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  • Charge per cut/hour?

    I'm going into business with a buddy of mine and he said he has had a huge success with charging his customers by the hour, while my success has come with charging per cut.

    On Friday we will be discussing it and I just wanted a little info from someone who has tried both or just knows from which he speaks.

    I understand there are a lot of variables involved, I was moreso looking for general consensus sort of advice.

  • #2
    here are several threads that sorta deal with that kind of thing:

    First

    and 2nd

    The first one talks about how much to charge. I know this is slightly off topic from your question, but I think this determines what and how to charge.

    The second one, again maybe kind of "off topic" but important, and is rather self explanatory when you read it.

    Hope this helps,

    Eli

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    • #3
      Welcome Brandon!

      Let us know what you are thinking after you read that and also, why go in with a partner? What's your thoughts on that?





      Thanks Eli for your help too
      .
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      • #4
        I charge per cut, but I base it all on how long I think it will take to do it and get to the job. Then figure it into my $60 per hour minimum.

        I have learned a lot doing this. I mess up still all the time both ways though, so it kinda balances out. Meaning sometimes I figure and hour for a job and it takes two, but sometimes I figure an hour and it takes 20 minutes.

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        • #5
          I only got a chance to read the comments and not the links from Eli yet. Great thanks for those by the way )

          But I did want to answer Steve's question:

          I'm a college student pursuing my Occupational Therapy degree but I still have a love for landscaping and 3 years of experience dating back to high school.
          I'm currently at 10 residential accounts, going to school full-time and working 24 hours/week with Mentally retarded folks (hence the OT degree schooling.)

          Last year I started getting sort of backed up and asked some of my buddies for help with my accounts since I was working upwards of 50 hours at my other job and just couldn't do both. Well this year I have 2-3 of those buddies calling up looking for summer work. One of which has a truck, trailer, etc, all the equipment he needs. The area he lacks in is marketing. He has a tough time finding clients.

          Last year I found myself turning down work because I just didn't have the time (as much as it hurt to turn down word of mouth advertising.) This year I have help. I thought about going into the marketing side of things which would allow me to shave some cash off the top while my workers are taking care of the labor.

          If I had time, I'd totally go for the business full-time, it's just not working out that way at this point in my life. College and my other job are taking priority right now. Am I just taking on too much at once?



          I'll go read Eli's stuff and post again once I'm done reading.

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          • #6
            Very fascinating!

            Did you consider bringing your friends in and then paying them a % of the profits instead of them having ownership?

            What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of that?

            If I had time, I'd totally go for the business full-time, it's just not working out that way at this point in my life. College and my other job are taking priority right now. Am I just taking on too much at once?
            I don't think so. I think it's good to experiment and explore and you are doing that. You never know which direction any of this will take you unless you try different things. I think it is awesome and now is the time for you to do it.
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            • #7
              I've been reading those threads posted by Eli and they put an awful lot of fear into me ^_^

              I guess I don't really see why we couldn't just do our things separately and share business ideas on the side. Maybe cover for each other if need be.

              Why mesh things if we don't have to?




              Back to what we were talking about before, I think I'm going to stick with the "per cut" method. I will start charging more though. Like I said before, I started as a junior in high school and $20 per hour (about the time it took me to do 1 lawn) was jaw dropping. Now, I'm starting to see it's just not enough.

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              • #8
                Brandon it was not my intentions to put fear in you but as you see, most of the people who posted in those threads would recommend going it alone. I personally would recommend not only going it alone but if you have to, "subcontract" certain jobs to others, including your friend.

                I suppose there are opposing points of view and there are probably many success stories out there where people had one or more partners. You know your friend better than we do and ultimately you have to be the person making the decision.

                Good luck,
                Eli

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                • #9
                  Can you explain to me the ins and outs of subcontracting? I'm pretty new to business and the industry. I'm only familiar with the term. What would it look like from the perspective that I am currently in?

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                  • #10
                    I am sure the landscapers on this site can help you more with the details than I can but the basics are this:

                    You get the job. But you are capable of only doing some of the job. You call your friend and ask him if he is able and willing to this part of the job while you do that part of the job. At this point you may have already done the bid or you may bring him in to do his bid. Once he has given a bid for his part of the job you add a little for yourself (in my opinion no less than 10%).

                    Once you get the job you have your friend do his part of the job and you do yours. You pay him his part and go to the next job.

                    I suppose this might work the best if each of you go into a different area of landscaping so you can help each other while still running your own business. Like said, these other fine folks on here can probably help each other better than I can....

                    Hope this helps,
                    Eli

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                    • #11
                      Yeah, that helps a lot )

                      One more question. Forgive my ignorance, but I guess that's what this site is for right? )

                      I'm looking at a couple riding mowers, tractor and zero turn, and I'm not seeing any zero turns that pick up the grass. Are those strictly mulching mowers? If so, doesn't that really cut into the popularity of them? I find that a lot of my residential customers (90%) are firm in wanting their lawns "bagged." Maybe it's just the area I live in? Northwest Indiana.

                      I haven't ridden a tractor mower, but I have ridden a zero turn....and they are wicked fast. Quicker than a hiccup, I had the lawn done. I didn't even finish the song on my iPod. )

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                      • #12
                        I know that some ZTR brands are available with baggers but I am not sure which ones. If you are looking at box store brands/models let me recommend that you look at a servicing dealer. Perhaps someone else knows which makes and models have baggers as optional equipment.

                        Have you thought about implying in your service agreement that by not bagging the grass they would also be increasing their yard health by composting the grass? Another great idea would be to send out a bi-monthly "newsletter" that gives them suggestions on ways to increase their yard's health or curb appeal. This would be a good place to recommend trees, flowers, flower beds, etc along with suggesting they have you mulch the grass allowing it to compost and fertilize the soil...... Sometimes the best way to fight a battle is with accurate and convincing (but not argumentative) information. I have been told that with the right information anyone can make the right decision.....

                        Good luck,
                        Eli

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                        • #13
                          I like that newsletter idea I think I'll do that

                          I think I just had 1 more major question.

                          I'm still weighing whether or not buying a riding mower would be worth the investment and the biggest thing holding me back is this: I've noticed that a lot of my accounts have fences and pretty narrow gates. Most of the riders I am looking at are much too wide to fit through their gate entrance. Is this just one of the flaws of residential accounts or is there a way to get around this?

                          Thanks for all your help.

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                          • #14
                            How i charge

                            Here in my area i charge by the sq. ft. of the property "example" if a property is 50 x 140= 7000 sq. ft. i would charge $21 it takes me 45 min. to a hour to edge,mow,trim n clean up. By the way i use a 22" push mower to do this. I hope i've helped u out alittle.

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                            • #15
                              How long did it take you to get to that point or is that how you started off?

                              What method have you found to be the easiest when starting out to estimate? Per sqft or per hour?
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                              Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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