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Starting a lawn care business. How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.

Need Help Breaking "Per Hour" Barrier... Please Help


Starting a lawn care business.

How to start a lawn mowing business, lawn care business, or landscaping business. If you are starting a lawn care business, ask your questions here.
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  #11  
Old 04-02-2012, 09:03 AM
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Alright I got my first opportunity to bid a job this year. I have a customer who is used to only paying $15/hr and they called me up and said they wanted gravel spread on their driveway. I found out that a load of gravel will cost $190 delivered. I have spread a load before and it took about 6 hours. If I wanted to charge $20/hr I would be looking at $310. There are no other factors to figure in for other than the "unknown" so I will add an extra 2 hours in for the just in case factor and call it $350.

I definitely like this concept because if I bust it out in half the time I originally anticipated I will be making really good money compared to the $15/hr and even if I take a couple extra hours, I will still be making $20/hr vs. $15/hr. I know it will become more natural, I guess I was just always worried about them asking how many hours I am billing them for.

It's hard because in this case, if they ask how much the gravel was, or simply ask for a receipt, they will know that the rest of the cash went in my pocket and they can quickly find out what I was charging per hour. I wish customers knew about the times we don't make very much on them (like every other job I have done for this customer) and realized that in order for us to keep coming back to take care of them, WE NEED TO MAKE ENOUGH MONEY TO SURVIVE!
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  #12  
Old 04-02-2012, 11:03 AM
stevef1201 stevef1201 is offline
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A yard of Gravel costs me 125 bucks. Delivery charge is 20 bucks per yard. A yard covers 10x10 2 inches deep. I charge 125 bucks a yards to spread. so to get a yard of gravel deivered and spread is 270 bucks. (I hate doing gravel) I have gotten several jobs even at this price, a motorized wheel barrow helps, and one or two guys. (one to shevel into the wheelbarrow, and one to rake it out) I move the guys around about every 15 mins so they dont get worn out. Time is what ever it takes. My hourly rate? Who knows sometimes it takes an hour sometimes 2 or 3.
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by stevef1201 View Post
A yard of Gravel costs me 125 bucks. Delivery charge is 20 bucks per yard. A yard covers 10x10 2 inches deep. I charge 125 bucks a yards to spread.
Holy crap, you pay $125/yard of gravel? I'm getting an entire truckload (10 yards) for $190. I wish I could charge on your scale... $125/yard X 10 yards = $1250 (gravel) PLUS $125/yard X 10 yards = $1250 (spreading charge). I would be looking at making about $2500 in a day to spread some gravel around for a driveway. That would be a pretty awesome day for me.

Instead, I am charging the customer $350 for the job. The gravel guys do a pretty good job spreading the load by driving slowly while they dump the gravel. All I have to do is create clean edges and level the surface (which will probably take me a half day. All in all, a profit of about $160 for a half days work. Not great pay but it's hard to make a lot more than that in this area. Plus, this is just my second year in business, gotta build a name for myself before I go around charging crazy prices.
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Old 04-03-2012, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by IVPropertyMaintenance View Post
Holy crap, you pay $125/yard of gravel? I'm getting an entire truckload (10 yards) for $190. I wish I could charge on your scale... $125/yard X 10 yards = $1250 (gravel) PLUS $125/yard X 10 yards = $1250 (spreading charge). I would be looking at making about $2500 in a day to spread some gravel around for a driveway. That would be a pretty awesome day for me.

Instead, I am charging the customer $350 for the job. The gravel guys do a pretty good job spreading the load by driving slowly while they dump the gravel. All I have to do is create clean edges and level the surface (which will probably take me a half day. All in all, a profit of about $160 for a half days work. Not great pay but it's hard to make a lot more than that in this area. Plus, this is just my second year in business, gotta build a name for myself before I go around charging crazy prices.
$1250 is close to what I would charge for labor. Then another $400 for materials and delivery. I dont think a paving company would touch it for less then $2000. It wouldnt matter if it was there 1st year or 20th in business.

I wouldnt care about the customer knowing either. I just charged someone $40 a yard for compost, my cost was $29. They even asked the delivery driver how much it cost. Then I charged $900 for labor and finished in 5 hours. They were very pleased! If you ever been to a mechanic you would know they double the cost of parts and get them at a discount.

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Old 04-04-2012, 11:52 AM
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I guess it's just knowing your area too. There is no way I would stay around charging prices like that out here. Where I am at, I might be able to sneak a couple high prices by people but most people out here are surviving on wages between $10-$20/hour and wouldn't be able to afford Over a thousand dollars for me to spread the gravel for them. They would just hire someone at $10/hr and get it done.

I have to be competitive with others out there, can't be giving prices from another part of the country. I guess I need to find the confidence to bid big...
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:32 PM
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Theres not much difference between our areas. Even my price would be half of the others in my area. Theres always someone willing to work for $10 a hour and theres always someone willing to pay $100 hour.
Quote:
Typical costs in Oregon
Medium: $1,863 (12'x50')
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Typical costs in Florida
Medium: $2,047 (12'x50')
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Typical costs in Connecticut
Medium: $2,737 (12'x50')
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  #17  
Old 04-04-2012, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by IVPropertyMaintenance View Post
Alright I got my first opportunity to bid a job this year. I have a customer who is used to only paying $15/hr and they called me up and said they wanted gravel spread on their driveway. I found out that a load of gravel will cost $190 delivered. I have spread a load before and it took about 6 hours. If I wanted to charge $20/hr I would be looking at $310. There are no other factors to figure in for other than the "unknown" so I will add an extra 2 hours in for the just in case factor and call it $350.

I definitely like this concept because if I bust it out in half the time I originally anticipated I will be making really good money compared to the $15/hr and even if I take a couple extra hours, I will still be making $20/hr vs. $15/hr. I know it will become more natural, I guess I was just always worried about them asking how many hours I am billing them for.

It's hard because in this case, if they ask how much the gravel was, or simply ask for a receipt, they will know that the rest of the cash went in my pocket and they can quickly find out what I was charging per hour. I wish customers knew about the times we don't make very much on them (like every other job I have done for this customer) and realized that in order for us to keep coming back to take care of them, WE NEED TO MAKE ENOUGH MONEY TO SURVIVE!
This is where equipment seems to win, I can spread 16 yards per hour and charge $75.00 plus $65.00 float fee for a total of $130.00, I did three sites today and have two tomorrow.

I fully understand you need to make money but ut's also desperate hard to compete when the comp has equipment and does it in a fraction of the time for 1/2 to 1/3 of the cost and the results would be next to impossible if by hand, here is an example.

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