How Much Would You Charge???

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ivyslawncare, May 1, 2011.

  1. ivyslawncare

    ivyslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 247

    At first I told them i would charge 20 an hour and it would take about 2.5 hours. BUT as i was working they kept asking if i would do more things for them. I was just asking because I dont want them to freak when i tell them a 200+ dollar price.
  2. GravyTrain

    GravyTrain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    You will quickly learn. When someone asks for additional work, you have to tell them up front it will be an additional charge. I'll do odds and ends for a customer for free, but only if it's "would you carry this bag to the curb for me" or would you pick up those 15 leaves that blew into the corner of my flower bed". If they ask me to clear out an overgrown flower bed, I have no problem telling them it will be an additional charge, and they always understand that I'm not running a charity.

    If you tell them a $200 price, and they freak, for 8 hours of need to never deal with them again. Of course, charging only $20 an hour blows my mind to begin with.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    The part I don't understand...

    Is how it took ONLY 8 hours to load and haul a pickup truck and 5x10 trailer SIX times!
    Hell it'd dang near take that long just to drive where it's going and unload it...

    So which is it, don't you mean 8 hours a day, times 2-3 days?
    So then it would be like 20 hours?
    Times $20 an hour?

    Plus 50 cents a mile one way (and you can tell them that's cheap!), per trip (times six).
    Plus $10 a load to unload.

    What are we up to now?
    Last edited: May 2, 2011
  4. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    Well, I think you kind of answered your own question. If you gave them a quote of $20 per hour originally, you are pretty much stuck with that rate for the 8 hours, or $160. I'm guessing you didn't have a dump fee, as per your location, but you should be able to tack on a reasonable fee for mileage to and from the dump site.

    Twenty per hour, for a teenager, is good money (heck, it is more than I made when I was working), but realistically, it isn't enough to cover all the expenses of a legitimate business, so you need to take that into account when you bid in the future. You could either set the hourly rate for the labor, then add on additional costs, or just try to include these in the hourly rate. Many will advise against charging hourly, but I think there are situations where it is warranted, especially when you are inexperienced in bidding larger jobs. In this case, if you had said you would do it for $50 ($20 per hour), but the job had ended up taking the 8 hours, some people would expect you to only charge the $50 you originally asked for.

    We have a grandson a few years older than you, and he runs into the same problems as he is not very good at communicating with his customers and making sure the price is agreed on beforehand. We all are probably guilty of doing this at some point. I know I am. When they ask for additional services added to the original job, just be sure they understand there will be additional charges.

    In this instance, just make out an invoice showing the total number of hours you worked, then add any additional fees such as mileage. Hopefully, this customer will understand they asked for much more than 2 1/2 hours work. If not, you will learn from your mistakes, as we all do. Good luck.
  5. ivyslawncare

    ivyslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 247

    Small town! The house i was mowing was 4 blocks away from where i dump. So no, it was a total of 8 hours thoughout 2-3 days
  6. ivyslawncare

    ivyslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 247

    Thanks for that awsome reply! I'm going to go with what you said. Charge the 20 an hour and tack on additional fees. Once they see what i did on the invoice they will understand. Thank you!
  7. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,537

    Somewhere in the infant stages of doing work for my clients, I leak out what my hourly rate is (for THAT property). It sure makes things easier, when they have a very good idea of what the answer to their question is going to be.
  8. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    What is sounds like to me is since you did give them an hourly rate up front is that they liked your work and realized they were getting a good deal so they had you do as much as possible. Clearly they had to expect that it would cost more. So as long as you were reasonably efficient, I'd go ahead and bill them for your time and any materials/fees. In fact I'd mark up any materials 10 to 20 percent. If it comes to $200 I think they'll realize that they still got a deal. For new customers I will often go over the invoice with them item by item. For my regualrs, they trust me, so I just send them a bill and they pay it.

    I once had a customer I was billing hourly for a fall cleanup argue with me over 15 minutes....after that I referred them to someone else, lol. They only wanted to pay me while I was physically on their property, not including the time it took me to load and unload out at the curb!
  9. ivyslawncare

    ivyslawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 247

    WOW! Some people think mowing a yard is just getting out the old mower and thats it. With a business they don't understand how much actually goes into it!

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