What to look out for with a rock and tree removal job.

Every type of landscape job has issues you need to be wary of. So what are some of the things you should be concerned with before you take on a tree and rock removal job? That is what one entrepreneur was interested in knowing when he wrote about an upcoming job he bid on and asked for some help on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I got a job for the removal of rocks and trees around a home and I got another for building a landscape waterfall. Both of these were from my regular mowing customers. It seems these one time job calls are coming in more and more now but that has me a little worried. I gave them both a bid proposal sheet for the jobs but now what?? Do I have to make a contract for the work I am doing on a one time basis? Should I just wait for them to call me back or should I call them to check up? Also, what do I need to look out for with such jobs? These are not huge trees I will be removing, just small ones in the way front of the yard far from the house.”

A second lawn care business owner wrote “anytime you perform work or submit a bid, you should have some contractual language on the bid the customer can sign. It shows they agree to the services you are providing at the cost you submitted. I had my lawyer make one up for my landscaping services and I use it all the time.

With such jobs, you need to be very careful on offering a fixed quote. When you start removing rocks, what you see is not what you get. It’s what’s under the soil that can cause you a huge headache. Therefore I have a clause in my contract that says the quote is based on X hours to do X job. However should we run into the unforeseen problems, all changes will be discussed with ‘the homeowner.’

You also need lots of insurance for tree removal. You need a clause in your contract that should any damage be done to a structure that was beyond your control during removal, you will not be responsible. Sometimes root systems can be in and around the foundation, be careful.

Also put a line in there somewhere that your estimate includes X loads of removal. Should the job require removal beyond this estimate, a rate of $XX.XX per load shall apply. Believe me this is important. I have had many jobs in the past go from winners to losers all because the job grew to something I did not foresee happening.

I’d suggest that you have the owner responsible for providing soil to replace product removed. Replacement soil shall be screened etc. What you don’t want is a load of junk fill, and what I mean by that is fill full of clay, larger rocks etc.

Those are a few things that come to mind. Estimating landscaping can be desperately hard. At least where I live this is due in large part to a thick layer of granite just below the topsoil, very heavy clay content etc. I stick to a per hour rate with an estimate of X hours and you should consider doing that as well.

Once you submit an estimate, the process you need to follow is not yet done. You do need to follow up within a few days to see if the customer has any questions about the bid. Making such a call can really show them you are interested in the work and are looking to get the job done.”

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