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$ per hour, different services.

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Tlvoskamp, Sep 4, 2007.

  1. Tlvoskamp

    Tlvoskamp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    Here is a question for all of you pros, I am wanting to make sure that I am quoting my jobs in the right neck of the woods for a professional LCO. In West Texas where I operate we have diifferent hourly values we place on different services and we try to quote our jobs to net a certain amount per hour. I was curious about three different areas.

    1 Mowing.
    2 Landscaping.
    3 Chemical Application.

    What is your per hour goal when you quote jobs for these areas. I guess you can say how much you hope to net per hour after employees get paid and other expenses get absorbed.


  2. DillonsLawnCare

    DillonsLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,100

    well i think the old saying is that for labor $1 a minute is what it should be at!

    ive never acheived that goal!! its too expensive for some.....
  3. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    Sorry to say but if you are a "Professional" then you should know what to be charging.
  4. Tlvoskamp

    Tlvoskamp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    No bagger,

    I have a pretty good feel, I am just researching to see if my approach is consistent with other markets. " The unexamined life is not worth living " I think the unexamined business is not worth running.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I don't quote per hour anymore, I quote by the amount of work, how long it takes is then my problem. What takes me 2 hours one time could take all day another, there's just no solid ground to stand on here, quote a customer an hourly rate and I end up working twice the amount over... Don't ask me to quote per hour, it's $30 to start the timer, $2 a minute after that, $100 minimum, nobody asks me how much per hour anymore.

    There's a system I use, it defines my prices, it simply costs this much for that, regardless of how and when I decide to do it, and regardless of how long it takes me in the end, x amount of work costs y dollars.

    It's all worked out, things weren't always like that, but something to keep in mind for years 2-3 and 4.

    As for what I gross, in the end, truck time and maintenance, deposits and paperwork and taxes, who knows for sure because I do a lot of work on days I don't get paid because I'm not out servicing any lots... But on a service day, from the time I leave until the time I sit down, the total amount billed / the total hours adds out to somewhere between 25-35 / hour, which is to say I estimate around $60 an hour if you want to look at it that way but don't assume a first or 2nd year Lco can go out there and quote $60 an hour, they'll give you the 'gimme a break' look, customers can see inexperience from miles away.

    I work for my money, my machines run so good they never fail (well, almost never), they run and run and run all year on one oil change, I push them to their limit time and again, all the work that goes into them is what makes me efficient, no farking around.
    What happens is I got 3,500 cuts under my belt, today I can look at a lawn and tell you what height to cut it at so you don't spend all day there and still make it look good, no bagging, wether it's 6 inches or 8-10 inches tall it's blam and shazzam lol.
    Took 6 years to get there...

    My first year I grossed closer to $30 an hour, mostly due to inexperience and lack of equipment, it used to take me dang near an hour to finish a 1/4 - 1/2 acre lot, nowadays I cut an acre in 45 minutes and I'm done in an hour, $55 for an acre lot, but if I want to use the 21" it's still $55...
  6. Tlvoskamp

    Tlvoskamp LawnSite Member
    Messages: 48

    Top sites,

    Thank you for your information. I appreciate the assistance.
  7. steve5966

    steve5966 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 210

    "they run and run and run all year on one oil change"

    I don't know whether to laugh or just shake my head at you lack of mechanical knowledge.
  8. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    Then change your market strategy.
    I have a charging rate for my employees, and it starts at $40 per hour for general landscape maintenance.
    Tree trimming is $55.00/hour unless a ladder is involved then it goes to $75.00/hour.
    Irrigation repair is a flat $65.00 per labor hour.
    Chemical applications are almost entirely done by me and I will not quote an hourly as the chemical, degree of difficulty, amount of labor involved all adds up to a final amount far in excess of a per hour charge.
    For instance, I applied a soil sterilent to school campuses to control for unwanted noxious growth in playgrounds and curb side. My cost for the 100 gallons of material was less than $125.00, I had less than four hours into the preparation, spray and decontamination of the tank and I charged over $12.00 per gallon applied. So do the math but it was a winner for me.
    Long story short - if you have a "feel" for other markets you are not pushing the envelope in your area to it's potential = leaving money on the table.

    All of this said, markets differ somewhat from area to area yet if you deliver a quality product with a reasonable assurance of accuracy and professionalism, you can charge essentially what you are worth not what a "market" will allow.

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