View Full Version : Planting

02-28-2000, 02:22 PM
What is a fair price to install 1 and 3 gal junipers? How much do you mark up wholesale price on plant materials?<br>Thanks in advance!

02-28-2000, 06:24 PM
We use a markup of 2X the cost. Now if your just planting a few plants then this won't work. look at bidding the plants at cost then adding a planting and delvery charge to cover your costs,labor, and profit. <p>----------<br>paul<br>

02-29-2000, 09:58 PM
We have used a couple of times on smaller jobs the pricelist from a high price supplier. They sell mostly retail and have planting crews as well. In their retail book they tell the customer the plant price and install price. MOst time on 10 or less bushes we use that price plus 12% to cover taxs and waste. I have found that to work for us at least. Plus most times this price comes out higher.

02-29-2000, 10:56 PM
If you are a small company with limited overhead, the 2x cost price will probably work. Remember to charge for mulch installation, soil preparation and amendments in addition to the plantings. Larger companies usually have higher % mark-ups but they buy in large quantities from growers so the end result is often about the same.<p>----------<br>Lanelle<br>

03-01-2000, 10:57 PM
This has to be the worst way of deciding a price that I have ever heard. What does the nursry price of plants have to do with your price? The plant price is only one component in the job. The plant price is independant of your markup, labour etc Buy a book like Nillsons quick before you bankrupt yourself! You have a different price from mine because of different efficiencies and overhead. I used to price by multipying costsx 2 and found out that it was way low, but like I said it might be fine for you. You'll never know until you figure out costs and necessary markup. There's plenty of work out there, make sure you are getting a good return on your investment. Good luck.

03-01-2000, 11:23 PM
Kermit,<br>I gave this as a starting point, not law! I can price my work this way because I have the manpower, equipment and resourses to buy in large quanities. This reduces my cost but I still use the book price. Also depending on the plant material some plants are priced at 3 or 4 time what the book lists. If I buy a 100 3&quot; white ash at $175 ea. and install them for $350 each, my gross profit is $175 now I subtract the 15 minutes it takes my men to install the plant and the $5 it cost me to have it transported to the job, not counting overhead I've still made $160. Now the end of the year comes along and the nursery gives me 15% of what I spent there my overhead is covered my net $160 not too bad. <br>Are my prices way too low, not by the bid sheets that I get every week, My numbers are right in the ball park for the work that I do.<p>----------<br>paul<p>

03-02-2000, 11:21 AM
I learned an interesting lesson from my mother a couple years ago. She has run a retail store for over twenty years, and while our industries are very different, there are still all kinds of things I learn from her.<p>There are some things that you sell that you can charge well over 2x what the cost is to you (called 'keystoning', for you business majors out there), just because they are perceived as more valuable by the customer. Most items my mother sells are usually marked up 2-3x the cost. Some are marked up much more, just because she knows the customer will pay it. <p>Isn't that, after all, what we're after, charging what the market will bear? <p>Some plants I keystone, others I charge (much more) according to customer perception - you have to figure out what that is for your market niche. But first and foremost, you need to get a handle on your costs - find out exactly how much it costs you to plant a shrub - plant cost, gas to get there, labor, G&A, everything. Every company has different costs, every company has different positioning strategies, every company president has different views on acceptable ROI's. You just need to figure out yours. <p><p>

03-16-2000, 07:38 AM
I have played with installs before and starting to do more and must get a better handle on it.I'm looking at a job now,140 ft.of Forsythia as a hegde,I can buy 4-5'plants at 16.00 each,should I be charging 32.00 or 48.00 for each plant installed? The 48.00 seems high to me.I was thinking of charging for bed prep. and mulch by its self.Also what do you think the spacing of plants sould be for this job...3ft. or 5ft?Thanks to all for your help.

03-16-2000, 07:58 AM
jrb, spacing should be considered on how fast you want the plants to fill in. 5 ft is plenty for forsythia, but 3 feet will work better if you want to fill them in faster. 16 sounds a little high, they are usually around 10-12 by me (contractor price)<p>If you want to plant them fast, get like a 16 inch auger, or just dig a trech and throw them in. Don't worry too much about planting them perfectly, thats why I said throw. They are like a dam weed. You could take them, slam the ball against the ground a few times, and cut them off at about 3 inches and still have them live. Planted about 150 last year, and the drought wacked them all. I cut half of them down to the ground, and now, they are already shooting up all kinds of growth. <p>steveair

03-16-2000, 09:46 AM
Why price this job by the plant? Start by figuring your labour. Is this soil a bugger to dig? Loys of stones? Every job is different that is why I said earlier that I don't price by the plant. There are too many variables to price that way. Figure out your costs, add a healthy profit,and away you go. You won't worry about replacing any that croak because you have taken that into account. Good luck.

John from OH
03-16-2000, 02:04 PM
One potential problem with 2x or 3x pricing is that your selling price is not based on your actual cost of doing business. You tend to short change yourself. For example, an 8' Concolor Fir cost $125, an 8' Colorado Spruce cost $80. Assume both trees are to planted in identical sites, the same distance from your location. The Fir is installed for $250, the Spruce $180. Both trees took the same delivery, the same installation, and have the same guarantee. Did it then cost you $125 to plant the Fir, yet only $90 to do the identical installation on the Spruce? Your installation cost are actually the same, your material cost is variable do to the difference in cost on the trees. Sooner or later this pricing will probably hurt you. Also, it doesn't take long for the competition to figure out how you price your work. Your competetion is then installing the example Fir tree cheaper than you and they are still making a profit (the install price is the same, only the plant price is more), you on the other hand, are installing the Spruce, and making less.

03-16-2000, 06:05 PM
Ok then you would price all 8' conifers at $250 then you net before labor $125 and $160 on the spruce. but your competitions who buys the plants at $85 ea and installs them at $220 ea beats your price. This can go on all week and no one will figure out whats what. I tried to give a general rule of thumb for planting. If it takes all day for your crew to plant a 6&quot; maple and you price it at $900 your not going to make any money even if you bought it for $100. <br>The next question that I have is what is the going rate in your area for plant material installed.<br>Heres the list<br>3.5&quot; maple (norway)<br>8' Pine (White)<br>3' redtwig dogwood<br>24&quot; Grow-low sumac<br>24&quot; dense yew<br>24&quot; boxwood<br>these plants should be available in most areas. Price them out for us and i'll list out what my price for installs are and wholesale price here. Please include wholesale prices too. Buying power and crew effciency are the biggest factors along with fuel costs and your general overall cost to do bussiness. <br> <p>----------<br>paul<p>

steven Bousquet
03-16-2000, 07:09 PM
another way to price plantings is Full day of labor,plus plants at a mark and others materials. exmaple who fiure it will take 2 days with a 3 man crew and a bobcat $1500 per day=$3,000. plus plants 1200 wholesale marked up to 1800. plus edging, mulch and loam , for 700 marked up to 1100. so the cost would be $4900. I now alot of guys in alca figure jos by Half or full day and then add materails. that way to get your companys cost covered.

03-17-2000, 12:05 AM
Paul, I think you are not getting the point. What some of us are saying on this post is that we don't price by the plant. Rather, when I price a job, I take the price of the plant,add the labour(which is different on each job according to variables like soil and accessability) add overhead,add profit, add a fudge factor, factor in what I know my competition charges( let's be honest, I guess at this) and charge as much as I think the client will spend. As long as this makes money for me this works. Unfortunately, my costs have nothing to do with yours (I don't even know what part of the country you are in), so my price cannot help you. I also attend all the industry events I can to network with other business owners, ask them questions and find out what they are charging. I don't do this to determine what I need to charge but rather to make sure I am not leaving any money on the table. I don't want all the jobs I bid, just the ones that will give me the profit I need to make. When I hear other companies say they price less than me I look at the source. Many companies are more efficient than I am, or in a few cases, don't have a clue as to what their costs are. We gave up on snow plowing a fedw years ago when it became clear that prices were too low. Too low for me to make a profit at anyway. If I can't make money I'd rather stay at home and drink beer than give customers free landscaping.<br>I guess what I'm saying is, examine your costs and what you have to make to stay in this game. Maybe you can't make a profit doing things the way you do now, certainly we've had to change a lot in the past 22 years. (For example in early 90's we saw builders go bakrupt all around, we don't (won't) work for any of them anymore. I saw a lot of good companies go down because they were owed money by people who hired them with no intention of paying. Times are really good right now and we're trying to make up for those lean years. In any case good luck, get a book by Nillson or VanderKooi on pricing before you get into trouble.

03-17-2000, 06:09 AM
Boy,sounds like everyone is working diferant here..2x the rate sure does make it simple but depending on plant material the numbers really change.Back to my job,lets say I need 36 Forsythias my cost is 576 my installed price is 1152 add some on for bed prep. and mulch I can live with that I'm a one man show and do not have alot of overhead...is my price too low ? If I go the other way what is a fair mark-up for plant material?Then of course add my hourly rate for the prep.and install work.Thanks again

03-17-2000, 09:45 AM
The only other thing I can add to this discussion that I think is of any value is my checklist.<p>When I'm putting together a bid, I have a paper checklist that I go through to make sure I'm charging enough. The checklist asks me things like:<p>Is the site difficult to get to?<p>Are they asking for materials that are difficult to get?<p>If it's brick work - <br> Is there a lot of cutting?<br> Is there a lot of walkway vs patio?<p>Will I have to spend time with municipalities getting approval for this project?<p>If it's a planting - how likely is it that this customer will care for the plants appropriately (otherwise, callback city)?<p>&quot;Difficulty Factor&quot; - has the customer been difficult/demanding/ornery/squirrely so far? (They likely won't be different during installation) <p>It forces me to think about these issues, and then I add in what I think is appropriate for those things for this project. Then I bid BY THE PROJECT, not on a $ per item basis.

03-19-2000, 10:00 AM
Just a quick one, what would you charge to plant a 100 gallon oak tree. I will be planting 5 of these and 2 35gallon crepes.2.5&quot; at 4.5'.I have them priced at $250.00 each. It is for my computor guru.

steven Bousquet
03-19-2000, 09:06 PM
I would charge around $4139.

03-19-2000, 11:12 PM
Ok guy's frist i tries to give a ball park figure for plant installation. Second have been doing landscape installations for over twenty five years. I now only work on Parks, Forest Preserves and Schools. All work that I bid is on a bid form that they give us, it lists all work that is to be done on job and prices must be broken down to a per plant price. This is just in case they need to write extras or they have to change items. All so in bids are things like mobilization bonding ect.Would I like to give a per job price, yes but it dosn't work like that. Of course if everybody price jobs like you and others here I will have no problems keeping my company busy for the next 20 years.<p>Steve you asked on another thread how much in business that people do, our frim does $1-1.2M per year, we have 10 employees 5 trucks and 14 peices of equipment. Speed is the biggest factor along with quality of work, we have dead lines for just about all jobs.<br>Kermit I'm out of Chicago Il. any time you want to come by and see my operation, your welcome. You can view my web page at http://hometown.aol.com/palnelson<p>----------<br>paul<p><br>

03-20-2000, 01:08 AM
I think Paul's response above underscores the fact that every company is different, and you have to know your own costs and price accordingly. Paul, I understand you price the way you do because in the projects you bid on, you must. I used to do the same for residential customers. Then what would happen is they would pare down the original project by 50% or more, opting to do some things themselves. <p>I'm then in the difficult position of explaining (and this happened once) that if, instead of putting in the whole landscape, you want me to only put in the bed edging, the price of the edging will be higher than it's shown on that bid, and the bid assumes everything will be done at once. But, I have never seen a $130K project to bid on, and likely won't for many years (if ever).<p>In your case Paul, I would think this would be much less likely to happen.

05-01-2002, 12:15 AM
What profit do you need for your company per day? After all the cost, add your profit and there you are. I try to get 750.00 per day on install.

05-01-2002, 02:54 PM
Is this your average day? $750/day, do you really have that much overhead? Is this price after or before you pay for insurance, intrest on a truck ext....?

I run two installation crews for installs. each is a 3 man crew. Truck, trailer, insurance, labor, paid for and I maintain a $275-300 a day net profit and that is all I need. That's $550-600 profit per day. I can live with that. for those 2 crews..

if you are making 750/ day off of ONE crew I would love to talk to you and find out how you are selling your services to you clients and how you are pricing the work. Because if you can get that in the Carolina's in can get that kind of profits in Kansas!!!!!!!

05-01-2002, 09:01 PM
What one man calls profit is different than what another one calls profit. So many qualifiers, it's tough to bench mark well without making sure you calculating in the same numbers into your equation.

Regarding the pricing per plant vs. job discussion - whether we bid a job at a finished cost, we'll still look at sometimes as a per plant price.

For instance, a customer who wants one 3" maple planted might pay us $750.00 to install it (work with me here). Five maples won't be $3750.00, but maybe $2250.00, or $450.00 a tree. Since I only have to drive to the nursery once, travel to the job once, etc - it's just my variable costs that are effected, like additional material and labor.

When the customer's jaw drops at the $750 quote, I'll tell them it's more expensive to plant one tree than it is five. So with Paul's job - you're not out of line to say that you make installations on XX job for 600 trees at 2x plant cost. You've already worked up your total costs, and divided by the number of plants to be installed for the quote. You wouldn't then apply the same cost to a job with 250 trees - the cost per tree (assuming same variables) will be higher - perhaps.

Again... it's dangerous for a new guy to simply say that a tree that is $75.00 should then cost $150 to install. So for sure, there should be a qualifer - and that is, each job is different and there is no secret formula.