How to price Air-Knife jobs?

Zacchaeus

New member
Location
Jasper
So, I have done a lot of air-knife work in the past at my previous job. However, I now own my own business and recently bought an air-knife for soil remediation work, and have some jobs coming up that will require it. My question: How do you all price your air-knife/air-spade jobs? I'm thinking of figuring time plus compressor rental and any amendments/materials costs, but wasn't sure how anyone else figures their price quotes. For most standard work I charge $150 per hour. Do you charge more for this premium service (above regular pruning, etc.)
Thank you!
 
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ATH

Been here a while
Location
Ohio
I think you have the right idea: time plus expenses.

I don't charge more per hour...it is safer work (should be lower workers comp rate). Lower risk of causing damage you need to repair. Lower investment than other tree care equipment (chipper, bucket, etc...).

The time is the big question though. Soil conditions drastically change that. Ask clients to water ahead. Maybe offer a price range based on how long it takes...and it will be on the lower end of the range if they water for an hour a day for 2 days prior to your appointment.
 

ATH

Been here a while
Location
Ohio
If doing root collar excavations on a lot of trees, I will offer a relatively cheap price ($35-50 per tree) to do an initial excavation which includes correction of depth issues and any SGR I can cut with hand pruners. I'll then report back about any girdling roots that need more attention and provide an estimate for those now that I'm able to see what is happening. I know that sounds cheap... but I'll get 4-6 trees per hour with just blowing them open and a couple of snips so it's good money. If it is just one tree I charge $150 plus a not to exceed price based on how much time with the chisel I think I'll need.

But that is for SGR...sounds like you were asking about soil improvements or decompaction...
 
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Zacchaeus

New member
Location
Jasper
If doing root collar excavations on a lot of trees, I will offer a relatively cheap price ($35-50 per tree) to do an initial excavation which includes correction of depth issues and any SGR I can cut with hand pruners. I'll then report back about any girdling roots that need more attention and proviy an estimate for those now that I'm able to see what is happening. I know that sounds cheap... but I'll get 4-6 trees per hour with just blowing them open and a couple of snips so it's good money. If it is just one tree I charge $150 plus a not to exceed price based on how much time with the chisel I think I'll need.

Bit that is for SGR...sounds like you were asking about soil improvements or decompaction...
Thanks for your insights. I will be doing RCE on trees to fix depth and girdling roots also. That's why I asked, because I didn't know if most people had different charges for different air use, or just time + materials across the board. I get your point about being less risky than removals or such. I have heard of companies charging more because it's a premium arborist service with little competition. Around me, it's definitely an open niche in the market...
 

Reach

Been here a while
Location
Atglen, PA
We do not do any airspade work, we refer/contract it out to a consulting arborist locally who is very good. His pricing schedule is all time and materials, he bills the same hourly rate for airspading that he does for consulting, but does add on a “rental” fee for the airspade and compressor; those are flat fees per day.
 

ATH

Been here a while
Location
Ohio
Thanks for your insights. I will be doing RCE on trees to fix depth and girdling roots also. That's why I asked, because I didn't know if most people had different charges for different air use, or just time + materials across the board. I get your point about being less risky than removals or such. I have heard of companies charging more because it's a premium arborist service with little competition. Around me, it's definitely an open niche in the market...
I don't see it as something that is "premium". Sure, the hacks aren't doing it...but it isn't rocket surgery either. I see no reason to charge higher rates other than "I can". I don't see that as fair to the clients. My philosophy is take care of clients and they will take care of you. Jacking up prices "just because" isn't taking care of clients IMHO.

Also, it is a little bit of an "odd" service, so too much and I find I price myself out of a job. I'm usually suggesting something somebody hasn't heard of in the first place. If it is too expensive, they'll just pass.
 

Zacchaeus

New member
Location
Jasper
I don't see it as something that is "premium". Sure, the hacks aren't doing it...but it isn't rocket surgery either. I see no reason to charge higher rates other than "I can". I don't see that as fair to the clients. My philosophy is take care of clients and they will take care of you. Jacking up prices "just because" isn't taking care of clients IMHO.

Also, it is a little bit of an "odd" service, so too much and I find I price myself out of a job. I'm usually suggesting something somebody hasn't heard of in the first place. If it is too expensive, they'll just pass.
Very good points. I agree with you.
 

evo

Been here a while
Location
My Island, WA
I price it at a half day min and quarter day from there. Plus a few hundred extra (covers rental expense and pick up drop off) flat fee. Also I never bid or quote other than a super vague ‘I think it will be about this much’…. it’s my new standard since I tend to loose my ass or over charge grossly. You can’t see what’s under ground and our soils range from pre Vashon glacier (basically what a mile of ice sat on) to sand to clay…
 
Location
Concord
Work for a tree service that owns its own air compressor + air knife.

We used to bid this work but now do $270/hour ($135/crew hour, 2 crew for these jobs) plus 1 way travel. It doesn't make sense to bid anymore because it always takes longer than expected, since you don't know what the conditions are below the surface. If there's a ton of fill or gravel, the air knife is ineffective and you'll end up doing a lot of hand digging (which is what the 2nd crew is for).

Technically we also charge $150 to set up a soaker hose to thoroughly wet the area, to allow 2 days to dry, but our bids are written and the estimators often forget to include that. Don't trust the homeowner to do this part for you as tempting as it might be.
 

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