Company Day Rates for Customers-- thoughts

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
#1
I've got a number of customers who have a fair bit of work, and a fair bit of money, who might like to peck away at stuff. Other times, I have view-work that is very subjective, sometimes to the point of me shaking branches and asking if they want it removed, reduced, or left alone (open the water view without showing any of the neighbor's buildings, thinning for view of water and mountains or the Capitol building, etc).

Some customers are Put On Ground Only types, who have teenagers, grandkids, are retired and healthy, who handle the ground work.


I'm trying to figure some simple formulas.

Let's use $100/ hour as a simple number.

Me working alone, climbing or operation one machine (chipper, grinder, mini) $100/ hour.

If I have a groundie working, as typical, I figure this person to be the machine operator or climber's assistant, while I'm climbing or felling.

The second person can be the second driver for a second truck, able to tow/ haul material and a machine.

If I'm not bringing a second truck, maybe $80/ hour. If I'm having a second truck and driver/ machine, then maybe $100/ hour.

If I have a third guy on, as I'm about to start having, thinking $80/$100.

If my mini is feeding my chipper, the mini is doing the job of 5 guys for part of the day. Seems like I should have an additional charge for the increased wear and tear on the chipper, blades, fuel, and increased likelihood of getting some rocks in the chipper, over hand-fed. Do I add $400 for mini to move the chipper to an otherwise inaccessible location and stuff it full?



If I'm doing a bunch of felling with no clean-up, I'm doing all the highly skilled and more risky work, leaving ground work. How would you account for this over cleaning up reducing the average risk/ day?


Who figures travel time as part of the day, and who charges for time onsite? Perhaps a travel charge over X miles or XX minutes (like fighting through rush hour traffic through the heart of town)?
 
#2
When we do this sort of work, we charge a per man hour rate. We do not have a completely set rate as we very it to account for site conditions, etc. It works pretty well for the most part. Some people have a hard time wrapping their head around it for some reason. It makes it pretty easy to figure instead of having to give a customer a huge list of variables. You can also do a per hour machinery charge if needed. I normally bill time for the ride there but we go home on our own time. I still pay my guys for the ride back to the shop.
 
#3
Whether you're felling, climbing or running a machine ... I feel as though you're worth $100 per hour because that is the skillset the customer is hiring you for.

With that being said, if you do a day rate, do a day's work. But it's usually more profitable to set bids, and then no one is upset in the end because they were happy with the price before you did the work.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
#4
I do a selective day rate at times. Not a hourly. In these cases I go a little higher than my secret fixed hourly used for bids, but not much. While I do work hard, it's not at the same pace, its a little more relaxed. I bill in 1/4 day increments and I'm clear that a workday is 7 hours not 8. This covers lunch and travel. Mini is extra, regardless if one person or two person crew. Chipper is included. I often verbalize we can go much quicker if we don't have to clean up, but if we do clean up as we go it's often much more efficient and cost effective than paying other labor.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
#5
Treebuzz is acting a little buggy... I charge more for my labor, and less for my ground crew. This way if they want to dictate crew size I get more than my target hourly, and if I'm paying for an employee I get my expenses covered.
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
#8
I do a selective day rate at times. Not a hourly. In these cases I go a little higher than my secret fixed hourly used for bids, but not much. ....
Curious, why higher per hour rate for those who hire you per hour vs. bid? I actually go a little lower. I figure if they are trusting me to have at it without having to estimate I'm gonna give them a little discount. When I estimate, I usually add about 10-15% to what I think it will take to account for unforeseen variables. I'm usually pretty close. Sometimes I still end up taking 25% longer than planned. Other times I finish 25% quicker. Not like it is lost money or found money - just a different actual per hour rate. Help me eliminate that up and down, and I'll charge a rate that will keep me happy.
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
#9
To the OP's question about charging different rates based on equipment...YES. That stuff has to pay for itself. However, the important thing to remind the client is that you are getting a lot more done per hour than you would if you didn't have it, so their price per project is actually lower than it would be if you were not using it.

Think extreme examples to work this out. You are removing a tree. If you have a Tree Mech, your per hour rate may be $350(?) per hour, but the tree is out in 2 hours for a total cost of $700. If you are using nothing by an ax, your hourly rate may only be $50 per hour, but its gonna take you 3 days to do the job for a total cost of $1200.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
#10
Curious, why higher per hour rate for those who hire you per hour vs. bid? I actually go a little lower. I figure if they are trusting me to have at it without having to estimate I'm gonna give them a little discount. When I estimate, I usually add about 10-15% to what I think it will take to account for unforeseen variables. I'm usually pretty close. Sometimes I still end up taking 25% longer than planned. Other times I finish 25% quicker. Not like it is lost money or found money - just a different actual per hour rate. Help me eliminate that up and down, and I'll charge a rate that will keep me happy.
Well my day or hour rate is typically for extreme situations which there is no way to put a reasonable fixed price on. Often when we do bluff/cliff work, this will come out to play. In these cases it’s not even practical to go touch and feel the tree without roping up.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
#11
To the OP's question about charging different rates based on equipment...YES. That stuff has to pay for itself. However, the important thing to remind the client is that you are getting a lot more done per hour than you would if you didn't have it, so their price per project is actually lower than it would be if you were not using it.

Think extreme examples to work this out. You are removing a tree. If you have a Tree Mech, your per hour rate may be $350(?) per hour, but the tree is out in 2 hours for a total cost of $700. If you are using nothing by an ax, your hourly rate may only be $50 per hour, but its gonna take you 3 days to do the job for a total cost of $1200.
Then there are the jobs where it’s felling a back leaning tree. We assume all the risk, all the glory for a hour? Two? Just to put it on the ground and let some lowballer cleanup.
I just had a guy try to pull this on me. Dead fir, needs a good pull, said he hired an ol logger for the last one for $75 bucks.. I gave him my price and he is whining about it, I’m not budging
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
#12
Well my day or hour rate is typically for extreme situations which there is no way to put a reasonable fixed price on. Often when we do bluff/cliff work, this will come out to play. In these cases it’s not even practical to go touch and feel the tree without roping up.
That makes a lot of sense...thanks for clarifying!
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
#13
Ya, bank view work is inaccessible to bid, indeed.


People think we're magicians.

How much to match the tall shrubs in this side to the ones growing out from under the Leyland Cypress that's being removed?

Let me get out my Crystal Ball.

I either need to bid high to not get screwed, maybe losing the job, compared to making a fixed rate that I know is profitable.
 
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