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Old 08-02-2004, 12:40 AM   #1
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What do I charge to do Aquarium maintenance??

I was asked to maintain an aquarium in a Dr's office and I am not sure what to charge. I haven't seen the tank, but I was told it is a 100gal. There is an over-abundance of algae. The fish are in poor health, most of them have died. I am clueless what to charge. I expect I will visit once a week to get the water conditions stabilized.
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Old 08-02-2004, 02:23 AM   #2
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Re: What do I charge to do Aquarium maintenance??

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhDBound
I was asked to maintain an aquarium in a Dr's office and I am not sure what to charge. I haven't seen the tank, but I was told it is a 100gal. There is an over-abundance of algae. The fish are in poor health, most of them have died. I am clueless what to charge. I expect I will visit once a week to get the water conditions stabilized.
This is a SW tank, correct? If so, you will need to go more than once a week until it is stabilized. After that, you will need to set up a system for water top/off.

As far as what to charge, I suppose it will depend on how much time it takes you and how much is involved. The good news is that they must realize by now that this is a hobby/job that does involve some specialized knowledge. If it were easy, they wouldn't need your help.

I would think something like $100 a month plus costs - just a wild guess. Just make sure you charge enough to make it worth your while. I would also make sure you tell them up front that they will likely have to spend some money on equipment and supplies to get things lined out. I find that I am much more willing to spend money on something when I am told up front what to expect.

Let us know how it goes. You may also want to take your camera with you for some b/4 pictures (which, of course, you must share with us.)

Edit: I saw you put this same thread in fish only. Apparently I am way off on my pricing estimate. I would go with Darin's figure, but make sure you know what you are doing. At $75/hr, Darin is bringing a great deal of expertise - no way would I be comfortable being responsible for someone else's SW tank. Although I love it, I feel like I have my hands full with just my tanks.
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Old 08-02-2004, 12:00 PM   #3
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Yeah, I'd suggest something like $20 per hour (or more), and let them know that initially there will be more hours involved to stabilize the tank, but after the first month the hours would taper down a little bit.

Also, one thing to try too, is just call a few LFS's and ask what they charge to maintain tanks. I know both the LFS's here do maintenance at local businesses.
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Old 08-02-2004, 12:38 PM   #4
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The LFS near me charge some where around 70 dollars a month, which includes a once-a-month visit to test the params, do a water change and clean the glass..
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Old 08-02-2004, 12:50 PM   #5
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I clean tanks one day a week and charge $20 an hour ( minim wage here is like $5 or some thing). And go two or three times a month. Then charge what ever extras I need on top of that, like carbon or filters.

In Cali you can charge more because labor is more, oh yes if it is as bad as you say charge more for the first time then regular maintance is a standard fee.

My customers all ways over pay me though I am spoiled. I get to help improve the live to fish and get payed for it.
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Old 08-02-2004, 02:00 PM   #6
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I would also think about the fact of liability. What happens if something happens to the tank (i.e. equipment failure, overflows, etc.) that is because of what you have done? Who will pay? For something that size and for a professional office, I would get some form of insurance or a release of liability from the office. If you do not personally know someone there, I would also check into whether or not you need a license to provide a service....if something goes wrong (your fault or not)and you break your ties, I would make sure there is nothing that can reported to cause drama for your effort.
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Old 08-02-2004, 02:07 PM   #7
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As a quick comparison your auto mecanic charges around $80 per hour plumbers are even more. They are paying for your knowledge and you should charge accordingly. Do not feel bad making money from your hobby.


You wil also have to get a contractor liability insurance policy that covers youp to at elast $500,000. Mine costsd me $562 a year. That is 28 hours at $20 or 7.5 hours at $75.

a 100 gallon tank should take abou 1 1 1/2 to clean and water change.

I also charge $60 for emergency calls that are not my fault! THis keeps people from abusing you.


I also premix the saltwater at my location with RO water and bring it with me in 5 gallon containers with molded in handles. Thi saves time and removs the water qualuty issue. I also do this with freshwater tanks as well. That way i can always have consitent water for all my tanks. I charge $1.25 per gallon of pre mixed water. and do not charge $.75 for pre adjusted freshwater.



After that figure in your gas and labor and $75 does not sound that high.You are getting into this to make money not a favor. That took me awhile to figure out in the beginning! Not trying to offend anyone but just listing my experiance a a service company.
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Old 08-02-2004, 02:09 PM   #8
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A release from the office will not apply if some kid puls it over on themselves! You wil need insurance!

I have a 125 in a peditric hospital and kids are sometimes climbing on it! Anything can and will happen!
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Old 08-03-2004, 12:22 AM   #9
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I'm not in the business, but it would sound well worth your time to have a well-thought out list of things you do and things you don't do, along with costs to have them look over before you do anything. Make sure you're the only one doing the work and be as honest with them up front as possible. Make sure they know it costs more to get things set up right (at the beginning) for equipment.

The insurance sounds like a sound investment. Get some business cards (or at least contact information) to give to them if anyone is interested in your work.

Sounds like you've got an excellent opportunity to increase your knowledge and experience. If it's in my area and you're not interested, let me know.
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