I Think I am Getting It

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Sharp Services, Aug 31, 2005.

  1. Sharp Services

    Sharp Services LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 268

    From my prior post and from reading all that everyone is writing in other threads ... I can tell that I am not charging enough an hour.

    Here is my question ... how much to charge an hour, when I am figuring a price for a job.

    Here is my situation ...

    I have a 2003 F-150, close to being paid for, a new 12 foot trailer, a 33" Snapper Hydro, two 21" snappers, Redmax weed eater, Redmax blower, Echo pruners, Echo stick edger with pruning attachment, chainsaw and other hand tools. I am a part-timer. My monthly expense to pay for the trailer and equipment is $350.

    I have been bidding out my jobs using the rate of $25 an hour, I am making money, but not lots of it. I am thinking I need to be at $30 - 35 an hour. Is that closer or what?

    Thanks for all your help!!
  2. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,267

    Well without knowing all of your overhead its hard to say.Also I am not familiar with the going rates in your area but if you think you are on the low side then its time for a rate increase.
  3. imdawrlus

    imdawrlus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49

    a buck a minute...
  4. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    25-30 an hour more is 5-10 more an hour

    does this help?
  5. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,454

    It will be hard to go up on your current accounts. . .people don't like that.

    I personally feel the best set up is a 48-60" ztr and a 32" wb. Assuming you are efficient and competent you should be around $1/minute working solo - less if you are new, slow, or under-equipped (i.e. whether your 33" ztr is the right tool for your accounts).

    You'll know if you are getting what you are worth if you don't win all your bids. You shouldn't win them all but you should win most. If you are on the line and having to sell yourself to get the account, you are bidding about right and will be getting about what you're worth.

    Hope this helps.
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I agree 100% since I've been in a similar situation and CAN help somewhat. I also started out around 20/hour and found out much in the same way that I wasn't charging enough... Personally, I recommend going up 5 dollars/hour MAX and understand you will LATER have to do it again but worry right now about +$5/hour as this will make the adjustment easier AND help soften the impact. $30/hour is easy at 50 cents/minute, I would run $30/hour until end of year then next year start out at $35 and MAYBE by end of next year you'll be hitting $40. It IS hard but at least now you're seeing the light and so it is only a matter of time, patience, and perseverance... I had to do it, too, heh.

    Here's how I do it: First, remember your regulars are as good as money in the bank so I do NOT recommend forcing an increase on them. I say ASK nicely and some will go for it and others won't and just leave it at that and be cool or you may end up losing someone.

    I like to run some advertising and ALWAYS test new prices on NEW customers is great because you don't LOSE any regulars this way AND the new customers are less aware of your current prices. Be prepared for a higher No/Yes ratio on your estimates and start learning NOT to be afraid of an answer of No, you will need this later especially in the $40/$45 range I catch a slew of no somedays. But at $30/hour it shouldn't be much worse than 50/50 yes-to-no, likely it will be more than 50% say yes still.

    This is an estimating business and an estimate is an EDUCATED *GUESS* as to how long we THINK it's going to take. Because of this, invariably a few customers end up on TOP of the barrel and a few on the BOTTOM of the barrel while the rest (hopefully most) are somewhere in between. So then I try and go for an increase on the bottom-of-barrel customers AND sometimes the ones I do not want to work for BUT be aware they are also the MOST resistant to this change lol. At the same rate so long you don't push the issue it is unlikely they will have a total cow at your suggestion because they WANT to keep you (yah cuz its cheap) - I know I rant and rave about these pitas sometimes but I also want to say that when times were tough for me, a LOT of times it WAS the pitas kept me alive as the good customers left for better waters, had it not been for pitas there were a couple of times I would not have made it - Thus, the pitas deserve some credit and if that's all you got then you need them, too.

    SO but then I get tired of fighting with the pitas over 5 lousy bucks so from time to time I ASK one my better customers if they might can see it but be ready for a no thanks answer and be cool so you don't lose a good customer: $25/hour on a regular customer is better than NO customer at $30/hour.

    $25 to $30 is almost a TWENTY percent increase and is the TOUGHEST resistance. Once you get over this hump, going from $30 to $35 is a bit milder and from $35 to $40 isn't bad and from $40 to $45 was the easiest thing I ever did ($40 to $45 is barely over TEN percent increase, HALF the percent of 25-30).

    Another thing you can do to increase your $ / hour is to continue billing your current $$$ / hour BUT when you work, you ONLY work 50 minutes out of each hour. This may sound dirty but in college, an hour's worth of instruction is sometimes hardly 45 minutes from bell to bell, so it's not unheard of. While you are doing that, CONCENTRATE on becoming MORE efficient which means figure out how to get MORE work done in LESS time as this will also help your $$ / hour, the idea is you WANT to get an HOUR's work done in 50 minutes then get paid $25 in 50 minutes = $30 / hour :) then a few of your customers go for the increase and over time you will find yourself climbing towards $35 / hour in a very clever way.

    See by the time you get to $45 / hour, the idea is that you can do TWICE the work someone else who is charging $30 / hour can do so in ONE hour at $45 you are accomplishing the SAME goals as the guy takes TWO hours at $30 which means YOUR cost is $45 while the other guy is asking for $60 and guess who comes out win-win every time? YOU and YOUR customers!

    Hope is help.
  7. South Florida Lawns

    South Florida Lawns LawnSite Platinum Member
    from usa
    Messages: 4,784

    It depends on your area and your costs.

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