Trimming shrubs - Help!!

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by 3sons, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. 3sons

    3sons LawnSite Member
    Messages: 41

    I have a potential customer that is asking us to trim/cleanup 75 shrubs. The shrubs are good size- about 4-5 feet high and around 3 feet across and 3 feet deep. Do you guys charge by the shrub, job or by the hour? I'd really like to get this job, but want to make sure I charge a realistic amount for the service.
  2. procut

    procut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,852

    I'd charge by the shrub. I'd charge a min. of $500, 75 shrubs is a lot.
  3. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,940

    What are the shrubs? How much debris will have to be cleaned up? Where does the debris have to be dumped? What do you have to do the trimming? Do you need to work off a ladder -- doesn't sound like it? How about access -- full access all the way around, or blocked on some sides?

    For me, all these factors are important in trying to determine a time. I work off a total job price, but come to a price with detailed "per unit" times. I try to keep detailed records of all trim jobs, time, number, size and kind of bushes. This gives me a better understanding to know when I see a new job ... Is this a 5 minute bush, an 8 minute bush, a 20 minute bush ... or whatever the case. A simple spreadsheet will help come up with a final price.

    Last Fall, my wife and I worked for two days -- bitter cold days in mid-December -- trimming out 53 burning bushes, 27 Canadian Hemlock trees. The burning bushes were typically 6-7 feet high, 5 feet across, needing to be taken down to about 5 feet, 3 1/2 feet across. I had to use two stepladders, with a plank, to get good leverage with my stihl HS80 trimmer. The time to move the scaffold was well spent. My time for each was about 7 minutes per bush. The Canadian Hemlocks were 9-12 feet tall, needing a shearing. They required about 15 minutes each, with a clipper attachment on my Stihl FS85 string trimmer. No ladder work was needed.

    Cleanup for the burning bushes was easier than in mid-summer because no leaves on the bushes. Only the stems needed to be raked -- and the ground was solid, no mulch. Likewise with the Hemlock -- easy to clean up with steel-tined rake.

    There were another 15-20 small bushes that required trimming too. All debris was dumped on a pile at the back of the property. Total time was about 16 hours (two, 63+ year old people). We charged $340. From what I read on LS, we were way low.

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