Well, you'll find this varies a lot on lawnsite and the answers you get may not at all apply to your situation. We all have drastically different costs for things like dumping debris, vehicle expenses, insurance, licensing fees & requirements, labor pool, etc. And THEN we all live in different areas where things like demand and supply are radically different. So by telling you what I make here in Tigard Oregon may not help you in the least. Our situations are drastically different on at least several of the above items.
That being said, we make an avg. of $30 per man hour for our maintenance crews (that includes down time like picking up the trailers, dumping, paid 30 min. lunches, breaks, etc.). We make $35-45 per hour for landscape construction stuff (plus mark-up on plants and materials) and we make $48 per man hour for irrigation work.
There are sooooo many factors that will determine how much you can get away with charging. But first, it's a good idea to total up exactly what you NEED to make in order to pay for everything you should be paying for. Even if you aren't paying for all of these things now, you should factor in all taxes, unemployment matched taxes, worker's comp., all vehicle expenses, all dumping expenses, labor, cell phones, utilities related to the business, licenses, fees, bond fee, equipment, maintenance on equipment, etc. etc. etc..... Once you have a good estimate on monthly expenses for all of these things, then you can break it all down and figure out how much you need to make.
THEN, you can start figuring out how much you can GET AWAY with making. What determines that is;
a) local demand
b) local supply (how much competition there is)
c) how well known you are
c) your reputation
d) what kind of area you live in
e) the local economy.
If you've been swamped lately, that's a good indicator that demand is high and supply is not keeping up with it. That's good news! You can charge more!
The more people see your trucks around (if they are lettered and painted properly) then the more well known you become and people associate your company with one that's established and worthy of paying more for. So again, you can charge more!
If you also have a good reputation (e.g. word of mouth, referrals, people driving by and seeing your good work and also seeing your signs or trucks to associate the good work with) then you can also charge more!
You should just experiment with these things. The busier you get and the more calls you begin to get - then you can charge a little more if you want to. OR, if you're making good money at your current rates, you can just keep those rates and just land a high percentage of the jobs you bid. That's always been my goal. I'd rather make decent money and rapidly expand my business than make a killing but only land a small percentage of my bids and grow slowly.
I've kind of done a mixture of the two over the years. I've increased our prices accordingly as we've become more well known and we developed a good reputation. But I haven't gone up nearly as much as I could have because I still wanted to be seen as a company who was somewhat affordable and wanted to expand rapidly - which is exactly what has happened.