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How are you guys pricing out pine straw?

Discussion in 'Bidding, Estimating and Pricing' started by GSO LAWNEN4CER, Jan 16, 2020.


    GSO LAWNEN4CER LawnSite Senior Member
    from GSO NC
    Messages: 646

    I’ve always marked up the price on a bail then added on labor. I had a customer of mine tell me I should do it differently.
    He suggested that I charge the customer the exact bail price. Then adjust my labor to make the profit. He explained it that customers will trust you more, by showing them prices of materials.
    Any truth in his thinking? I see it,but how much can you adjust Labor before someone starts asking questions?
  2. hal

    hal LawnSite Gold Member
    from Georgia
    Messages: 3,406

    I charge by the bale, at least 10/bale. Straw companies charge 5-5.50 to bring and spread and clean up, I tell my customers 'that's a good deal, go with them'. No truth to what he said, he just wants you to lower your price. Give him the price and stick to it.
  3. OP

    GSO LAWNEN4CER LawnSite Senior Member
    from GSO NC
    Messages: 646

    I’ve always added on 1.50-2.00 per bail then my hourly rate for installation. I have added as much a 2.50 per bail. When quality straw was hard to get. And all was available was that garbage at Lowe’s/Home depot
  4. sjessen

    sjessen LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from Knoxville, Tn
    Messages: 20,566

    The bottom line is what it is.
    Your price is your price.
  5. No gloves

    No gloves LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 483

    I understand what he's saying but just stick to what works for you.had a guy do some work for me and he started talking about the prices of everything in the quote and I knew it was off.didnt care if he charged me for time to pick up materials, just don't shoot me fake numbers.also I didn't ask him About quote he just started explaining it.but you didn't say that so yea,customers probably trying to nickel and dime tou
  6. kemco

    kemco LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,146

    We are $12 a bale. Includes picking up and putting down.
    sjessen, GSO LAWNEN4CER and Doc8406 like this.
  7. rclawn

    rclawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,421

    Your customer is trying to get a better deal. I usually price things without separating material and labor cost... just give one price.

    example: Colorado River Rock- $394.99/ ton installed.

    My cost is $145 pre tax. I don’t say $160 a ton material and $235 labor, or even “mark up” on material and say $200 material $195 labor... just give a flat price. That way you are transparent and honest.

    Don’t give away contractor pricing. The customer would pay $284.99/ ton for the same stuff I get, so even if they do price check it, $110/ ton labor (including delivery) sounds like a good deal to them. I do a lot of biz with this supplier so I get a pretty damn good discount, but still- if you charge what the market will bear it will work itself out.
  8. OP

    GSO LAWNEN4CER LawnSite Senior Member
    from GSO NC
    Messages: 646

    I installed 28 bales today. I just did it the way I’ve been doing it. Mark up $1-2 bucks per bale and my hourly rate to install. I’m with the keep it simple stupid crowd. To be honest my supplier didn’t have the best straw today. This is the straw left over from last season. Still better than what’s at the big box stores. But had more trash/was a little discolored.
  9. L33

    L33 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    Input is appreciated, but I wouldn't run my business based on a crazy customer request. Of course he want to pay less for the material. You should pay wholesale, charge retail at least and also charge your labor. Your integrity won't be questioned for marking up materials, I promise. The fact that people do business with you means you've earned their trust.
    jonthepain likes this.
  10. jonthepain

    jonthepain LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Raleigh
    Messages: 1,191

    When we were in construction we charged a flat rate. The customers that wanted it broken out would inevitably be the pita customers that we should not have contracted with in the first place.

    Eventually we learned our lessons.

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