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  • Under Bid Really Bad :(

    Hi guys! I need some advice. I have a very new company...its just me and my husband right now. I went out and gave a family a quote for lawn care and leaf removal/lawn clean up. They signed up for annual service, but needed the leaf removal/lawn clean up asap. So we went out today and I only charged them $70 dollars. The yard was moderate size. I only thought it would take an hour....hour and a half tops. HOLY CRAP!! That was wayyyy to low! I didn't realize until we got out there and into it that the leaves had'nt been raked or picked up in years. So once you got past the top layer there was matted down leaves/dirt/old pine straw. I know hind sight is 20/20 but....What would you guys have charged for that job? How do I go about not under bidding next time?? I know one things for sure...I don't know if I'll be doing any more yard clean ups soon!
    Tianna D

    http://www.lawnsalonforyou.com

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  • #2
    Oh wow! How long did it actually take you to do the job? How many many hours total?
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    • #3
      I too did the very same thing when I started but it was with palm tree work. You can look up at a 20' palm and guess how much work and debris there will be but until you actually do it you have no idea. It always turns out to be twice as long as you think and 3 times the debris.
      I guess really what it boils down to is experience. Take that job and chalk it up to just that and remember it for the next estimate.

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      • #4
        Thanks guys! We started at 10 am and didn't get done till 1:30 We had to make another trip back to the house to pic up the 18 bags of leaves and debris. lol I wanted it to look great so we did it right, but it took a while!
        Tianna D

        http://www.lawnsalonforyou.com

        Add me to your Myspace!

        http://http://profile.myspace.com/in...ndID=445551611sigpic

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        • #5
          Thanks guys! We started at 10 am and didn't get done till 1:30 We had to make another trip back to the house to pic up the 18 bags of leaves and debris. lol I wanted it to look great so we did it right, but it took a while!
          I made a point in my post elsewhere that quoting is a science
          When I get cleanups or rubbish removals I get out my pitch fork and rake and physically turn the pile or leaves over
          One of the biggest problems you may find especially where people dump grass trees and clippings is whats under them
          In some cases it could be car parts, household rubbish even offcuts of trees and branches
          Once I know this I can estimate the time
          The other thing to consider when quoting is how far you need to cart the rubbish to load it on your vehicle
          I sometimes discount when I can drive my trailer up to the actual pile to load it
          If it all needs to be bagged and carried out then add an hour for a big job
          You also need to think about disposal fees
          I have a price/trailer load
          This is based on the landfill price /ton min (if they charge by the trailer load you can make on it) the price allows an allowance /mile for gas based on vehicle running costs with a 10 mile round trip minimum
          It finally includes an hour for my time unloading
          That way I say to people it will be 2-3 hours plus expenses of $s/trailer load and you don't get trapped by having to cart more away than they pay for
          Cash4Trash
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          • #6
            That's a really great tip! I wish I would of turned over some of those leaves before giving that low quote. But as they say "You live and learn!" I'm happy to have one more job under my belt, just a little bit more to add to my experience!
            Tianna D

            http://www.lawnsalonforyou.com

            Add me to your Myspace!

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            • #7
              Leaf raking a new customer's yard.

              The #1 most underbid job in lawn care is the leaf job.

              This very subject is specifically and explicitly tackled in the lawn care program.

              Just reading that ONE section of the manuals can save so many people so much time and effort.

              Additionally, I made a related post about leaf raking new customers on the lawn care website and right here on the Gopher Forum in this post.

              Good luck everyone.
              Start a profitable lawn care business.

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              • #8
                Yeah but its not just about leaf raking when tackling these jobs
                My advise includes things like Compost Heaps, Piles of Rubbish etc which all require a similar approach
                Cash4Trash
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                • #9
                  Thanks guys! We started at 10 am and didn't get done till 1:30 We had to make another trip back to the house to pic up the 18 bags of leaves and debris. lol I wanted it to look great so we did it right, but it took a while!
                  This is a great learning lessons! Great great stuff and you lived to try it again another day so no harm done.

                  You initially thought the leaf cleanup would take 1 - 1/2 hrs. But when it was all done it took 2 people 7 hours total!

                  Now initially you were going to charge $70 for 2 people for 1 hour of work. So that would be $35 per man hour.

                  Now knowing what you know, it should have been (7hrs * $35) = $245

                  Is this correct or would you have charged even more for extras?
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                  • #10
                    That is absolutely correct! I think at $245 I would of felt much better leaving that job! LOL From here on out I will know better when it comes to bidding leaf and yard clean up jobs.(I don't think my hurting back would let me forget! hehe) I want to be fair in my pricing for my customers BUT I also want to make sure our pay for the job is fair as well!
                    Tianna D

                    http://www.lawnsalonforyou.com

                    Add me to your Myspace!

                    http://http://profile.myspace.com/in...ndID=445551611sigpic

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                    • #11
                      This is a very fascinating topic. It seems as if when you bid leaf cleanup services you need to use a multiplier on what your initially time estimate is.

                      If you think it will take 1 hour, multiply that by 7 or something similar to it.

                      On the bright side, this was a fairly quick project that you didn't have to outlay any cash on. I do appreciate you sharing with us your insight on this experience.

                      Did you have to dump these leaves anywhere? Were there any other costs you feel you need to add in the future?
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                      • #12
                        I think the 7 multiplier is what I will use from here on out. Its hard to know exactly what or how long something like that would take, but as a general idea I think that would work. We just used the local dump to dispose of the leaf/debris bags. There was no charge. I don't know if that applies for all places, but when we pulled up the guys just asked us what was in the bags and told us which bin to put them in.

                        Does anyone think there should be an extra charge for the 2nd trip to pick up the bags?

                        There was no way we could of fit all those bags on our trailer with all our equipment.


                        www.lawnsalonforyou.com
                        Tianna D

                        http://www.lawnsalonforyou.com

                        Add me to your Myspace!

                        http://http://profile.myspace.com/in...ndID=445551611sigpic

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                        • #13
                          I think the 7 multiplier is what I will use from here on out. Its hard to know exactly what or how long something like that would take, but as a general idea I think that would work. We just used the local dump to dispose of the leaf/debris bags. There was no charge. I don't know if that applies for all places, but when we pulled up the guys just asked us what was in the bags and told us which bin to put them in.

                          Does anyone think there should be an extra charge for the 2nd trip to pick up the bags?

                          There was no way we could of fit all those bags on our trailer with all our equipment.


                          www.lawnsalonforyou.com
                          Quoting rubbish or cleanups is a science and requires careful thinking regardless of size of the job
                          Using a multiplier doesn't always work unless your charge out rate includes rubbish removal

                          While you may on occasions get to dump things for free there is still a cost involved for both the vehicle and your time carting it there and any unloading time and if you dont pay these its profit But it is a mistake not to include them then have to pay these when you get to the landfill only to discover you cant then go back to customer and ask them to pay them

                          I keep a list of the local landfill charges from within my region and when quoting add these in to my quotes This is because some charge /cu yd some /trailer load or weight

                          I prefer the method I use its more efficient to calculate your labor and dump fees separate
                          I use a calculation as follows
                          $s/Trailer Load =(Vehicle Running Costs/Mile X Estimated Distance in miles return Job to Landfill) + (Max price from landfill/trailer ) + Labor time unloading

                          Remember in your case sounds as though it was 2 trips
                          Regardless of size of the job I have a min charge / load/job equivalent to what it costs to empty the trailer at the landfill + 1 hrs labor

                          That way if you are doing 2 0r 3 jobs before the trailer is filled you are coving your costs

                          Sometimes if its a big job like removing concrete, or rubbish I do a rough calculation of the cubic yards then before quoting check what the price of an equivalent skip is from the local bin hire company and say to the customer at this point I maybe using a skip so it will either be the labor plus the skip price or labor plus X no's of trailer loads at $Xs

                          My reason for this is that these companies have the cost of removing rubbish down to a science
                          If the customer thinks your price is excessive give them the phone no for the bin company tell them to order a bin and you will supply the labor only

                          I use skips on numerous occasions and now get a good discount on them (this is not passed on to the customer If they want a receipt they order and pay for them) The reason is if you give them the receipt you cant claim it in your taxes as an expense

                          Its all a matter of negotiating the price with the customer
                          You are not in business to lose on any deal and if customers don't like your price suggest they get another quote or work out how long it would take them to do the job including any trailer skip hire and landfill fees (once they do that your price seems more realistic)

                          If they accept your price you then need to decide if you are going to use your trailer or a skip
                          Cash4Trash
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                          • #14
                            WOW! That's a lot to think about! It seems like you've got it all figured out! hehe One things for sure I won't be scared to give my price and stand firm...and to calculate things from all angles, to make sure I'm not short changed again!
                            Tianna D

                            http://www.lawnsalonforyou.com

                            Add me to your Myspace!

                            http://http://profile.myspace.com/in...ndID=445551611sigpic

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                            • #15
                              WOW! That's a lot to think about! It seems like you've got it all figured out! hehe One things for sure I won't be scared to give my price and stand firm...and to calculate things from all angles, to make sure I'm not short changed again!
                              Great! Next time you do a clean up, let us know how the bidding process went compared with your first time. Also tell us how the customer reacted to the bid.
                              - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
                              Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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