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Price for Weeding Flower Beds?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Braxton, May 20, 2005.

  1. Braxton

    Braxton LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 81

    Any advice on bidding clean-outs/restorations for flower beds? I just bid one this week and based it on the "dollar a minute" I hear so much about. The lady nearly died when I told her the price, and I think I lost the lawn account over it. I'm not so much worried about the lawn account as I am making sure I bid things reasonably. The lawn was actually more trouble than it was worth. Still, I'm new to this and it was one precious account...

    I did a search on this and found everything from about $35-about $50 per hour. What do y'all charge, and if the figure of $35/hour is correct, what happened to the "dollar a minute" figure I've heard so much? While I'm on the subject, is that price what you try to clear or gross?


  2. A+ Lawncare

    A+ Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 503

    well for labor such as maintence of beds, i charge $35 an hr/man hr, if i'm running a crew of 3 then thats $105 an hr. well the customer may remark as but u were only there for an hr and u charged for 3hrs? u need to let her in on a secert the reason i charged this is b/c if i was solo it would of taken me 3hrs, there are 2 other guys beside me 2day m'am.... but never tell ur customer how much u charge per hr, just bid by job they'll start thinkin i don't even get close to that rate or my dr. gets $50 an hr and ur some low life w/an mower or an wheel barrowl who thinks u can charge $60 an hr.... well m'am i only see about 1/4 of that money on a good day due to expenses ( direct & inderect variables) and taxes will eat u alive....

    the $60 per hr is for guys w/large ztr... i've recently done a search on a topic of how much to make an hr and saw where another LCO said for ppl w/36''-52'' w/b should be making $40 an hr... idk whether this is relevant or something u should just overlook b/c i'm still wondering if its true myself.....
  3. eruuska

    eruuska LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 454

    The truth is that there is no "magic number" to charger per hour. The $60 per hour is NOT just for the guys with the big ZTR's, and $30 per hour is not just for the guy with el cheapo equipment.

    You should charge what the market will bear. There is a fine line between what is acceptable and what is not acceptable for the client. And each client is different. Does this mean you charge different for each client? No. What it means is you'll win some, you'll lose some.

    I try very hard not to price a job by the hour, because my hourly rate is no business of my customer's. He pays X to get the job done, it is no business of his how long it takes me to get it done. I did a shrub removal job a few weeks ago that I figured would take 2.5 hours. I quoted $150 ($60 per hour), with no discussion with the client as to how long it would take. It ended up taking me about 35 minutes, which comes to nearly $300 per hour.

    Did the customer get ripped off? Certainly not. He wanted shrubs removed, he got 'em removed. We agreed on the price ahead of time. I got the job done, and he paid me. Fortunately for me, he wasn't home when I did the job. Frankly, I would have had a he!! of a time explaining my fee, but I would have stood my ground.

    Bottom line, don't set your prices based on what others say you "should" charge. A dollar a minute is nice, and is quite doable, even if you DON'T have a big ZTR.

    Just for the record, when I'm pricing a job, I figure $60.00 per hour if I'm using power equipment, $45 per hour if I'm not. The other day I edged for 1 hour and 50 minutes and billed $110. Today (same client) I weeded for 2.5 hours and billed $112.50. She paid the bill, no questions asked.

    Take this for what it's worth. Hope it helps.
  4. Braxton

    Braxton LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Messages: 81

    Thanks A+ and eruuska.

    eruuska, what exactly is a "disposabe rider?"


  5. eruuska

    eruuska LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 454


    A "disposable" rider is a mower that, shall we say, has seen better days. Looks like crap, cuts nice.
  6. David Grass

    David Grass LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    Dollar a minute is for a 7 to 10 thousand dollar mower, mowing a lawn. If you could figure out how to buy a flower bed renovator for that amount of money, that would do the whole thing in a few minutes, then the dollar a minute theorum would work.
  7. AdamCByrd

    AdamCByrd LawnSite Member
    Messages: 52

    You can't charge $1/hr to pull weeds. You may want to, and some ignorant rich people may pay you that much, but it's not reasonable as the work is all simple, manual labor. All you need is a bucket, some gloves, and maybe a pruning shears. Customers know this. I am in a small town in Mississippi. Here's what works for me. I estimate the total number of man-hours it will take to do the job, and I usually hire 1-3 day laborers. I pay them $7-10/hr, but charge $15/hr for their work. I charge $25/hr for my personal labor. For a total of 4 men, I charge $70/hr. That's only for renovation work. I charge more for other types of work based on the equipment needed.

    However, I do try to make money in other areas, such as delivery (mulch, sod, etc.), debris removal, and chemical use.

    I hope this helps by giving you another perspective.

  8. eruuska

    eruuska LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 454


    I wrote above, and I'm going to repeat myself, that nobody should set their labor price based on what someone else says it "should", "must", or "can't" be priced at.

    I just completed an afternoon weeding at $45 per hour. Not a dollar a minute, mind you, but certainly a lot more than the $15 an hour that you charge. If I were to pay my guys $10, and charge the customer $15, how the he!! am I going to cover my overhead? Like insurance, equipment cost, gas to get to the site, etc.

    My clients are not "ignorant rich people", but they are business people who understand labor costs, who realize that there is more to an hourly rate than my salary.

    Please, don't get in the habit of letting someone else tell you how much you should, can, or can't charge for labor. The dollar a minute is a great goal, but it's just a reference number. It is very achievable in some situations, not so achievable in others. Don't limit yourself to X dollars an hour, you're leaving money on the table if you do.

    Lots of things have an effect on what the "going rate" for labor is. Stuff like the local laborer population, the professionalism of the LCO in question, the reputation of the LCO in question, the attitude of local clients toward the "hired help", etc. It's a complicated thing that cannot be determined by a universal formula.

    Now in Mississippi the labor situation may be such that $15 an hour is what you have to charge. In areas that are laborer-poor, you can get away with a lot more than that. Every area is different. Every LCO is different. Every client is different.
  9. REENO

    REENO LawnSite Member
    Messages: 116

    o.k., what if you charged 30 $ for 2 flower bes that took about ten minutes.a week later they called you back and wanted another done that was ten times as much work and they wanted vegetation planted. the previous job was flowerbeds and this job upcoming ism a garden.
  10. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    Yesterday I did a clean-up.I don't do clean-ups anymore I am a landscaper and do that exclusively,but this was the neighbor of a previous client and I had done her before a few times in the past.She was having a party for 4th of July and needed it done,so I said ok.
    Quoted $400.00 for the job she never maintains the property and it had been 3 years since I had done it.Lots of Oaks,Pines and a huge driveway.I went over and worked 1hr then realized I had not got an ok on the $400.00 yet.
    I called her cell and she said no she dident want to spend that much,so I said how much do you want to spend,the place is a mess and if you want a good clean-up that's what it's gonna cost you.
    She said I'll go $175.00 I said well thats only enough for the driveway and the decks are done I cant do weeding or cleaning out the beds for that price she said OK
    so I worked 2 more hours and made $175.00 in three hours and that was ok by me.The driveway and decks looked nice she was happy.
    My point is every job is different with different degrees of difficulty of the work involved,Sometimes if they need a job done you don't normaly do and there is a time limit and you squeeze them in and take your day off and do them your going to charge them more.Whoever thought of a dollar a minute is nuts
    .You gonna charge the customer for the minute it takes you to scratch your azzz and blow your nose and take a head break and figure out what tool to use?Who pays for those minutes?Nobody wants to pay $50.00hr for you to pull the weeds,but if you look at the job and say well,it looks pretty bad...I'll do it for $250.00 rather than $50.00hr they say ok do it,you say $50.00 an hour and they say forget it.

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