small lot clearing job

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DanG, Aug 3, 2001.

  1. DanG

    DanG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 234

    I just want some feeback on this,
    My gut feeling is to just walk away from it.
    This woman that i mow PART of her lawn wants the rest of her yard cleaned out.
    It hasn't been touched in years and has poison sumack trees 20-25' tall & 4-6" thick high growing in it,
    It also has all kinds of nastystuff(pricker bushes) and is generally over grown.

    Here's the best part,
    She wants me to try to save the lily's and other flowers that are in the under growth.
    And transplant some of them to other areas etc...

    I told her the best way would be to just go in with a piece of equipment and rip it all out.And them go in & replant whatever flowers she wants where she wants.

    She doesn't want it done like that she wants it all done by hand .. and wants me to give her a price to do it.

    Should I just work there hourly and then bill her for the time we spend doing it?
    Or just give her a high price to cover any unforseen things I might find while doing it?
    She wants to know if it's going to be more than $1000 but figuring even an hour per tree to cut them down and dig out the stumps/roots will eat that up quick.

    What would you do if you were in my shoes?


  2. joshua

    joshua LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,226

    dang, personly i wouldn't let a customer tell me how to do my job, i don't go to their work places and tell them. you are your own boss. educate your customer on how much more it will cost to do all this work by hand, and not by machice. and if she don't care and you're ready for long hot days then bill her hourly but give her a estimate on how many hours you think it could take you. just a tip don't give her a estimate of exact hours but about and make sure she knonws this and get a contract of some sort.
  3. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,354

    make your price enough to pay to have it done as per her request. she is thinking mowing prices so itemize each cost.
    after she sees your estimate she may decide to forget it.
    luck and later
  4. southside

    southside LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 790

    Walk away. I never let clients dictate to me how to do my job.
    Remember you are a businessman not an employee.
  5. lawnboy82

    lawnboy82 Banned
    Messages: 957

    no problem. if she wants it done by hand. and its all that garbage, figure on at least 1000 per day, 3 guys, truck, chipper. what else? um, if it is a larger area, then try to get us the dimensions. i try to base clearing at 2500 per acre minimum. for what you are talking about i would say maybe 3000 per acre plus. if its half an acre dont go for 1500, take off maybe 1/3 or 1/4. jobs like that are not fun. if she doesnt want the flowers touched. then i would say to pass. because there is no way that you can salvage them. if all you have to do is cut the trees down, then you are safe. however, if you have to dig stumps, plan on having to buy new plants. going rate for stumping over here is at least $4K per acre. so you gotta figure all these things into it. also remember this. if you have small trees that are hung up in vines they will be a real pain in the butt to chip. cause the vines will not want to go into the machine. possibly what you may want to do is get a small like 10,000lb excavator with a grapple. get a triaxle in there for a few days, and instead of doing it by hand, do it all with the machine and just haul everything out.
  6. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    I dont know what you charge per man hour but lets say your going to bill her $35/hr. I would bill her 10 hrs for each man you have per day. If shes willing to pay cash (not checks made out to cash) you might consider giving her a discount of $25/man-hr.

    So if you have two of you and it takes you 3 days I would bill her for $1400. If there is 3 of you and it takes you 2 days I would submit a bill for $2100.

    I would charge her for a full days work for each weekday you set foot on the site whether or not you are putting in full time.

    I would also stipulate that she will be required to pay in addition to these labor costs any expenses related to stump grinders, saws, chippers, tillers, or any other rentals that may be needed to satisfactorily complete her transformation. :D

    Hope this helps.
  7. DanG

    DanG LawnSite Member
    Messages: 234

    I figured it would take me two full days with two(me and 1 other) people to do it by hand
    the total area is small and totals maybe7500 sq. feet
    the place is over run with little trees( about 50-75) and they all need to be cut down and the stumps dug out.
    I wish she would let me use equipment because I can use any of my brother in laws stuff when ever he's not using it and he's in the tree business.
    I plan on using his small chipper on the trees. and if I could use either his skid steer or little tractor I could be in there and out by myself in 4-5 hours with equipment.
    I'm leaning towards telling her that thats the only way I'll do it and she'll have to replant her flowers after.

    Dan G
  8. roscioli

    roscioli LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 749

    POISON sumack, or sumack? Find a junko crap lawn mower, mow over the underbrush, and yank out the small trees with your truck (or dont, depending on if you read the whole thread about that!) Tell her that you cant do the thick trees correctly unless you bring in equipment, but if she wants stumps left in the ground, its fine with you. It will be 2 days X 2 people = 4 days = $2000, give or take. If you do equipment, then it will be less money tell her, and less time as well of her hearing engines and chainsaws. Try to convince her that equipment is the way to go for the short term money as well as the long term results, and if she still says no, just do it her way, make more money, and let her ask you to do it again in 5 years when it all grows back in!
    just my .02
  9. lawnboy82

    lawnboy82 Banned
    Messages: 957

    NO WAY!!!! there is no way that you can clear and stump that much of an area by hand. no way in god's name. if you have trees that are 4 - 6 inches dbh. then you are talking about a root ball if you were planting of about 40 - 60 inches. give or take. to pull 50 trees like that with a truck and some chains. forget it. if she wants it done by hand... then if we are talking about 50 trees lets say... and you have picks and axes.. that would take i should think... 4 guys 4 days easily. if you get a 10,000 lb excavator, or if you can get a small backhoe, a kubota type deal or whatever you can be done in one day. but to try to dig those by hand is gonna be heck. with the excavator... all you have to do is pop the stumps, pick em up and load em into a truck. then once the stumps are out... go over the area with the bucket once more and just pull the little junk. also take this into mind... if you are going to use a chipper and you have a lot of vines you will be playing with the feeder wheel for a while on each branch. vines get chippers all messed up. also, unless you have a winch for that chipper, then you are gonna be pulling like god knows what to get the trees out from the brush. get a 10K lb excavator with a grapple, and a dump truck. that will do you no problem in 1 day. maybe get a chipper if you feel you need it. but if you have access to a kodiak / 750 type dump truck... you will be done in one long day, 3 guys. if you dont do that... plan on at least 4 guys for at least 3 days. i have done this stuff before. vines suck! also... DO NOT BY ANY MEANS WHATSOEVER! promise this woman that her flowers will survive. when you start stumping, you will tear them out maybe by accident, maybe just because they were there. but they wont survive stumping. the removals of the trees they may come back next year. but stumping no way!
  10. TLS

    TLS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,943

    Make sure she pays you for the days after that you cant work due to Poison Sumac. Now is not the time of year to be itchn'!!! I get it just because its in the lawn and the clippings blow back on me! Hate to see it when you are wading through it and chipping and pulling it!!!

    UGGGH!!! NO-WAY~~!!!!

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