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View Full Version : Need help on big mulch job estimate


wrm
12-27-2007, 08:20 PM
Hey guys, thanks in advance for any advice.
My partner and I ( 2 man operation- equal owners) wonder what you would charge for a 250 yard job, 20 of which is for ready to go beds, the rest is for 2 long stretches of land that has trees ligned all the way down. We would be mulching around each tree consisting of about 230 yards of mulch, there is grass there now, this area has never been mulched. Normally we get 65-70 per yd. I know that goes down as the yards go up, but what is reasonable? This is an entrance to a neighborhood and we are also bidding on the grass cutting for the entrance ( only maybe 150 per cut).
Thanks again,
Clean Cut

Albery's Lawn & Tractor
12-27-2007, 08:35 PM
First thing would be to see how cheap the supply yard would sell you that much mulch for. Are you able to have it dumped on site or are you going to run it out of your truck bed/trailer? What are you gonna do to keep the grass from trying to grow through the mulch? You need to include this info if you want a honest answer.

wrm
12-27-2007, 08:39 PM
Yes we can dump it
we pay 22 per yd, but never got more than 20 yds at a time, may go lower??
planned on spraying to kill grass.

landgator
12-27-2007, 10:41 PM
Where I live the mulch company will deliver a semi truck load of mulch. Buying in bullk is much cheaper then buying 10-12 yrds at a time. Are you going to rent a a tractor or bobcat to help put it down? That is a lot of wheelbarow loads.

wrm
12-27-2007, 10:51 PM
We've thought about Bobcat, but anybody with a rough estimate opinion?
thanks

Albery's Lawn & Tractor
12-27-2007, 11:02 PM
If you can buy direct and get a semi load, you should be around $12-15 ayard. Say $3750 for the mulch ( @ $15 a yard), Babcat rental of $250, and labor $1000. Total $5,000. 250 yards is a lot mulch, I wouldn't dare tackle this without a bobcat unless I had a week to do it.

PerfectEarth
12-27-2007, 11:05 PM
I would look to sub out this work to a company that can blow it in. That is a ton of mulch and it sounds like the job would be perfect for a mulch blower. You could save a ton too.... 250 yds at, say, 75$/yd installed is $18,750 alone (if done by you.) (ballpark, of course and price per yd. is a guess)

A mulch blower might be 500-600 a day. It could probably do 250 yds in 3-4 days (under perfect condidtions)... so that's 2,400 for the truck, 5,500 (this is probably WAY high cause you'd buy in bulk) for your mulch cost= 7,900

You could charge a lot less than $18,750, like 11-12,000 - make a ton of cash and save your back!

hackitdown
12-28-2007, 09:27 AM
I would look to sub out this work to a company that can blow it in. That is a ton of mulch and it sounds like the job would be perfect for a mulch blower. You could save a ton too.... 250 yds at, say, 75$/yd installed is $18,750 alone (if done by you.) (ballpark, of course and price per yd. is a guess)

A mulch blower might be 500-600 a day. It could probably do 250 yds in 3-4 days (under perfect condidtions)... so that's 2,400 for the truck, 5,500 (this is probably WAY high cause you'd buy in bulk) for your mulch cost= 7,900

You could charge a lot less than $18,750, like 11-12,000 - make a ton of cash and save your back!

This is the way to go. I had a large (45 yds is a lot for me) mulch job, and subbed it to a guy with a blower. The best thing about it was that the blower did a nice job with about 30 yds of mulch. I think the blower chops it up or something, so it goes a lot further.

I made more profit, and did almost none of the work. I bid $2500 for the job, and paid the blower guy around $1300. No wheelbarrows!

topsites
12-28-2007, 09:42 AM
My first question is, how do you know it's 250?

Because you have to know for yourself how much it would take, I wouldn't be for taking someone else's word if you're doing the work... It has been my experience that, depending on whodunit, it can take half as much or twice as much in extreme cases but it's not unusual, what if it only takes you 160 or what if it ends up using 400?

Then there's no competition when it comes to blower trucks, around here they do it for 40-45 a yard past 10 or 14, not sure about 250 if they'd get another discount... The prices may have gone up some in the past year or two since I last checked, maybe 45-50 but not beyond, not with those guys.

Now the mulch yard that does it here, Lco's get a 10% discount as members, which we usually either pocket or split it with the customer 50-50.

wrm
12-29-2007, 05:43 PM
We measured it and are pretty confident it's 250 yds, we'd like to have it dumped and either have bobcat or just wheel barrel it, any suggestions on estimate?
Thanks,
Clean Cut

BrandonV
12-29-2007, 06:06 PM
my crew of 6 with a ditch witch sk650 has spread 250 yds in 1 day before on site from 8-4:40 w/ 1 hr lunch, that'll give you some ideas on time. labor here is different i'm sure than in ohio. mulch is cheaper here too

wrm
12-29-2007, 06:10 PM
Thanks, and what did you charge and how much did you have to pay for mulch including delivery and dumping?

PerfectEarth
12-29-2007, 08:27 PM
Wrm- would you rather one of us drive to the jobsite and work up a price for you, delivered in a nice envelope?? You've been given some decent advice but if you can't come to a price (remember WE have no idea what your job looks like, logistics, etc) you might not be ready to tackle a 250 yd. mulch job.

Again, know your mulch cost, figure your labor charge for you and your guys, estimate your time (which can be tricky, yes), rentals, add markups or profit % ..... you can do this.

wrm
12-29-2007, 09:02 PM
No perfect, just wondering how much you guys adjust per yd charge when it's normally aroung 65-70 for regular jobs, how much to go down per yd for a 250 job. I already stated that 80% has never been mulched before, but its a fairly standard job aside from size and prep work. But my partner and I will be only ones except maybe 2 helpers.
Thanks agaun, I appreciate the help.

BrandonV
12-29-2007, 09:39 PM
bub, you're in ohio I'm in NC price will vary.

topsites
12-29-2007, 11:38 PM
You have to decide, I personally wouldn't take this job myself, but that's just me.

My advice is what it is, I have never done anything this magnitude, not even close, but for spreading a standard mulch I get $45 maybe $50 a cubic yard, and the blower truck here gets ~45...

But here's my thoughts on it:
I'd be for getting this stuff below $20 a cu, the more discount you can get the better, but I suspect they might give you a little off the standard price and not much more. If you can get mulch around the 15-16 maybe 18 dollar a yard range that would be great, but quality comes into play.

So...
You'll need to call around, mulch yards will need some type of notice, possibly advance notice, that's a LOT of mulch! I'd say for this kind of amount and money, it would be worth it to call at least all the yards in your and all surrounding counties, maybe 1-200 mile radius, maybe even statewide... It won't make that much of a difference in the shipping for this amount, what is crucial thou is you have to do the math of the total shipping + cost of mulch.

The cheapest isn't necessarily the best answer, once you get some prices and you find some places that can do this you will want to go out there to discuss things further, at the very least you'll want to get a look at what your money is buying.

Be aware most yards will need immediate payment, you'd be far better off that way anyhow, and since we're talking 4-5000 dollars I would have this ready.

Now the labor and yield per man hour, I say charge $30-$35 per man hour since you'll likely have but a barrow and a pitchfork, if you end up using a skid steer loader the price shouldn't vary much except for the cost of the loader, but not by the labor total.

Now I don't see a skid steer spreading it, I just don't.
Maybe someone with thousands of hours experience operating one can do it, or maybe I'm missing something, but these machines are something else, spreading mulch with a skid steer would be a little like combing your hair with a garden rake.
I see the skid steer as being helpful in carrying loads to-from the pile to where it's going, possibly, but what about terrain impact?
You can't be driving this over turf, for instance.

So...
Perhaps the truck can dump the mulch in piles, spread about in between the areas, to ease the transport issues.
Assuming reasonably one man can do 12 cubic yards in one day, 8 hours x 30 lets call it at 240, 250 / 12 = 21 x 240 = 5000 labor

That's awful cheap but somewhere between 10 to 12g, maybe 11,4 - 11,6
The biggest factors here are the cost of the mulch, and beyond that you'll need to check into the price of a loader, they're not cheap, like a thousand+ a week is a discount rate. This might increase your estimate, maybe another g or two, 14,000?
Either way, loader or not it will need some form of transport, most likely you'll cover miles of walking between loads, so...

All of that would be some of what I would consider, but see...
Personally speaking, if this were my job and I had all these questions, even with what I just said I am very nervous. As in, you might take a serious beating, but how high can you go, how high is too high, either you have the equipment and the know how, or you don't.

So I'm not telling you what to do, but if you lose out or you overbid, I'm not sure either of those is the right answer. See, it is important to not over charge the customer, 5 or 10% is one thing but as business owners either we're in the ballpark or we're better off not fooling with it, customers trust us for that reason among others, obviously I don't have to tell you why we shouldn't underbid.

Good luck

wrm
12-30-2007, 12:30 AM
Thanks topsites, good info.

BrandonV
12-30-2007, 10:33 AM
we never spread mulch w/ aloader, you'll do more damage than good. I will use the mini occasionally to move it from point to point, but mostly we use them to load wheel barrels. now if your job is spread out like a parking lot or something you're going to need to have the mulch delivered there, and then load it into a smaller truck to run about the grounds, this will save you tractor's tire/tracks and also fuel

wrm
12-30-2007, 11:16 AM
Just got a quote for someone to come out and blow it all including delivery would be $3000. If we wanted it just delivered it would be total of 3900 at 14 per yd, go figure.Now just have to figure the labor for prepping - killing grass, edging, spreading etc. Thinking 5000 on top of the 3000 cost, but have lot more figuring to do, thanks for all the help.

BrandonV
12-30-2007, 03:58 PM
are they blowing the same mulch you'd be spreading? that's absurd