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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.

Under Bid Really Bad :(


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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  #1  
Old 01-31-2009, 07:58 PM
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Unhappy 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!
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Old 01-31-2009, 08:17 PM
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Oh wow! How long did it actually take you to do the job? How many many hours total?
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Old 01-31-2009, 08:22 PM
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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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Old 01-31-2009, 08:31 PM
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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!
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Old 01-31-2009, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lawnsalonforyou View Post
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
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Old 01-31-2009, 09:59 PM
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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!
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Old 01-31-2009, 11:54 PM
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Lightbulb 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.
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:03 AM
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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
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Old 02-01-2009, 03:56 AM
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Quote:
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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Old 02-01-2009, 08:22 AM
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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!
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