and charging 480 total. Hourly rates might scare some customers away though so be careful who you tell your rates to, i.e. If you know its a two hour job just tell them 120 instead of 60 a hour.
  8. Mark Lawncare

    Mark Lawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 114

    Do a few by the hour and then start pricing small ones by the job. Thats what I'm starting to do. I find there to be more money and less hassle in pricing by the job vs the hour.
  9. Teff's Lawn & Snow

    Teff's Lawn & Snow LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    Once you have a few jobs under your belt, you will know how long most jobs will take with your equipment. Start hourly and then switch to per job for better profit.
  10. tawilson1152

    tawilson1152 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    I'm just starting also. Hourly for now, but it won't take long to get a feel and then I agree by the job whenever possible. Another advantage I see to pricing by the job, if you decide for whatever reason you want to take someone along to help, you don't have to adjust your price, you just get done faster.

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