Help me price this tree topping bid job.

When you come upon a new type of job you have never performed before but need to submit a bid on, a great way to do that is to make a new post on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and ask others who have already done such work.

That is what one lawn care business owner did when he wrote “I need some advice on how much to charge for a job. I have 2 trees that my customer wants topped off. He wants them 7-8 feet tall. The branches are not thick. The largest are maybe about 4-5 inches. Removal will include taking them to the curb for bulk pick up. The limbs will have to be cut so they are no longer than 4 feet.

My problem is I have no bucket truck and the limbs are too thin to climb on. I can not get a full size chain saw in there to cut them either. Maybe I can use a gas pole trimmer. I was thinking of charging $300 for each tree. Do you think that will be good or am I way off?”

Tree top off bid example

Tree top off bid example

One lawn care business owner suggested ” if you can get $300 per tree, jump all over that. That would be easy money. Your price seems a little high though.

Are they an existing customer? If so, you should take care of those people better than non clients and charge them less. I would charge between $100 to $125 per tree. You could try for a little more if you know the people and think they would haggle a little bit. I have dealt with plenty of customers in my time that would take a high bid and just say no thank you, and not allow me to try and lower my price.

My last tree job was for a customer that had a huge oak tree on his property. It was roughly 100 to 130 feet tall, with a trunk that is about 12 feet around. He wanted it cut down and hauled away, for which I charged him $1100.”

A second lawn care business owner said “you would be doing good if you can get it done in 4 hours. I would bid it at about $400 to $500 bucks. I always try to get about $100 per hour when doing tree work, which is about 1/2 my business. To do this job, I would use a top handle saw with about a 12″ bar and climb up inside and start cutting. Have a guy on the ground grabbing and slicing into smaller pieces and stacking. That is the method I would go with. I know from experience that those trees are a little bigger and fuller than the look in the picture.

One of my best investment for tree work was a 24 ft extension ladder with adjustable feet. In situations like this, it has been used many, many times. I would recommend picking one up if you plan on doing more tree service jobs. Sometimes someone will just need one limb trimmed, and the ladder makes it super easy.

Lastly, make sure you’re not breaking any laws. Topping tree is illegal in certain areas.”

A third lawn care business owner said “tree work should be charged between $125.00 and $300.00 per hour. In my area, I compete with five man crews getting $300.00 per hour.

Removal of a tree 100-120 ft around here could weigh in at around 20,000 lbs or so? Just the debris alone would cost over $1,000.00 in my area to dispose of. So your price needs to take into account, your dump fees, and hazards. You need to look around and see if you need to dismantle the tree or just flop it down. I would bill a tree job like the oak tree removal, discussed above, at over $2,000 if there were no hazards and it needed no special equipment.”

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