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  • #16
    I don't know how long you've been doing this, but my assumption is that you just started. I worked for peanuts last year too because I didn't know any better. I have since learned that I don't have to quote what I think THEY will PAY - I quote what I want/need to be paid. This does not mean that I throw out unreasonable figures, but if you are a legitimate business, paying insurance and any other fees, you MUST charge enough to cover those expenses.

    Location does have a lot to do with what you can charge, but you can still charge a fair price and get jobs even if some won't pay what you are asking.
    Wait until your schedule is filled with crap accounts and you realize you aren't making enough money. At that point there are only two options - work harder and longer hours for more low-pay accounts (remember there are only so many hours in a day), or get accounts that pay more.

    I still have some slots I can fill this season and I'm not bringing in what I had hoped for. That said, I'm turning down crap jobs left and right because I know that if I take them, I won't have room in my schedule for a GOOD paying job when they come calling.

    You do what works for you. Just don't sell yourself short because "twenty dollars an hour" isn't really $20/hr.

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    • #17
      I don't know how long you've been doing this, but my assumption is that you just started. I worked for peanuts last year too because I didn't know any better. I have since learned that I don't have to quote what I think THEY will PAY - I quote what I want/need to be paid. This does not mean that I throw out unreasonable figures, but if you are a legitimate business, paying insurance and any other fees, you MUST charge enough to cover those expenses.

      Location does have a lot to do with what you can charge, but you can still charge a fair price and get jobs even if some won't pay what you are asking.
      Wait until your schedule is filled with crap accounts and you realize you aren't making enough money. At that point there are only two options - work harder and longer hours for more low-pay accounts (remember there are only so many hours in a day), or get accounts that pay more.

      I still have some slots I can fill this season and I'm not bringing in what I had hoped for. That said, I'm turning down crap jobs left and right because I know that if I take them, I won't have room in my schedule for a GOOD paying job when they come calling.

      You do what works for you. Just don't sell yourself short because "twenty dollars an hour" isn't really $20/hr.


      i like your style, i get it, too. i as well want to be able to get to a point where i can drop crap jobs in favor of good jobs, i'm just not there yet.

      this is my first time doing this on my own (previously worked for other guys doing this being paid crap) , i'm just trying to build a presence right now. when i saw the job i wanted to tell her 125 or so, then i knew she would have just told us to leave. i ran 60 to 55 in my head and gave her the 55 quote.

      she's stuck up anyhow, i wont be hearing from those folks again, i know it. my area is littered with guys willing to do anything for a case of beer, so being a new-jack out here it's hard to find people willing to pay good money for GOOD real work.



      @PineHill, yes, i'm sure 800 is a very fair deal for all the removal of honeysuckle, and yes, there isn't a problem with asking that; afterall we doo need to be paid fair wages, but would that quote have been anything you could have told the cx over the phone though, in order to save yourself the time of going out there just to be shot down? that ****s hard work, harder than hell, i know, but to tell some guy out there who you know isn't going to pay it that you want 800 for the job - just seems like hubris to me.

      i understand you are professional, and you want to earn a professional wage for professional work, i just.. cant see going to a guys house and telling him 800.

      of course, i haven't been as far down the path as you, i'm sure, and eventually I will see those places myself though, and then im sure i will understand more. even now in retrospect i wish i could have gotten more for the job here we started talking about, but i knew she wouldnt bite, but after loading up the gear, i felt i had to get something out of her.
      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=336810496393655

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      • #18
        i like your style, i get it, too. i as well want to be able to get to a point where i can drop crap jobs in favor of good jobs, i'm just not there yet.

        this is my first time doing this on my own (previously worked for other guys doing this being paid crap) , i'm just trying to build a presence right now. when i saw the job i wanted to tell her 125 or so, then i knew she would have just told us to leave. i ran 60 to 55 in my head and gave her the 55 quote.

        she's stuck up anyhow, i wont be hearing from those folks again, i know it. my area is littered with guys willing to do anything for a case of beer, so being a new-jack out here it's hard to find people willing to pay good money for GOOD real work.



        @PineHill, yes, i'm sure 800 is a very fair deal for all the removal of honeysuckle, and yes, there isn't a problem with asking that; afterall we doo need to be paid fair wages, but would that quote have been anything you could have told the cx over the phone though, in order to save yourself the time of going out there just to be shot down? that ****s hard work, harder than hell, i know, but to tell some guy out there who you know isn't going to pay it that you want 800 for the job - just seems like hubris to me.

        i understand you are professional, and you want to earn a professional wage for professional work, i just.. cant see going to a guys house and telling him 800.

        of course, i haven't been as far down the path as you, i'm sure, and eventually I will see those places myself though, and then im sure i will understand more. even now in retrospect i wish i could have gotten more for the job here we started talking about, but i knew she wouldnt bite, but after loading up the gear, i felt i had to get something out of her.
        I honestly wasn't sure what he wanted till I got there. If you talk to people on the phone they'll tell you it's just a little brush next to the fence and if you bid it over the phone you can get screwed. I would rather take the time to drive 10 miles to bid on what I can see.
        I figure up in my head how much work will be involved and go from there. You have to make money to do this and even if I don't get a job I bid or estimate, I still would rather phsyically go to it and see with my own eyes. Theres no way in hell you can bid something over the phone, and not get the shaft one way or another. So yeah, I'll take the time to go and bid a job even if its not one I want. I think that even if you don't want a job due to location or some other aspect, you should always show up for the estimate if you told the customer you would. I have gone to several lawns where the customer said the other guy I called, never showed up. That just looks bad on your part to drive by the place and see it's not one you want, then drive off without even talking to the customer of leaving an estimate. If you dont want it, bid it high at least you look like your trying, and if they say yes you make a little more than you normally would, which will "help" offset the nerve-racking feeling you get with leaving equipment in a rougher area. Just how I operate and what I think is right. To each his own!!!!

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        • #19
          What I am learning about the mowing business.

          What I am finding out about this business is that your sucess comes in phases,don't get me wrong I every client is important in building the business.

          First when you are just starting out and are need clients you will mow yards for $20.00 and acre (just an example) and you will have several clients that you are working really hard for little money.

          Then as your business grows you will get clients that will pay you what you are worth and you will phaise out the $20/acre clients because they will say that they can not afford to pay your new prices or that they can not afford to pay you for this service anymore.

          this is what is happening to me in my expierance in the mowing business

          Great job Chris on the yard it realy looks great.

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          • #20
            wknd warrior there were two of you there for 3 hrs thats about $10 an hr per person after gas, wear and tear on equipment, string etc etc.... they got the best of you man. not hear to point fingers or call anyone out just to help I use to do cheap work like this and always ended up felling disatisfied at the end of the day. Make sure the want for new customers doesnt cloud the ultimate goal making a good living.

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            • #21
              i'm starting to bid higher. i approached an old couple kitty-corner from one of my regulars (i wont say client anymore until i can get them contracted - i also reserve any discounts *only* for people who contract up, whether they like it or not) me and ma talked to them and examined their yard.


              it's a small yard, but over grown. no trees, a small patio in back, and a ramp up front to work around for their wheel chair. out back looks like they tried to seed, because all you see are bare seeds with no water or soil covering them.

              thick, patchy, clustered up grass. tall, too. i'd say 5 or 6 inches easily.

              small yard, again. told them 60 for the first full treatment (wack/edge, mow & blow) and 40 after that.



              they sent me away, but i got to leave them with information. i'll go back on sunday to ask 'em again (i'll be in the neighborhood, regular wanted to bump me up to sunday for the week, he better realize i'm comin back on friday anyway - can't tell if he's trying to swing for an odd number service like 10 days or something, we're not having it though). i got their names last time, in the future i want to start taking names & numbers so i can do call backs (bad idea?)




              jandrbusiness, thank you for the compliment on our work. we busted our asses on this, especially ma as she is our lawn-mower. the pictures don't do the job much justice. those people were asses. they made me take down the best pictures of the work.

              http://i48.tinypic.com/21e7o0o.jpg

              http://i45.tinypic.com/2142p3t.jpg

              http://i46.tinypic.com/25aon.jpg
              https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=336810496393655

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              • #22
                i got their names last time, in the future i want to start taking names & numbers so i can do call backs
                Yea that is a great idea. Following up can only help. Keep us posted on how it goes.
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                • #23
                  Yep great work

                  I been there done that and being that I am in the same business I know just how hard you guys worked.doing work in the yards, the value of the dollar that you will be paid went down.In the past in Missouri average yard was around $50 bucks mabe 2 or 3 years ago but today you will be lucky if you get $40 dollars for it.Its because everybody and there brother is doing lawn care and many have rider mowers and charging $10-$15 for a average house and $40 to $45 to do a large house.

                  It seems to me that trimming trees,removing giant weeds and pricker bushes,large brush,dead stumps and other over growth is where the money is at.customers figure that the bigger the weeds and bushes are that the more money the job is because they think it will be hard to clear out and doing the lawns is easy because people have riders, but what I found that it is not always true.

                  4 example I mowed the ladys yard for $40.00 it took 2hrs not bad but I removes a small tree growing on the side of another ladys house she offered to give me $100.00 for the job which I got done in 2 hrs 2 in half times more in the same time.

                  Mowing the yards is good but I think the big money is in the giant weeds,brush and trees.

                  Take care and hope everything is well in your business.

                  JT

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                  • #24
                    ALRIGHT, time for me to speak my drunketh wisdom.

                    Some areas you just can't get away with charging much (and this goes for EVERY professional in my area)

                    For example: there is a 6% chance of being able to charge a client the ideal price. That's about 3 jobs for every 50 you take on.


                    Because you had just started, I believe you had priced it fairly. You are in no position to charge $800, not yet.

                    You left the job with more experience and something for the neighbors to view and appreciate.

                    I can also understand that it's you and the misses taking care of the property, and so long as you both make enough money to pay the bills that you share, I can't see why you'd care about charging per man hours right now - so I understand you, and there is nothing to be ashamed of.

                    The hard reality of it all, is that newer companies MUST take crap their first year. This is how (and the only real way) you can get noticed by the better clients.

                    You could mow a lawn for peanuts, and then suddenly four of his neighbors want to hire you - you would charge them the ideal price and increase the price for your original client, or fire him.

                    -

                    I hope this helped, because a lot of the times people instantly apply their logic to a situation at their current time of success, forgetting about what was required to get where they are today.

                    Summary: You have no choice but to take crap jobs for peanuts, but it's temporary. We all start the same in this field.

                    Most new company owners can't afford big advertising or super powered equipment yet. It's not like you started off with $20,000 investment to throw into the company, which would enable you to do such a thing.

                    I predict in 2-3 years, you'll be charging that $800. There is no rush.

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