trying to figure a fair price

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by SHPSLLC, Apr 4, 2011.


    SHPSLLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    I have an existing customer who wants an estimate for cleaning out some beds and gardens. Basically just trimming plants, raking out the beds and removing all the garbage from the property. Its all hand tool work, and i will be working alone. Ive decided to give them an hourly rate as opposed to a price for the whole job since im really not sure how long it will take but it is time consuming work. So what do you think would be a fair hourly rate for 1 man on a job like this?
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  2. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    ARe you licensed? do you have to drive your truck there? do you have a business office? Will you break tools, is there a dump fee, clean-up time etc.?
    I would need alot more information to arrive at a price.

    Not knowing what you normally pay yourself or expect to earn, plus your overhead costs, makes pricing difficult.

    Please sit down and figure these things out, brother.
    I see guys your way doing work for twenty or less an hour, with no business knowledge
    and guys charging fifty an hour to do the same things.

    How about if I say to charge $30 an hour.
    But, I don't agree with the hourly charges for the clean-up.
    It really is better to give a package price.

    You should be able to find work time estimating calculators on line
    There are books with that info in it too.
    It would be good to have reference material on hand for another time.
    Search this site also.

    I'm not trying to come across as a hard A_ _ Hopefully I have steered you in the
    right direction. Good Luck

    SHPSLLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    I am liscensed, and i will be using my truck to get there. I am experienced doing the work, but pricing is new to me because im on my own now instead of working for other people. Also, im not paying myself anything yet. Everything ive made so far has been put back into the company. 30 per hour is exactly what i was thinking, i just wanted some input to see if i was in the right ballpark. Thanks for your opinion.
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  4. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    You are most welcome
  5. I do cleanups between 50-60/hr. and that is great for my area. $30/hour is too low in my opinion. I wouldn't go less than $40/hour. What you do is give them an out the door price that you calculated by using your hourly rate by how long you think it will take. If you have to dump, add do fees plus your time to do it.
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    SHPSLLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    50-60 would be a little much for this particular job. All i need to bring is a rake, a trash can, and some hand shears. The biggest piece of equipment i may need is maybe a backpack blower. I could see charging more if i needed a trailer full of equipment and a helper to do a complete spring cleanup, but im just cleaning out the beds and gardens.
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  7. FoghornLeghorn

    FoghornLeghorn LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 753

    At $30 per hour, you're not making half that. Your gas, insurance, truck and equipment payments need to be paid out of that.

    My charge is $40/hour per man. So if I have a job that takes a crew of 4 men 8 hours, then that's 4 men x 8 hours x $40hr=$1280

    another way to look at it is, multiply whatever your hourly profit is times 2000 to get an annual salary. At $30 an hour, you're looking at $15 an hour profit, or $30k a year. $30k is pathetic. Don't do it.

    Remember, zero customers is better than 100 customers where you lose money...
  8. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    Never sell a job by the hour. People will think pay you $60 to weed their beds for one hour. What does this guy think he's a brain surgeon?

    Sell the for the job. $60 to clean your beds. People will say $60 not a lot for the job and I hate having to weed it myself.

    Next learn to measure and cost by the SF. Everyone usually estimates some of their jobs to low in the beginning. To speed up the learning curve SF gives a reliable starting point and comparison.

    Estimate a 10,000 sf job and you think you can do it in 2 hours, so you charged $120. But it took you 6 hours. So you lost your shirt but now you know that 10,000 sf jobs have to be sold at 6 hours for $360.
  9. southerneclipse

    southerneclipse LawnSite Member
    Messages: 80

    I do by the hour and would definetely charge at least 40$ an hour. Im a single man show as well and no its not brain surgery but it is hard work and deserves at least that price. Sq ft is also another alternative...I like by the hour though, just don't put it in the invoice that way.

    SHPSLLC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    Thanks for all the input guys. Like i said, im new to the "business" side of the job and i definately dont want to be a "lowballer" by any means. At the same time, since i dont have much yet, i also dont want these customers to think that i will be rolling up to their house with 20k worth of equipment and a crew of guys to run it all when i give them an estimate. I just have to find a happy medium to be able to run my business and purchase the equipment i need, and when im bigger and have more overhead, i can always raise my labor rates as needed. I apperciate all the help as always, its always nice to hear from you seasoned guys that have been through it for a while now, and still willing to help out the new guys!

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