Bidding a garden rototilling job.

If you find yourself being asked to bid a rototilling job on a garden bed and don’t know where to start when it comes to pricing, consider this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. In it, one entrepreneur talks about what he bid the tilling job at and how he came up with the price.

One new lawn care business owner wrote “I am total noobie and have no clue as to what I am doing. Right now I am just flying by the seat of my pants trying to get a handle on how long jobs take me and how much the expenses are. I just started out last month part time; nothing fancy just push mowers, trimming, edging, and blowing. I’m keeping my yards small right now, less than 11,000 sq feet, due to lack of experience and equipment.

Any who, here is my current situation. I was recently asked to bid on a rototilling job last week. The guy has 3 beds he wants to till up so he can turn them into gardens. There is a total of 250 sq feet of tilling between all 3 beds. I have an old tiller that I used to use on my garden; I just fired it up and it works, so I don’t need to rent anything. Anyway, I have no clue as to how much I should charge. I quoted him $95.00 and he jumped all over it. Then I got to wondering if I went too low?

A few days later the potential client called and wanted to move the job back until next weekend. That got me wondering if I might have been a bit high after all. I’m not sure now if he is legitimate or trying to string me along while he works some other bidder.

My garden that I used to do was about the same sq. footage all in one patch. Quite frankly, I can’t remember how long it would take. I was completely guessing that it could take as long as 2 hours to till. I figured in $12 in gas both ways and 1 hour travel time round trip including loading and unloading tiller. So, my thought process was $35.00/hour times 3 hours plus $12.00 for gas equals $117.00. So if I discount the $117.00 by 20% (because I really want the job for experience in tilling and estimating mainly), I came up with $93.60 for the job, which I rounded to $95.00 thinking it was a nice round number and it was less than a mental barrier of $100.00.

But, I don’t know. I’m just grasping at straws.

My tiller is an old beast, but it works fine. It’s a pretty good size tiller with a lot of heft. It is probably about 20″-24″ wide and it is heavy. Did I mention it was a beast?

The ground has never been tilled, so I am thinking it may need 2 or 3 passes. I was figuring 2 hours to till and an hour round trip in travel time and load/unload of equipment.

Also for kicks, I’ve only got 6 lawn mowing accounts so far (which is fine for now) and like I said, the biggest one is 11,000 sq feet including the foot print of the house and beds, etc. I’ve been charging $35.00 per cut on everyone’s lawn, does this sound fair? I haven’t NOT got a job yet that I’ve quoted so I’m thinking I might be too low. ”

A second lawn care business owner said “If you’re getting every job that you’re quoting, it means that you’re quoting too low.

80% acceptance is the point at which you can be quite certain that your rate is correct. If you quote $10, then you will get 100% acceptance. If you quote $100 then you will probably get 10% acceptance. You do the math.

80%? You’re right on target for that area you’re working. Don’t forget to allow for some parts of the patch you service being more willing to accept higher rates and better quality services than some other places.

Think it through, carefully.”

A third shared “it seems that if the ground was soft and not really compact it should only take about 1 hours at most. I’ve not done much tilling other than helping my grandfather and his garden is about that size and done every year so it’s very soft, took 30 min with a standard tiller. So your price sounds reasonable to me.”

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€¯

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