View Full Version : Planting install time per Unit of Measure

06-28-2007, 02:51 AM
Hi - first post. Helping my brother-in-law go into the landscape installation business, and doing quite a bit of research.

Could I ask that you share what you use as a labor time at various plant size units of measure? For example, a five-gallon plant should take a someone 15 minutes to excavate, pop the plant into the ground, backfill, and done.

Having read as much as I could about the bidding process, it seems as though it goes something like this:

Cost of plant + whatever mark-up desired, plus
Labor Rate times the time it takes to plant it.

In my super-simple example, my 5 gallon plant costs 10.00 wholesale, I double the plant cost to obtain my "retail" price, and my desired labor rate is 40.00 per hour.

So my bid price for the one plant is as follows:
10.00 wholesale times 2 = 20.00, plus
15 minutes at 40.00/ hour = 10.00,
so my installed price is 30.00.

I welcome any pointers, corrections, etc. as well as if others could share what they use for labor time for the common "units of measure" out there for planting materials.

Thanks to all advance...

Focal Point Landscapes
06-29-2007, 12:54 AM
Welcome to the site - your basic approach is fundamentally sound , but there isn't a standard time , varies greatly by job - some are easy to install and some are very difficult . You really have to estimate this based on individual site - is the soil hard or soft , are there a lot of roots , rocks , etc. There is certainly less variability if the holes are machine dug , but even then some installs take significantly more time than others.

06-29-2007, 01:23 AM
Thanks... but is there, at least, some numbers that you might use to start with, and then adjust according to actual jobsite conditions?

Regarding "machine dug" holes... this will show my ignorance.... OK, I know about huge augers to dig piers for home foundations, but nothing about a smaller machine to dig in a 10 gallon shrub. What are these machines called? (oh no.... something else to buy......)

06-29-2007, 08:56 AM
It is best to browse the rental shops and see what is available. When you come across a job that you cannot do efficiently by hand you have an idea of the right machine for the right job.
I had one landscaper tell me he expected only 60% survival rate on his plantings. Your biggest concern here is, Do you guarantee your plantings and if so, how much time do you need to spend watering them in? If the mechanics of placing the plant takes 15 minutes make it 20 to ensure it is not redone for free next year.

Focal Point Landscapes
07-01-2007, 01:35 AM
I have a Toro Dingo with auger attachment that will accomodate up to a 36 inch bit . You can pop 3 gallon holes in most cases in seconds with a 15 inch bit. Many rental places have some type of mini skid steer like the Dingo . I would only use a tracked unit to avoid turf damage . We rarely hand dig holes anymore.