Price help

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Frenchie, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. Frenchie

    Frenchie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    I know every time I am on here I am looking for price help!
    I have read alot of past threads and learned alot but there is always the odd ball job that just doesn't fit some of the standard calculations.

    My first bid on a commercial property: Shell gas Station on a highly traveled main road in town. Has been let go do to current city road construction. Grass is high and straggly about 2 feet and needs brush clean up of about 1/4 acre, 20x10 foot island needs weeding and bushes need trimming. Due to height of grass not sure how long this is going to take. I am hoping I can upsale a mulch job if this goes right because the island looks awful and it is right up front.

    Any suggestions would be helpful.
    Are commercial prices higher than residential? Should I just go with what I'd like to make an hour?
    As always, I appreciate the help I get from anyone.
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,099


    Price it as if you were doing a fall clean up for the same area.
    Think out side the box.
    ITs not a mowing job,
    Its a clean up
  3. BillyRgn

    BillyRgn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 248

    it sounds like you have trouble pricing, so my suggestion to you for all of your jobs from here on out is to charge by the hour until you can look at a job and know exactly how much you need to charge to make it profitable and not lose money. Sell it to the customer, explain to him/her that it is pretty messy, and you are not exactly sure how long it will take you and how much debris will have to be removed after everything is cut down and you do not want to over charge him/her, so you feel the fairest way to charge him/her is by the hour and per load, so neither party's (contractor-customer) loses out . as far as commercial, you do not charge more per hour, honestly most of the time you get less for commercial than you do residential. if i was in your shoes i would tell the customer, it will be a $50 start up fee (for equipment and gas or how ever much is necessary and you feel comfortable with) and $60per man hour (or what ever your hourly rate is) and x amount of dollars for every truck load of debris that you haul away (my mason dump i get at least $150 per load, and between $85 - $100 for one of my pick ups depending on the truck and what kind of material. i believe this is the best way to handle your business, until you get some experience under your belt. this way you can not lose money, you can't under estimate this way, and if the customer wants you to do some more work, there is no question at the end about price. if this job is going to take you more than one day to complete, you should make up some sort of time card, that has how many hours, loads, and what work was completed and have the customer sign it every day so there is not a problem at the end with the amount of hours you are invoicing. when you have a time card like this, the customer will believe your business is organized a lot more than it probably is, and will not get an impression that you are trying to rip him/her off, over charge him, or just get the job done as quickly as possible and run. these time cards will also help you in the future, so you know exactly how much you can complete in an day/hour/week and so on. from my experience, the customer appreciates having to sign off on the time card, because they feel as though they are more a part of the work that is going on and not being kept in the dark until the job is completed, and it also helps to get done exactly what your client is looking for because there is more communication involved. good luck, hope this helps you let me know if you have any questions. and by the way, although the time card thing sounds like it is sort of cheesy, the person that got my self to start doing it learned to do it because it is required to keep records like that on a multi million dollar contract he is doing which is a new military housing development ware he is putting sod, plants, and irrigation in at almost 300 housing units, and also installing a few fields. at the end of the day, every worker has to have one of these time cards accounting for all his hours and what work he did that day, and before they leave the site manager/general contractor (who hired all the company's, landscaper, framing co, excavator) has to sign them before they can leave
  4. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,296

    I agree with Billy - just go hourly not on contract. Maybe give a high estimate and try to shoot a little under it if they really want an estimate.
  5. BillyRgn

    BillyRgn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 248

    exactly, if they need an estimate, give them a very vague ball park that will most likely be a little higher, and the customer will believe you to be extremely honest and taking care of them
  6. k911lowe

    k911lowe LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    well said, i agree

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