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Spring/Fall Clean Up Cost

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by smitty108, Jan 11, 2014.

  1. smitty108

    smitty108 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Hey everybody I'm new to the business and was wondering what is the best way to charge for spring/fall cleanups. I’m starting off small with residential cutting and spring/fall cleanups. My question is what’s better charging a flat rate versus an hourly rate and how much per hour is the norm? Any suggestions?
  2. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,762

    We don't charge customers hourly, it tends to scare them and then they question your hours.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. smitty108

    smitty108 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    That's what I was thinking also. I think a flat rate also allows the customer to know up front what the charge is removing the "how much is this going to cost" anxiety.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. A. W. Landscapers  Inc.

    A. W. Landscapers Inc. LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,285

    Estimate your man hours needed to complete the job and multiple that by your hourly rate. The result is the price you tell the client.

    If you estimate that the job will take 6 man hours and your hourly rate is $60, then 6 x $60 = $360 and you tell the client that the job will cost them $360. The client does not need to know your hourly rate, only the final price.
  5. smitty108

    smitty108 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks for the reply. As a new business owner and a one man operation what do you consider to be a fair price per hour for spring/fall cleanup? I'm starting off small with a pick-up, trailer, 30inch walk behind, weed whip, edger, blower, and a lot of drive to grow my business. I'm in the metro Detroit area with yards averaging 1/4 acre or less. I plan on mulching most of the leaves and tarp or bag what I can't mulch.
  6. CNYScapes

    CNYScapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 916

    Im curious, how do you do this for say a list of 100 lawns with varying amounts of turf and trees? Especially when they hire/renew with you a month before spring comes. Do you actually go and look at each lawn to come up with an estimate?
  7. smitty108

    smitty108 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I'm just starting off as a side business to my full time job seeing where I can take it. Right now I have 10 customers, only a few have expressed interest in clean ups. This is my first full season.
  8. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,962


    as usual with 80% of these 'how do I price this" posts. IT is clear that you do not have any idea what you are doing.

    These forums are not the right place to get information on "how to run my business" and "what do I charge"

    No one here can actually answer those questions for you.

    AW's pricing or my pricing or anyones is going to be different than yours.

    IF you don't know how to estimate, and don't know how to create a budget forecast and arrive at an hourly rate for your work... You don't know how to run a business, which means you shouldn't be doing this.

    Too many people have a pickup truck, because they think it's a manly vehicle, then when work gets tough, or the wife decides they need extra money, they buy a poulan weed whacker and a craftsman mower and poof, they are a landscaper.

    This is a terrible idea and a bad way to do it.

    If you are interested in the industry, sign on with a company, learn the trade, work for them for a while.

    What? you don't want to work hard and earn 9-12$ an hour?

    Let me tell you the secret you are trying to find out, IF you go into this blind, asking these imperative questions here on a forum...you WILL earn LESS that 9-12/hr floundering around yourself...you have a greater chance of actually LOSING money, than making any.

    IF you work for someone for a while, you will see things that they do that are mistakes, as well as what they do that makes sense.
    My suggestion? I would spend three seasons working for three different companies. After that, if you still like the industry, you might have enough of an idea on A) how to do the job correctly, B) How long most typical jobs should take and C) have done enough reading and research to learn how to arrive at your own individual pricing.
    However, in this time frame you will also have gotten enough experience to be a crew foreman and within a few more years time, possibly a manager for a larger company.

    You may mistakenly think you can "make extra money on the side" and keep your day job.
    You may think you are going to "get rich quick" by doing easy work for big money.

    These things are not going to happen.

    Most start up companies will be out of business in 1-3 years after losing more money than they can afford.

    If you want to blow some money and have free time, buy a boat, or if you live where there is lots of snow, buy a snowmobile. They will cost you less in the long run than having a failed landscaping business.

    The guys on this forum who have been at it, whether they are the heads of large companies, or solo guys who do have another job... have invested more blood, sweat, tears, time and MONEY than a newb can possibly comprehend.

    I am not trying to be rude or mean, I am however, giving you sound, REAL advice. Learn the trade first, like any other trade, carpentry, electrical, plumbing.... you need experience first.

    you may listen to inspirational speakers in the industry, who tell you (like Ed Laflamme, I used to be one of his managers) that they started with a station wagon an a push mower.... this WAS so, it is no longer that way. The world, the market, the industry have changed, ALOT.

    do not go off throwing your time, money and effort into something you know so little about. You would be better served by trying to invent a new product than sinking yourself into a misled business venture.

    Trust me, In the first few years you WILL make MORE money working for someone else, even as a side or part time job, learning the industry at 9-12/hr than you will trying to fumble along yourself.

    Take that money you earn from Joe's Landscape or Brickman, or whoever you go to work for, and bank ever red cent of it.

    At the end of three seasons of part timing it, you will have enough money saved up to invest in your new business... if by then you decide landscaping isnt for you, your saved money will make a sweet down payment on a boat.
  9. smitty108

    smitty108 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7


    I know you’re ignorant, condescending, and ill-informed quotes about my experience, my full time job, education, blood, sweat, and tears are not common place in the lawn care profession, thank god for that. I think 15 plus years working in law enforcement has proven my manhood, not my pickup truck. Let’s stay in touch and I will let you know how my “pickup truck, poulan weed whacker, and a craftsman mower” do in your industry. In the mean time I will let you be a tough guy behind a key board. Any time you’re in Detroit lets get together for a beer.
  10. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,762

    Prendergast's post may have come off as rude but had many valid points. You will make 0 or negative in your first years.

    I worked for another company for only a year in high school, the work isn't the hard part it's what goes on behind the scenes.

    Numbers never lie, know your costs and always check your numbers, even quarterly.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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