Question for hourly billers.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by KenH, Aug 7, 2002.

  1. KenH

    KenH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,622

    I have a question for all you 'hourly' billers. How do you ever get ahead???

    I have a set number in my mind what I would like to get an hour, then I price the JOB, making sure I get my rate and then some. I never let the customer know what I get an hour. If I can get $125 an hour for trimming bushes, that is my business, and pricing by the job can get you that. I dont understand how you guys make any money working for a set amount per hour. Enlighten me.
  2. AielLandscaping

    AielLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    i tried it. it didn't work. now i'm on a flat monthly rate which pays the same year round.
  3. KenH

    KenH LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Messages: 1,622

    Wow, only 1 person who tried hourly billing??!! I have read on countless other threads on companies estimating out x amount of time multiplied by x amount of dollars. I just wish to know the reasoning of going hourly, and how it can be a benefit.
  4. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    Are you talking about mowing or a one time job?

    One time...

    You should know how to price (estimate) a job but if you don't.. I don't see anything wrong with someone giving an hourly rate as long as you profit from it and the potenial client agrees. Why you worked up?
  5. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    How much do you need to gross per hour on the jobsite to cover fixed expenses? ...or variable expenses?

    How much of your work time is actual production time???? You have to build the prep time and travel time into an hourly rate.

    I have seen dozens of yokels over the years who price by the job, and have no handle on hourly costs - and I've only seen them for a year at most, usually just a few months. Some do hang on, but they have no idea of whether they are over- or under- pricing. If you price by the job, business research has shown that you will eventually wind up with the losing end. If you know your costs and desired revenues, you can set an hourly price and always be in the black.

    If you know your true hourly costs, and what you are netting in income on your hourly rate, you really know your business. If the economy really tanks someday, you'll know just how low you can price to stay alive until things pick up again, and possibly help you to retain a respectable client base.

    That doesn't mean you have to quote the actual calculation of your charges to a client. I list my hourly rates for various operations on a yearly cover sheet for clients. Anyone in any successful business knows that you have to have some time to monetary relationship to know what you're doing in any business.
  6. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    we started charging hourly last year only for services that continuosly have "unforseen problems". trimming is one example. i know how to trim and shape shrubs, but, it has happened repeatedly where a customer says, "o, thats it? i want them shorter, i know they will look bad, but i really want them shorter." now if i quoted them a flat rate, im stuck there longer for free. another example is leaf cleanup. miserable work, and its usually a bit breazy in fall..... anyway, they can be as picky and unreasonable as they want, cus now they pay by the hour (really, by the minute). i wouldnt do these, and also some other services any other way.
  7. Strongmd

    Strongmd LawnSite Member
    Messages: 167

    We do a lot of work by the hour. We have good relationships with most of our customers, where they'll call in for a service, and not ask for a price. I can send my guys out, know I'm going to get my hourly rate (portal to portal) and not have to waste any time quoting the job. I obviously don't have any crazy $100/mh days on hourly work, but I also never ever dip below my hourly rate, which is nice. We also do our fall cleanups by the hour, although I may try to switch to flat rate in the next couple of years.
  8. Wayne Offiler

    Wayne Offiler LawnSite Member
    Messages: 113

    I usually use the hourly rate approach when doing stuff like brush clearing and tree trimming. Customers seem to like the approach, as they can add to, or lessen the scope of the job with no problem. The more specialized equipment I use, the more per hour. Also, I find that what might be considered undesirable work (like clearing heavy briars) deserves more per hour. $25 to $35 per is average for me. The longer the job, the more reasonable I might be, as there is no frequent travel time. As stated by others, don't kid yourself by just billing for on-the-job time. Include unloading, setting up, re-loading, time and expense to dispose of debris, etc.
    Too often in the past I came up short when quoting by the job. If something went wrong, I was stuck with my price.
  9. Art Stubbs handy 58

    Art Stubbs handy 58 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 132

    I run a small Handy Man Service. I have a set price for lawn care service, but if the customer wants extra.. lights changed, windows washed, gutters cleaned ect. we charge per $$$ hour with a min of 2hrs charge, plus any materials. This really helps to keep the books straight... :D

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