View Full Version : pricing for planting trees

04-08-2008, 11:50 PM
OK.. I have done some landscaping but have run across a potential job, that I am not sure how to go about pricing. The customer has aleady purchased a 1200# maple tree (the trunk is about 15 inches in diameter according to the customer) and a 15 gallon crab apple tree from a nursery. They are wanting me to go to the nursery to pick them up, bring them to their residence, and plant them both. I realize that alot of the pricing strategy depends on numerous factors, distance to job site, # of workers, etc., etc. I am not a large company by any means. it is myself and a long time friend that do most of the work. every now and then we will hire an additional person to come on, depending on the size of the job. I have no building or company vehicle payments, etc. Basically no overhead what so ever. The only landscaping i have done to this point has been landscape beds that have been 200 - 1200 sq feet with 3 gal shrubs and 5 to 15 gallon trees. The large maple is what is throwing me here. It is my understanding that alot of contractors double or sometimes even triple the price of the trees to be planted. The customer purchased the maple for $385. I was thinking of charging them somewhere between $600 - $700. Any thoughts? My expenses for this job would be about $100-$150 to rent a tilt-trailer and renting an auger to dig the hole for about $40 from home depot. Thanks in advance for your advice.

04-09-2008, 12:03 AM
umm... how big of an auger does your local home depot carry?? If it's a B&B tree, I would assume your talking about a 4'x5' root ball on that thing. Also, do you have any equipment to actually move the tree?? At the very least, a substantial ball cart, but preferably a skid steer front end loader. Are they expecting any sort of warranty on it?? The multiplier on trees usually comes from the high probability of having to replace at least about 10% of them. All this is also dependent upon the ACTUAL size of the tree. Sometimes homeowners "visual tape measure" isn't all that accurate. Seems like a big project unless you have the right equipment. Good luck with it, and be careful if you're thinking about wrestling the tree off a trailer with 2 people.

04-09-2008, 12:05 AM
"Basically no overhead what so ever"

You better reevaluate that statement my friend, and then recalculate your numbers. sorry but I'm just trying to help, you just don't understand your costs, so you can't possibly bid this or any other job correctly. For now you better pass, because a lot of work goes into planting a tree that size, and I'm telling you 6-700 isn't the cost.

04-09-2008, 12:42 AM
Thanks guys I appreciate the input. On the jobs I have done up to this point, my pricing has been fine. I was able to make a good profit on jobs. Landscping is a side job for me, and is something I do when oppportunties come my way. Like I said, I appreciate the input, just had never touched anything with a tree that large. that is why I was looking for input. Have a good one.

04-09-2008, 01:05 AM
No problem, your going to make much better money doing those small side jobs, that is what you can handle with no problems and thats fine.

04-09-2008, 10:35 PM
Do you have insurance to dig a hole? That would be overhead.

Even to use a shovel and hand dig a hole really can lead to a nightmare insurance claim...just a fwi.

10-04-2012, 12:18 AM
A 15" diameter maple? Is that number right? Yowsers. I wouldn't considier that tree to be movable. Rule of thumb is 10" spade per inch trunk diameter, and at the larger end this usually starts to fall apart.

You'd want one of those 8 foot truck mounted spades, and even then, it's not really big enough.

The 15 gallon crab is a piece of cake. Assuming you are in land that isn't either a rock quarry or a wannabee brick factory, the hole is a hours work. Call it a 6-8 wheelbarrow hole.

10-04-2012, 12:28 AM
Really? You answered a 4 year old thread?

LOL That tree has got to be dead sitting in burlap over that summer drought (and a few winters)

10-04-2012, 12:43 AM
Sorry. I don't pay attention to the age of a thread. I mine this site for information, and most of the data about growing things doesn't change. If I have a tidbit to add, then then next person either has the benefit of my wisdom, or can laugh at my foolishness. Either way,...

If the moderators felt strongly that threads shouldn't be replied to, I figure they'd lock them after N days. (Commonly 90)