Needing help on pricing!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by zackman_9936, Aug 21, 2011.

  1. zackman_9936

    zackman_9936 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    Hey everyone, i just joined the site but been reading fourms for years. I started the business 6 years ago but just this spring i bought a truck loader for doing leaves. I have a 18' X 8' X 6' box built on my dual axel trailer for leaves.

    The town i live and work in is about 2000 people and has 713 houses. about 75% of them are actually occupied. The city currently does nothing for leaf removal, but they always have problems as usual clogging up the storm sewer. I was going to approche the city council which i know all of them and have worked with them previously for my eagle project i did. I was going to talk to them about contracting me out to pick up piles if citizens would rake them to the roadside.

    I have researched other ideas in towns and they run from about October 15 to December 15. Some make them bag in special bought bags and others make them buy special stickers. I haven't talked to them about any ideas but i was wondering if anybody on here does anything like this and if so could they tell me how they price it? Looking for ideas here. Thanks everyone!!!
  2. zackman_9936

    zackman_9936 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    Any ideas would be helpful. Even if all you do is residential how would you price it?
  3. coolluv

    coolluv Banned
    from Atlanta
    Messages: 4,514

    Figure expenses and added profit= price.

    Only you can answer that question, Right?

  4. zackman_9936

    zackman_9936 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    I was thinking of doing something like $10 per house. Figure maybe 400 actually use the service, that $4000 per round. Do that once everyother week for 2 months and thats $16000. I doubt the city would go for that high of price. Maybe half that. and to line up the jobs i was going to see if they would have them call the city clerk and she puts a list together that i would pick up each day and go complete the jobs. Or should i go for an option of me just going and picking up all piles and telling them how many i did then get paid accordingly. I think this would save alot of sewer plug ups and would help eliminate that horrible smoke smell. Thanks for your help by the way.
  5. Jeremiah Dyke

    Jeremiah Dyke LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    You said about half of $16,000 or $8000 for two months (four jobs). That’s $2000 per job or $2.80 per house (2000/713), per job. You might be able to pitch it to them this way.

    You could also allow the amount to be paid in monthly/quarterly installments over the course of a year in order to assure the town their revenues.

    Maybe you could take a survey of your town to gauge their interest. This might also help strengthen your pitch
  6. zackman_9936

    zackman_9936 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    Jeremiah, i like the idea of a survey. I also want to get city records seeing how much they spent last year due to leaves causing problems. I think i can start my pitch at the 16000 and always come down. I'm estimating 20mintues per house to suck them all up. This would also help average out dump times. I dump about 3 miles out of town and i just take the intake hose inside and turn the discharge towards the outside. It would average out to only 8.40 per hour. If the price was 2000 per round. Thats way lower than my usual rate, i feel that my usual rate would be too high just because of the volume of work they are bringing into me.

    I just ran the math on my usual rate and it would be too much. I brought it down a few dollars to 5 per house, and it would clear what i would need to bring in.
    Thanks for your imput. Zack.
  7. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    You may break it down per house for your estimate, but I would give the city a price for the entire job and stop there. If you tell them you will do it for $10 per house they may want a record of which and how many houses you did. So if the service is new it may take a while for homeowners to catch on. what if at the beginning you ride around all day and only do 5 could only bill out $50.

    You also need to factor in dumping and a dumping fee. You may end up takeing severl dump trips a day.
  8. zackman_9936

    zackman_9936 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    I'm debating if people should contact me or city hall to have me come by or should i try for just go pick up piles and then turn the address into the city. If they contacted me they would (if everyone uses the system ideally) blow my cell phone up. My personal cell is also my business phone and im just going into my freshman year of college and dont really want it vibrating all the time while in class. and i think i will use the idea of one large chunk but im sure they will ask what that breaks down per house. Thanks. Zack.
  9. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    This is way out of my area of expertise, but just a thought here. I'd try to find a municipality that has a yard waste/leaf removal program, and see how it is handled. That might give you an idea of how to go about setting one up as well as help with the pricing structure.

    One word of caution. Don't sell yourself too short. I can see where this could turn into a lot more work than you really think it would be. The density of mature trees in your area would be a huge factor. Taking in large sums of money always sounds good, but if there is no profit to be had after taking into account all the potential expenses, then you are better off just working directly with residents knowing you can turn a profit on individual cleanups.

    A friend of mine operated a tree service with his cousin for a while a few years ago. We had a major ice storm that winter, so the government paid for removing hazardous broken limbs from county roads. I kept cautioning my buddy to not make the mistake of bidding too low. He and his cousin put in a lot of work, driving the miles of routes, counting every limb to be removed, figuring mileage to the dump site for each load, time required, etc., and turned in a bid. The winning bid was about 1/3 of theirs, if I remember correctly.

    My friend was disappointed, until the guy that got the bid told him later he made no money on the job, that he bid way too low. My friend was the real winner. He didn't make any money, but he didn't do the work, either.

    Good luck.
  10. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    Looks to me like the simplest solution is to have specific pick up dates. It is the owner's responsitibility to have the leaves at the curb by that date. You run the street, no leaves, you don't stop. Leaves, you stop and load them. I think this is how the city here handles their annual cleanup for stuff the regular trash haulers won't pick up.

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