How to bid lot clearing jobs.

Making a $100 an hour with your landscaping business is possible with the proper tools. Here in this great discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from one entrepreneur who can make $100 - $150 an hour with lot clearing services. He also does a pretty good job at marketing himself while onsite to attract even more work. Let’s see how he does it.

He wrote “here is one of our tractors getting ready to leave for a wood clearing and wood chipping job. This unit will chip a log up to 6″. I told myself I wasn’t buying anymore equipment this year however I did just buy a Bear Cat 10″ Industrial Chipper yesterday. I pick it up at noon today. I have so many tree jobs, I had to. As well as I added two more staff. They were hired to clear 12 building lots on a lake for cottages, that will take 5 guys, 6 weeks to finish!

Lot clearing bid example

Lot clearing bid example

As we were on site clearing the lot, I couldn’t get over how many people were stopping to look yesterday. This property is right on the ocean and has an amazing view. A local police officer even stopped and asked for a quote for clearing woods on his property as well. From this one job, we have four more appointments. I worked on one lot yesterday clearing wood, chipping, and installing a new lawn and got another contact to perform more work as well.

This job was quite a production. Next week we are doing the same thing up the road 5 minutes. It’s a 27,000 square foot wood clearing job. It seems the jobs are getting bigger for some reason. We don’t seem to be getting called for small stuff. Most of these jobs are $3,000+ with the¬† average being around $5,280.

It’s really important to remember as a business owner, your job needs to focus on sales. Be friendly and wave to people when you see them stop to look at what you are doing. Take a moment to talk to them and hand them a card. Ask if there is any work they need performed on their property. I know it’s easier to do this when you have a staff working with you, but it is important to keep in mind when you are a solo operator as well. Selling more services is how your business will grow.

With the equipment I am currently using, I can drop a tree that is 6″ across into the chipper. It’s self feed and it’s gone in seconds. The customer then has chips for a walkway or mulch.

We do not estimate jobs like this with a final price. Instead they are bid at $100.00 an hour, with a minimum of one hour. There is a $45.00 transportation fee, which includes tractor, chipper and one operator. Each additional operator is $45.00 an hour. Chain saw operators are $65.00 an hour. We now have two months worth of work performing just these types of jobs.

There are always at least two men on site. I will not let an employee work alone with a chain saw. There is just too much risk for them and for the company. Anything can happen. I have been working in the woods since I was a teenager and I have seen many serious accidents where if there wasn’t another person around, the person hurt would not have made it.

When we meet the client generally they point to a problem on their property and say, fix it, how much.

Some jobs you can quote how many hours you think it will be however most are simply too risky and those of us who do this will not quote an exact price. I can tell you for example it will cost around $500.00 and we will stop at that price. 99% of the time the client will ask for two references before we start a job. We have received every tree clearing I bid on because of the way we handle business and how happy our customers are with the results. We do good work and we have equipment that makes it very fast, faster than most.

Having the proper gear is key. This 10″ chipper I have coming will take a tree that is 10″ across the butt and chip it in no time at all. There may be one or two other companies in the area that have something this big. You can’t rent anything here over 4″ wide so we get a pile of work because of that. In fact we picked up a job last week where the home owner said what we were chipping in an hour was taking him 8 hours with a rented 4″ chipper and to rent one is $225.00 a day! It’s just another niche market that I discovered and has taken off.

I will cut a tree up to 30″ across the butt. Anything bigger than that requires gear I do not have and honestly I don’t want to get into trees that big. I would guess the average here is 16″ across, 40 feet high +/-, pretty much all spruce, we are very comfortable with this. If there are power lines close we walk away. I looked at two today and wouldn’t touch them, just too dangerous.”

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