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Losing my rump under-bidding my labor charges

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  • Losing my rump under-bidding my labor charges

    Hey yall, Just started up about 2 months ago and am doing fairly well gaining customers, the problem is I think I'm not bidding my labor charges correctly. There's just two of us working the business right now but as an example, we weeded (roots and all where we could) a flower bed that was about 20x10. Took a total of 5.5 hours and I charged $50.00**-that was nuts in hindsight but I learned. Now I have to fill it with flowers. My questions are, what would you have charged for the weeding**it was FULL** and how would you quote the planting. I've been buying the plants and getting reimbursed without mark up but I'm really considering adding about 10%. Any help or thoughts you can offer are appreciated!

  • #2
    It took 2 of you 5.5 hours? That seems really long for a small bed. In that case $550. If it was 1 person $275.

    With plants mark up %50. I know some that mark up 100%. This covers you if you have to replant something. Its hard to tell you how to bid this. I look at the root ball and judge how much labor it will take. Then charge per plant.

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    • #3
      11 man hours to weed 200 sqft seems long. I always apply some type of herbicide a couple of days ahead of time when weeding. It speed up the process. The pricing seems close to right for the sqft. It should have taken about an hour. I charge $40/hr for labor. I mark up muclch or supplies 25% and any plant stock I buy at wholesale and mark up 50 -100% depending on how hardy the plant is. You don't want to be caught short if the plant doesn't survive.

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      • #4
        If it was let go that bad, and you only charged $50 you should have hit it with a trimmer, sprayed some herbicide and covered it with weed barrier. Listen to these other guys, theyre right on with info.

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        • #5
          Well at least you got some experience out of it!

          Over time you will become more confident with charging your clients more. I'm sure when we all started, we felt that charging a lot couldn't be justified - but it's alright to do so!

          For example, I made $100 today by spreading 10 tiny bags of earth - it took us 20 minutes to do, and I didn't supply anything for this client.
          ^ I overcharged. I could have went home to relax after mowing all day, but she insisted that she needed it done, so that was my price.

          I suggest taking a picture of your next job, and posting it here on the forum so we can all assist you with the pricing and more.

          I used to work in gardens, removing weeds. Basically I go in there and take a guess at to how long the job is going to take me, I add $15 for every hour, but even that is LOW and I recommend charging more.

          I also recommend for you to charge a minimum price. This way you are guaranteed a decent amount of money for your time even if a job takes you 5 minutes to do.



          Hope this helps, and good luck!



          Also, I recommend a good pair of headphones or an mp3 player. Sitting in a garden all day can get kinda depressing!

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          • #6
            yes I used to manually remove weeds at $12/hour but now I offer "spray and obliterate" I charge about $10-$35 spray it with herbicide and on the next scheduled mowing I just use the trimmer mow or less the same way I would normally and bam no more weeds and probably the best deal anyone could ask for.
            I make far more than $12/hour but at the same time end up charging them less too. Win-Win.

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            • #7
              Thanks for the info!!

              Great answers everyone, really appreciate the feedback. I did take pictures, definitely want to show the before/after on our website, it was TOUGH and we went overboard on the removal. I was hell bent on pulling as much of the root system as possible, first round over acheiver I guess. I'll try to post the final pics ...if it works Thanks again!

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              • #8
                Hi Trudy,

                I'd love to see some of your before and after pics.

                a flower bed that was about 20x10. Took a total of 5.5 hours and I charged $50.00**-that was nuts in hindsight but I learned.
                When you initially took this job, how long were you thinking it would take you?

                And now that you have been through this, what would you do differently next time if a similar job came up?
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