How do most of you guys price out your treatments

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by GreenHor7, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. GreenHor7

    GreenHor7 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 131

    Since i am new to all of this and that it is a subject that is not etched in stone anywhere i was wondering how everyone calculates their pricing. I know that most people base it upon 1000 square, but what is the going rate for a fertilizer application. I figured about 3.5 to 4.5 for fertilizer per a thousand is pretty competitive right. I was wondering about the other treatments.
  2. I figure out my cost/m of all treatments, multiply by 1.25, add 5 to 7 dollars /m, and that is what I charge/m, PLUS a very sizeable stop fee. My real income is from the stop fee, since my knowledge and overhead is the same per client. The $5 to 7/m is for the time to apply the product for the season
  3. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    You need more than a stop fee and material cost if you are going to do it right.


    In the 5 years I have been reading and posting to LS, HOW DO I PRICE is one of the most asked questions.

    There is only one Correct Answer No matter if it is Mowing, Landscaping or Pest, COST PLUS.

    Cost Plus sounds simpler than it is. Cost of Materials, Equipment pro-rated to that job, Overhead, Travel Time and LABOR must be factored in. Only when one determines their cost can they be a viable contractor. Even if you charge more than the going rate in your area, You can lose money if your costs are not in line.

    No One But you can tell you what your costs are. You must sit down and calculate them your self starting with Materials per 1,000 sq feet or Acre. You know what your program is and how many times a year it is offered. You know your Insurance and Equipment Costs are, Pro-rate them to the job along with other costs like advertising. You know what you feel is a reasonable profit margin or what you have to make to stay in business.

    If you can not figure your Cost then you need to work for someone who can.
  4. GENERALLY I would agree, but my stop fee is high enough to give a great profit!

    And I was qorious ( sp) as to what your reply would be,......... and others
  5. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    We should be Businessmen first and Applicators second. If we are good Businessmen then we know the value of being good applicators. I don't know if your stop fee is high enough to cover costs plus profit. Did you come up with the stop Fee by Cost Plus accounting or just pull a number out of the air??

    My point is, If you do Cost Plus bidding you will never lose a bid. You may not get every bid, but you won't lose money by under bidding.
  6. Jake Wolf

    Jake Wolf LawnSite Member
    from NYC, NY
    Messages: 37

    I have a great handle on estimating installations and pruning work, but have done little in the way of fertilizing and pesticide contracts. I'm planning on signing up 100 new accounts by next spring and the biggest issue I have so far is figuring out pricing.

    Most yards are under 3000 sf and are all within a 5 minute drive of each other. There won't be much travel time and it is likely that most stops will have at least two customers. My only costs are $3000 truck lease, about $10000 in insurance, $2000 storage space, and $2500 in fees, gas, and equipment a year. I'll be selling seasonal plantings along with the applications. This should be a quiet and very profitable year for me.
  7. I know my cost, and my material cost plus overhead is covered in price/m, the stop fee covers my salary, plus profit

    Now my price/m is proably more than most people 5 step program, I use a 4 step, and my pre emerge app. is costing ~ $8.50/m.

    I only lose money, if my calculator has failed me, and that almost never happens, but I lose alot of bids. Why? I use high quality material, my experience, my knowledge, and the results I get are expensive. Kind of get what you pay for!
  8. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,341

    While I dont do lawn app or maintenance, I agree with Ric. Cost plus insures you dont lose money on a job, you might not make anything either. Its the cost that usually get ya. In my work, i measure the area and based on my experience and from past soil testing, i can come up with a pretty good estimated cost of materials.(those keep going up) The time it takes to apply can vary widely according to terrain, ease of access and equipment used. You also have to figure in your time and cost for getting to the job. I base my equipment cost per job on how many hours I put on my equipment each year and divide that by the amount my accountant allows me to deduct for depreciation. Even that isnt exact but it keeps me in the ball park. ( I never include my biggest $$$ years in my adverages). I do the same for insurances, tags, taxes, ect. After all my cost are added up, I add 26.5% for profit. I must be getting pretty close to all my cost since last year I made 26.7% and the year before 26.5%, right on the money. Just hope I can hit those numbers again this year.
  9. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,889

    Damn! That is accurate, I'm improving but not that good. I think its the Labor I miss estimate the worst.
    Remember also, with applications weather plays a huge role in profit, to get part way and have to stop for rain or wind can shorten a day and cost fuel.
    especially on a long distance area.
  10. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    Please don't overlook the +. That is the Icing on the cake. Cost also includes your labor time. Don't forget the time it takes to mix Chemical before even leaving the shop or the cost of maintenance of equipment as a cost factor.

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