How to price a overgrown hedge trimming job.

Estimating hedge trimming jobs can be tough for those who are unfamiliar with the process. The amount of time it will take to perform the job, from the moment you arrive until the moment you leave, is almost always under-estimated. The biggest element missed in most bids is the amount of time your clean up will take you. It only takes a few hedge trimming jobs under your belt to learn that under-estimating your cleanup will dramatically eat into any profit you think you will make. So before you bid on any future hedge trimming jobs, consider the lessons learned from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum and learn how to improve your estimates which reflect a realistic amount of time needed to be spent on each job.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I have a mowing customer who wants me to submit a bid for a hedge trimming job of laurel bushes.

The hedge is approximately 37′ L x 12′ W x 12′ H. But it needs to be 34′ x 6′ x 12′. It has over-grown half of the sidewalk (so 3-feet), and the other side is over-grown into the yard area, yet another 3-feet. One end of the hedge needs to come in 3-feet as well, but only on one side, as the other side was taken in by a neighbor.

Hedge Trimming Job

Hedge Trimming Job

The hedge is probably up to 12-feet high, but the customer said she doesn’t mind it growing higher, just not wider, so I won’t need to worry about shortening it.

I asked another friend in the landscape industry and he said his price would put it at $440. But another friend told me for small shrubs that are under shoulder height, I should charge $6-$8 a shrub. Anything over shoulder height, I should count them as double. For long rows of hedges, I should count every five feet as 1 shrub, again if it is over shoulder height it count as two. This should being me to about $60/hr on job. In mulched areas, it was suggested to me to collect the clippings using drop cloths or tarps. If I am trimming hedges over non mulched areas, I should use my mower to mulch up shrub clippings.

So based on all that I came up with $256. $8 (price), x2 (because of the height), x8 (length), x2 (the other side). Does this formula sound right? I have no idea of how long this job will take.

I had a similar hedge job to bid on in the past, but I never got that job, so I was never able to figure out for sure how long it would take to perform the work, or even what that customer ended up paying to get it done.

Hedge Trimming Job 2

Hedge Trimming Job 2

I don’t know how long cleanup will take. The dump fees in my area are probably going to be about $15, not including the time it takes at the dump. So I am thinking even $215 for all inclusive, it isn’t that bad. Should I say that the bid it $215 + $40 for disposal…$40 seems like a good, even, number for debris. I haven’t done any follow ups after a bid. I’ve been bad with that. But on this bid I will definitely follow up with a phone call a few days later if I don’t hear from them.”

A second lawn care business owner said “when I price hedge trimming jobs, I use below shoulder height as my marker for $1.50 per foot all inclusive. Above my head where I need to use a ladder, it becomes $2.00 to $2.50 per foot depending on how difficult the work area is. I don’t worry about dump fees as I compost all my clippings at my own property but if your not that lucky, add on the dump fee.

From what I can tell from the description you gave us, it would be $92.50 to do the job so round that figure to $100.00. The side walk side looks easy to work on but I am not sure about the lawn side. If it is uneven etc, I’d add $25.00 to $50.00 depending how uneven and how slow the work would be. Then add you dump fee.

Now with that all that said, your local market plays a factor in how much you can charge. Where I am, there are not too many guys that want to trim hedges, so I can pretty much charge what I want. If you have lots of guy trimming hedges in your area at low ball prices you will have to feel out what you can get a way with.

$215.00 + disposal sounds good to me. I have a customer that has a 10 ft 3 foot high hedge, a second area that has a 30 ft by 4 feet high hedge, and a third section with a 40 ft by 8 feet high and very large shrub area. I charge her $225.00, cut cleaned up and carted away. It takes me approximately 5 hours to complete the job.

Another customer I have has a 75 ft long, 4 foot high hedge I charge him $125.00 to trim, clean up, and put in his compost. That job takes me approx 2 hours.”

A third lawn care business owner said “here is my view. Depending on the hedge trimming job, cleanup can take longer than the actual cutting. So to deal with that, I have come up with this formula that is simple and works well for me. So how eve long you think a hedge trimming job will take, give it your best guess and then add 1 to 2 hours!

As a for instance, I busted my butt today on a hedge trimming job that I thought would only take 3 hours, as it was overgrown and needed to be cut back. Once I got started, I immediately found the hedge was thicker than I had initially thought and I had to break out the chain saw to cut some of the heavy branches. It ended up taking 4.5 hrs total. The weather was brutally hot and I took a lot of water breaks. Plus, I always tend to do more than the customer needs done. Rather than just hacking the overgrown stuff down and calling it a day, I shaped the hedge, and took the time to use the string trimmer all around them afterwards. I wasn’t being paid for that, but I just can’t see doing a nice job on the hedges, only to leave them surrounded by tall grass and weeds.

When it comes to cleanup I will at times use the standard square burlap landscaper tarps. I also use a lot of canvas painter’s tarps that are 4′x12′. They work nicely along rows of hedges and makes cleanup a snap. When I am done, I just grab an end and drag the whole thing right up the ramp of the trailer.

Sometimes a large piece of cardboard comes in handy for use as a dustpan when gathering up the final scraps, or you can lay it over the ramp to sweep debris into the trailer without things catching on the wire mesh.

Any trailer can look plenty big enough until you start piling hedge branches in! Sure throwing som clippings into a trailer is easy, but when you do larger cut-back jobs, that stuff takes up a lot of space. What I like to do is pile the small stuff in first, then I lay the big stuff on top. If you use landscaper tarps and bundle them by tying the corners together, there are always gaps where debris can fall out. I toss them in the trailer upside down to keep the stuff from blowing out of those gaps.”

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