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Leaf Removal Pricing/hour

Jake the grass guy

LawnSite Senior Member
Buying a billy goat debris loader this fall with a box on the dump trailer, couple backpack blowers tarps and rakes. I live in a relatively rural area so i will be traveling to multiple counties and hopefully getting multiple cleanups in subdivisions. Im thinking of going straight hourly/man hour for 2 guys with a 1 hour minimum.. partly because i cant see how driving to each cleanup can be as profitable and /man hour is fair to us and the customer and takes the guess work out of it.. thoughts? im located in missouri about an hour west of st louis. thinking 60$/man hour with a 10$ dump fee.
 

Jmcculler

LawnSite Senior Member
You win some and loose some until you get your bidding down but in my experience a customer wants a set price. You can see the expression on their face change when you start talking about an hourly rate. Then you have some difficult ones watching you and questioning every little break you take or why things are taking so long. They dont understand equiptment pricing, techniques etc. . If I can clean an acre in 5 hours with rakes and bags or you can clean it in an hour with a leaf loader and blowers, should I get paid $350 and you only get paid $60? No you should get $350 too, but they dont understand that. . Always estimate your time for the job, what you need your hourly rate to be and give the customer a set price. Then if you hustle and get the job done quick you just doubled your hourly cash flow.

Also? Why do we always talk about what we need to make an hour instead of what the job we are doing is worth. I dont want to make just enough to survive, I want to be paid what I'm worth.
 
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Mac-s Lawn & Snow

LawnSite Senior Member
Hourly leaf removal is a tough sell to people that aren't regular customers. I switched all my customers to hourly last year and I give them a price range on the job. If I was you I'd have a $200 minimum price for that first hour and then maybe $125 an hour plus disposal from there.
 

Youngandfree

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
VA
An hourly rate doesn't take the guess work out when you are quoting the job if you don't know exactly how long it will take you. Just figure how long it will take your 2 guys and add the dump fee into a total price. Just give your total to the customer. Factor time and cost to go to your dump site.
 

Caledwen

LawnSite Senior Member
An hourly rate doesn't take the guess work out when you are quoting the job if you don't know exactly how long it will take you. Just figure how long it will take your 2 guys and add the dump fee into a total price. Just give your total to the customer. Factor time and cost to go to your dump site.
What I have a hard time with is figuring out how long it's going to take me to do something. I also stuggle with disposal. I'm sure it's the same in most places, but i'm charged by weight. So, it's hard for me to get a feeling of how much their stuff is going to weight so I can charge appropriately.
 

Jmcculler

LawnSite Senior Member
What I have a hard time with is figuring out how long it's going to take me to do something. I also stuggle with disposal. I'm sure it's the same in most places, but i'm charged by weight. So, it's hard for me to get a feeling of how much their stuff is going to weight so I can charge appropriately.
It's a guessing game until you do the work and learn. But if you charge the customer by the hour, as you get more efficient you will make less for the same amount of work charging them solely by the hour. . Sounds like a backwards way of doing it. Google the national average for leaf cleanup and do a little research, build a pricing structure based on lot size. The customer only needs a final price, not hourly, not extra disposal fees, not travel time. All they need to know is x amount of money and it will be cleaned. Keep it simple for the customer, lord knows most of them can't handle anymore thought. The only customers I bill hourly are well established, trust me, know my work ethic and dont even ask me how much it will cost, they just want it done and know I will do it right and are willing to pay whatever it takes.
 
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Youngandfree

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
VA
What I have a hard time with is figuring out how long it's going to take me to do something. I also stuggle with disposal. I'm sure it's the same in most places, but i'm charged by weight. So, it's hard for me to get a feeling of how much their stuff is going to weight so I can charge appropriately.
You're probably going to screw yourself a few times until you get it right. That's just how it goes.
 
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