When does solo pricing become too much money?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by caseysmowing, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. caseysmowing

    caseysmowing LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,137

    I'm solo for the most part just family help here and there. I charge 60 a hour for mowing and leaves. How many hours is too many hours for one person charging 60 a hour before it becomes over priced?? I know this question has many variables but I have some good size jobs that I might be over charging and some I just can't charge my rate. My main one I'm questioning takes about 80 man hours for leaves. The owner has a full time worker that helps when he can so I end up putting in about 60 man hours. 3600 for leaf clean up is a little steep. I'm guessing that companies around me probably charge around 20-30 a man hour maybe I'm wrong but would like to here from solos and guys with crews.
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  2. TMlawncare

    TMlawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,200

    It becomes too much when you don't have the equipment and experience to justify the price.
  3. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    So it takes you 7/8 days to do this one cleanup?
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    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,526

    I would say that you don't have the proper equipment to do the job efficiently.
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  5. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    How large is this property?

    How do you clean up the leaves?

    How long does it take to do the property?
  6. Ben Bowen

    Ben Bowen LawnSite Bronze Member
    from PNW
    Messages: 1,182

    Who cares? Is the customer comfortable with your pricing? If so, then don't worry about it. No matter how low your prices are someone will think you are over priced. You are worth what someone will pay you.

    If it really worries you then spend some of the $ on equipment that will allow you to do it faster next year. Sounds like a great client!
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  7. caseysmowing

    caseysmowing LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,137

    I have the equipment 2 br600 13hp sp billy goat 16hp trac vac loader leaf plow truck with 8ft dumper 4ft sides. It takes 30 loads or so. It's 5 acres and the last guy had over 100 hours in it. This place is in the woods with about 200 boxwoods and 300 other shrubs and plants. It is a mansion!! Oh and those 30 loads only go the curb! I would post some pics but I'm not sure how. I have some on my Facebook page Casey Hicklin Casey's mowing and landscaping.
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  8. caseysmowing

    caseysmowing LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,137

    Also when started this thread I said there are some I don't make my rate on and this is one of them. I think I came in around 40 a hour gross. Most of my other jobs are 60 plus. I think this just comes down to more man power at less pay. I just want to have a idea when the bigger guys can do it for less? What are some of the labor rates for guys with crews? Some jobs are just too big for a one man show.
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  9. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    I think 50 to 60 is pretty fair but not competitive. Your equipment is worth something. What would it cost this guy to rent it and let his employee do the work?

    You charge for equipment and man hours but maybe not show it that way.

    More guys on the truck lower the cost of the truck and equipment and lower the effective man hour charges.

    If people are getting down to $20.00 a man hour they are fools and likely cheats too.
  10. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    No one can tell you whether $60/hr is fair because we do not have access to your overhead expense, cost of living, desired profit, etc. I can tell you the biggest mistake you could make is to undervalue your time. I can understand throwing in a freebie or few man hours at the end of a season here or there only for the very best customers and only on your terms after they have given you 5 figures in a season. However even if you tell them this straight they will not appreciate it like you intend. What essentially happens is that you have undervalued your time and they will forget the savings the very next time you hand them a contract renewal with price increase. If you do this to anyone on a regular basis you have shot yourself in the foot because it will become very difficult to raise prices later and anyone they refer will expect similar pricing.

    Your setup is enough to support additional laborers. Please understand that if you expect to charge half the amount to have double the man power you have again done yourself wrong. Generally having extra laborers does not decrease your rate. The only people who can make this happen are large scale and are using reduced rates to make it up in volume. I can not imagine that legit organizations are working for $20-30/hr anywhere. My cost to be on your property is greater than that per man. There is one company around here that intentionally lowballs other contracts when competing straight labor by offering $35/man hr. They do large volume, but they make up for it by overcharging the customer for bad material. IE charging inflated pricing for recycling center mulch and then arguing it is premium grade. They have gotten a few of my customers once or twice, and I see them all the time when we are dropping off our garbage brush, pallets, poison ivy rip outs, rotten stumps, etc.

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