View Full Version : bidding a sod job

05-09-2000, 03:40 PM
I'm bidding on a sod job. 1810 sq/ft total, of that 1250 ft of old turf will have to be removed, the remaining 590 ft has no existing turf. I'm figuring for 6 inches of topsoil over the whole thing for leveling and grading. Don't know if my math is right or not but I come up with 70 yards of topsoil for this job. Sounds kind of high to me.<p>I can get the sod for .18 cents delivered which figures out to be $325.80. Starter fert should be under $20. So without the topsoil I'm looking at around $350.<p>I don't need 6&quot; of topsoil everywhere, just in some places. I thought I'd get a full 6&quot; coverage to be on the safe side.<p>Guess what I am asking is what is everybody out there paying for a yard of topsoil delivered and if maybe I should cut my projected soil needs down by 1/2 or so, and order more as needed.

Starling Lawn
05-09-2000, 06:26 PM
jason,your estimate is high.check old posts under the search for figuring mulch coverage.the priciple is the same.hope this helps ,dave<br>ps.top soil runs about 30.00 yd in n.e. fla

05-09-2000, 07:45 PM
my personal opinion is that your estimate is pretty far out there...besides 6&quot; is too much topsoil as it will probably not compact evenly without help and you will end up with drainage issues and the possibility of insect trouble as well...cut it down to three inches at the most...topsoil here in north jersey is about 18 a yard...delivery is about 75 for up to 8 yards....more for a bigger truck....good luck

05-09-2000, 08:40 PM
Stick with six inches if the customer can afford it. Three inches is not enough! The only reson to skimp on the topsoil is if your customer can't afford to do it right,explain to them that they'll thank you come a drought and their roots are good and deep and resist drought and insects.

05-09-2000, 09:41 PM
Thanks for all the help.<p>I did a search and found the formula I needed for the amount of topsoil I need. <p>Here's what I come up with for my bid:<p>Rototill $65<br>Topsoil $550<br>Sod $325<br>Fert $30<br>Tractor $150<br>Labor $700<br>Fudge Factor $200<p>Total $2020<p>Wondering how this sounds? This is my first sod bid.

05-09-2000, 11:09 PM
Just wondering, If I added 6&quot; of topsoil to most yards here the top of the foundation would be below the top of the sod and would cause water problems. <br>Next how can you tell how much topsoil is needed, unless you dug up the yard to find none or less than 6&quot;? <br>Figure proper grading and removal of substandard soil into your bid. <br>Just adding 6&quot; of topsoil might just get you in trouble.<p>----------<br>paul<br>

05-10-2000, 01:53 AM
Paul,<p>Thanks for the advice. You brought up some very good points. I didn't plan on spreading 6&quot; over the entire ground. In one area there was never any work done on the ground after the house was built. Water runs toward the house now. In that particular area I will have to build up to about 8&quot; to get the proper grade so water will run away from the house. Other areas will need no additional topsoil. It just varies so much in this yard. There is just subsoil in one area, so i'll have to till it and incorporate topsoil. I just figured the 6&quot; would give me enough soil to do what I need to do. Some areas will only need 1&quot; others like I mentioned will need 8&quot;.<p>Don't think I'm going to get the bid anyway. I called the lady tonight to give a rough estimate, just to let her know what ballpark we're in. She was shocked. :) Stammering,&quot;I never had any idea it would be so much&quot;. I tried to explain the scope of the work to her, without giving away my cost of material etc.. But doesn't look like I'll get it. Oh well.

05-10-2000, 07:44 AM
Jason you will find people bidding as low as $600 for that job and others bidding higher than you it depends on how much work they have and thier overhead.<br>Good luck on the next one<p>----------<br>paul<br>

Starling Lawn
05-10-2000, 08:43 PM
jason,just another hint.when i operate equipment such as a tractor or bobcat,i always double the rental fee for operator costs.this covers your ass if you have to bring in a sub contracyor.if not,more money in your pocket.better luck in the future....<br>dave

05-10-2000, 10:34 PM
Jason,<p>I buy screened topsoil 10-19 a yard depending on quality and quantity. Bluegrass sod is .21 a sq ft picked up at the farm, 2-500 ft pallets will fit in my pickup. It must be ordered the day before since they only cut what is ordered for that day, and it should be laid the same day.<p>My opinion, you really only need to slope from the house out 6-10 feet, make a slight drainage swale. Even if you averaged 4 inches over the whole area, thats 20 yards. Using this assumption, renting a skidsteer for the day, material cost 830(380 sod, 250 soil, 200 rental) Ill take 1000 for my labor (2 day job incl travel to pick up 2 loads of sod and the skidsteer) 110 tax = 1940, heck round it to 2000. <p>Your bid seems fair. I do have some concerns as to how you got there though. Shouldnt need a tiller if you have the tractor and are spreading soil. A ten dollar bag of fert covers 10,000 feet so you have plenty left over. And a fudge factor may help you lose a lucrative job in the future. The little numbers add up to big numbers which may make the difference if you are bidding against others. Try to foresee any problems, or put a &quot;wriggle clause&quot; in the contract for unforseens, i.e., hidden mine shaft, rock ledge, etc.<p>I havent seen the job and dont know your experience so this is based on assumptions, and my skill level. I also dont warrant sod jobs and tell the customer up front. I only guarantee quality materials(you can see the sod is deep green, not yellow when laid) its up to the customer to thoroughly water. And you might want to include the first mowing so the customer doesnt tear up 20 feet of sod which hasnt rooted yet.<p>Bill

05-11-2000, 07:36 AM
Hello,<p>Are you positive you need so much topsoil. Someone may come in and give a price just for powerraking the lawn out and adding a little bit of top here and there.<p>If you have a power rake, you can actually use fill (unscreened top)dirt, because the rake will pull out all the rocks. Also, the rake will rip through that existing lawn area in a few hours and leave it ready for sod. Maybe you should take a look again and see if the top is really needed. Power rakes are a big money saver, and can slash your prices.<p>These are the guys (company's with power rakes) that will kill your price. Have a friend who has a rock hound on his bobcat and he has his own supply of dirt. He basically gets the dirt for free from other excavating jobs and only has to cover his trucking costs. When he gets done rock hounding it, it looks good too. Not as beutiful as top does, but it grows just as well and his prices are much less. He could probably bang your job out in a day, charge but a 1000, and really only has to front the money for the sod only. Everything else is profit except for his machine/truck rates, which aren't much because he runs them everyday and can easily cover his payments in a couple of days. <p>Just some more ideas for your. <p>Also, was wondering if you thought about irrigation systems yet. If the lawn has a system, the grass may not need quite so much soil either. Sprinklers can make grass grow just about in anything. <p>P.S.---definetely figure in at least one return visit. Its common to get a few sections of sod that will die out and you will need to go back to replace them. Usually, local garden centers have a small supply of sod on hand that can be purchased by the roll for this sort of thing. If not, could be a big hassle to go all the way to sod farm to pick up 4 rolls.<p>Also, just for some more info, the guy I talked about will come to a job for me with his 10 yd single axle, a trailer, a small track hoe, and his bobcat with rake for around 700 a day. He'll work till the jobs done (had him one day from 7 am to 8 pm) and still charge the same rate. Also, he runs the truck for deliverys all day to as part of the charge. So, i get a machine, a truck (a big truck, not just a mason dump), a operator, a bobcat with forks to move sod around, and a driver all for 1 fee. Just some ideas on what you may be competing against. I would charge the 700, plus add 100 for extra fill, 300 for sod/fert, then add on 500 for myself. In about a day, I could finish the job, have stood around for 3/4 of it watching the guy run the machine, and have made 500 for basically rolling sod out, and still be cheaper than your estimate. <p>Remember, work smarter, not harder.<p>steveair<br><p><font size="1">Edited by: steveair

05-12-2000, 09:41 PM
rule of thumb 1.10 per sq foot as far as the power rake thery and rent a labor force and stand around watching dont sound right not on 2000 sq ft job 1 sod cutter 2 skidder 3 topsoil 4 sod 5 fert done in 6 hrs