Quoting Clean up Jobs

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Jonathan Johnson, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. Jonathan Johnson

    Jonathan Johnson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    I have been quoting clean up jobs and it always seems to take me much longer than I quote. How do you quote fall clean up jobs and what rate are you charging?
  2. M&L

    M&L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 245

    Time and expenses. Same as any job.

    You need to find out what the hold ups are. If your doing extra stuff, or going over allotted time per item.

    Working for a low hourly rate is one way to remind you to think hard when you bid. I write every thing we talk about down in a note book and make notes as to how long each section should take. Then I add it together and bid it. I like to sell days and half days more than hours. It helps to have all of the steps laid out on paper. Account for everything. 3 minutes to trim a branch isn't a 3 minute job. There's driving there, gassing and oiling saw, cleaning saw (yes I charge for that) talking to the client (you can't get that time back, so add it to the bill) disposing of the limb, blowing saw dust away, invoicing and probably some more talking. That 3 minute limb is a 70 minute deal sometimes.
    If you can't estimate time well, learn what aspect of it is off, not what others charge. That won't help you. If something takes 15 minutes, but Bob charges 650, chances are Bob's full of it.

    What types of equipment are you using??
    Also, think of the order you do things in. Is there a time you grab any tool off of the trailer and put it back more than once?
    The estimates get easier once you've done the work a few times. Timing different task helps to. I had some one time me on things during some of my maintenance properties. Worked wonders for my biding and scheduling.
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  3. Great points. I like the half day full day idea. Sometimes i will bid using a flat hourly rate and sometimes i will itemized things. Whatever way i think will cover me i do.
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  4. Jonathan Johnson

    Jonathan Johnson LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    Appreciate the info. I quoted a clean up job at 3.5 hours at 60 dollars an hour and the customer said 60 dollars an hour is ridiculous. I told him it is standard to charge 60-75 hour. Maybe I should just start listing a price and not actually putting the hour part on the quote. Thanks all, this forum is great.
  5. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,761

    Also, don't forget about how much time it is going to take after the fact. What I mean, if you have guys working with you and you are loading debris and such. They are still on the clock once you leave the site to go dump the debris, whatever else. You may have 2 hours on site and afterwards, 20 minutes of driving to dump the debris, another 20 minutes unloading (if you don't have a dump trailer)... All that stuff adds up.
  6. LandFakers

    LandFakers LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Messages: 6,309

    For cleanups I'm only at 35/ man hour. And I never show what the hourly price is, just add up the hours and multiply it by 35 and then add dump fees and there's my price. And estimating time will all come with time in the field.
  7. echo

    echo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,696

    Bingo. No hourly rate. 1 price and done.
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  8. Blade Runners

    Blade Runners LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,021

    Yeah that would be a good idea. Telling someone they are paying $60-75/hr for unskilled labor isn't going to go over too well :)
  9. M&L

    M&L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 245

    In their mind, they're thinking shovels are cheap, and hourly labor is worth 15$ max.... (Not all, but a lot)

    A few points I make sure to throw out, are the dump fees (Set a minimum dump fee and life will be easier) the cost of profesional equipment, the vehicle and trailer required, that I buy 6 tires at a time, the time loading up, the time and labor at the dump, the cleaniing and maintenace of my equipment, and an itemized list of work to be done. I've found that when I do a walk through of the property, if I point out every little thing, and then do it again, the client feels I'm on top of it and starts to realize how much work it really is.

    The wording on your bidding is they key. "I'll cut it for 60 bucks an hour" doesn't sit in nearly as nice as" with dump fees, labor and expenses, your looking at about 200. I can have it done just before you get home from work, as I expect it to take close to half a day". 3.5 is close to 4, which is half of 8. The customers think half a day, is 12 hours. 200 doesn't seem so bad for a shift. Word it to comfort them some.

    After a while, you'll get a feel for how to deal with people. I had some one tell me 70$ was too much for dump fees. So I explained that if I left a tangled pile of branches on their property, they could cycle them through the green disposal week after week after week and expect the debris to be gone by the time the next trimming was needed. Or they could leave them to dry and become a fire hazard and lovely breeding ground for bugs,rodents and snakes. Go through the same ordeal, but pay another 30-45 for bug service. Or they could pay the 20$ to dump it and make 2 trips with their nice new shiny truck and a buddy. 40$ and half of a saturday VS 70 and its done. Make it sound like your service is a service, a conveinence and that they will apreciate the property more. People, if they can truely afford it, will pay good money if they are getting a good deal.
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  10. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,473

    I usually don't take one-time clean ups. I do it on a regular basis similiar to mowing according to how the leaves are falling. If I do agree to do a one-time deal I tell them it will be according to time involved. I try not to give them my hourly rate since like you said they cannot comprehend the cost of running a business. Like you said it always takes more time than you think.

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