How much do you tack on to materials?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by HighGrass, Apr 15, 2005.

  1. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Messages: 1,237

    What do you normally add onto materials when you're doing extra work for your lawn customers.
    I have a lady that wants me to fix a fence and some divits in her yard, fix part of the drive way etc. I have the labor cost down pat, but what do I tack on for materials (above and beyond cost)?

  2. PR Fect

    PR Fect LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,076

    10% to 33% depends on what it is and how much time and money we had in getting it.
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    Here is a good rule of thumb; always charge retail price.

    If you can buy a 30-36" Rhododendron for $10 at a wholesaler nursery but you know local retail nurseries sell them for $30, then you should sell them for $30.

    If you can buy a Rainbird 1804 sprinkler head for $0.88 at an irrigation wholesale supply store but local Home Depots and retail irrigation stores sell those heads for $3.50, then you should charge $3.50.

    If you can buy 50 lb bags of good fertilizer for $8 a bag but Home Depot sells 50 lb bags for $15, then you should get $15.00

    Then it's a game of where can you find the product for the least.

    Here's an example that happened today. Retail price on a Spiral shaped topiary juniper 5-6' tall is about $140 at the nice retail nurseries in my area. So I sell them for that price. I can buy that tree at one local nursery just 5 miles away for $120.00. Then, I'll make $20 on that tree. But I can also drive out to Canby (20-25 miles away) and get them for $60 each. Same tree. Just as nice, just different supplier. If I don't mind driving out that far, I can make $80 off each of those trees I sell. Today, I was in a big rush and just chose to buy them at the first nursery. But usually I'd make the drive and pocket a lot more $$.

    It's the same with everything we buy. I am always looking for other, less expensive suppliers on things like fertilizer, seed, machinery, plants, materials, mulch, irrigation supplies, etc. But I always sell them for retail price.

    The reason this is a good rule of thumb is two-fold;

    1) You will never have a guilty conscience. The customer will always be paying exactly what they would have paid had they gone and got the item themselves. So you aren't ripping them off. They couldn't get it any cheaper anyway.

    2) If the customer ever does question the price of an item, you simply say, "Hey, I am sorry. That's the retail cost of these things. Check it out for yourself at.....".
  4. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    That's pretty close to what I do, but charge them just a little less and let them know. I don't let them know exactly, but will let them know they are paying less than what they could buy it for. Grass seed that cost me 80 cent a pound, but cost them $2 a pound at the local nursery, I might charge them $1.75 per pound.
  5. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    I tack on an extra 25 percent.

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