Is there a science to pricing....

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by l3en007, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. l3en007

    l3en007 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    overseeding your regular maintenance accounts. Of course these are my premier irrigated full maintenance accounts. All my customers are good pay. Ive heard you do x amount times a cut? Or do i just charge an hourly rate per man? Id appreciate any feedback.
  2. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,062

    I spent many hours determining pricing earlier this summer. Although mine was not specifically for overseeding, I would approach it the same way by changing a few lines in the spreadsheets I came up with.

    No matter how you do it, you have to start with some assumption or standard. I began with the notion that there had to be some minimum size property I would work on and I wanted to arrive at some minimum charge covering that (or anything smaller). That included the time and trouble of getting all necessary equipment to the job (and back), the time I expected the actual work to take, and some return on the cost of the equipment. I wanted to know that number and to then determine what additional units - either per acre or per 1,000 square feet - would require.

    From there, I experimented with variables such as my time, equipment time and what that might be worth, fuel consumption, a profit & overhead figure, materials, etc. In determining my minimum as well as my "additional units" pricing, I distinguished between technician time and general labor time to reflect that I work alone. Larger companies might provide labor requiring varying degrees of skill using different workers. For instance, I used one price per hour for figuring loading the equipment on the trailer and moving it and a higher price for pesticide applications once at the job site. For pesticides, I have a “no exceptions” fee for filling out the paperwork since the inspector allows no exceptions. Really, this has turned out to be a great tool for me and good information for the customer.

    The materials you expect to use are, of course, an important variable and often one of the easier ones to determine. You have to decide for yourself how far you want to break things down. Whatever you do not wish to itemize (internally, not for the customer) needs to be accounted for in your overhead number. In my case, an example is my trailer; it’s just something I have with me, I made to attempt to determine what pulling it around costs me or is worth. The time spent loading and unloading it was broken out in my pricing model.

    I have never understood how the "two times normal rate" approach could work well. On this board, I see it mentioned often with regard to sprayed fertilizer rates and mowing rates. It must work for some people. I am not criticizing it, I just do not understand how it plays in determining equitable pricing. It seems like if you had a tremendous amount of volume it might save a lot of time spent on estimating, but it also seems like shooting in the dark. The real pricing question I was trying to answer for myself is: what is fair and affordable to the customer and is also worthwhile to me? We are all alike in that I am sure.

    Good luck with whatever approach you decide to use. Mine is a work in progress to be sure.
  3. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    I have to offer this disclaimer I don't know what your overseed procedure is or the purpose, I am sure it is different than mine. We scalp he turf down to the dirt and overseed with a rye blend so we have winter grass to mow. I know other southern states do this but am unclear why someone in Jersey is overseeding in the fall.

    Pricing is why documentation is so important. When I first started I went T & M and I documented every yard, time in time out, how much debris hauled away, condition of turf prior to scalp etc. After 2-3 seasons I took this information and came up with unit prices that includes the whole enchiladas. Scalp, irrigation check, overseed, dumping, spot reseeding. I have 3 prices per sq. ft. based on prior condition of the turf. I have some lawns that are like putting greens and it is very difficult to scalp them the turf is so dense. When I take over some properties the lawns are so thin the scalp takes no time at all.

    BTW I still document everything. The guys fill out a worksheet on every job every time.
  4. robtown

    robtown LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 224

    In NJ we have 2 seasons to grow grass ...the fall is the best ..because it has the winter to get a good jump on forming roots.
    As far as pricing it depends
    time and material and equipment profit and overhead.
    oh yeah big house tax poor attitude tax bahaaa
  5. l3en007

    l3en007 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 96

    for all your input!

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