View Full Version : Help with a stone job

03-27-2009, 07:48 PM
I have a customer that i spoke to last year about laying some stone in his planting beds. He thinks he wants a medium sized stone maybe river rock He currently has mulch. Do i need to remove the mulch to lay the stone down? I am going to take some measurements but my supplier sells the stone by the tone. So how do i know how much to use? Also i know stone is hard, back breaking work. What do you guys charge? I have one guy who helps me for $8 an hour on other jobs but since stone is such hard labor i was thinking about paying him $10 Any help would be great.

ECO Landscaping
03-27-2009, 10:20 PM
Ok tofigure out how much stone you need, take the length of the bed X the width X the thickness all in feet. then devide than number by 27. and thats your qubic yards. River rock weighs about 2600lb per yard. 8'x2'x.2'=3.2 / 27=.1185 yards x 2600= 308.1 lbs

And yes take out the old mulch its will look more professional.

I would not pay the helper any more, work is work .

Hope this helps

03-27-2009, 10:28 PM
Thanks that really helps.

I know some people rent a dingo for stone jobs. I checked with a renting service about 5 miles from my home and they want 130 for day. Is it worth it?

NewHorizon's Land
03-28-2009, 09:35 AM
If its a large area then it may be worth using the dingo. Are you going to have this dropped by a truck or is it going in the back of your pickup?

As stated work is work. Dont pay your helper more, he/she will expect that pay for each job you do. Just figure more hours to do the work. This may be better suited as a time and material job.

03-28-2009, 01:07 PM
Just 1 suggestion from me, I do not like to use any landscape fabric in mulch beds, But, for stone beds I put down a good quality Filter Fabric under the stone and you didn't say, but also some kind of edgeing to keep stones where you want them.

david shumaker
03-28-2009, 07:12 PM
If you live near a Lowes store they have a booklet with different type boarder stones that you can show your customer. The booklet also shows how to lay and level the stone.

Natural stone like Cobble stone is kind of pricey, so my customers usually want the cheaper Lowes landscaping stone.

If you need alot, have it delivered. I only needed about 150 pieces for the yard I did last week, but it was a pain loading and unloading on a pickup truck. I had to make several trips because of the weight.

I charge materials plus labor.

03-29-2009, 08:11 PM
If its a large area then it may be worth using the dingo. Are you going to have this dropped by a truck or is it going in the back of your pickup?

Thanks for the help. I am going to have it delivered by a guy that i buy my mulch from. He only charges $10 delivery per dump truck load so its not even worth it to pick it up myself. He charges about $40 a ton for the river rock. I am going to go and pick up a few samples of other stone to see what he likes.

03-29-2009, 08:16 PM
He mulched it himself last year but just from looking at the beds i would say i would need about 8 yards of mulch if it were a mulching job. So 8 yard x 2600 = 10.2 tons. I am going to go take measurements tomorrow to see for sure how much i need.

03-30-2009, 12:15 PM
Ask what kind of river rock it is...there are different sizes...fancy river rock is the smaller sized rocks like 2B and they also make the bigger, softball sized river rock. That'll also change your amounts.

03-30-2009, 04:22 PM
I went and measured today, there is 1886 sqft. So 1886' x 12" = 22,632" x the thickness (2.5?) = 56580" / 2600 = 21.76 tons. Did i do this right? The stone is 40 a ton plus 2 trips at $10 for delivery for each one. I figured 1 man hour per ton at 8 an hour. So my cost is 1086. I was thinking 1900 for the job. Is that a good price?

03-30-2009, 05:55 PM
So you're only charging around $814.00 for your labor. Hell, yeah that's a good price. River rock is one of the worst things to work with. Shoveling isn't really a smooth operation when it comes to river rock. You might start out at a ton per hour, but chances are as the day goes one...it'll take a little longer per ton...shovel into wheelbarrow, push, dump, spread, shovel into wb, push, dump, spread...repeat. You're figuring 22 hours for this job and making $814.00...that's $37.00/hour. Not a bad hourly, but I'd jack it up some.

I'm just going off of what numbers you posted...if I understood it.

03-30-2009, 10:30 PM
Thanks for the help. I actually forgot to include in my price the weed barrier that is 200 and renting the dingo that is 130. So my cost it really 1350. What about 2400? is that fair?

White Gardens
03-31-2009, 12:47 AM
Thanks for the help. I actually forgot to include in my price the weed barrier that is 200 and renting the dingo that is 130. So my cost it really 1350. What about 2400? is that fair?

Definitively fair. You might want to charge just a little more around 3300 or so. Just a guess, but I don't know your area.

I'm trying to think of a couple of jobs I did last summer and I think you might have estimated way too much on the rock.

Sometimes estimating rock can be hit or miss. Especially with river rock, because the last couple of years I've notice the screened quality of river rock has dropped and is inconsistent in our area.

One job I did, using fabric, and metal edging, and roughly 1000 square feet came out to 8 tons of river rock. That's roughly 130 square a ton, and that's what most suppliers will tell you it will cover. Going by your numbers you'll need roughly 15 tons.

You might want to have half the load delivered first to make sure you don't have too much that you'll end up hauling away the leftovers. 1 ton wouldn't be too bad, but if you had 4 tons too much, that's a different story.

Also, a dingo can be over-kill, sure it will make things easier, but it will tear up a yard pretty quickly, so if your charging a lot, the customer might be PO'd if you leave ruts in the yard. I've been able to move 8 - 10 tons in one day, by-my-self, with just a standard wheel-barrow. ( I did a total of 65 tons of rock last year. )

Also, make sure you use fabric pins when laying fabric. It makes a huge difference on windy days, and if your customer gets a weed, the fabric won't pull up if it has rooted in it.

Also, make sure you ground is nice an level with not too many bumps or hills. To many inconsistencies lead to using too much rock to compensate and cover rough areas.

03-31-2009, 01:47 PM
Thanks for the help. There are some very useful suggestions there i think i might do. Thanks agian.