Telling a customer your man hour rate

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by greenproadam, Oct 29, 2009.

  1. greenproadam

    greenproadam LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    Has anyone in the landscape construction field doing residential, bid a job by telling the customer the cost of materials and told them your rate per hour to prevent yourself from underbidding? It just seems like an easier way to bid to me.......
  2. silverado212

    silverado212 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 373

    Did it once for a mulch job. Didn't get it don't know if that was why but have had better success just giving price.
  3. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,465

    Just give the final price on simple jobs.
  4. Wayne's Lawn Service

    Wayne's Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    Messages: 184

    I think we can get more out of the job pricing it to our client at a flat rate price. Hourly is too hard to explain and sell. We found ourselves leaving too much on the table charging by the hour for trimming, mulching, l-scaping etc.

    However, do know and understand why you charge what you charge. Good luck and have a great winter.
  5. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Hourly pricing requires a good amount of trust. Landscapers are low man on the scale when it comes to trust. Most would rather pay a plumber 100/hr to snake a drain at his leisure or 80/hr for the illegal alien to clean the house than assume that you might actually earn your hourly rate fairly. After you develop a relationship with a client it becomes easier. Most of my customers know my hourly rates for my services, but they rarely talk about it. If they need mulch I price out the job, if they have a list of small to do's I usually just show up and hammer it out for the hourly. Better than wasting an hour driving to price out a few transplants or garden help.
  6. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Never, never... I never give an estimate or charge "by the hour", either. As soon as you do this, it is short time before you run into the customer that resents you taking a quick lean on your trailer for a drink of water, or sitting down for 3 minutes after 4 hours on your feet. Even when you minus t from the final price, they question it. It is best to know your time, and bid it accordingly. Many times, it comes up less time for the money. yes,..once in a while it runs over, but you get the jest after awhile. take for instance auto repair facilities. They post and tell you an hourly rate, but you always get an estimate of the cost of repair ahead of time. If it runs into more things (additional repair), you are told. This is much the same way our operation is run.
  7. Saturn89

    Saturn89 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    I am not into lawn work but I provide a similar service to a similar client base.

    I never have and never will give hourly rates.
    I ALWAYS give a guaranteed price in advance and a detailed written description of what I'll do.
    Thats what people want to know; what they will get, what it will cost.
    No surprises.

    And you know what? If they knew how much that actually came out to per man hour worked and the amount of my material costs they would be shocked and never agree to hire me.

    They are happy to pay, say..... $980.00 for the service. They don't need to know that my man and I will do that in 4 hours and I'll make $600.00 profit.

    They just want to know, WHAT they will get and HOW MUCH it will cost.
    NO surprises.

    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,526

    we do leaves strictly by the hour. a few years ago we were doing a leaf job and my helper stoped long enough to take his coat off and throw it in the truck 2 minutes max. the old guy came running out screaming about how hes not paying fo us to take are coats off and we are scamming him.
  9. ACA L&L

    ACA L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,102

    we give hourly rates for leaf clean ups to weekly customers, not for detailed one time clean ups.
    We give hourly rates for sprinkler repair, not install
    We do give hourly rates for snow plowing/shoveling
    We do not give hourly rates for pruning
    WE DO NOT GIVE PRICES OVER THE PHONE. EVER. I hate it when they just keep asking for a quick price. No way no how, its a free estimate take it and embrace it.

    We have minimums, service fees, dump fees, insurance, licenses, workers comp,payroll taxes......................and on and on. i would prefer to have a price list and just sell the heck outta that but its just not that kind of industry.
  10. dishboy

    dishboy LawnSite Fanatic
    from zone 6
    Messages: 6,040

    Not so , I work by the hour for all pruning. Once they see you clock in and out when you take a break they realize you are not milking the clock.

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