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2019 3025E, grapple, stump bucket, box blade, rear blade, forks tiller, bottom plow, HH weight bar
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Happy Easter to all! I just wanted to post a comment about all my time disappearing. I live in a rual community. We have lots around here starting about 1 1/2 Acres and they can go way up from there. This past year we have had a lot of people bringing in campers until their homes can be built. A friend of a friend was looking for someone to clear a pull through path so they could get a 26' camper onto the lot without damage. This is very heavily wooded. So my friend asked me if I could help. When talking to the property owner, she and her husband told me a contractor wanted $2800 to do this. When they told me where and what they wanted, I was blown away. They then asked me what I could do it for and when it could be done. Well, I thought a weekend. I don't really know how long things like this take. And I asked if they could do $800. They then handed me $600 and asked if they could pay the rest when it was done. There were no trees to cut. There were some downed trees to move and between the grapple, boxblade and bucket I had it done in 8 hours. Now while I was doing this 3 other couples stopped and said I was highly reccomend. I'm sorry what??? This was my first attempt! How on earth does one come up with any kind of price to do work like this? I feel bad for charging $800. I mean they let.me play on my tractor for 8 hours!! I enjoyed this time. I gained some knowledge. And as you all know it's pretty relaxing. I find it hard to believe one neighbor can say something to his friends and all this extra can happen! Thanks for reading. And if anyone has any input please advise!
Rob
 

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Lesson from my time as a project manager: Don't lower your initial estimate! Charge enough cover unexpected problems along the way. If the job is easy, give them a credit at the end, when you clearly have no obligation to do so. Then, everyone remains very happy!

As long as you're 1/2 the price of "for profit" bidders, you should never feel guilty.
 

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2019 3025E, grapple, stump bucket, box blade, rear blade, forks tiller, bottom plow, HH weight bar
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58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Lesson from my time as a project manager: Don't lower your initial estimate! Charge enough cover unexpected problems along the way. If the job is easy, give them a credit at the end, when you clearly have no obligation to do so. Then, everyone remains very happy!

As long as you're 1/2 the price of "for profit" bidders, you should never feel guilty.
Thank you! I honestly feel like I'm taking advantage of them. But I know when we had slag brought in for my driveway there were outrageous!
 

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Rob, Charge rate is a tuff call! I did some work with my TLS back in the 80's & 90's and charged a flat $25 per hour while contractors were charging $65-$100 per hour! I would guesstimate the time to complete, but requested that I got paid by the hour and not for the job. And don't be afraid to look at a job and refuse to do it! My TLB was a track loader and right up front I told customers THEY paid transportation charges to & from my house to the work site.

It's nice to do favors for neighbors, but soon you'll find they'll be taking advantage of you. Have fun and make a few bucks at the same time! Bob
 

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It's nice to do favors for neighbors, but soon you'll find they'll be taking advantage of you.
And... the first time you bust a tire or puncture the radiator, you'll be glad you built in some pricing "insurance"...
 

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MYW, You sound like a good man and neighbor. It is very hard to judge doing things like this and knowing what to charge. When you look at what renting equipment costs or in this case replacing your equipment when it fails, maintaining it and insurance if you have it, it adds up quick. Then there is the labor cost. There is a reason this type off work is expensive.

If you enjoy it and are doing it for good people who understand you are helping them out and appreciate it life is good. Rod and RW bring up good points though, people are not all good and $200.00 repairs happen fast. I still do things with my neighbors and we trade things back and forth, sometimes money or gift cards, sometimes labor or equipment. Some things because they are just getting older and they are damn good neighbors and that has a lot of value too.
 

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You charged $100/yr. Not unreasonable, might even say cheap..

Think about as if this was your full time job. How much would you say is a fair wage for doing this work if you worked for someone else? $20/hr, $25/hr $30/hr. Lot depends upon location. Around me I'd say your talking $25-$30/hr for someone who knows how to operate machinery efficiently without wrecking it in the process.

So at $25/hr for 8 hrs your talking $200 for wages but don't forget benefits. I know when I had a business with employees I figured about 1/3 at the low end and about 1/2 at the higher end for benefits so thats another $100. Total for someone to run the equipment comes out to $300.

As business you have to pay for Insurance, workman's comp, and a host of other stuff.
Then you'd have to buy the Tractor and implements and fuel. Not to mention if your doing this as a business your going to need a trauck and trailer to pull your tractor from job to job. And your employee doesn't work for nothing while he is drive to and from the jobs.

The remaining $500 comes out to $62.50/hr. to cover all that.

I don't think your making as much money as you think you are. In fact if you did this as a business you'd probably want to charge more. Most people don't have a clue how much it costs to run a business. You can't compare what you charged to what a business charges. If you think they are way over charging and you can make bank at $100/hour then I'd suggest you start a business and become rich doing what you consider fun. You'll find out real fast that you aren't charging enough. And I haven't even mentioned dealing with customers, 80% who are good people, but the remaining 20% are a PIA.
 

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At the moment my tractor is covered under my homeowner policies. Just replacement should something big happen. The moment I earn money with it that coverage ends. Then the tax folks start sniffing around. Just know where you stand on these things.
 

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Early 2017 Vintage 1025R TLB (260/H120)
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Sounds like a win win! You got to play, they got to save a bunch of money. I'm sure others will also chime in - If you're thinking of doing this more often, it might be a good idea to look in to insurance. Accidents do happen and tone and behavior of parties can change very quick if that happens. There's a bunch of threads on what to charge, how to protect yourself, etc.

I did some work for some friends and wouldn't take money for this exact reason. They paid for the trailer rental to get the tractor to them and I got play time. :D

Edit: Yup, others beat me to it. Don't let this discourage you though, if you've got 3 jobs lined up, add the overhead of the insurance to the jobs, and play on. Any additional work while the policy is active is a bonus!
 

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If you feel 600 is a good price and you are happy, then as Rod stated, give them a break and only take another hundred. That little gesture may go a long ways. But,, the drawback from doing that is word does travel, others may look for that break too.. I'd charge the 800, you're first guess. They agreed with it so go for it. Tractor time is not free. You saved them 2 grand, don't feel obligated or bad about 800!
I ran a construction company for 30 years and in the beginning I would adjust the estimate if I finished early, gave the elderly a payment plan, but learned a valuable lesson doing that; no good deed goes unpunished. Payment plans went south then you're taking peopel to court costing you money in the end and never even getting paid after all that, and lowering the estimate only got you nothing! You need to build your business and start banking some dough. Having a small business costs a lot of money.
Good business owners need to be hard ball players when it comes to money and customers are not your friends no matter how much you think they are... If a friendship happens after the fact, great.
I retired from construction at 50 because I got sick and tired of being the bank and got sick of people thinking what is not in a contract is included and will not pay you until what they want is completed;
simple example;; house complete everything done per the signed contract including occupancy but the new owners what their gutters installed.. Not included in the contract; they didn't want them at the initial signing, but they will not pay you the final payment until the gutters are installed.. Do you install them or contact your attorney? Now your name is mud because of greedy customers purporting lies to others about your integrity if you don't install the gutters... Remember what I stated; you need to be a hardball player. I had a great attorney! You freeze their bank account and threaten a lien on the house and see how fast you get paid, banks don't like the word Lien. Even though that costs you a few bucks you stick to your business, regardless of that customer. If the customer tells anyone about you who cares, if anyone listens to that customer they would know they were wrong in the first place. Just look at the outcome of that project! It's beautiful..... and that particular scenario only happened a couple times, people trying to get something for nothing. Geez, there's a news flash!
Take the 800 and don't feel bad at all.....
Jeff
 

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2019 3025E, grapple, stump bucket, box blade, rear blade, forks tiller, bottom plow, HH weight bar
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You charged $100/yr. Not unreasonable, might even say cheap..

Think about as if this was your full time job. How much would you say is a fair wage for doing this work if you worked for someone else? $20/hr, $25/hr $30/hr. Lot depends upon location. Around me I'd say your talking $25-$30/hr for someone who knows how to operate machinery efficiently without wrecking it in the process.

So at $25/hr for 8 hrs your talking $200 for wages but don't forget benefits. I know when I had a business with employees I figured about 1/3 at the low end and about 1/2 at the higher end for benefits so thats another $100. Total for someone to run the equipment comes out to $300.

As business you have to pay for Insurance, workman's comp, and a host of other stuff.
Then you'd have to buy the Tractor and implements and fuel. Not to mention if your doing this as a business your going to need a trauck and trailer to pull your tractor from job to job. And your employee doesn't work for nothing while he is drive to and from the jobs.

The remaining $500 comes out to $62.50/hr. to cover all that.

I don't think your making as much money as you think you are. In fact if you did this as a business you'd probably want to charge more. Most people don't have a clue how much it costs to run a business. You can't compare what you charged to what a business charges. If you think they are way over charging and you can make bank at $100/hour then I'd suggest you start a business and become rich doing what you consider fun. You'll find out real fast that you aren't charging enough. And I haven't even mentioned dealing with customers, 80% who are good people, but the remaining 20% are a PIA.
Agreed. I ran a machine shop for 23 yrs. 20 yrs were great. Then the owner died and the family sold it. I stayed and tried to help for 3 years. 7 months after I left it closed. He rode it to the ground. I also sold firearms for 15 yrs. Totally different kind of business. So I have no experience with this type of work. And I yes i enjoy this. But I'm not thinking I want all the wear and tear all the time. A garden or something like that maybe. But some of these lots are very thick. Too much work for me.
 

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2019 3025E, grapple, stump bucket, box blade, rear blade, forks tiller, bottom plow, HH weight bar
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Agreed. I ran a machine shop for 23 yrs. 20 yrs were great. Then the owner died and the family sold it. I stayed and tried to help for 3 years. 7 months after I left it closed. He rode it to the ground. I also sold firearms for 15 yrs. Totally different kind of business. So I have no experience with this type of work. And I yes i enjoy this. But I'm not thinking I want all the wear and tear all the time. A garden or something like that maybe. But some of these lots are very thick. Too much work for me.
And BTW, @ The tool shop my bid was based on $380 an hour.
 

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You should check your homeowners policy. I’m sure different companies approach it differently. My tractor and implements are fully covered under our homeowner policy (State Farm) as long as it’s on our property. As soon as it leaves, it’s not covered at all. If I were doing work for others, I would have to add a rider to our policy and it’s not cheap.
 

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I’ve messed around figuring hourly cost of the two tractors I’ve owned. I tried to figure everything, deprecation, residual value, fuel, maintenance etc. Just a guess but your tractor is probably at least $20 an hour, maybe a little more or less. Figure your time to get there and get home, you probably still made $40 to $50 an hour, which I personally think is very fair, not to much, not to little.
 

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2019 3025E, grapple, stump bucket, box blade, rear blade, forks tiller, bottom plow, HH weight bar
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You should check your homeowners policy. I’m sure different companies approach it differently. My tractor and implements are fully covered under our homeowner policy (State Farm) as long as it’s on our property. As soon as it leaves, it’s not covered at all. If I were doing work for others, I would have to add a rider to our policy and it’s not cheap.
Very good point! Mine is the same, but I carry a rider also. But I'm not exactly sure where the line is drawn with mine. That's a phone call I should make!
 

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I would be surprised if your homeowners insurance covered anything off your property.
 

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$100/hr as an out-door-price for work that includes both labor and machine sounds about right. I wouldn't feel even the least bit bad about it. Even if for this little job you don't pay the tax man and don't buy the multiple needed insurances for both man and machine, it's irrelevant. What was the insurance companies risk is now yours and that's worth something, so charge for it. There's a really good reason shop rates are often 2-5X as high as wage rates.

For instance, my A&P charges $105/hr. But he pays his entry level only $28/hr. (For most stuff, anyway. Some stuff is flat rate, like an oil change runs $420 plus parts.) And it's the same on my end. I build all this and more into its $169/hour rental rate. I still only break even.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I would be surprised if your homeowners insurance covered anything off your property.
Well, I'm not exactly sure what my rider is for. I'll get specifics Monday. I told them I'd be helping.my elderly neighbors.
 
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