climber billing ?


Over the past few years I have been climbing for friends. I shut down my company early in 2004, so that means its just me, no liability insurance. The friends I climb for, I've told them that if they want to pay me $5 per day (being sarcastic) for a paying job then that's fine. However I strictly enforce that I refuse to take money for working at their own homes. The reason for that being with these friends favors get passed back and forth like crazy and nobody asks for anything for them. Somebody will need a ride, or to have something picked up. I will need to borrow something, or need something done somewhere, etc. It just gets done. They usually wind up paying me $200 - $300 / day. For that I bring; my own climbing line, rigging lines if need be, saws ranging from 020 - 066 (for my own personal use), blocks, PWIII, and some other minor items.

I met up with somebody a couple months ago who has got me climbing for him now and again, and the person is not my friend, its business and nothing but. I don't like the feeling of charging the same amount to this person that my friends give me. This person has done me 0 favors to date. The question I have with this is what should I be charging for my time and gear.

Second part of my question is this. I know my job as a climber. My job is to get the tree to the ground, pruned, cabled, inspected, whatever. The same person who is not my friend and only business, the person has no clue about doing commercial tree work. Over the past 2 weeks I have spent at least 5 hrs of my time teaching them about tree work; how much to charge, how much time it will take, who to talk to, etc. Also in those 5 hrs I have had to look at their jobs, price those jobs, AND speak with the client in order to sell the jobs. I've looked at 3 jobs with this person. 1 is a no, 1 is a possible no, and the other is a yes for a ways down the road. So my question in this is if the person gets only 1 of the 3 jobs and yet I have spent time selling all 3, should I be sending a bill for consulting, and if so, what should that bill be? If this was a friend, I wouldn't be sending a bill, but again... not a friend.

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Charge a reasonable rate for consulting. Whatever your hourly fee is, you set that to cover expenses. Same for contract climbing.

If you're doing work you should have liability insurance at a minimum.


Well-Known Member
Sounds like a situation that I've found myself in with a local guy for the last 2 years. You WILL get tired of doing the work/effort you would be doing for your own company (if you had one) for only a small percentage of what it's worth. I'm tired of it and I've slowly extended my rates up and my efforts down. The client will see who the skill is and I have had this guy complain to me that his 'clients' ask him for MY number. He is a self proffessed treeman not an arborist by any description. I think he charges about $65/manhour and I charge him 50 cut and drop. No consulting, no clean up, and deffinately no estimates. He dragged me to one of his estimates once in my company truck, turns out I was supposed to go to the same house for 6:30 that night myself for an est. That was one awkward situation, which I solved (right or wrong) by not quoting on the job.


Wow Matt that was an ear full.
(Over the past few years I have been climbing for friends. I shut down my company early in 2004, so that means its just me, no liability insurance.)
I think you mean workmans comp insurance which every state requires with the exception of Texas. Liability is still needed to protect everybody from you.
Whats up with this favor thing???