Possible to accurately have per shrub prune price?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by grassmasterswilson, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    I'm looking into doing a pruning program for my customers. I've always charged per hour to cover any labor charges.

    Can you accurately prune on a per plant basis? Maybe $5-7 per bush under 5 feet. Higher for taller plants and an extra charge for first time pruning of overgrown shrubs.

    Just curious if those who do lots of pruning have found an easy way to estimate besides per hour.
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  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The biggest part of the job is the cleanup... if there's a lot of loose wood chips under the shrubs,,, you had better figure out how much its gonna cost you to keep that looking nice... especially if its an evergreen with tiny pieces everywhere... :)
  3. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    it sure is, but my pricing might not work in your area, small shrubs like up to 2' high are 10-15 dollars, medium shrubs up to 5' are 20-50 dollars, and tall shrubs like burning bush have been let go and are 8-10ft tall or higher are 55-100 dollars depending on if the customer is already one of my lawn customers, and has me do other work or if they are a new customer, lawn customers get a slight discount, and new customers who have over 25 shrubs get a discount as well. Either way it works out for me. i just did a small shrub pruning job friday, I was cutting the lawn and i had my guys pruning, 175 dollar job, and 40 dollar lawn, everything was done and cleaned up in about 25 mins. the lawn took longer to due because i was cutting myself vs. two mowers and a trimmer, but the pruning more then made up for the 5 min difference. with this pricing system, the 2' shrubs take no longer then 5 mins to prune to perfection, and sometimes i even charge 20 dollars for them if they are wider like more mature boxwoods or something.
  4. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    Thanks. Pruning is a very small part of my business, and I have always done it per request of the customer. Since I offer mowing, applications, mulch, etc it just seems to be the next step in going to full service(which is what I would like to do).

    I've always billed it out per hour and told the customer a price range. I would like to try and include some type of pruning program into my monthly customers and trying to figure out the safest way to estimate without getting burned.
  5. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I also estimate and bill my pruning jobs per hour. I know some people do it, but I can't see myself pruning on a fixed per shrub basis...maybe as a range. Shrubs that are out of shape and/or have a lot of dead in them take a LOT longer than those that have been maintained, size being equal.
  6. Yup, great point about dead stuff and shrubs that have been neglected for a while.
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  7. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Per hour. You can have two hedges 50' long 3' tall. One hedge is trimmed three times a year. Always very little gets cut off for the last cut of the season. May not even need to do a clean if any.

    The other 50' hedge has not been trimmer in since last September.

    Can't go by size.

    Then what if the past pruning has mishapen the shrubs then extra work is time is needed.

    Hedge prunning is best to ask an LCO how long it takes them to do job your customer wants done. Then multiply that time by your hourly rate to price out the job.

    With experience you will be able to judge the time needed. Remember because you don't have the best suited eqiupment and the job takes longer you can't expect the customer to pay you for the extra time it takes you.

    That would be like trying to charge someone 10 hrs to do their lawn with your 20" mower that another LCO can do in 1 hr with their 60" ZTR.
  8. grassmasterswilson

    grassmasterswilson LawnSite Platinum Member
    from nc
    Messages: 4,988

    I'm trying to develop a good year round pruning program. What are you guys doing? 2 full prunes and a couple "as needed" visits?
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  9. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,725

    I can guesstimate smaller and mid size bushes rather easily. It's the big stuff is very difficult to estimate, a 4-5 foot shrub may take 3-5 mins but a 20 footer can take several hours to get it right. Now I do some where I do not know the actual heights but when your standing 10 feet on a ladder reaching so your arms at the 17 foot level with an 11 foot set of trimmers in your hand and struggling to hit the top its a good guess the bush is 28-30 ft tall. Iv done hedge jobs where the hedge is so wide you can not reach the center from either side with 11 foot trimmers. So I know a little about the big stuff I do 50-60 trimming jobs a year and have for the past 23 years. Id recommend charging by the hour creates fewer head aches.

    Start with smaller shrubs and hedges and work your way up as you become more skilled and confident.
  10. lukemelo216

    lukemelo216 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ...
    Messages: 1,267

    This is a very tough to try and come up with. Differnt variety of shrubs require very differnt pruning methods. I know a majority (not all but a majority) of the people on this site and a large percentage of the lawn mowers out there just get the hedge trimmers and hack all the shrubs into globes. But all the plants really require differbt pruning.

    We prune shrubs to have a natural shape that us clean so the continue to flower. Shrubs get prubed once per year and the timing is dependent on the variety of the shrub. After that we will prune as needed to take down suckers, shoots, dead branches etc. Formal hedges such as juniper yew boxwood we will trim two times per year and prune as needed. With our meathid you really cant put a price on a per shrub except for maybe hedges hut we estimate our hours and price accordingly.
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