Shrubs question

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by morrischief17, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. morrischief17

    morrischief17 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I have not had the oppotunity to do much shrub trimming yet, just a couple real small jobs. Until now I have a residential customer that has an approximately 150 ft. row of shrubs he wants trimmed, they don't look like they've trimmed for well over a year. My question is should I charge more for the first trim since there so overgrown? How often should I trim them after I do it once. What would you suggest for pricing. Thanks for any help!
  2. kabrac

    kabrac LawnSite Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 211

    yes. First time for overgrown is always a little more. Depending on the shrubbery and where you are located maybe usually once a month and also depends on rain.
  3. RLLServicesCT

    RLLServicesCT LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 225

    Well for the over grown I would certainly charge more becuase it takes more time and there is more cleanup etc....However if that is one of your weekly accounts I would give em' a break to do it there on after like a few more times per year. Usually you can tell when they need it and like kabrac said it depends on the weather and sun exposure, rainfall, soil conditions etc.... if they arn't growing to well or arent too healthy maybe they need to be fertilized? Another chance to earn more money and respect as an asute lawn and landscape matinence provider.
  4. Big Lebowski

    Big Lebowski LawnSite Member
    Messages: 124

    My first question is, is this shrubs or hedges?

    My definition of the two is hedges are grown as a privacy fence and usually very tall 10+ feet high and sometimes very wide. They need not be that tall just yet, but they will, trust me. I saw some just yesterday that had an obvious stopping point of where they stop trimming to. My god they must have been 20+ feet tall - insane.

    Shrubs are individual plants used as visual aesthetics.

    Things to consider. Is this a regular customer of yours? Will they be having you do it yearly? Will you need a ladder? Do they want you to trim the neighbors side as well?

    Q. Is it more work to trim an overgrown hedge/shrub than it is to trim one that was done every year? Not really. But really neglected S/H's may need some branches tied up to fill in bare spots and holes caused by low hanging heavy branches or branches damaged by heavy snow. So that time spent doing this must be considered in your price.

    If they are a regular mow account, get them to agree to have you do it yearly automatically. This way you can schedule it. Explain the importance of yearly trimmed S/H's. Such as they grow healthier, fuller and less likely to succumb to damage of the heavy snow and wind. They are easier to shape and groom making for a real clean look when done. This is a selling point for the other side too. Lack of maintenance on the opposite side will result in poor growth and poor uniformity on either side. Plus this puts you in front of the neighbor and available for doing the rest of their S/H's also. I can't tell you how many times one S/H's job snowballs into doing a whole city block. Nobody wants to be that ass in the middle with the unruly S/H's when everyone else's looks so nice and groomed. (groomed - a word you should use a lot when communicating with the customer about S/H's. It creates a great visual and expectation for them unlike saying "...yeah we'll cut 'em back for ya...")

    Ladder work is more dangerous and certainly more exhausting and this should influence your pricing. If I could do all my S/H's with two feet firmly placed on the ground, I wouldn't charge as much and I think I would actually enjoy it a little. This is the one time that overgrown S/H's pricing makes a difference. When cutting back an overgrown hedge from the top, you will find very large branches that your trimmer cannot cut. Either you need a chainsaw or some other pruning device. This takes more time and must be considered.

    Bottom line. I charge an up-wards (sometimes more) of $2.50 a foot. Start adding in those other things like width and height and you'll be glad you did. Smaller areas and shorter S/H's I will charge more like $1.50 a foot. Consider the terrain also, will you be able to reach all those areas on top? Will the neighbor allow you to step foot upon their property to trim the top-side that you cannot reach from the paying side?

    As far as actual shrubs, I have a sliding scale that is mostly based on time. It is hard for homeowner to justify paying $20 a shrub if it is 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide. I try to stick with the quick $1 a minute on those that just need to be cut back a little.
  5. ALC-GregH

    ALC-GregH LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 7,051

    I charge by the hour or a buck a minute. Obviously I don't tell the customer that but as long as I'm making a buck a minute I'm happy. I expense isn't near as much as mowing.
  6. milkie62

    milkie62 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 834

    I had a friends father offer me $100 to cut his hedges which are about 175 ft long and about 3 ft high.That is what he paid the last guy he said.It takes me just 2 hrs for cutting,raking up and blowing off the sidewalk.I go about 6 wk intervals on a Sat morning at 8 am.I leave house at 7:15 stop by diner for breakfast and local chit chat.Get there by 8 and home by 1015.Cash money.Otherwise I would be laying in bed and procrastinating.
  7. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,196

    These guys are right, first time thru will be a bearcat.
    Never quote a firm contract price on tree/shrub trimming - quote by the hour and give them an estimate only. Try to estimate toward the worse case scenario.

    I have given firm pricing before, only to spend an extra hour or two uncovering some 'bugaboo' that I didn't see when I first looked at the job. Don't rip yourself off....
  8. B_gerrits

    B_gerrits LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 297

    I guess it all depends on your clientel but say 60 per hour here would fly like a Led Zepplin (not the band) give your self so wiggle room like between 150 and 200. my numbers are examples here not pertaining to the job you are doing as I never bid sight unseen.
  9. bobbyge

    bobbyge LawnSite Member
    from france
    Messages: 87

    wait a minute, how can u charge "a buck a minute" ( 1990's prices btw) if you "don't tell the customer?" if the client asks for a price for the job, do u give them a price?

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