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picframer
04-27-2009, 08:36 PM
I finished leveling 6 loads of fill today and three loads of top soil, installed 200 feet of drain for a new client.

I finished around 8 this evening, they were very happy. Then the husband said we want you to build out inter locking rock wall, it's 84 feet long and we want it 30" high, I guess the surprised look on my face prompted the next question when the wife said "I know it's not listed in your services but you know how to build one right?" I said I built my own at home but never thought of building for others. "Well it's settled then, here is a picture of the brick we want, any idea when you can start?"

Found this one funny, I can build it with a helper and make a really good buck doing it, they never did ask for a price, guess that is the way it is when you are both doctors, just get it done.

Anyhow these walls are simple to build and perhaps another service the users here could consider.

Andy

Steve
04-27-2009, 08:39 PM
Oh fascinating! Would this be a retaining wall? Or a more decorative wall?

picframer
04-27-2009, 09:22 PM
Oh fascinating! Would this be a retaining wall? Or a more decorative wall?

18" will retain a wall along the driveway then 12" +/- will extend above the grass. I have all the equipment to do it drom digging to placing sand, level and compact, it's something that never crossed my mind. So I have Wednesday as a give quotes and run errands day, well half of it, I plan to call around and see if there are many guys in this business, I have never seen lettering on a vehicle to this effect.

So I told them of a very close friend who is a Blacksmith and does amazing art work, they called Scott and he will be doing a railing that will go on top of my wall. Here is his work http://www.scotianironworks.com/main.htm

Another business idea is lawn sweeping, I do advertise it and have done a few, it's a 60" pull behind sweeper that removes thatch, leaves, twigs, small rocks etc. Anyhow with University out and more staff coming on, I sent an email to a few real estate companies along the lines that clean swept lawn could mean a few thousand dollars to the seller.

Did that on Friday late in the day, I received four calls today from real estate agents and have 11 properties for the guys to start doing. Now to cover my butt I asked for a credit card # and informed them we would bill the morning we set out, rate is $75.00 an hour min $35.00 fee.

I think this will take off as neighbours will see what an amazing job it does and who wants to hand rake a lawn, gosh even I would pay someone $75.00 to do mine.

Andy

Steve
04-27-2009, 09:57 PM
Your blacksmith friend does amazing work! OUTSTANDING work! I bet if you start offering this service, he could send you a lot of business as well.


Another business idea is lawn sweeping
I'd love to see some before and after pictures of this.

Do you explain to the customers that this service will not only remove leaves but also rocks and other objects? Or how best can you convey to the customer what this really is?

For the average person, this might sound like you are using a hand held broom to sweep the lawn.

swstout
04-27-2009, 09:59 PM
I finished leveling 6 loads of fill today and three loads of top soil, installed 200 feet of drain for a new client.

I finished around 8 this evening, they were very happy. Then the husband said we want you to build out inter locking rock wall, it's 84 feet long and we want it 30" high, I guess the surprised look on my face prompted the next question when the wife said "I know it's not listed in your services but you know how to build one right?" I said I built my own at home but never thought of building for others. "Well it's settled then, here is a picture of the brick we want, any idea when you can start?"

Found this one funny, I can build it with a helper and make a really good buck doing it, they never did ask for a price, guess that is the way it is when you are both doctors, just get it done.

Anyhow these walls are simple to build and perhaps another service the users here could consider.

Andy

I gave a quote for a 35' hedge today and the homeowner asked if I would install an electric dog fence around his frot yard? I've heard of them but have no idea how to estimate one. Googelng now for info.

At the way things are going by nest year I'll have to have my own Yellow Pages to cover all the services people want!

Steve

Oh, by the way, the gator is gone.

turfmaster
04-28-2009, 12:02 AM
I gave a quote for a 35' hedge today and the homeowner asked if I would install an electric dog fence around his frot yard? I've heard of them but have no idea how to estimate one. Googelng now for info.

At the way things are going by nest year I'll have to have my own Yellow Pages to cover all the services people want!

Steve

Oh, by the way, the gator is gone.

Steve,
I have put these in in the past.
I used a edger to cut the slot around the perimeter that the customer wanted done. Then you just tuck the wire in. It works pretty sweet. Usually wired the control box in the garage. If you have to run wire across a concrete sidewalk or driveway you just tuck the wire in the tooled or sawed joint in the concrete then use silicone caulk on top of wire. Hope that helps you.
TURF

swstout
04-28-2009, 12:16 AM
Steve,
I have put these in in the past.
I used a edger to cut the slot around the perimeter that the customer wanted done. Then you just tuck the wire in. It works pretty sweet. Usually wired the control box in the garage. If you have to run wire across a concrete sidewalk or driveway you just tuck the wire in the tooled or sawed joint in the concrete then use silicone caulk on top of wire. Hope that helps you.
TURF

Thank you, I found instructions on Google about using the edger but they said to use a concrete saw for the walks and driveways. I like your idea better.

How did you charge for labor? by the foot or what? I was thinking about charging by the foot for material and labor. What do you think?

Steve

turfmaster
04-28-2009, 12:41 AM
The last one I did was about 5 years ago. At that time I charged $1.00/ft plus materials. :)
I used a wood stir stick for paint cans to push the wire in the slot .

swstout
04-28-2009, 12:46 AM
It gives me a place to start. I told the man I would get back to him Wednesday or Thursday so I have a little time to 'cuss and discuss'
my way through figuring the bid.

Steve

Steve
04-28-2009, 01:55 AM
At that time I charged $1.00/ft plus materials.
Did you add any markup to the materials?

How much does it cost to get the electronics and all that for this project?

swstout
04-28-2009, 02:50 AM
Did you add any markup to the materials?

How much does it cost to get the electronics and all that for this project?

Kit $99.99
Extra Wire $69.99
Total $169.98 Shippping Included

swstout
04-28-2009, 03:15 AM
Kit $99.99
Extra Wire $69.99
Total $169.98 Shippping Included

Material $170.00 + 25% ~ $214.00
Labor
Run wire @ 6 feet per minute 166 minutes
Install hardware 60 minutes
Test 60 minutes
Total minutes 280 ~ 4.7 hours
4.7 hours @ $50.00 per hour $235.00

Bid $449.00 + tax on material ($35.92) = $484.92

picframer
04-28-2009, 05:26 AM
Your blacksmith friend does amazing work! OUTSTANDING work! I bet if you start offering this service, he could send you a lot of business as well.



I'd love to see some before and after pictures of this.

Do you explain to the customers that this service will not only remove leaves but also rocks and other objects? Or how best can you convey to the customer what this really is?

For the average person, this might sound like you are using a hand held broom to sweep the lawn.

I talked Scott (Blacksmith) into leaving a job that didn't pay that well 12 years ago and going full time, now he makes real money, we are very close friends and yes we refer clients to each other however he lives outside my service area, at the same time most of his clients are in the city.

For sweeping we simply explain to the customer or prospect that we operate a pull power sweeper that hooks onto one of our garden tractors, using their lawn as an example we would say that it would remove those twigs, rocks, dead grass etc.

I will take some pictures tomorrow as I am doing a 12 hours excavation job today myself and I don't trust the camera to the hands of the guys.

picframer
04-28-2009, 05:30 AM
I gave a quote for a 35' hedge today and the homeowner asked if I would install an electric dog fence around his frot yard? I've heard of them but have no idea how to estimate one. Googelng now for info.

At the way things are going by nest year I'll have to have my own Yellow Pages to cover all the services people want!

Steve

Oh, by the way, the gator is gone.

Steve, another product is Pet Safe wireless fence, it is what I use for my Portugese Water Dog, I have four acres and two units, that gives her about 2 1/2 acres of free space. I went wireless as the cost to have a wire unit was close to three grand, we have a desperate amount of bedrock.

turfmaster
04-28-2009, 10:23 AM
Material $170.00 + 25% ~ $214.00
Labor
Run wire @ 6 feet per minute 166 minutes
Install hardware 60 minutes
Test 60 minutes
Total minutes 280 ~ 4.7 hours
4.7 hours @ $50.00 per hour $235.00

Bid $449.00 + tax on material ($35.92) = $484.92

Steve,
When you say run wire @ 6 feet per min is that the time for trenching ?
Are you running about 996 ft of wire ?

turfmaster
04-28-2009, 11:49 AM
I did some digging through my files. Back in 2002 I did a job with 400 ft of trenching .
Materials were $150.00
Billed customer $550.00
400ft x $1.00 = $400.00 labor
Spent 6.5 hours from start to finish on job.

I also called a local company that specializes in installs for invisible fence .
At that time they quoted $700.00 for the same job.

Totally Green
04-28-2009, 12:05 PM
Another business idea is lawn sweeping, I do advertise it and have done a few, it's a 60" pull behind sweeper that removes thatch, leaves, twigs, small rocks etc.
Andy

I've tried sweeping. The problem I have is that the catcher on my sweeper, a John Deere, just doesn't hold up. It drags, resulting in the thread rubbing through and then I have a hole in the back of the bag. Has anyone come up with a modification that works better or am I just doing something wrong?

Gary

swstout
04-28-2009, 12:20 PM
Steve,
When you say run wire @ 6 feet per min is that the time for trenching ?
Are you running about 996 ft of wire ?

When I searched Google for Installing Electronic Dog Fences I found an article that stated the the author averaged 6' per minute using an edger to trench and set wires.

The actual job size will be about 920 feet. The kit comes with 500' 20 gauge wire. I figured upgradeing to 1,000' 18 gauge wire. With additional wire needed to run into garage I figured 1,000 feet.

To make bidding easier I like using a per foot cost.
@$0.45 per foot - $450.00

If I do the job myself I would make $450.00 - $175.00 (material) - $14.00 (tax) = $261.00 profit or ~ $52.20 per hour.

If I have an employee do the job @ $18.00 per hour I would make $36.20 per hour.

Steve

turfmaster
04-28-2009, 12:45 PM
Sounds good to me. :D

swstout
04-28-2009, 12:53 PM
Sounds good to me. :D

While developing my web page, It hit me that the $0.45 per foot would not hold true to smaller sizes. A 500' set up would sell for $225.00. The kit would cost $170.00 leaving only $55.00 for mark-up, tax and labor.

Back to the drawing board!

Steve

turfmaster
04-28-2009, 01:39 PM
I'll be honest with you. I have done 3 of these and I think you may be selling yourself short on the labor end. $52.00/hour sounds great but I think 6ft/ min installed is not realistic. Maybe in absolutly great soil conditions. Wait till you hit rocks or hard clay with the edger. Just tucking in the wire properly takes about that long. Maybe with a helper you could speed things up but then your labor rate should be higher also. If I were you I would call a local guy in your area that specializes in installs and check their pricing for 1000 ft install. Good luck
TURF :)

picframer
04-28-2009, 01:57 PM
I've tried sweeping. The problem I have is that the catcher on my sweeper, a John Deere, just doesn't hold up. It drags, resulting in the thread rubbing through and then I have a hole in the back of the bag. Has anyone come up with a modification that works better or am I just doing something wrong?

Gary

Gary, What thread is rubbing? Are you talking about the dump cord as that gets tied to the tractor and doesn't drag.

I have two of them and the first one would have a few hundred miles on it, no sign of much wear yet.

swstout
04-28-2009, 04:27 PM
I'll be honest with you. I have done 3 of these and I think you may be selling yourself short on the labor end. $52.00/hour sounds great but I think 6ft/ min installed is not realistic. Maybe in absolutly great soil conditions. Wait till you hit rocks or hard clay with the edger. Just tucking in the wire properly takes about that long. Maybe with a helper you could speed things up but then your labor rate should be higher also. If I were you I would call a local guy in your area that specializes in installs and check their pricing for 1000 ft install. Good luck
TURF :)

I have already bid this job so if they accept, I'll use it as a learning experience. I used the 6' per minute formula from info I got from Google.

Steve

Totally Green
04-29-2009, 08:46 AM
Gary, What thread is rubbing? Are you talking about the dump cord as that gets tied to the tractor and doesn't drag.

I have two of them and the first one would have a few hundred miles on it, no sign of much wear yet.

I've attached a photo of the sweeper I have. The bottom rear of the leaf catcher starts to drag after a few leaves are swept. This is where the thread tore and left an opening for the leaves to fall out. I've been using wire to hold it together.

Gary

SuperiorPower
04-29-2009, 09:16 AM
I've attached a photo of the sweeper I have. The bottom rear of the leaf catcher starts to drag after a few leaves are swept. This is where the thread tore and left an opening for the leaves to fall out. I've been using wire to hold it together.

Gary

Gary is it possible to adjust or modify the tongue of the sweeper to allow the tongue to be lower to the ground? would this push the bag up, farther off the ground and keeping it from draffing the ground?

Just a thought. Good luck,
Eli

picframer
04-29-2009, 04:57 PM
I've attached a photo of the sweeper I have. The bottom rear of the leaf catcher starts to drag after a few leaves are swept. This is where the thread tore and left an opening for the leaves to fall out. I've been using wire to hold it together.

Gary

Gary, Two things:

You can adjust the amount the bags drags by moving the hitch up and down, I believe there are 5 bolt holes where you can do the adjustment.

Second is to not let it get too full and heavy, leaves you can fill it however if you are picking small rocks I put mine about 1/3 full, even then I can barely lift it.

I have two, one is about three years old, I had a look at the bottom today and it does show some wear but not bad at all.

Andy

Totally Green
04-30-2009, 09:40 AM
Gary, Two things:

You can adjust the amount the bags drags by moving the hitch up and down, I believe there are 5 bolt holes where you can do the adjustment.

Second is to not let it get too full and heavy, leaves you can fill it however if you are picking small rocks I put mine about 1/3 full, even then I can barely lift it.

Andy

I think the biggest problem is overloading. We have a lot of sweet gum balls around here and they pile up fast. I'll try both suggestions. Thanks to All.

Gary

Steve
04-30-2009, 08:47 PM
Has anyone ever used a larger sweeper like this? Is it worth going for something that seems more commercial/industrial grade?

http://www.steinerturf.com/products/attachments/special/images/Lawn-Sweeper.jpg