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Jk7295
05-04-2006, 03:24 PM
1st of all this is my first time posting on these forums but I have been lurking and reading on here for quite some time. I would like to thank the many LCO owners and employees who give a large amount of advice to the new LCO owners like myself.

Anyway back to my question.

Since I started my business I have only handled normal lawn care services; cutting, trimming, edging, and fertilizer application. One of my very good customers though approached me this year and said the landscaping company who usually installed his mulch was no longer doing it and he would like for me to do it. I take a look at the job and quickly realize it is something I can handle (I pretty much work alone) so I decide to tell him I will work on an estimate. In turn he tells me he knows it will not be cheap and just to go on and handle the job and he will pay me when I give him the bill.

Now understand this is older gentleman who enjoys having a perfect yard and it is on a great location in the middle of town. It is one of those yards that has got me a lot of publicity with people riding by and than stopping to talk to me about doing there yards. Plus I get a decent price for cutting his yard every week.

Anyway. I put the mulch in this week. It took about 5 cubic yards of colored red mulch, which I buy for $17 per yard. I picked up the mulch and took it to the job site. Prepping all the beds around the house, chemical treating for weeds and putting the mulch down took me about 7 hours. Now I am looking at how to charge this gentleman. I want to be fair to both of us and I am sure he will not complain, but I don't want to overcharge him so I can't look myself in the mirror.

As of right now I was going to charge:

$25 per cu yard (paid $17 plus $8 delivery charge for me)
$25 for chemical application which I apply as often as needed
$30 per hour times 7 hours

Total= $385

Does this sound fair or am I overpricing?

Thank you very much for your time in reading this post and any advice or suggestions.

Jimmy

cessnasovereign
05-04-2006, 04:25 PM
Dang it took 7 hours? I put out 2 in about 30 minutes.. What was your method for getting it out? I tried shoveling at first but that was just too long so I raked out a bunch right in the middle of the beds and then raked it around, came out nice and was pretty simple. Anyway, I sprayed some grass killer on the beds and put down 2 yards in two seperate beds at the front of the house, each about 180 sq ft for $125

mrbray101
05-04-2006, 04:39 PM
Thats not a bad price for a first mulch job. As you go you will get faster. Normally I throw about 2 yards per hour depending on the yard. Everyones price is different but this is how I would have done it where i live.

5 yards x 16= 80

80 x .25 markup= 20

5 yards @ 2 yards per hour is 2.5 hours Round up to 3

3 hours x 65 per hour= 195

TOTAL= 295 for just the mulch

This is how I do it, or sometimes just charge 70/yard depending on the size of the job. You are not far off, you will get faster and make more money at it. Good luck to you.

Jk7295
05-04-2006, 04:47 PM
Dang it took 7 hours? I put out 2 in about 30 minutes.. What was your method for getting it out? I tried shoveling at first but that was just too long so I raked out a bunch right in the middle of the beds and then raked it around, came out nice and was pretty simple. Anyway, I sprayed some grass killer on the beds and put down 2 yards in two seperate beds at the front of the house, each about 180 sq ft for $125

Yeah 7 hours :confused:

The beds already had a large amount of plants and bushes in there so I had to spread around all them, plus he wanted it put under some spreading evergreen plants that were already established in the beds. All the mulch had to be taken from the trailer to the beds via wheelbarrow since he did not want the trailer backed into the yard. Since I could not spray around some of the established plants I had to pull all those weeds by hand and prepare the ground that way.

The seven hours also included loading and hauling away all the debris from preparing the beds, and also he had several bushes he wanted removed and hauled away.

Oh well. It was a long time but the job was done right (in my opinion) and it looked excellent. I guess I will get faster if I do more of these jobs. It really added some time with having to move all the mulch by wheelbarrow.

mrbray101
05-04-2006, 06:26 PM
yeah thats not too bad if you had to do all of that bed work and prepping. You will eventually get pretty fast at it. If your stil confused about pricing for future reference i would just sit down and determine how much time each yard will take and how much profit you want off that. Then come up with a price to charge per yard like 70/yard or whatever. I would go as high as your area will allow. I hear some guys say they get 90 per yard and some barely getting 45 per yard. I am at 70 and some people huff and puff about it but most dont mind.

NCSERVICE
05-04-2006, 06:40 PM
mulch - $40 yard
3 hrs bed prep @ $35 hr
dump fee $100
round up $25
$430

I guess however you look at it your in there!
good luck!

beautifullawns
05-04-2006, 06:45 PM
Depending on what mulch is used I charge 65-80 per yard installed and delivered. On bigger jobs though you will get less but I won't go lower than $50 per yard, and it has to be larger than 50 yds for that price. :waving:

NCSERVICE
05-04-2006, 07:08 PM
Im moving to zone 5, down here we have a little thing called competition well a rather big thin:usflag: .:)

qualitylawnmanagement
05-04-2006, 09:06 PM
Mulch is $60 a yard
mulch 60 X 5 = 300.00
3 hours of work @ $50.00 an hour
50 X 3 = $150.00
Round up $40.00

Total price would be $500.00 around here. But it may be different in your area.

Good Luck!:waving:

Killswitch
05-04-2006, 09:10 PM
Jesus. Where do you get dyed mulch for 17 a yard?

I just did a 3 yard install for 285. Took 2 hours.

NCSERVICE
05-04-2006, 10:08 PM
Jesus. Where do you get dyed mulch for 17 a yard?

I just did a 3 yard install for 285. Took 2 hours.


17 a yard here too

cwlawley
05-04-2006, 10:13 PM
I do dyed mulch for $50.00 yard, so $250.00. Plus (2) hours prep time and spraying, so another $70.00 = $325.00. Should be done in about 4 hours max.

fastpitcher
05-04-2006, 10:21 PM
$85.00 per yard installed all edging and weed control. Any color you want. And no I will not dot it for less!

topsites
05-04-2006, 11:14 PM
Well it doesn't matter how long it took, it's about what the job is worth at fair market value: If someone rebuilds your transmission and it normally costs 1,200 for a trans rebuild for your car, then it doesn't matter if it took 5 minutes or 3 years, 1,200 is fair market value.

First off, congratulations on finding such a good deal on designer mulch! I get mine for around 22 / yard so you got me beat and you will see some Lco's like to pay outrageous prices for even regular mulch, but now:

Unless I hand-spread, I charge around 55 dollars a cube for designer so 7 cubes = 385.00

But, I do pay $5 more for my mulch but I also get it done at the rate of 2 cubes / hour thou when I was new, it also took me closer to an hour per cube... What I'm saying is, at $17 / cube, 325 would be the fairer price but don't do yourself like that, get the 385 because you did a fine job and the customer will pay but keep this in mind for future apps as you learn to spread better and faster :)

If you did hand-spread it, the only way you can charge more is if you spread it real thin and I mean like 1/4" thin (yes, quarter inch) which is just a hair of a cover but you can do this with designer, I charge $80 / cube for this kind of pita (well it is), but the thin cover means I only need half the mulch so 4 cubes x 80 = 320 but it's not as good as the thicker spreads (it will last a year but not longer).

If I rake-spread it, 22 x 7 = 155 + 30 delivery (flat fee for me) + (25 x 7 to spread) = 360.00

So do as you like, if you really want to be fair charge 325 cauz that is fair market value but it's up to you, I'd still charge 385 myself, maybe 370 or 360 because it sounds better but it's money you're giving away.

Killswitch
05-04-2006, 11:19 PM
17 a yard here too

*shrugs* 30 a yard here in Mi.

topsites
05-04-2006, 11:25 PM
Yeah 7 hours :confused:

The beds already had a large amount of plants and bushes in there so I had to spread around all them, plus he wanted it put under some spreading evergreen plants that were already established in the beds. All the mulch had to be taken from the trailer to the beds via wheelbarrow since he did not want the trailer backed into the yard. Since I could not spray around some of the established plants I had to pull all those weeds by hand and prepare the ground that way.

The seven hours also included loading and hauling away all the debris from preparing the beds, and also he had several bushes he wanted removed and hauled away.

Oh well. It was a long time but the job was done right (in my opinion) and it looked excellent. I guess I will get faster if I do more of these jobs. It really added some time with having to move all the mulch by wheelbarrow.

Oh I didn't see this bit, yeah you basically DID hand-spread it even if the technicals are different, that's a lot of prep work, at least 385... Man I am so tempted to tell you to go 460 but 385 is good, don't go lower.

And yes, you will get better with time. Get a deck-and-patio sprayer from Home Depot and fill it with round-up and learn to get surgical with it, I almost never cultivate weeds (cultivating means pulling by hand), I can spray that stuff so good thou I do kill a plant once in a moon, heck with that hand-pulling, I'd rather replace a plant lol.

NCSERVICE
05-05-2006, 10:01 PM
Next mulch job i qoute will be $50 a yard, maybe $45 for ten yards or more. its worth a shot.

B2E
05-05-2006, 11:29 PM
I just got an opportunity to bid on what I consider to me a major mulch job. I have figured this every way from Tuesday and come up with at least 55 yds, and this is only around one house. The neighbor has an adjoining bed that is going to look real bad if they don't do theirs also. If I get one I should get two to three more nearly as large.
I don't want to screw this up any help would be appreciated. It is fairly straight forward, I can get my trailer to 65 to 75% of the area so that portion will require very little wheel barrow work. There has been mulch applied in the past, but it was several years back. Not a lot of weeds but will require some spraying or pulling, mostly medium sized trees in beds so not a lot of bushes to get around. May have to replace some fiber, have to wait for them to tell me to do it. (It was suggested) Only one short run would require edging.
Double ground hardwood mulch (dark brown) here is running $24 - $28 per yard. I was thinking rounding it up to at least $30 per, then double that for install. Brings me to at least 60 yd installed.

Now if my math is correct, that is 60 x 55 yds = $3300.00. Does this sound like I am out of my mind? If people are really paying this much for this I have been missing the boat for a long, long time.

Needless to say this will be the largest payday I have had since I started.

NCSERVICE
05-06-2006, 05:47 PM
I just got an opportunity to bid on what I consider to me a major mulch job. I have figured this every way from Tuesday and come up with at least 55 yds, and this is only around one house. The neighbor has an adjoining bed that is going to look real bad if they don't do theirs also. If I get one I should get two to three more nearly as large.
I don't want to screw this up any help would be appreciated. It is fairly straight forward, I can get my trailer to 65 to 75% of the area so that portion will require very little wheel barrow work. There has been mulch applied in the past, but it was several years back. Not a lot of weeds but will require some spraying or pulling, mostly medium sized trees in beds so not a lot of bushes to get around. May have to replace some fiber, have to wait for them to tell me to do it. (It was suggested) Only one short run would require edging.
Double ground hardwood mulch (dark brown) here is running $24 - $28 per yard. I was thinking rounding it up to at least $30 per, then double that for install. Brings me to at least 60 yd installed.

Now if my math is correct, that is 60 x 55 yds = $3300.00. Does this sound like I am out of my mind? If people are really paying this much for this I have been missing the boat for a long, long time.

Needless to say this will be the largest payday I have had since I started.

If i were you i would try to shop around for some cheaper mulch, maybe get a load delivered, we get triple shred delivered for $17 a yard.

Mark McC
05-06-2006, 06:22 PM
$25 per cu yard (paid $17 plus $8 delivery charge for me)
$25 for chemical application which I apply as often as needed
$30 per hour times 7 hours

Total= $385

Does this sound fair or am I overpricing?


I'm glad you came to lawnsite. Keep coming back.

E&MLandscapeServices
05-06-2006, 09:09 PM
Glad I saw this post to compare my costs. I am paying $9/ydł for shredded pine and hardwood, $14/ydł for cypress and $15/ydł for premium red, brown and gold cypress. My standard markup is 3x my cost.

B2E
05-06-2006, 09:10 PM
If i were you i would try to shop around for some cheaper mulch, maybe get a load delivered, we get triple shred delivered for $17 a yard.
I would love to find it cheaper, but I have talked to the majority of the suppliers in the Roanoke area. $24 - $28 seems to be the norm, some are higher but I have not found lower.
If I have it delivered, I believe it would actually cause me more work. I would have to have it dumped at the front of the lot and carry it in wheel barrows or my Polaris Ranger to the back of the lot aprox 145 feet down the driveway. Putting a dump truck on the drive is out of the question. They have already had a bad experience with another contractor and the driveway bears the scars.

What about the remainder of my original question? Does the price seem reasonable for this much work?

I plan to meet with them on Monday evenning to give them the prices, I figured I would show them the amount of mulch needed for each bed, and a total cost.

griffy77
05-07-2006, 12:30 AM
How much money would you have made in 7 hours cutting grass?

I have found that if it takes me all day to do a mulch job I charge as much as it would take for me to make on an average day mowing. When i first started mulching I found myself loseing money. On an average day lets say I make $300 dollars in 7hours then that should be your labor. How much extra you want to charge for material is up to you.

Another thing spraying doesnt work that well in preventing weeds from coming up. I have sprayed with Sahara and Prosecuter Pro, and still have weeds come up. The best thing to do is lay down weed mat first.

Also this crap about "just send the bill" can come back and bite you in the ass. Have an estimate drawn up with your labor and material costs seperate and have him sign it, before you start any work. Trust me on this I am going through some crap right now where I did exactly what your doing and when they got the bill they were mad and dont want to pay. I didnt have any estimate signed so I have no way to really fight them for my money.

toro22
05-07-2006, 10:49 PM
I am new at this and don't want to under charge for my labor.