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View Full Version : removing old sod


agm
05-19-2006, 08:44 PM
I have been asked to do a re sod job. The problem is I have to tear out the old sod. I know that I can rent a sod cutter to make the job a lot easier but my question is how much to I charge. By the sq ft or by how long I think it will take. It is not very big, 500 sq ft. Any advise will help. Thanks.

G.M.Landscaping
05-19-2006, 09:51 PM
Sod cutter:$80
Dump fee:$20
Topsoil(2yD):$40
Seed:$40
Mushroom Manure(1-1/2yd):$40
Starter Fert:$10
Gas/Delivery:$100
Labor:$600

Total : $930

There's many variables to this situation , but that's a start.

Lawnworks
05-19-2006, 10:28 PM
Spray it, harley rake, hand finish, and put down new sod.

1 pallet of sod-$100
Delivery- $50-$100
Labor- $200-250
Total -$350-450

And that probably at the high for one pallet of sod. We are doing 3 pallets or 1500sq ft and prepping tomorrow for $720. I should easily make $50 per man hour.

Gm Landscaping,
How do you charge $600 to lay one pallet of sod?

Cahsking
05-19-2006, 11:16 PM
OK maybe I'm lost?? I figured that he was redoing a sod job. Rent the sod cutter it will leave you with very little prep. (verses the Harley rake + hand prep.), you almost have to charge for time. Your taking up one product, putting down another. What if you need more prep then expected, or the sod that comes is horrible? So my two cents it charge time+ equip used+ material. You can get a good estimate by knowing the price of the equip, and material needed, then give a lenient labor hour bid.

Mr. Vern
05-20-2006, 02:19 AM
Ok, either I am missing something or all of you forgot to list the most important line item - Profit. You need to add a profit margin to the job after you figure the cost of your other line items. Remember, your labor is not profit it is wages. You have to add a profit margin on top of that, otherwise you just have a job and not a business.

Lawnworks
05-20-2006, 06:54 AM
Ok, either I am missing something or all of you forgot to list the most important line item - Profit. You need to add a profit margin to the job after you figure the cost of your other line items. Remember, your labor is not profit it is wages. You have to add a profit margin on top of that, otherwise you just have a job and not a business.

huh? My profit is figured into my man hour rate. No need to add profit on top of my rate.

DavesLawnCarePlus
05-20-2006, 02:16 PM
Hi all... So I've only been in business for two years but I do know that you need to make something on a job like this. Even if it is only 500 square feet... A job like that would go for about 1.69 a square foot up here in Nova Scotia Canada. I would get the sod at 0.14 a foot and topsoil at around 20$ a yard (applied 3 inches)=(5 yards) so the fixed costs are around 19.4 cents a foot, plus the labour for removal and installation and disposal fees. My price is 845.00 for 500 square feet, plus tax. You should make 350 on it if you do your own labour but have to pay for the equipment rental. If you own your own gear, then you'd make more. I use a sub contractor for any really big jobs (+200 yards) and they charge me 8.00 a yard give or take a dollar. So I make about 40% on it. Hope this helps. It's my first year doing anything major, but I have good guidance. The lowest I would price that kind of small job is around 1.40 a foot if it's a good customer.

Lawnworks
05-20-2006, 09:06 PM
Well I would underbid you and get the job and still make money. We did 3 pallets of sod today w/ a gross labor bill of $500. The sod cost $220 for a total bill of $720. It took 2 guys 5 hours start to finish including picking up materials and of course breakfast. $50 dollars per man hour. That is making money any way you cut it. In our area, the market will not bear any more than that... in fact, I am on the high side. Cost of living is cheap here so that maybe the deciding factor for you.

DavesLawnCarePlus
05-21-2006, 08:00 AM
Lawnworks.. Okay.. So I am new to this industry and may not have a huge amount of landscaping experience, but one thing I can tell you is that 50 dollars per man hour is only enough if that's all the market can bear. As an industry, landscapers are losing out because of lowballers. Up here, there is a going rate for most every type of service, most guys have insurance, pay their staff decent money and I can tell you that everyone makes a good living. I only do this part time, but I have two full time employees who depend on my company for year round work. How can you make money putting down 3 pallets of sod for 700 dollars? How do you make the truck payment, buy new equipment, pay your insurance and mortgage? I guess I can rephrase my response to the original post. *** Do your research, find out what the market will bear, what the big guys are charging, and then set your prices accordingly. Don't charge a lowball price if you operate out of Dad's garage or use a buddy's Skidsteer! If you do, you'll never make enough money to have your own garage/shop or equipment.*** Good Luck. I hope I didn't offend anyone, but for any licensed contractor that wants to come up here and tear out the old sod, replace the topsoil, install new sod and fertilize for 250.00 a pallet, I will hire you!!

Lawnworks
05-21-2006, 10:20 AM
Lawnworks.. Okay.. So I am new to this industry and may not have a huge amount of landscaping experience, but one thing I can tell you is that 50 dollars per man hour is only enough if that's all the market can bear. As an industry, landscapers are losing out because of lowballers. Up here, there is a going rate for most every type of service, most guys have insurance, pay their staff decent money and I can tell you that everyone makes a good living. I only do this part time, but I have two full time employees who depend on my company for year round work. How can you make money putting down 3 pallets of sod for 700 dollars? How do you make the truck payment, buy new equipment, pay your insurance and mortgage? I guess I can rephrase my response to the original post. *** Do your research, find out what the market will bear, what the big guys are charging, and then set your prices accordingly. Don't charge a lowball price if you operate out of Dad's garage or use a buddy's Skidsteer! If you do, you'll never make enough money to have your own garage/shop or equipment.*** Good Luck. I hope I didn't offend anyone, but for any licensed contractor that wants to come up here and tear out the old sod, replace the topsoil, install new sod and fertilize for 250.00 a pallet, I will hire you!!

I will take your advice w/ a grain of salt since I have more experience than you and 5 more employees, so how does that make you the expert? I am no expert, but I know what my market will bear. How can you even say $50 per man hour is low when you live in an area where the cost of living is totally different?

Ps Most of our equipment is payed off, and I have saved 14k since January. I guess I am not making any money though??

DavesLawnCarePlus
05-21-2006, 02:20 PM
Okay, so you have a bit more experience and some money in the bank... Well, all I can tell you is that this isn't a contest to see who has the most experience, it's a forum to get advice from people who've been there and done that. In this case, I have been there and done it. I responded to this post with a helpful, detailed response that should have given the operator a good idea of where he needs to be when pricing a job like this. My formula showed all the details, if the sod or topsoil cost more, change the formula, it was simple, and included a decent markup/profit on the job. Isn't that what people want when they ask a question. I've asked some questions on here and gotten great answers that have helped me to develop a business that makes money for myself and pays a decent salary to my two guys. I may not have the big gear yet, but the bank balance is building. Tell me, is there something wrong with my original post that answered his question. Or is it my second post where I questioned how you could make money at this game when you're prices are low? I am happy that you're doing well because I couldn't afford to send my guys out to work for five dollars per yard of renovated lawn, I'd starve. I could see laying the actual sod for that if the topsoil was prepped and it was just a lay down and roll deal, but anyone that can afford to operate at the 200-250 a pallet mark on small jobs like this one, please come to Canada... and bring your workboots.

Mr. Vern
05-21-2006, 04:42 PM
huh? My profit is figured into my man hour rate. No need to add profit on top of my rate.
I figure my estimates based on what I believe it will cost me to do the job. Labor at that point in the calculation has no profit on it yet. I assume a labor efficiency of 70% (that is what it averages out to over time), workers comp, liability insurance (my rates are based on payroll dollars), and all of the other taxes and benefits. I then figure my cost on materials with an additional line showing retail value of materials. I calculate all of my costs based on what it will cost me (general overhead is factored in here). Then I add my desired profit margin and that becomes the lowest price I will bid. I then look at my schedule, the nature of the job (how fun will the job be), time of the year and whether I think there is much competition for the job; and then after I have considered all of that I will decide on a price. When my schedule is full, I know I have time to get other jobs so I raise my prices. I am constantly balancing supply vs. demand and doing everything possible to keep my demand greater than my supply. This allows me to keep my profit margins where I want them to be. It makes things tough on the supply side as we are always under pressure to keep up with the demand, but that is what allows me to get my margins.

So, when you say "huh? I put my profit on my labor", I just simply have a different method of estimating that puts profit on both the labor and the materials and gives me the in depth understanding of the job that I need to have in order to know if the project is running on track or if we are getting into trouble on it. I also track all of my estimates and if I find that I am getting most of the jobs I am bidding on; I raise my prices because it becomes obvious that I am leaving some money on the table.

To each his own when it comes to methods of pricing; I simply wanted to make sure any newbies were aware of the need to consider profit and not just wages.