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coyotekid
05-04-2006, 11:19 PM
I don't post a lot, but I do read the forums often, and I appreciate all the info provided.

With that said, I'm currently working up a bid for a mulch project bigger than any I've ever done or seen done.

I looked at the job today and measured everything with my rolling wheel--I've calculated a total of 155 cubic yards! And yep, my math is correct if figuring 3" mulch depth. :)

The customer has already had one semi-load of mulch delivered, and I believe I'll be needing substaintially more.

How in the world should I bid this?! The beds are already formed, but they need to be weeded and a lot of old bleached-out mulch has to be removed (it's THICK). The customer would really like some type of weed barrier installed as well. I'm not that sold on landscape felt or the commercial weed barrier, but customer is convinced it's needed.

I've also got to install a substaintial amount of metal edging. In the past I've used a lot of 1/8" by 4" metal strapping and had great results--that's a common practice in my area of Montana if it's not elsewhere--I'm not sure on that one.

Can anybody offer some advice? I'd really like the job and definitely need the work, but I'm afraid to charge somewhere in the neighborhood of $6,000 for a mulch job! I also don't want to go broke on this project...

rick2752
05-04-2006, 11:46 PM
Call a mulch blower and have him sub through you.

cwlawley
05-04-2006, 11:50 PM
^I would second that. That is too much mulch to spread by hand.

mr mow
05-04-2006, 11:57 PM
Ive spread 100 yards by hand with 15 guys we got it down in about 10 hrs in the rain. i was the forman and it sucked trying to get 15 guys to all spread it the same and work not bs. we only went about an inch thick though. i have no idea what job cost, just was told to run it. have fun. im sure they know its not going to be cheap they have had it done before.

coyotekid
05-04-2006, 11:58 PM
I'm really not sure a mulch blower would work in this case...

There's going to be a wedding in the near future and they'd like to keep the impact on the lawn, etc. to a minimum.

Also, remember that we're out in the boonies here in MT--I don't know of anyone that does mulch blowing around here.

coyotekid
05-04-2006, 11:59 PM
Oh ya, and there will be two of us doing the job...lol. I see some 15 hour days in my future. :)

sheshovel
05-05-2006, 12:32 AM
Just with the info you have posted.Cleaning out the beds,removing(and hauling out?) old mulch,laying,cutting and pinning the landfab,and putting down 155 yards of mulch.I am getting $8500.00 to 9000.00 Labor only.And thats a low price.

cwlawley
05-05-2006, 01:18 AM
I am at $10,500.00 everything included, except prep time to do it by hand.

sheshovel
05-05-2006, 01:37 AM
I am at $10,500.00 everything included, except prep time to do it by hand.

Wadda ya mean except prep time to do it by hand?WTF you think most of the labor is going to be..laying the mulch is the fastest easiest part of this job.

coyotekid
05-05-2006, 01:45 AM
Thanks for the advice everyone! I see that I'm not out of line at all then in my general thinking.

The manager of the property would like this to become a yearly job, so it's worth it to me to slightly low-ball it to ensure the work in the future.

Maybe that's poor business, but guaranteed work is comforting to me!

sheshovel
05-05-2006, 01:50 AM
Hey kid..if you want to work cheap for guarranteed future work..you best get it under contract..Never work cheap because somebody promises you future work..if you don't have it on paper..nothing is guaranteed..even if you DO have it on paper..it is not always guaranteed.$6950.00 for the labor on the laying 155 yards of mulch now add the removal of the old..the getting rid of the old..clean-up..landfab ect,ect,ect.So your original $6000.00 is too cheap from the get go.That's not lowballin that is screwing yourself.IMO

olderthandirt
05-05-2006, 02:13 AM
$7500 for new mulch and around that same price to remove the old and I would chemically weed the beds, then put down the weed guard if they insist.
18-20K for the job with the edge. The only guarentee is they will be lookin for someone cheaper as soon as they can.

mr mow
05-05-2006, 02:16 AM
i agree unless you are getting the mulch 4 free?! split the difference say 8000 and tell that the price if you want it done 4 this year and next, lock them in. im sure she shovel can help better than me. but if you want to be cheapest lock them in for a couple of years. and think about getting a lawyer to right you a bullet proof contract for this one job. it would be worth suing over if they fail to hold up there end of the bargain. if they dont sign maybe you could use alot of those other clauses in your other contracts. maybe add part of the lawyer bill into the mulch contract, then its win,win,win,win!

coyotekid
05-05-2006, 02:27 AM
Now are you guys and gals taking into account that there is already one semi load of mulch sitting on-site waiting for me?

I'm going to talk with my mulch supplier tomorrow (the same one the customer used by the way) and see how much they put on a semi trailer.

I'm figuring they put about 80 yards on a semi trailer at a time.

olderthandirt
05-05-2006, 08:32 AM
Now are you guys and gals taking into account that there is already one semi load of mulch sitting on-site waiting for me?

I'm going to talk with my mulch supplier tomorrow (the same one the customer used by the way) and see how much they put on a semi trailer.

I'm figuring they put about 80 yards on a semi trailer at a time.

NO, I figured in the mulch thats there and it should be between 75-90 yds. I took your # and just added $50 yds to move it since I charge $70 for delievery and installing it. Another $7500 to remove the old, thats a lot of work and I figured conservatly that you will remove 50 yds. Then you need to weed and put down weed block plus edging all out of your pocket another 3-5k.
Don't sell yourself short kid, theres a lot of hard work and man hrs. invovled and if they don't want to pay what its worth then let some other guy bust his butt while you go find another cple customers that are willing to spend what the job is worth.

coyotekid
05-05-2006, 12:00 PM
Thanks for the advice, olderthandirt. I figured the semi-load at 80 yards, so that sounds like my estimate is close.

Keep the opinions coming please!

grasssin
05-05-2006, 12:29 PM
I charge $90 per yard of mulch.......

If you are charging them $6200 you are only getting $40 per yard....

Does that include the price of the mulch? If so you are only grossing between $20-$28 per yard. Split between two of you that is not worth it at all...

My experience is do not be afraid of big numbers.. if it is worth it don't worry about it...

grasssin
05-05-2006, 12:39 PM
I just re-read your first post--

As stated before the installation of new mulch is the easiest part of this project..

Figure this:

1.Removing the old mulch will take 2x as long as installing the new mulch will

2. THe weed fabric is EXPENSIVE, especially in covering that large of and area. Plus it takes A LONG time cutting it and stapling it down, even with two guys.

THis type of project is very time consuming and labor intensive, my advice is to hire a couple of extra guys to help.

You need to have three seperate prices figured...

A. One for the removal of the old mulch - Figure also that you are going to have to haul it away and then reshovel it out of your trailer, unless you have a dump trailer or they let you dispose of it in an onsite dumpster

B. Price for weeding existing weeds, installation of weed fabric, and PRICE OF MATERIALS

C. Installation of New mulch

I am at about $21,000 right now.

Figure- $6000 for removal of old mulch
$3500 for weeding, install of fabric, and cost of fabric
$11,500 for install of new mulch, plus cost of 80 add. yards of mulch.

AintNoFun
05-05-2006, 01:52 PM
the only thing thats guaranteed is that the property manager is always looking for lower prices!!!


Thanks for the advice everyone! I see that I'm not out of line at all then in my general thinking.

The manager of the property would like this to become a yearly job, so it's worth it to me to slightly low-ball it to ensure the work in the future.

Maybe that's poor business, but guaranteed work is comforting to me!

bam
05-06-2006, 08:58 PM
Just a few thoughts.

Do you have a pesticide license? If so, why would you bother with weed fabric, when you could apply a preemergent to the bed. Commercially, the only time weed barrier is used is when laying down stone. You would follow up with post emergent control (Roundup) if any weeds broke thru.

Secondly, did you suggest the edge material or did the client? Again unless you were trying to keep a straight edge on stone material, why wouldnt you use a bed edger or spades to cut a nice edge between the bed and the turf or the bed and the sidewalk/driveway?

For the calculation of mulch, why would you figure 3" depth, when you already have to remove existing mulch. It is obviously to deep for the client, if they're asking you to remove it. I/m not sure how much experience you have mulching, but over the past 6 years I've laid over 48,000 yards. Our men would average 1.5" laying the mulch with a pitchfork or hard rake. With a mulch blower, you can dust it or lay it heavy, with good consistency.

Don't sell yourself short. Bid the job appropriately. I would say we avg. $55/ yard installed. But, we also charge additional for bed edging, pre-emergent application, etc.

The other guys are right. Your highest labor is going to be removing the existing mulch. Figure at least 2x what it will take you to apply a new layer.

Are you going to meet the clients expectations with only 2 men? Or do you have a way to hire some temp. help. I set up 10 man crews when doing jobs 80+ yards. We fiqure 1 yard per manhour.

Good luck.

6'7 330
05-06-2006, 11:01 PM
6 K for a 25K job..you might as well do it free.

coyotekid
05-10-2006, 01:33 AM
Well guys...I really appreciate the advice. I've worked in the heavy equipment/excavation industry and landscaping industry for 6 years now, but I just went out on my own last year.

I guess prices in your areas are way more inflated than rural Montana. If I told you what I charge for my services, most of you'd laugh! However, everyone around here seems to think I'm on the high side of reasonable.

My bid ended up being just shy of $9K excluding edging and fabric. I bit those on a per foot and per square yard basis, respectively, as the manager requested.

Comments?

coyotekid
05-10-2006, 01:35 AM
They say there is plenty of wood in Plentywood

Well actually, there's not much--in Plentywood, MT that is.:laugh:

hickslawns
05-12-2006, 03:12 AM
coyotekid- Here are a few things to think about. Gross sales or more of them do not mean more profit. If you could do 6 jobs spreading 5-10 yards and profit a little from each one you will have 6 happy customers to spread your name around. If you take on this one huge job and break even at best, then you have taken that time away from the other jobs you could have been making money on. Just something to think about. Anyway, hats off to you for having the gonads to bid a job like this. Hopefully you make out alright if you get it. If not, that is a tough learning experience. Don't be afraid to bid where you need to to make money. That property manager doesn't care if you can feed your kids or not. If they beat you up on price or go with someone else, at least you know you stuck to your guns and bid where you needed to in order to be profitable. Never undersell yourself. You are providing a commodity they cannot or will not do because they know how much work it will take.

mike micklich
05-12-2006, 07:19 AM
mulch blowers cost me 19 per yard last year and put down 100 yds in 12 hrs and it looked better than if I did it so it came to about 40 per yd and all i did was watch and point if you want a barrier try snapshot or some other generic weed preem fabric causes a mess in the end 3 inches sounds thic 1.5 - 2 is good

OMG
05-14-2006, 12:49 PM
From what you said, assuming they are buying the mulch themselves, I'm at $9300 plus materials/expenses/labor on the edging.


That's $60 per yard fwiw.

mexiking
05-16-2006, 05:26 PM
Thanks for the advice everyone! I see that I'm not out of line at all then in my general thinking.

The manager of the property would like this to become a yearly job, so it's worth it to me to slightly low-ball it to ensure the work in the future.

Maybe that's poor business, but guaranteed work is comforting to me!

$13,000 for that many yards!!! The cheap mulch too!