There is no easy money!!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by all degree, Jul 14, 2004.

  1. all degree

    all degree LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 344

    I am 75% lawn care and do one or two fairly large installs per month. Last week a neighbor comes up to me and wants the curb areas in front of her house rocked (8x15 and 5x8 115sq ft). I really do not want to do it so I give her an estimate right there. Two tons of stone some fabric($100), an hour of prep, an hour to lay it. OK $375.

    She says OK. So last night I go over to do the prep figuring I will rock it on Sat. I spent two and half hours with another guy just trying to get the area 2"below grade so I could lay the rock. (its still not finished) I am so sore today its unbelievable. I will still make some good money off it but it seems that things are always harder than they look.

    Anyone esle like me always picturing things much easier than they are????

    By the way the reason I did it during the week was b/c this is a summer house for them and I figured it was not going to take me that long. So I wanted to do it when they were not there so that they did not get pissed if it only took me 1.5 hours. Man was I wrong.
  2. EastProLawn

    EastProLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,110

    Anytime I ever say "that'll take a couple of hours" it ends up taking a couple of days = Murphy's Law.:(
  3. qualitylandscaping

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,581

    One thing I have learned over the last few years is to always take a shovel with you when doing the estimate and try to dig a small section in the area where you will be working. It's important to know how hard and compacted or rocky the soil is because that is where you will lose the most money.
  4. all degree

    all degree LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 344


    The sad part is I know that and usually practice it.
  5. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Messages: 1,237

    If it's something I would rather not do, I figure the cost in my head like a regular estimate, then I add 50% for "Don't-wanna-really-do-it" factor.
  6. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    21/2 hrs for 2 men and your not done yet, Why after the first 15 min. you did not figure that it was going to take longer than you expected and go rent a bobcat or mini- excavator to make the job easier and quicker. It would of cut into your profit margin but so does 3 times as long as you estimated plus the job would have been finished.

  7. all degree

    all degree LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 344

    Dirt you are in a dreamworld if you think that I would rent a bobcat for a $375 job. I have an one man hour left to do the stone. The hours are as expected it was just that I sweated a lot more than I thought I would.

    High Grass I do the same thing with the I dont want to do it thing... Should have done it on this one
  8. o-so-n-so

    o-so-n-so LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,218

    Yep, I mis judge things from time to time. I always know if it requires moving soil and or rock....I ain't doin it cheep.......
  9. txlawnking

    txlawnking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,905

    That is preciselly why I always "pad" my estimate as well.. The Don't wanna Factor!!LOL Usually 10% on my Labor.
  10. Kelly's Landscaping

    Kelly's Landscaping LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,676

    Yes my mother its always could you give me just 20 mins in the lawn and the job is never 20 mins or even 2 hours. Theres a reason she does not do my estimates.

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