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Oddball maintenace gig

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Jacey, May 30, 2012.

  1. Jacey

    Jacey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    Well, I have been doing a yearly cleanup, trim back, remulch etc for a property. I charge whatever it takes to do it timewise, and it's always a nightmare after a year of neglect. They have a local mow and blow guy who won't touch beds, and it gets really overrun with bermuda.

    This year they had me plant 4 large planters and I ran drip from the sprinklers as they were succulents and I figured this would work ok after tweeking. Well, then we had a deluge, the sprinklers come on no matter..and the owner just said..come out once a week and hand water.

    Question, this is a minor thing obviously to do, so if a limb blows out or and errant weed or somesuch, I clean that up too. It is a 20 mile drive to get to. What is a reasonable rate for this? The owner said..money isn't the important thing, just charge a trip fee...so is that a trip fee plus time at the job..or just a trip fee..and how is that measured. I normally install landscapes and move on, but these people have had a hard time getting dependable help with this. Normally too small a thing for me..but I feel some loyalty after several years, and they seem to be happy I'm doing it. My trip fees in the past have been 45.00..but that was before gas went up. Any help out there?
  2. 4 seasons lawn&land

    4 seasons lawn&land LawnSite Gold Member
    from NY
    Messages: 3,614

    Id figure it as your rate. 50-80 hr range?
  3. Jacey

    Jacey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    I break it down like this...55.00 for initial consult (1hr)...45.00 for me just hand tool job, 55.00 for me and a helper, 65.00+ for power equipment on jobs lasting at least 4-7 hours. I think for the one hour low tech watering pots it should be like the initial consult..55.00.

    Maybe all my numbers are messed up. I really don't know what the competition gets, but I'm sure it's not less, at least not at my level of expertise.

    This guy mentioned casually how recession proof his business's were, and that the smallest one was in the 9 percentile..whatever that means..at 50 mil plus profit margin..just hate to squeak by when at the very least I show up..and at the best I care and do a good job.
  4. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    If you're picking weeds every week when you go there to water, how much money will you lose next spring when there's nothing much to clean out of the beds?
  5. Jacey

    Jacey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    Trust me..if I never saw that overgrowth of bermuda again in my life I'd be stoked! There's plenty more to do in the form of cutting back freeze damage and several yards of mulch, and i suspect we'll add doing the pots again. Its a pretty large property.

    ...so what about my hourly breakdown..make any sense to anyone?
  6. Get Some...

    Get Some... LawnSite Senior Member
    from Kansas
    Messages: 651

    Monthly maintenance price...:dancing:
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Just do your best to put in at least one hour to meet your minimum charge, plus windshield time/gasoline...
    As time goes by I find that, what people need most is someone they can count on and know what they're doing... I don't charge to the max. on some jobs and on others I overcharge by comparison...
  8. Jacey

    Jacey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    Thanx for mentioning that..it's the only thing I haven't factored in is this is not a one time, but weekly gig..so I guess it needs some kind of discounted as a monthly price would reflect. You guys have that down to a number? Is it just a multiple of your hourly, or do you discount a tad?

    The other day I went over the hour considerably to reconstruct a cage around the pots to keep out the critters...but normally it's under that a little.

    (thank you guys for your non smart assed replies..really appreciate it!)
  9. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    I do not do monthly discounts as much as I come up with a fair hourly rate based on my expenses. Then I estimate time requirements of a job.

    I would suggest to the homeowner doing T&M to get every thing to where they want it. Then you quote maintenance based on that experiance. Give him an hourly rate for extras that come up. Extra's always come up
  10. Jacey

    Jacey LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    What's a fair hourly rate in your neck of the woods? I've been at the same price for years..I never quite know how much profit to work in...always thought there should be some sort of realistic table to work from..but the only ones I've seen are contractor books that are way too high from my experience. I wonder if anyone actually gets paid those numbers.

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