need help pricing

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Orkin Yards, Sep 20, 2001.

  1. Orkin Yards

    Orkin Yards LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    one of my customers had a irigation problem and had to have some new device placed in his yard that sticks up and is a large ugly thing, they placed it in a corner where i bed is about 2 ft away and does a 90degree turn right around it, i'm going to dig up the monkey grass that lines the bed and move it and get some bushes and plant, so basically i'm re routing the bed to go around the box, how would you charg for something like this??? what i had in mind was 35/man/hour + the materials, and i wasplanning on buying them and then mark up 20% but is this to much or to little?
  2. JimsLawnCareSNJ

    JimsLawnCareSNJ LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 9

    my pricing for any kind of landscaping and some yard work it $15 per worker and i start the hours from when we leave the house.
    and the customer pays for all meterials seperately does anyone think this is a good way to charge? and I pay myself and my workers $10 an hour and the other $5 goes to the business

  3. dmk395

    dmk395 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Ma
    Messages: 1,006


    Nice website, however I would really raise those prices. I can't conceivably see how you see any profit.
  4. JimsLawnCareSNJ

    JimsLawnCareSNJ LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 9

    Hello, how much do you charge for an average leaf job?
    or how do you price them?
  5. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    Jim, If you're paying your guys $10/hr, you aren't putting $5 into the business...

    $1 per hour is going to worker's comp.
    $1.50 per hour is going to the gov't.
    Approx. $.50 per productive hour may be spent on non-productive things, like eqpt maintenance and the like.

    I'm sure there are other things I'm forgetting, but as of right now, you are only able to put $2.00/hour back into the business, which should about cover vehicle expenses/repairs and the like.

    So now, you are really only making whatever margin you're getting on your materials...

    I know you said your name was Jim, but I think it's really Slim Pickens...

    If you're pricing by the man-hour, you need to be charging at least $25, as a bare minimum, even if your employees are totally green without a lick of common sense. You really ought to be somewhere between $30 and $50.

    And Orkin - for the size of the job, I'd charge $1,000....In other words, I wouldn't take it because it's too small. Any little snafu and your costs go through the roof. Not worth it.
  6. eskals

    eskals LawnSite Member
    Messages: 210

    I still have tremendous amounts of learning to do on the subject of pricing. One thing that I have learned from lawnsite (Specifically Stonehenge, I believe) is to price out jobs like this in days and half days. Rather than try to calculate down to the hour, which would not leave you much wiggle room on such a small job, calculate down to the half day. Sounds like a half day project (although you could do it quicker), so figure out how much you want to make per day and divide by half. Then add material plus markup.

    This system has worked pretty well for me, as I don't have the experience to estimate time very accurately. Using this approach, you can be assured of charging enough.

  7. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    Thanks, Eric.

    But truthfully, even if you have loads of experience under your belt, and feel comfortable bidding a project in terms of hours, one tiny unplanned thing can make the project balloon into a 5-hour job instead of 3. I think you'll find your current method will be one you're happy with quite awhile.

    And Jim, I forgot something....Do your guys work over 40 hrs/wk? If so, is that OT accounted for in your billing? If not, then you are paying your customer to do work for them. I almost threw up the first time I realized that'd happened to me.

    When you've put 40-50 hours into a design, meeting with the clients, handholding when necessary, putting your hard-earned eqpt on the road/at risk, putting up with employee issues, and then discover that you PAID $50 to do it, you learn quick.

    So ratchet up those prices, and we'll soon be calling you Jimmy Bag-o-Donuts.
  8. JimsLawnCareSNJ

    JimsLawnCareSNJ LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 9

    No they dont work 40 hours a week.
    i dont have enough work for that yet.
    i advertise in the local reminder
    and i have ads in stores
    what other advertising is affective?
  9. Stonehenge

    Stonehenge LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 1,276

    Jim - If you head on over to the Elements of Business forum you'll find lots of good info there.

    But just to whet your whistle, I'll tell you I haven't put an ad in the paper for over 2 years.
  10. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    If your a legimate, taxpaying, insured business your losing your a...

    Get an understanding of the money side of life or get a job. This is all about money. I don't give a rat's butt how much any of us like what we do, it's all about the money. Money is our medium of exchange. It's how we get what we need and want. You gotta get yourself some right now!!! It's about the money!!! Money!!! Dollars, etc!!!

    Your help is making more than you. Yup, it's true. Your paying the phone bill and equipment bills, insurance bills etc. Maybe a place to dump or park and more. Your going out estimating and doing bookkeeping for free. Your not counting those hours are you? Your jsut counting the production hours. And your doing the equipment maintenance for free, off the clock, right?

    I been doing this long enough, insured, taxpaying and on the books to know that if your production equipment depreciation, fuel, repairs, insurance etc isn't costing your $4-$5 per field hour something is wrong. If all insurances and taxes and any other little labor expese that are payroll related don't cost you 22%-25% on top of the hourly wage something is wrong.

    If your just starting out and think your a litle guy with no overhead and you can charge less, something is wrong.

    Jim and the rest of you that don't have it figured out yet, listen up and get it together. You have overhead and you MUST get that money back using a systematic approach.

    Overhead is all the expenses you have that occur even if you don't do job ONE! The phone bill, partial use or complete use of your truck depending on if you use the same one for work and sales or have separate trucks for production and sales. Postage, tax prep, space rental, advertising, cell phones or radios, office equipment and furnishings etc. You have expenses and if you think you don't, you and others like you are in a state of denial.

    Try this analogy. If you had a job and the boss asked you to punch out but keep working for free to help him out, you'd tell him stick-it, right? Would you let your mom, wife, girl, self or who ever come do my bookkeeping for free to help me out? NO!

    So, if you had a job and expected someone to pay you for everything you did for them you should do that for yourself. You are your own overhead when doing required work other than paying hours on a customers project.

    Even if your business is undeground, at least cheat-em right and charge for real. It's about the money!

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