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Who is bidding/billing solely on sq footage?

Discussion in 'Bidding, Estimating and Pricing' started by FWLM1, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. FWLM1

    FWLM1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Does anyone here price/estimate jobs solely on square footage? Personally, I’m pretty accurate estimating based on personal experience and rough measurements. That being said, I’m looking for a way to simplify/expedite our whole billing/estimating
    process and delegating it to the office/operations staff. While not being as accurate as actually visiting the property and pricing it myself, I think if you can keep a close eye on on your square footage price, you can remain profitable as well as competitive. I hate this way of billing, but it really would speed up many processes. Ultimately looking to sell the whole package to customers for one steady monthly bill, based off square footage. One spring cleanup, 25 mows, 2 fall cleanups, and 15 snow events.. just wondering if anyone is doing that, and if I’m missing any serious pitfalls in approaching it from that perspective. Thank you..
     
  2. Landscaping Accelerator

    Landscaping Accelerator LawnSite Member
    from NY
    Messages: 6

    For lawn service (mowing, fertilizing) measuring online is the only way to go. I do ask a few questions to the homeowner about the property which helps me with add-ons like fences, gates, pools and other stuff but I could not imaging driving out to look at every lawn anymore. Thats old school!! haha

    Occasionally you will find a property that has hills or ditches you did not see online but you can always raise that price at some point in the future, the goal is to be the first guy to get the job and you can do the online price immediately.

    I dont price out spring or fall cleanups. I give an hourly price and a range of what it may be.
     
  3. WeReviveLandscaping

    WeReviveLandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Haha I guess I'm old school. I'm a one-man show and I just go to the property and give them a price. If they want one over the phone I tell them the average yard is $30-$40 and then we go from there once i show up to mow. As far as cleanups go most of my properties I know how long it's going to take so I give them a price for it. Plus I have people ask for a bid not an hourly rate. If it is a new property that I've never done I try to do the hourly rate.
     
  4. FWLM1

    FWLM1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I’m old school as well, a quick visit to the property and I have all the info I need to estimate, price, etc. I need to let go of this, because there isn’t enough time in the day for me. I need to go in a direction that’s a little more standardized. I hate the idea of billing/estimating solely on square footage, but it does allow just about anyone on the team to do it. My brother, my number 2, he can tell you within 15 minutes how many man hours a job will take. I’ll be damned if he can do a full and correct estimate though.
     
    WeReviveLandscaping likes this.
  5. Green Industry Pro

    Green Industry Pro LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Tyler Texas
    Messages: 465

    I've created that system for my company. It is constantly evolving but I feel its pretty decent. I have per square footage pricing on as many things as possible. For tree pruning and hedge trimming, it's a per tree/ bush price. I've created a price chart, and created service items in Yardbook with appropriate pricing. For lawn mowing, price differs depending on the property. If it's a 30,000sqft property that's totally accessible on all sides by a ztr, then you can't price as high as say a town home complex with the same square footage because the man hours are drastically different. We base each price scale off of size and difficulty. For example Easy difficulty/Large property, Medium difficulty/Large property, Hard/Large, Easy/Small, Medium/Small, Hard/Small. Each item has its own rate. We determined the rates based off of timing the properties that we are already maintaining. All someone has to do is add the pre priced line item to an estimate in yardbook and fill in the amount of sqft. Yardbook calculates everything else for them.
     
  6. FWLM1

    FWLM1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Thanks, that’s the perspective I am interested in. Do you find it pretty accurate pricing this way? Or do you find you are over and under on some jobs, but the average works? I’m most likely switching a lot of my prices to flatter rates. So everyone in the same neighborhoods are paying identical bills, so long as the square footage is close. Even though the smiths lawn takes 10 more minutes, it’s the same as the joneses, etc.. I’ll just keep up on by watching our bottom line, etc..
     
  7. WeReviveLandscaping

    WeReviveLandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    I might have took in to the square footage but for right now I'm small enough that I can just drive by and give them a price. And this fall I switched my pruning by the shrub and by the tree sizes.
     
  8. Green Industry Pro

    Green Industry Pro LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Tyler Texas
    Messages: 465

    I run a small operation currently. We're a family owned and operated business. I don't have to do things the way I do, but I'm laying the groundwork for us to have systems in place when we expand. I'm starting to pickup large HOAs and I'm bidding on my local airport so I'm looking at adding another truck and hiring more people. Just makes it easier so others can help you, also helps you to be consistent in your pricing across different properties. I haven't had issues with the numbers causing loss or charging too much. I have made sure to adjust over this season so that everything is accurate. It wasn't foolproof at first but it pretty much is now that I've adjusted the rates over time. If I charge $30 to mow a 3,000 sqft townhome, then I can set my town home rate at $10/1,000sqft. Give certain properties their own category based on how many man hours/sqft.
     
    WeReviveLandscaping likes this.
  9. Green Industry Pro

    Green Industry Pro LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Tyler Texas
    Messages: 465

    Sounds really complicated but its not.
     

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