View Full Version : Things are Slow/Finding new things to do

06-22-2011, 03:00 PM
We are thinking of doing lawn treatments such as weed control/fertilizations/seedings.

how do we decide what to charge? is it the cost of products plus hourly rate? wanting to be fair on pricing but also make money.

we learned the hard way on a few clean up bids that we way under bid them.

Also what would the rate be for dethatching and arrations...i understand these are dependant on yard size etc.

thanks for the help


06-22-2011, 04:11 PM
Hi Larry,

Welcome to our forum.

we learned the hard way on a few clean up bids that we way under bid them.

Give me some insights as to what you feel you did wrong with these bids and how that has changed the way you bid now? Understanding this should really help you in your future bids with any service.

06-22-2011, 07:26 PM

We just under bid them for the amount of work involved. On some instead of giving a flat rate we started charging per man hour.

One example was we priced a yard clean up at 300 and it took 3 6 hour days. Now for the same type work we charge a disposal fee of 20 dollars a service fee of 25 (covers gas oil etc) and 35 dollars a man per hour.

We are really wanting to move more towards landscaping tree felling and yard clean ups vs mowing. Not that we won't take these jobs theres just 10 or 15 company's that strictly mow in our area. Middletown Ohio.

I feel yard maintenance is Part of landscaping. Such as the seeding fertilizing weed control arroation and dethacthing parts of it. Those things I don't know how to bid or charge for and I really think we could specialize in.

Thanks for any input.

06-22-2011, 08:40 PM
We are thinking of doing lawn treatments such as weed control/fertilizations/ ...
Are you licensed or certified to do weed control and fertilizations? Does your insurance cover such services?

06-23-2011, 08:53 AM
no we are not and since u mentioned it we are going to hold off until we both get certified in august. we have registered for classes and tests. but still can we discuss how to charge for these services?


06-23-2011, 03:01 PM
I just didn't want you to "learn the hard way" again. Depending where you are the fines could lose you a house and close your business.

Just like mowing, I charge by the square foot plus a stop charge. Do you have a formula for mowing?

06-23-2011, 08:00 PM
No because we haven't had any mowing jobs this year. I would usually just base it off how long it would take me hour wise plus a bit to cover fuel maintance etc.

There are some bigger yards in my area I would do for 65 bucks but find out someone else is doing it for 48 bucks mowed trimmed cleaned uP and stripped.

So a formula would be helpful.

I have used the calculators on here before to help some.

06-23-2011, 10:18 PM
My advice would be to find a formula that works with the size of the property. You just can't go by time because it's different every time you visit depending on weather conditions, chatty customers, cars in the way, etc.

I've been experimenting with a "difficulty factor" for properties with hills or obstacles (fenced in sections, trampolines, those stupid solar-charged lights) but I have nothing solid to report on that yet.

06-24-2011, 05:18 PM
We just under bid them for the amount of work involved. On some instead of giving a flat rate we started charging per man hour.

How have you found bidding a job based on a flat rate per man hour?

Also how have your customers reacted to such bidding methods?

06-25-2011, 02:25 AM
Most jobs we do a per man hour pricing on are usually property clean ups. We have several jobs recently that I have bid as 70 dollars an hour. That's 2 guys at 35 an hour to clean up some over grown 1/4 acre lots. I usually look at them and walk the property with the owner discussing what they want done. I let them know a ball park estimate of let's say 8 hours plus disposal fees of all brush at 600 dollars. I let them know if it takes longer than 8 hours depending on what we find or run into we didn't see on a walk around we will stop and discuss it with them.

We also charge a flat 300 bucks to cut up and remove downed trees and anywhere From 500-1500 to fell trees dead or alive.

SO far I haven't gone over an estimate and no one seems shocked. They all seem to understand the labor involved and when we are done it's a night and day difference. We once removed 26 shrubs that were over 6 feet tall but had been dead for several years. We do it all by hand and charged our standard 70 dollars an hour with an estimate of 400 bucks. They didn't even blink at that price because they wanted it all cleaned up. It took us about 5 hours to do it all.

Today I just dropped off two estimates for mulching beds. And building a small raised bed out of natural stone for 1800 dollars. I am hoping they accept our offer as it's in a very nice neighborhoOd and would bring us more clients.

We did loose a mowing contract today to a lower bidder but still have her firewood delivery mulching and bed maintenance and snow removal. So I can't complain. Some of these mow guys charge 25 bucks to mow trim and clean up there is no way I can compete with that if I want to stay debt free starting out.

06-26-2011, 06:04 PM
Do you find there is any downside to bidding jobs that way with an hourly fee like that?

Or do you feel this is something you would like to stick with?