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How is my hourly rate?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by JDGlandscape, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. JDGlandscape

    JDGlandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 512

    I have a few HOA's, medium to large apartment complexes, condiminium associations and retirement home developments, and when requested to do additional work outside of the contracts I most of the time just give them a bill for materials and an hourly per man hour rate after the work is completed (most places have enough faith and trust in me to do it this way).. I havent had much criticism nor praise for my rates until recently. Most have never really questioned it or said that it was decent, they just kind of went with it. Until recently that is. I sent in a bill for the first side job I did at a new place and I was wondering how my price stacked up against others.

    Before I get too far into this, let me just say, I know my costs of operation and what I need to charge with the added profit I would like to make, but I cant help but wonder how I compare to other companies to see if I am lower or higher than everyone else.. Need to know if I am at the current market rate or if I need to trim some fat around the edges.

    Once again, This is not for bidding purposes (although it shoudnt be that much different), it is for places that you already have a fairly good sized contract and it is just for things above and beyond the contract, usually small things, because any big projects I will give them a written contract for. This is just for small things usually not exceeding a days worth of work.

    Before I give my price I would like to see what others have to say about the topic if possible..

    Thanks guys:drinkup:
  2. JDGlandscape

    JDGlandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 512

    Although I know local areas have a different price on contracts, I was thinking this type of pricing would be less influenced by area. The large contract is already yours, but what do you charge for small maintenance work orders on the side.

    Everyone pays roughly the same for gas, fuel, labor, and insurance. Within a few dollars for all of the above except insurance.
  3. JDGlandscape

    JDGlandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 512

    This wasnt a post like "Help me im way over my head and I need help I have no idea what to charge". I was just trying to gain some perspective on whether or not I am being reasonable.
  4. yardsmart

    yardsmart LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    What are the specifics that the customer was unhappy about? I know too much information on final bill brings up too many Questions.
  5. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    You do not give us much to work with in terms of providing valuble feed back.

    Did they think the work should have been included in the contract? Did they agree it was outside the contract but you charged too much?

    A lot of people not involved in business do not have a clue what labor burden is, they know what they make per hour and they see you billing many times more than what they are paid. They assume, you have some expenses but they think the worker is making say $10 per hour and you are charging $40 per hour. They assume you are getting rich.

    I would not give them a break down of your expenses but I sure would let them know that you are paying for insurance, FICA matching, training, licenses, UE, so on and so forth. You would be surprised at how many people do not know that employers match FICA.
  6. muddywater

    muddywater LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,813

    What type of work? Straight manual labor with no equipment involved? Irrigation repair? How many man hours was it? My rates vary. If somebody lets me do a thousand man hours of work, they get a better rate. If it is straight labor, i am going to be at $40. If equipment involved it is more, if less than a full day it is More. If irrigation repair.... $100 an hour for one guy.
  7. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    what types of side jobs are you doing, that would probably help alot of people help answer your question. for mulching i end up getting roughly 100/yard and with 3 guys plus myself we can spread 4 yards an hour maybe a little more and thats with two regular wheelbarrows, mowing i do roughly 130/hr sometimes more, sometimes only 100/hr. plowing i get 140/hr no sanding that's doing residential's. chipping 200-500/hr stump grinding 250/hr usually. and no i don't ever tell a customer an hourly rate, but after I subtract my labor and materials those are what my hourly rate works out to be. pretty much never drop below 100/hr if do its because the customer is new and they may need full landscaping done, so i give them a great deal on the mowing, to get my foot in the door and earn there trust hoping they will have me install 3-4000 dollars of plants in their yard where i can make up the difference and then some on the install, and the 3-4000 dollar job is something i know i can do in a single day easily. so that's how my pricing works.
  8. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    35-40hr is what i would make back when i was 15 in high school and couldn't drive and would stand on my sulky and get towed behind my scag 52" hydro walk behind with my echo backpack on my back and trimmer across the front going down the road to my accounts...customers loved me back then they were getting great work at a steal, they still love me, same customers same great work just a little more expensive for them.
  9. muddywater

    muddywater LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,813

    You are making the same thing now as you were in high school per man hour. 3 guys at $100 an hour is $35 per man hour.
  10. caseysmowing

    caseysmowing LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,117

    He said 100 per yard installed. With 4 guys they are installing 4 yards a hour so that is 400 a hour. If his man hours cost him 40 per helper and mulch is 20 a yard he is still making 200 a hour .

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