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View Full Version : Hooked a big one


Lance587
03-24-2005, 02:33 PM
I finally got a big job and I'm hoping this will sort of jump start my business for this season. However, I'm 17 years old. I need to know about augers. I need approximately 40 large tree holes dug and I figure this is the fastest way. Would it be easier to go with an auger attachment that goes on a bobcat or should I just go with a high powered auger? Also, I have no experience with a bobcat so I figure that'd be a problem too.
I am also stuck at finding the final price. All of my expenses add up to approximately $2,200. The customer has purchased $8,000 worth of plants and trees at $2,000. They know the nursery owner so he hooked 'em up at wholesale. However, they are almost bankrupt because they've spent so much of their money on upgrades for their new home. They've purchased approx. 40 trees and over 150 plants and shrubs(mostly 5-10 gallon). Any ideas on a scale for how much I should charge based on those specs.? They had a plan drawn up for them and the lady did an outstanding job with the plan. It's a 3 day project. If you have anymore questions about the job, respond and I'll answer them.

mexiking
03-24-2005, 02:39 PM
becareful what you dig

cables,pipes, etc

Lance587
03-24-2005, 02:41 PM
yea i forgot to include that on there too. when the homeowners puchased the land and put a house on it, they were smart enough to have all wires go through one central location and even enclosed the wires in a pipe.

mexiking
03-24-2005, 03:38 PM
you still got gas pipes and water pipes

Randy Scott
03-24-2005, 04:19 PM
It's a 3 day project.

Isn't this your answer right here? What do you charge per hour? .

Lance587
03-24-2005, 04:56 PM
how much do you recommend I charge for this type of job per hour? I've always done small projects on the side and mostly regular lawn maintenance

Randy Scott
03-24-2005, 04:58 PM
I can't recommend a number. I have no idea about your operation or your immediate demographics. Sorry

cgland
03-24-2005, 05:53 PM
It seems as if this customer has reached the limit of what they want to spend. How do you know you got the job if you didn't give them a price? :dizzy: I don't know what you NEED to charge to make a profit, so if you can send me your P&L statements, your balance sheets, and your tax returns I will look them over and give you a price. I think you should stick to what you are good at.

Chris

lewdo
03-24-2005, 08:23 PM
Your surely not going to do this yourself in 3 days are you? If that's not a typo and your planting 150 shrubs that are in 5-10 gallon containers plus 40 trees, which I'm assuming if the owner spent the bucks on those large shrubs, he probably bought big trees as well.

:( I'm an old man... it would take 3 of me to do this job in 3 days..

muddstopper
03-24-2005, 08:59 PM
My wife and I have planted 100 or so 1/2 gal size shrubs in just a couple of hours using a gas powered hand auger but that aint going to cut it if you are planting 5 and 10 gal size containers. Best bet is to rent a bobcat with a big auger. Be sure to include rental fees along with your hourly costs plus your profit margin and theres your price. Also, if they are about bankrupt, how do you know you are going to be paid? Your 17 so you probably cant enter into a legal contract, I would be careful on this one.

TScapes
03-24-2005, 09:13 PM
You are way off on your estimated time to complete this job. It would take you most of a day, depending on the size of the hole for the trees, to do all 40 holes with a bobcat. However, since you don't know how to operate one, it would take you 2 days or so just to use a hand held, gas auger to do the same. Then you still have to dig the holes for the shrubs. Finally you have to plant them all. By yourself, I would bet this would take you a full week to do all this. If you have help, it would still take 3 days on average. Why don't you just charge them for time and materials?

jreiff
03-24-2005, 09:24 PM
Since you don't have any Bobcat experience, maybe you should try out a dingo or something like it. Are you able to rent a Bobcat or dingo???? Get an auger for either and a set of forks or nursery jaws to move the plants around.

Since you are just starting out and not really sure how to price landscaping out, maybe you should talk it over with the client and see if you can do it by the hour. Don't go screwing them hourly though. Tell them that it will roughly take you a week along at 8-10 hrs per day. But this wasy you could get a feel for how long it takes you to plant trees and shrubs. Time yourself. So you have a good estimate on how long it takes you to plant one tree. Then in the future you will have a rough estimate for how long it takes you, this will help you on future bids.

Just an idea.

sheshovel
03-24-2005, 11:56 PM
Yes as they have said this is much much more than a tree day project.(haha)
They paid big bucks for the house,the plants and trees and the design ,now the want the hard work done on the cheap.
Telling you all the financial details is a way to make you feel sorry for them and loose your butt on the labor.
Do not fall for this.Were they the ones that told you this was a three day job? That's another ploy to get you to bid it for three days and insist that you stick to that bid no matter how long it takes you to do it.
I bet they are 15gallon trees.
What have you included in your "expenses" for the $2200.00?
Just off the wall I would charge them $20.00 a tree for 15 gallon // and 15.00 for a 10gal plant// and 8.00 for a 5 gallon.This is only to auger the hole and plant the material .

For the watering in,amending of soil,clean-up ect,charge by the hour $15.00 to 20.00 per hour.
Have them pay for the rental of the auger up front and the deposit and insurance for it too.Call around and find out what place has the tool you need how much to rent it for 4 days and add 25% to that or more and that's what you charge them to rent the auger.
I don't think you should try learning the Bobcat on the job.
Do not believe that they are out of $$.They would not have bought all that plant material("good deal or not)if they did not reserve the $$ to pay to have them planted :)

Garth
03-25-2005, 12:02 AM
I hate to say it. Sounds like you bit off a wee bit more than you can chew Sonny-Jim. If they can afford 10K worth of trees and plants for a new house then why, and no insult is intended here, would they hire a 17 year old to do the landscaping? Are they relatives or family friends? Can you sub-contract the work and still make a profit? Is there a written plan and irrigation available or is that part of the total install? There's alot here that doesn't make sense to me. How many man-hours to complete the job? Were materials included in your price? I can go on and on. If they have bought the plants and you've signed a contract and you have no idea how to accomplish said task then it sounds like someone, most likely you, are going to take a hard shag up the ol' catflap. I'm not trying to frighten you but you need to cover your own arse when dealing with an industry like landscaping. There are alot of sue-happy wankers out there looking for a patsy. Always research your job, calculate your cost, put in your profit margin, construct a time line that shows when stages are to be completed, make allowances for adverse conditions, and THEN submit your bid.

AlbeLawn
03-25-2005, 12:18 AM
If you have not used a bobcat then go look into using a toro dingo with tracks and a auger. they have different sized bits and will not tear up the existing yard. that are very powerful for there size and they will also be able to lift up the trees and put them in the holes for you.

YardPro
03-25-2005, 07:35 AM
sheshovel

i would think those proces are too low.
$30-$40/hr is more in line.

and i would add at least 30% to your planting figures.

Lawnchoice
03-25-2005, 07:41 AM
Get paid up front.

Go rent a Dingo with a 24" auger. It will be much easier to learn how to operate than a Bobcat.

AGLA
03-25-2005, 12:35 PM
Osha ? How old do you have to be to use power equipment?

promower
03-25-2005, 01:53 PM
You might want to get a friend of yours and just use a gas auger if your not familiar with a bobcat. You have to remember bringing in the heavy equipment is going to tear up a lawn and you will have to figure in extra expenses in repairing it when your done. Theres ways of getting around tearing it up with plywood, or the mats they sell. Are you installing the plants and trees, if so, do you know how to plant them so they will survive? You will not want to be responsible for replacing thousands of dollars worth of trees and shrubs. Do you have insurance, probably not workmans comp so never mind about having a friend help thats was a bad idea. If you accept the job mark each spot your going to dig, then call diggers hotline to make sure its safe. I would say if your just digging the holes this would be a good job for you, honestly though just useing a gas auger is my best advice to you for now.

hosejockey2002
03-25-2005, 03:12 PM
yea i forgot to include that on there too. when the homeowners puchased the land and put a house on it, they were smart enough to have all wires go through one central location and even enclosed the wires in a pipe.

You can't put water, power, sewer, gas, phone and cable all into one pipe. Even if you could, a pipe won't stop an auger or a Bobcat from destroying what's inside.

You honestly sound like you're way in over your head. This project would be gravy for many landscapers, but I'm 38 years old, had my contractor's license (which you don't have) for two years. I never worked as a landscaper before but I have worked in heavy construction, operated equipment and done a million other things. Having said all that, this project would be a challenge for me. I can't imagine a 17 year old who has little or no life experience managing a project like this successfully. Another thing, if the customer is nearly broke from buying materials, they aren't going to have any money to pay you. I wish you luck on this but if I were you I'd bite off a little bit smaller piece a few times before you take on one this size.

sheshovel
03-25-2005, 07:33 PM
sheshovel

i would think those proces are too low.
$30-$40/hr is more in line.

and i would add at least 30% to your planting figures.

Right! to MY fiqures I would add that.But not for an inexperienced 17 old that has not paid his dues in this biz yet.
You need to have experience and background in the work to charge those prices.That's why I saids off the wall.I ment His prices not what I charge. :D

Lance587
03-28-2005, 11:42 PM
I have decided to decline the job. I understand this job is probably too large for me. Even though I do have guys who work for me. Thanks for the advise. I'm just going to stick with the minor landscaping jobs and regular lawn mowing.

Have a good one,
Lance Blocker

A Leaf Above
03-29-2005, 07:04 AM
If i were you i would go out and find another landscape company to do the job for you ..You may be able to make a couple hundred dollars just for referring them the job :) .

YardPro
03-29-2005, 07:30 AM
Right! to MY fiqures I would add that.But not for an inexperienced 17 old that has not paid his dues in this biz yet.
You need to have experience and background in the work to charge those prices.That's why I saids off the wall.I ment His prices not what I charge. :D


fair enough...

Q-Team Inc
03-29-2005, 10:10 AM
I would get 50% up front..

Mdirrigation
03-29-2005, 04:59 PM
They bought the plants , they say they are going broke building the house. You havent done a job of this scope before . Just add water and it is a recipe for disaster.

Lance587
03-29-2005, 10:58 PM
i offered this job at 3450 and i cant go any lower than that and they told me that was too high. i even had a friend of mine who owns a business that i do work for on occasion and he told me to charge at least 4500