How to price a job

lynnmor

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May 3, 2021
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Red Lion
Doing to help a friend is very different than even covering your costs with side jobs. If our labor is tradeable would you be willing to clean my bathroom for one hour and I mow you lawn for an hour?
When I was young and didn't know any better I would do a lot of auto repairs for friends and relatives charging little or nothing. I got a bit smarter when they thought it was a joke when I asked them to mow for me.

I have operated a tool & die shop for many years, still do some work. It is necessary to charge a shop rate for everybody and it needs to cover all expenses and some profit, otherwise keep the door locked.
 
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RCW

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This is timely. I’ve weed whacked the hill toward the woods for 31 years. There’s a curtain-type ditch up there too. It’s all steep and uneven.

As I’m crowding 60 real hard, I don’t do well with it anymore.

Can still do the whole place in an hour, but I pay hell for it the next day.

I’ve tried to find a younger person that will do it with my trimmer if needed. No luck so far, but this gives me an idea what I could be looking at.

This is about half of it out back. Have another 400’ of road ditch out front.

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Henro

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May 24, 2019
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UNLESS YOU really need the money, OR the neighbor is REALLY in need of help, I would play the insurance card.

“I’d like to do it and make some extra cash, BUT I CAN’T SINCE I DON’T HAVE INSURANCE to use my tractor off my property…”
 

fried1765

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Nov 14, 2019
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UNLESS YOU really need the money, OR the neighbor is REALLY in need of help, I would play the insurance card.

“I’d like to do it and make some extra cash, BUT I CAN’T SINCE I DON’T HAVE INSURANCE to use my tractor off my property…”
THAT is absolutely the BEST response every time, and....it avoids any hard feelings!
 
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Henro

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Whats she look like?
JimmyJazz…My impression was that you were not old enough to qualify as a dirty old man!

But being from the Pittsburgh area (like me), it could be the qualifying age here is lower than average! No question on my part, as I meet the age qualification…😂
 
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D2Cat

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This is timely. I’ve weed whacked the hill toward the woods for 31 years. There’s a curtain-type ditch up there too. It’s all steep and uneven.

As I’m crowding 60 real hard, I don’t do well with it anymore.

Can still do the whole place in an hour, but I pay hell for it the next day.

I’ve tried to find a younger person that will do it with my trimmer if needed. No luck so far, but this gives me an idea what I could be looking at.

This is about half of it out back. Have another 400’ of road ditch out front.

View attachment 80435
RCW, a source for young help can sometimes be found by contacting the local HS shop, ag teacher or coach. Ask if they have someone who grew up on a farm, or likes to work, or is mechanically minded, or responsible... those qualities will help you to find the right person.

I was in the local hardware store last week looking for a rivet nut. You guy said oh we've got those... I visited with him and found his interest, got his phone number because he said he'd like to do anything mechanical and be outside. When I need somebody to help I have a place to start!
 
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RCW

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RCW, a source for young help can sometimes be found by contacting the local HS shop, ag teacher or coach. Ask if they have someone who grew up on a farm, or likes to work, or is mechanically minded, or responsible... those qualities will help you to find the right person.

I was in the local hardware store last week looking for a rivet nut. You guy said oh we've got those... I visited with him and found his interest, got his phone number because he said he'd like to do anything mechanical and be outside. When I need somebody to help I have a place to start!
'Cat - - those are great recommendations. I know exactly what you mean about a former farm kid. Unfortunately, we have too many former farm kids...3 dairies went out in the last 6 weeks.

My Mrs. has been a teacher in our local school for 36 years, but with the little kids. We live a very rural place. Local high school graduates 60 kids. Everyone knows everyone.

She does know the shop and ag instructors (both were former students), so that's a good lead.
 

Biker1mike

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To play devils advocate, I married his sister.
You are about to take several thousand of dollars from the local contractor. He asks the home owner why and she tells him that you under cut him by 50%.
Fair enough IF you are indeed in the business.
Depending on what is required by local permits and laws, he may drop a dime and file a complaint.
Or a fast call to state/federal tax agencies to make sure you file the correct taxes. Including additional income taxes.
Local DMV. Are you trailering to the property with a commercial vehicle? Driving the tractor on the roadway is questionable without a farm use.
There are just so many ways to get hosed if you do not have all your ducks in a row.
If not already, you may want to become a LLC. It may just save your house and assets.

All contractors coming on to my property are required to show insurance and that they are bonded. All INS issues are the sole responsibility of the general contractor.
 

fried1765

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Nov 14, 2019
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Eastham, Ma
I think you've gotten good advice thus far.

Just a note, if you have KTAC insurance, your tractor is likely covered on the neighbor's property. If you rely on a homeowner's policy, it is likely not the case.

Not to muddy water, just want you to be aware. I've done work at all of my nearby neighbors' places without regard or worry about insurance. It is also limited to occasional mowing and snowblowing if they need help.

Did a one acre lawn most of a summer after neighbor had heart attack. I don't charge anyone if they just need a helping hand once in a while. Your example is a steady commitment on 2 acres, so I'd view that differently. My charity doesn't go that far.....how does she look again?!?!? ;)
There is another part to that question....."how does she look again ?!/!/!?"
.........What is she built like?
 
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dirtydeed

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Dieseldonato

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You don't need any of that in PA to run a side business unless your doing retail. The LLC give you no extra rights or protections. You also do not need an LLC to get a EIN. My wife runs a small side business, and I will tell you right now, neither the local, state or federal government cares as long as you don't have store frontage and don't have employees. The taxes are filed under your personal taxes. Any recourse for not getting paid is between you and that person. Hopefully you have a written contract. The LLC doesn't help with that, nor does it protect you from any liability. If you screw up the person has the right to sue your company and the person that did the work. So no Point in the LLC. Insurance isn't required for many types of businesses in PA either. Highly recommend yes, nessisary? May be not. Licenses are also dependent on the services being preformed. There's also a hobby clause, which you basically don't make a profit, but your expenses and materials to complete the job are charged for. (Your time is worthless) if and the big if your considering going down this rabbit trail talk to an attorney and a dam good accountant. We were about to spend a pile of cash to get my wife set up for her side business till we talked to our accountant, then the attorney. Glad we did, and she's in full compliance with all local, state and federal laws. Taxes are just as easy as they ever were, save some extra paper work, and good record keeping.
 
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mikester

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Oct 21, 2017
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1. Do it for free. This way you owe nothing to no one and have no expectations either way. You are a good man charlie brown.

2. Charge market rate $150/hr after talking to your insurance and confirm they will cover you. Your machine costs more to operate than diesel in the tank. See how much renting the machine and pickup/drop off costs for half a day. That's your machine cost portion. Now you have your time costs and overhead to cover.

Sometimes its easier and cheaper for you to chose option 1. It might save you money in the long run. No good deed goes unpunished.
 
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dirtydeed

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Freeheeler

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b2650 tlb
Aug 16, 2018
682
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Knoxville, TN
My 2 acres takes just under 2 hours with the zero turn. A little over 4 hrs with a BX. $60-12 (fuel)=$48.
So that's $12/hour for your time and machine use. Personally, I would tell her she's getting a good deal and that she couldn't afford to pay me to mow it. I would say it with a smile and a hug and offer to help if needed but not for money.
 

Dieseldonato

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I couldn't disagree more. But, believe what you want. It's your arse.

One other thing to mention here is that "mowing" is considered a maintenance item (like doing fertilizer treatments, mulching etc) and is subject to sales tax. Therefore, the good ol state of PA will be looking for their tax money. Many other services may be excluded from sales tax requirements IF they are in conjunction with other non taxable services.

Best of luck to you.
No go hire professionals in their respective fields to make sure your legal in your business. No form of government care who is paying the taxes so long as they are paid. Period. There's a big difference between a single person running a business vs having employees and or retail space. Your assumptions are pompous, and based on a one shoe fits all mentality. Besides just having been through this with my wife, my father has ran his own business for nearly 30 years now. Besides setting up a DBA and getting insurance (which the customers request not the state) he's never had an LLC, corporation, or sole proprietor status. All sales taxes are included in the invoice. The tax estimates are paid quarterly, and reconciliation is done at the end of the year and filed under your personal taxes. Can't remember the tax form, but it's done every day by average people that did not fall into the false beliefs that an LLC or whatever will save them, their business or any property if they screw up on a job. The company can be sued and the individual (s) that preformed the work can be sued. If ypu don't believe me, feel free to contact the IRS and spend lots of time on the phone with them, then call your local municipality and spend a little time on the phone with them, then call the state. Then go talk to a certified accountant and finally talk with an attorney. I quite assure you I've not given any bad information. Besides all this hyping up about mowing a neighbors yard and insurance and everything were going on about we've successfully made a mountain out of a mole hill.
If you want to mow the neighbors yard for them, mow it. Your really over thinking it at this point.
 

ZTMAN

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BX2380
Aug 26, 2018
139
53
28
South Central Pa
I would not want to cut a neighbors grass for money. If you reduce the cost, you think you are doing her a favor, and she will think she is doing you a favor.
However, every now and then the Calvary fired up their mowers to help a neighbor out when they could not cut their own grass
 

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