How much to charge for tractor work?
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    timzr's Avatar
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    How much to charge for tractor work?

    I've had several people ask me to do loader, box blade or aerator work for them. Until I became self employed, I've always declined. Now that I could use the tractor to make money, I don't want to overcharge or sell myself short.I'm in central NC where there's a lot of landscape companies and "mower operators" (hacks that cater to people who don't want to pay much).

    I generally charge $30 an hour for handyman type work, but don't charge travel time.

    I'm thinking $50 an hour for operating equipment and same rate for travel both ways. Local rental places get around $300: 8 hour day for rental and anywhere from $50 - 125 for delivery and pickup.

    Any advice is appreciated. *Note everything I own is paid for, so I'm not working to pay for the equipment.
    2017 JD 1025R
    120R Loader, 60” MMM, Howse 4’ box blade, Turfvent 3pt aerator, Titan ballast box, homebuilt lawn roller/packer, CID (Construction Implement Depot) quick attach pallet forks, 14’ homebuilt 10k flatbed trailer

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    PJR832's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timzr View Post
    I've had several people ask me to do loader, box blade or aerator work for them. Until I became self employed, I've always declined. Now that I could use the tractor to make money, I don't want to overcharge or sell myself short.I'm in central NC where there's a lot of landscape companies and "mower operators" (hacks that cater to people who don't want to pay much).

    I generally charge $30 an hour for handyman type work, but don't charge travel time.

    I'm thinking $50 an hour for operating equipment and same rate for travel both ways. Local rental places get around $300: 8 hour day for rental and anywhere from $50 - 125 for delivery and pickup.

    Any advice is appreciated. *Note everything I own is paid for, so I'm not working to pay for the equipment.
    IMO $50/hr for tractor work and $75/hr for pto work is a fair price. I just quoted my in laws new neighbors $75/hr for some brush hogging and he didn't even bat an eye, crap,,,,,,,,,,maybe I should have said $100/hr.
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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timzr View Post
    I've had several people ask me to do loader, box blade or aerator work for them. Until I became self employed, I've always declined. Now that I could use the tractor to make money, I don't want to overcharge or sell myself short.I'm in central NC where there's a lot of landscape companies and "mower operators" (hacks that cater to people who don't want to pay much).

    I generally charge $30 an hour for handyman type work, but don't charge travel time.

    I'm thinking $50 an hour for operating equipment and same rate for travel both ways. Local rental places get around $300: 8 hour day for rental and anywhere from $50 - 125 for delivery and pickup.

    Any advice is appreciated. *Note everything I own is paid for, so I'm not working to pay for the equipment.
    First bit of advise - get insurance.

    My homeowner’s insurance only covers my tractor at my home - no liability or damage otherwise.

    I had liability insurance when I had my mowing business - not really all that expensive. However if I were to do any landscaping work where I might dig down more than 2” the insurance rate skyrocketed.

    My few mowing comtepetitors were people who did it on the side with their Murray junk tractors and no insurance. I would never mow any properties without insurance let alone to any type of PTO work or loader work.

    People are sue happy.
    ~Stan~
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    2520 w/200CX w/62D2

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    Bonehead Club Lackey Levi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanW View Post
    “Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.”

    ― G. K. Chesterton

    I think that Chesterton fella is nuts. Previous owner didn't tell me why. I've been taking fence down pretty much since we moved in here.

    *****************

    Quote Originally Posted by timzr View Post
    I've had several people ask me to do loader, box blade or aerator work for them. Until I became self employed, I've always declined. Now that I could use the tractor to make money, I don't want to overcharge or sell myself short.I'm in central NC where there's a lot of landscape companies and "mower operators" (hacks that cater to people who don't want to pay much).

    I generally charge $30 an hour for handyman type work, but don't charge travel time.

    I'm thinking $50 an hour for operating equipment and same rate for travel both ways. Local rental places get around $300: 8 hour day for rental and anywhere from $50 - 125 for delivery and pickup.

    Any advice is appreciated. *Note everything I own is paid for, so I'm not working to pay for the equipment.
    I don't do tractor work for pay usually. I did help my neighbor on one of his job sites this past Tuesday and for 3 hours of work I was given $300.00. It depends on the job if I even charge. Most of the time my time and equipment use is done for free so I'm the wrong one to ask.
    Last edited by Levi; 03-24-2019 at 08:08 AM.
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    Ray_PA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timzr View Post
    I've had several people ask me to do loader, box blade or aerator work for them. Until I became self employed, I've always declined. Now that I could use the tractor to make money, I don't want to overcharge or sell myself short.I'm in central NC where there's a lot of landscape companies and "mower operators" (hacks that cater to people who don't want to pay much).

    I generally charge $30 an hour for handyman type work, but don't charge travel time.

    I'm thinking $50 an hour for operating equipment and same rate for travel both ways. Local rental places get around $300: 8 hour day for rental and anywhere from $50 - 125 for delivery and pickup.

    Any advice is appreciated. *Note everything I own is paid for, so I'm not working to pay for the equipment.
    Well, the minute you do work for , you are now in "commerce". This puts you in a whole different category with your tractor. I noticed you said you are self-employed so you probably already have liability insurance on your business. That said, be sure they know what you plan to do with your tractor.

    Concerning what to charge. Even though your equipment is paid for, you must consider the cost of this equipment in your pricing because you are going to have to replace it and you are wearing it out working for someone else.

    Concerning cost for the tractor: Figuring a tractor cost. If you depreciate a $25000.00 tractor over 5 years, the depreciation is $416.67/month (not considering any interest). Figuring about 300 hours/year of usage, this would be 25 hours of usage/month. Now, this would be personal and business usage. So, if you divide $416.67 by say, 15 hours of business usage, you get $27.78/hour depreciation.

    Now, how much for fuel and maintenance costs. You can figure about 2 gallons/hour for fuel and $5.00/hour ($75.00/month) for maintenance and insurance.

    So, your cost to run the tractor, 15 hours per month in business, is about, $37.78/hour quickly throwing some numbers down. Now add to this $20.00/hour labor (or more) = $57.78 per hour cost. Add 25% profit to this - $57.78 + $14.45 = $72.23.

    Based on this, I wouldn't do any work with a 1025R for less than $70.00/hour or you will probably be working for free and on top of this, you have to consider the cost of travel. I definitely wouldn't travel at no charge.

    I would consider $1.50/mile travel charge. This isn't enough, but it will at least recover some for fuel, truck maintenance, trailer depreciation and maintenance, etc.

    So, IMHO, my per hour charge would be $75.00 (on site) and travel charge would be $1.50/mile.

    Of course, not to mention you have to comply with all commercial motor vehicle DOT rules when you are "in commerce" driving. This means you will have to have a DOT physical exam card because your combination truck and trailer will be in excess of 10000 lb., you have to have a DOT number on your truck and you have to have an FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association) vehicle inspection done on the truck and trailer unless your state requires state inspection on your truck and trailer.
    Last edited by Ray_PA; 03-24-2019 at 07:48 AM.
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    coaltrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray_PA View Post
    Well, the minute you do work for , you are now in "commerce". This puts you in a whole different category with your tractor. I noticed you said you are self-employed so you probably already have liability insurance on your business. That said, be sure they know what you plan to do with your tractor.

    Concerning what to charge. Even though your equipment is paid for, you must consider the cost of this equipment in your pricing because you are going to have to replace it and you are wearing it out working for someone else.

    Concerning cost for the tractor: Figuring a tractor cost. If you depreciate a $25000.00 tractor over 5 years, the depreciation is $416.67/month (not considering any interest). Figuring about 300 hours/year of usage, this would be 25 hours of usage/month. Now, this would be personal and business usage. So, if you divide $416.67 by say, 15 hours of business usage, you get $27.78/hour depreciation.

    Now, how much for fuel and maintenance costs. You can figure about 2 gallons/hour for fuel and $5.00/hour ($75.00/month) for maintenance and insurance.

    So, your cost to run the tractor, 15 hours per month in business, is about, $37.78/hour quickly throwing some numbers down. Now add to this $20.00/hour labor (or more) = $57.78 per hour cost. Add 25% profit to this - $57.78 + $14.45 = $72.23.

    Based on this, I wouldn't do any work with a 1025R for less than $70.00/hour or you will probably be working for free and on top of this, you have to consider the cost of travel. I definitely wouldn't travel at no charge.

    I would consider $1.50/mile travel charge. This isn't enough, but it will at least recover some for fuel, truck maintenance, trailer depreciation and maintenance, etc.

    So, IMHO, my per hour charge would be $75.00 (on site) and travel charge would be $1.50/mile.
    Great post Ray.

    To add to that - once into commerce your truck that pulls the trailer with your tractor would have to be DOT registered.

    It goes on and on......what about medical insurance for yourself - is that included in your hourly rate (plugging that in to Ray’s scenario above)?
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    Ray_PA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coaltrain View Post
    Great post Ray.

    To add to that - once into commerce your truck that pulls the trailer with your tractor would have to be DOT registered.

    It goes on and on......what about medical insurance for yourself - is that included in your hourly rate (plugging that in to Ray’s scenario above)?
    coaltrain, the $75.00/hour will definitely not make you rich. You may make some money at this $75.00/hour rate, but as you indicate, if you way all the costs, which you really need to, of being in commerce with a tractor, your per hour charge should be closer to $100.00/hour.
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    Senior GTT Super Slacker Gizmo2's Avatar
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    $75/hr, minimum 4 hours if I have to trailer.
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    $60-$90 is pretty common here, depending on equipment size.

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    PJR832's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmo2 View Post
    $75/hr, minimum 4 hours if I have to trailer.
    That's what I like, keeping it simple.
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