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In Need Of Some Expert Opinions!

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  • In Need Of Some Expert Opinions! I have a client who has been with us for 3 years now. She is great and we love her to death.

    She has asked us what it would cost to water her parent's lawn once or twice a week while it is on the market. Her parents live within 5 miles from our shop and she lives much further out of town.

    The yard is pretty small. My brother (and co-owner) was thinking it would be worth our time for $25/trip. Is that too much, too little? What should I do in this situation????

    Any advise would help. We want to treat this lady right, but don't want to waste 30min to an hour of our day twice a week until the house sells...

    Thanks so much!

  • #2
    What does it cost you to operate per hour and how long would this take?
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    • #3
      I have actually never seen the the boys have me in the office all day!

      But my brother thinks it would take about 30-45 minutes (maybe an hour after dragging the hoses all around the lawn). He was thinking we should charge her $25/trip.

      Not sure of our hourly operating idea on how to figure that out. If you would like to teach me that as well...that would be amazing!


      • #4
        Oh you got a lot of great questions there.

        First off, have you played around with our business estimate calculators?

        They really get you to start thinking about how your expenses effect your hourly rate.

        Play around with them and see if they help you come up with a better understanding how much you should charge.

        What you want to do here with the watering is labor intensive. I can see it taking an hour to do this.

        if it were me, I would either bill her an hour to perform the service or set up a sprinkler with an automated timer and have it water the lawn daily, weekly or whatever.

        Then I would bill just to set it up and rent the equipment.

        If you don't need to be there and you don't want to bill the full rate to be there, than why not make it easier on yourself and set up a sprinkler.

        What's your thoughts on that?
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        • #5
          I'm totally going to check out the calculator. I think that will be very beneficial.

          I had already thought about the sprinklers and timers...but the client does not want them. They do not want hoses and sprinklers all over the yard when prospective buyers come to look at it. They want us to hand water...


          • #6
            One of the toughest concepts to absorb when you are just getting started is how much does it cost you to operate per hour. The more time you spend understanding this concept the better.

            Many new businesses find that they are billing for their services. The get paid in cash or by checks and they think because they are getting paid, the business is healthy. However it's very possible to be getting paid and think everything is healthy and then find at the end of the month you actually lost money even though you have some cash in your pocket from that month.

            You can find that the outgoing amount of money is greater than the incoming. How does this happen? It happens when you don't know your costs.

            As you sit there, you can calculate how much you are spending on expenses each month. You can then break that down into how much you are paying weekly, daily, and then hourly.

            When you start looking at the hourly figures, you can then relate it to each job you have. How much are your hourly operating expenses? How much are you charging per job? Are you adding a profit markup? How much?

            When you ask yourself these questions and you then find a customer wants you to water their lawn, you will see that just to show up you are going to have to charge $X. It may or may not be viable to hire you to water their lawn, but you can't lose money on the job or you are going to sink your business.

            As you look into this more, I'd love to hear what you find and if you were shocked by anything you found!
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            • #7
              IMO- if you or your brother knows a responsible and mature teenager who lives close to the house, I would pay him/her $10 each time to water the entire lawn. A teenager making $10 an hour is Great and they will jump at the chance. Show he/she what is expected and what you want done when he/she is done. I charge $30. Per hour, but a long term, good client deserves a break. You guys can be the middle man (like sub-contracting), charge $25. Per time and make $15. They are making $1k , if not $10k's from the sale and it is a small investment to them to help sell their house. Curb appeal is everything. Just to drive by on the day it is done to follow up. Easy money. Everyone is happy.
              Last edited by majoe7; 04-01-2009, 09:29 PM.


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