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How do you estimate for leave cleanup

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Frontstreetlawns, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. Frontstreetlawns

    Frontstreetlawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 168

    I was just wondering if there was a good way to estimate time cleanup for leaves, i got to put some bids in a cemetary with about 3 oak trees over a 60 feet tall, and i dont want to get screwed in this by under bidding the cleanup
  2. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    It really comes down to trial and error with clean ups.
  3. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,004

    we dont. give them hourly rate on phone. get half of new callers.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Experience has taught me the BEST way to do leaves (and really most any job) is on what I call the 'open estimate,' meaning I give the customer the price after I am done, and they basically agree to pay whatever it costs, whatever it takes, just DO IT.

    I tell you what, the un-bridled feel of working with open estimates RULEZ !!!
    HayO silver and schitt, lol.

    It's gotten so lately, it's the only way I do things anymore. My auto mechanic taught me this little trick, with him I never know how much it's going to cost OR how long it is going to take to fix my car, but by the time it is all said and done, I usually find the price agreeable AND the car is always fixed right... Hmmm, how interesting, I thought to myself.

    Why this is so:
    - When estimating, I tend to go higher to compensate for risk variables, some of which never materialize, most of which shouldn't bother me.
    - Once estimateD, the owner has the problem of completing the job WITHIN said quote, something I noticed tends to slow me down, just like bridles slow the race horse, the estimate in effect exerts control over me, and this control throttles.
    - With the open estimate, first I get paid exactly what it is worth, second they pay no more and no less, and last but not least, I can work my @$$ off for all it's worth.

    It really is the fairest way, plus I get a virtual HO when they say Yes, I'm all over that stuff like flies on stink... I have never worked harder than on an open estimate, maybe it's just me but the unbound feeling is something I think everybody should experience at least once in their lifetime :)

    So in the end, everybody wins: I get the most $/hour while they get the most work done/hour, we BOTH come out ahead as they pay less for the actual work while I get it done faster than ever before, I get paid good, too.

    The secret:
    When a customer agrees, make SURE you do not fall for the temptation of trying to get a little extra: Charge what is fair and no more. Doing so should either build or keep their trust in you, failure to do so can destroy you.
  5. 6'7 330

    6'7 330 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,821

    It does not take a page long tirade, one sentence will do the trick...I just say 100$ a Man-hour, or 100 to 120 for a Chicago stamp bungalow every week.
  6. K.Carothers

    K.Carothers LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,124

    I enjoyed it!:waving:
  7. ALBsun1

    ALBsun1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 114

    How do you get $100/man hour to move leaves?
  8. LawnscapeMN

    LawnscapeMN LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    I am new to the biz and I have been charging $100-$120 for city homes. The lots are only 48 ft wide with a few trees, so its easy money. Also, I talk to the customer before I come about any neighbors that might need cleanup also. I give them a deal if they get me some other customers on their street.
  9. daveyo

    daveyo LawnSite Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 907

    6'7 you tell us your birth date but you say your age is your business, is this a conundrum? Also, telling a new guy to charge a 100/ man hour might put him out of business before he starts. His over head can't be any where near yours to justify 100/ man hour. Frontstreetlawns, you have to figure out your costs and estimate what you should charge to make a living.
    Also, do more homework on this site through search, you'll find a bunch of info.

    David O'Donnell
    O'Donnell Landscape Design

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