How to make landscape customers understand man hours?

After reading this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, you will think, surely such a situation didn’t really happen. But it did happen and it happens everyday to new business owners. If you have a landscape cleanup you are working on and you have multiple employees working on the job, don’t let the customer confuse the amount of time you spent at the job site with total man hours, especially when you have an agreement of the customer paying you per hour.

One new lawn care business owner wrote “I have a landscape customer whom I recently quoted a job for. It was for $30 an hour to clear a fence line that is 20 ft deep in vines, old wood, and just a mess. I hauled 11, 6×12 full trailer loads out of their yard. It was a two person crew and we got it done in 22 hours. I believe it should be billed at 44 hours because it was 2 men.

The customer of course only wants to pay ‘regular time’ for our work. Plus she doesn’t want to pay a haul off or dumping fee.

I honestly didn’t think it would have been a problem. This job would have taken just myself at least twice if not three times as long. I told her that when we talked about the man hours after the fact. I don’t see how this couldn’t have been misunderstood.

Lesson learned is to get everything in writing and make sure to write up the quotes or estimates after leaving the job. Get back to them as soon as possible but let customer know the time frame one day, three days or by Friday. Get all the cost and expenses written out and make sure to include a little extra for surprises and put it on paper then go sell it to customer.”

A second lawn care business owner wrote “if I’m right, she owes you $660. It took you 2 or 3 days to do the job , dumping charge $80? Sometimes brush sites charge less $40 for a full trailer, and $220 for the help. So you make $300.

Next time write out a small contract and charge $100.00 for dumping or trash hauling so you can have a little extra for yourself and always ask for a 50% upfront before you start any job. This will reduce your risks of getting burned by a job. That’s the way we learn to bid our work, by getting burned.”

A third added “I too have learned by the burn. Everyone is correct. You must get these big jobs in writing. I also learned any equipment rental fees must be paid upfront with half of the total labor upfront. I am still paying for some equipment rentals because I was ‘being nice.’ If they want the work done, they will pay on your terms. If not, be wary. Run your business don’t let it run you!”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.ā€¯

If you need help estimating lawn care or snow plowing jobs, get these lawn care and snow plowing estimation calculators.

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