We wanted to take the opportunity to explain how we price out our jobs, in particular the jobs we charge based on man hours spent on-site. These jobs are generally clean up jobs such as raking, weeding or clearing.
Many jobs are priced out ahead of time. However, some jobs are nearly impossible for us to price out correctly (without over or under pricing). For instance, a raking job is impossible for us to definitively know if a dense area of leaves has multiple layers of wet leaves underneath or if it’s just the surface. We would hate to price the job out as if there are multiple layers of wet leaves, because if it’s not then we overcharged the customer. On the flip side, if we assume the leaves are just on the surface, then we might end up losing money on the job. And as much as we like doing volunteer work, we can’t run our business that way.
Another example would be a spring or fall cleanup. We have found that our customers vary greatly on what they want to pay for. Paying by man hour is ideal because if the customer prefers us to just get the main areas, we can do that and then charge for only that work. If the customer wants us to remove every leaf from the property, then we can do that and charge accordingly as well. In these circumstances, we are able to price out very accurately because we charge for exactly what we do. We believe that this is the fairest we can price it, while still keeping our doors open and employing our crews.
For these jobs, we typically charge $45 per man per hour. Some jobs are billed at higher rates, but $45 is our minimum. This means if we have 2 crewmembers on-site for 3 hours, that would be 6 man hours = $270 plus sales tax. Some customers looking for fine detailed work might have 2 crewmembers on site for 8 hours, which would come to $720. These are just examples of what might happen – it all depends on what the customer is looking for and what their budget is.
We have run into an occasional miscommunication where after the work has been done, a customer claims we negotiated a set price ahead of time for this work. We do not negotiate our prices. This is because we have priced this as fairly as possible and unfortunately don’t have any room to negotiate. We’d love to do work all day long for the price the customer wants, but it wouldn’t keep our doors open, lights on and pay our employees a fair wage. We keep firm to our price of $45 per man per hour for this reason.
A cleanup job we did this spring that was priced by the hour.