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BelleCityLawn1
03-25-2013, 11:36 AM
Hey guys,

So I do mostly lawn maintenance/snow removal for about 40 customers. I have been in business for about 1 year and I am beginning to get alot of my mowing customers asking about landscaping. I am taking landscaping classes this fall for my horticulture associates degree I am going for at a local college. I am just wondering what the best way to estimate these jobs are? I have gotten good at estimating lawns but I have not really done anything where materials (other than gas and equipment) would be a major expense. Any help would be awesome!

Thank you,
Tim Oezer
Belle City Lawn Care, LLC

Caskey Lawns & Landscapes
03-25-2013, 02:34 PM
It's basically the same as when you learned to estimate mowing,etc...

The biggest factor is knowing what the cost is going to be for your materials such as mulch, plants, etc...once you know that you figure your labor rates...Most guys cushion the material prices to cover for pick up and delivery.etc...

Hope that helped you some...Good Luck :)

BelleCityLawn1
03-25-2013, 02:42 PM
dougcaskey,

I am going to give an estimate for a retaining wall on a property I take care of Wednesday. It is about 1-2 feet tall and maybe 50ft long. Whats the best way to write out an estimate for this type of work? Just curious as to what other people to as to what my idea is.

Thanks!

Caskey Lawns & Landscapes
03-25-2013, 02:59 PM
I usually write up my estimates for a total cost, I don't like breaking down each line item with it's own cost, It's makes it easier for a customer to pick at prices if they are broken down :rolleyes:


If you have never done a retaining wall you may want ask someone for help first...There are a lot of factors that go into it and a lot depends on the job site itself...Be Careful & know your material cost before hand...


Good Luck with it...:)

SECTLANDSCAPING
03-25-2013, 05:33 PM
I usually write up my estimates for a total cost, I don't like breaking down each line item with it's own cost, It's makes it easier for a customer to pick at prices if they are broken down :rolleyes:


If you have never done a retaining wall you may want ask someone for help first...There are a lot of factors that go into it and a lot depends on the job site itself...Be Careful & know your material cost before hand...


Good Luck with it...:)
With things like materials I like to break it down. So the customer see there getting x amount of mulch.

Most states have regulations for building retaining walls. Mine is over 4ft is a bunch of red tape. Either way you have to be a HIC.

Steve
03-26-2013, 03:14 AM
.once you know that you figure your labor rates.

What's your advice on the best way to figure out how long different landscape jobs will take you? Do you advise starting small and learning how much time smaller jobs take before you jump into a larger landscape project?

Caskey Lawns & Landscapes
03-26-2013, 08:04 AM
Yes Steve,

Every job is different and many will set a standard rate for jobs, sometimes that works out and some times it doesn't....

I will never talk money without looking at a job first, My opinion is that you can't learn to do good estimates from a book...It's a hands on learning process and others may disagree with me but it is the way I learned the business....

BelleCityLawn1
03-26-2013, 08:38 AM
Thanks Guys!

I have been doing some research and looking at prices. It is a smaller project but I figure I need to start somewhere as I would like to grow into landscaping. I talked to one of my friends who worked for another local landscaping/lawn care business and he gave me a lot of tips. One of the reasons I am excited to get more of these projects is I used to be really good at art. I went to state and won Jr and Senior year for pencil drawing. Landscaping is somewhat like art on a bigger level and it is beautifying lawns! Thanks for the help again!

Thank you,
Tim Oezer
Belle City Lawn Care, LLC

Steve
03-26-2013, 01:36 PM
I went to state and won Jr and Senior year for pencil drawing. Landscaping is somewhat like art on a bigger level and it is beautifying lawns! Thanks for the help again!

I'd love to see some of your drawings. That skill will really come in handy with designing landscapes. Why not start drawing up some landscape projects and then make them. Take pictures of the steps and the final outcome. All of this material would be great in a brochure or on your website. You could show potential customers your skill level and you could draw up great looking designs before you began any digging.

BelleCityLawn1
03-26-2013, 04:43 PM
I am planning on taking lots of pictures during the stages for future jobs and my website which I have redesigned over the last few months. What would be a good designer to use?

Thank you,
Tim Oezer
Belle City Lawn Care, LLC

phouse65
03-26-2013, 06:59 PM
I charge $20 per square foot on retaining walls. That price includes all my materials except the retaining wall bricks. If it is a small wall in height and the bricks are under $2 a piece, that is included also. If I need Big blocks or they want a more expensive style, I add the difference on to the bill.

Steve
03-27-2013, 12:24 PM
What would be a good designer to use?

I don't know of any specific programs. I am sure there are some out there but you could also go with hand drawings as well and doing that on site in front of the customer could bring them more into the project and feel better about what they are having created.

BelleCityLawn1
03-27-2013, 12:55 PM
That is what I ended up doing. I just totalled all my exspenses and labor and it comes out to about $25 a foot which included materials and labor. Do you guys this this is too high or low? It would be for a wall that is 2ft high by 37ft long and another wall around the front of a house which is a failed attempt by the homeowner to make a raised garden and they want it redone. That wall is 1 ft high by 15ft long. I am just basically wondering if you guys think this will take longer or shorter than my estimated 18 hours? In the larger wall there is sidewalks so I would have to build a squared off section to go up the stairs partway.

Thanks!

Steve
03-28-2013, 10:58 AM
Have you ever created any walls before? What were you using as a basis for your 18 hours?

BelleCityLawn1
03-28-2013, 11:34 AM
I have done one in front of my house. It is only about a 10ft curved wall for a flower bed. It took about 9 hours with one person. This wall is about 3 times as big. I will also have 2 people on the job site working. So if I take the 9 hours x3 and divide that by 2 it comes out to 13.5 hours. Then I left a few hours for extra time. They also needed a small landscape wall that they had just put on top of the ground for a flower bed rebuild the right way which I estimated another 7 hours with 2 men working. I feel like I left the price reasonable enough but still left enough extra time to make a good profit.

Thanks,
Tim Oezer
Belle City Lawn Care, LLC

Steve
03-28-2013, 11:50 AM
I have done one in front of my house. It is only about a 10ft curved wall for a flower bed. It took about 9 hours with one person. This wall is about 3 times as big.

Ok so 9 hrs x 3 = 27 man hours


I will also have 2 people on the job site working. So if I take the 9 hours x3 and divide that by 2 it comes out to 13.5 hours.

Why would you do this? You still will have 27 man hours total you need to account for. Sure you might get it done with both of you working in half the time it would take you to do alone but you still have a total of 27 man hours (potentially).

What's your thoughts on that versus dividing it by 2?

BelleCityLawn1
03-28-2013, 11:59 AM
Sorry for the confusion but I accounted for the 27 man hours in my estimate but for the general time to complete the project approximately it is 13.5 hours. I will probably look back after the project and adjust my pricing. But I feel like that was a good number for the job.

Thanks,
Tim Oezer
Belle City Lawn Care, LLC

Steve
03-29-2013, 12:32 PM
Ok good. Keep us posted on how all this goes. I look forwards to hearing your updates.