Turf Magazine - April, 2012

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In Your Own Words: To Itemize or Not to Itemize

classy: "I like to break down prices to customers so that they will get a better grasp on the situation. That said, I'd say 50 percent of the time it seems to cause more confusion and perhaps silent criticism, especially when it comes to the labor rates.

"What do you find makes your customers most comfortable when quoting? Itemized lists or total job cost?"

Waddle: "When I send invoices for lawn maintenance it's just listed as maintenance and the price. When I do it for a landscape job I itemize everything. Sometimes they say something about the labor and sometimes they don't. When they do I just explain payroll, taxes, insurance, fuel, wear and tear on equipment, and permit fees all come out of my labor rate. They usually never question anything after I explain all of that. For some reason they think that all goes in my pocket and are suddenly OK with it after I tell them."

Weekend cut easymoney: "I itemize also for quotes so the customer can see how they got to the final price. I mostly try to leave out important details such as quantities and calculations, so other companies can't simply look at my estimate and just undercut the price. They would actually have to go sit and do their own homework."

Patriot Services: "Itemizing tends to send customers into vapor lock. They think your labor rate should be $10 an hour and your materials should match the latest Home Depot flyer."

GreenIndustryAssociates: "For residential work I do not itemize anything at all. The price I give is for materials, labor and tax. I used to put tax on a separate line, but if you do that the customer can easily do the math and figure what the materials and labor are. People tend to be in shock when they see a labor rate for service work in the $100 to $125 range. If I am doing a proposal for an install, then I will usually give them two prices, one for the complete job, and another without a few options."

grandview (2006): "I used to, but most people just want to know the price. If, like others say, you're breaking down the labor, they stare at you like you're crazy. Also, if you list say eight hour labor and get done in five, they think a refund is due to them. But they forget you have time in getting the supplies for the job. So I list all the material needed but no price for it."

"In Your Own Words" is contributed from the lawn care and landscape forum at www.LawnSite.com, which was named one of 10 Great Media Sites by Media Business magazine, and has been chosen as a winner of the Most Engaged Media Brands for 2010 by min, a firm that tracks the media industry. Visit them, and join in the discussions.