Need help pricing big job for family member

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by jem6881, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. jem6881

    jem6881 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    I have recently started a fully-insured and incorporated lawn care and landscaping business in Indiana. A family member has asked me to do some clean-up and landscaping to a 2.6 acre commercial property with building he owns. Here are the basics of the property: NO ONE has done a thing to it in nearly 3 years except for mowing. Weeds around the building have grown to "trees" with 3" trunks and there is so much brush surrounding the 2-car detached garage you can barely see the door. He wants me to remove all brush, weeds, trash, etc. surrounding the building and mow the property. I will not be doing any major tree removals. I currently have approximately 40 man hours in it and probably have another 60-70 to complete the project.
    The property is on a busy road in Carmel, IN (northside of Indianapolis... higher end living and business).
    Thank you for your time and insight!
  2. VirginiaLawnCare

    VirginiaLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 337

    From my experience doing any work for a family member dosnt work out. Maybe you will have better experience but they always expect something more or expect it so much cheaper.
  3. 93Chevy

    93Chevy LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 38,824

    Working for family can be tricky. I'm doing a big job for my aunt who lives 2 hours away. On the plus side...I get free beer, a cold shower, and a place to spend the night if I need to. It's also a bit more lenient as far as time constraints, e.g. I can work there a 14 hour day every couple Saturdays, instead of getting it done fast in a week.

    On the down side, I'm charging less because they can't afford $40 an hour for the work that needs to be done.

    Basically, I charge as much as I can without feeling guilty about it.
  4. Bru75

    Bru75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 582

    I see two options when working for family and friends:
    1. Charge your normal rate and handle everything the same as you would for anybody else (this is business after all).
    2. Work free.
    The idea of lower prices for family doesn't work. You have just as much work to do, and they get the same service as they would if you weren't related.
  5. Madd Dogg 52

    Madd Dogg 52 LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 2

    I agree with 93chevy. Working for family can be tricky. I generally charge my normal rate and discount it anywhere from 5 to 20 percent for being a relative and depending on the size of the job. This way I know exactly what I am getting into and it lets them know what is expected. If your pricing is competitive, they will know they are getting a good price after the discount... They save a little money, you make a little money, and everyone is happy. Beyond that, I try to keep it as professional and business like as possible. Other things to consider, is the relative approaching your services like any other business or are they expecting a discounted price? Are there time constraints or out of pocket expenses outside of time and labor. Best policy, be up front about what is wanted and expected including payment. That way you stay a relative on speaking terms. Do a good job too. Remember, they may refer you to someone they know.
  6. Natural Impressions

    Natural Impressions LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    Agree with this
  7. Natural Impressions

    Natural Impressions LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    I always try to work it like this with any family member. And I got this thought from my own father.

    If you are working for a family member during the week during business hours then they are a costomer and business is business.

    On the other hand if you are working weekends, hours on the side or you are using any other free time that you have. Family is family and take care of them anyway you can.

    Remember we all have to make a living but we all should help out our family.
  8. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,511

    O man you have put in 40 hours and haven't talked about price yet? I am scared for you!
  9. Natural Impressions

    Natural Impressions LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    HA HA, you took the words right out of my mouth.
  10. S.I.

    S.I. LawnSite Senior Member
    from west
    Messages: 323

    ^^Unless you are hard up for work, have free time, and need the money. ^^

    I won't do work for family unless it is during my free time, I don't feel right about charging them and won't put out paying customers to work for discounted rates.

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