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View Full Version : Mulch Pricing in Richmond


greenacresva
02-10-2010, 05:46 PM
Hey guys,

I just want to know what other people in the Richmond, VA area are charging for mulching per cubic yard. I'm using the dyed brown hardwood and quote at $55 per yard for mulch, delivery, and installed and I keep hearing that my price is too high. Now I don't want to low ball the price and hurt the entire industry, but I do have to stay in business. Thanks for the feedback.

david shumaker
02-10-2010, 09:56 PM
I think the going rate around here is $60.00 - $70.00 a cubic yard. If the customer needs 7 cubic yards or more, I have Pete Rose Company deliver the mulch to the customers house and charge for the cost of mulch plus labor per hour. I don't like to mess with picking up mulch.

If it's just a little mulch, I just buy it by the bag from Lowes.

greenacresva
02-11-2010, 07:42 AM
Thanks for the info. I've got a dump trailer that can hold 8-10 yrds. Like I said, people tell me all the time that $55 is too high compared to other quotes they've gotten. I get that response across the board with services besides mulching. Aerating and seeding, full service lawn care, etc. But I check with others in the biz and hear from them that I'm competitive or cheap.

MDLawn
02-11-2010, 08:24 AM
Every area is different so its hard to say as I am in NY. I still price things by materials + Labor + profit. Not per yard, but thats me. Be weary of customers telling you that you are too high. Anyone can say anything they want. Ask for the written quote so you can "price match" if you want. I've had a few tell me "well I just had this other guy told me $xxx.xx" Remember people search for the best deal however they can even if its bending the truth a little. I don't blame them everyone wants the best deal. It just has to be worth it for you.

greenacresva
02-11-2010, 08:28 AM
Thanks for the advise MD.

OrganicsMaine
02-11-2010, 09:13 AM
Totally different area, but up here we are averaging $70/yd installed.

MDLawn
02-11-2010, 11:13 AM
Thanks for the advise MD.

No problem. I had similar questions and just by searching and reading through the forums that is what I came up with. Hourly + materials(25-50%markup) + profit just seems to work out better in the end for me. Per yard may work for others. I've seen people charge all different rates but maybe it is a different service (see below). Again I learned a lot here on lawnsite so credit is due to some of the great members on this site. Questions to ask:

1.) Are you just laying the mulch?

2.) Are you weeding all the beds and how bad are they?

3.) Are you edging the beds (new edge or redifine)?

4.) What is your mulch cost?

5.) Picked up or delivered?

6.) Trimming any plants?

7.) Location of property?


To me the best answer is to estimate all my time for each of these and then add in the rest. I feel I'd be guessing at an hourly rate by doing it per yard. One job you make $45/hr the next $95/hr? What if $45/hr just covers all your costs of running your business and not profit or you salary? I made plenty of mistakes along the way and got burned. I'm still learning too and trying to be more profitable.

Opinions welcome.

Barefoot James
02-11-2010, 11:29 AM
I think customer confusion and miss information is the reality of these low ball prices you have to compete with.

Example - the cheapest bagged mulch - like when they do their blow out specials at the local gas/c-store stations is say $2 for 1.5 cubic feet (earlyin spring they start at 3 for $12 then 3 for $10 the 3 for $9 then $2 a bag BTW)
So a yard has 27 cu ft = $36 for a yard (at the cheapest price and trust me this stuff is crap mulch) - you charge JUST $55 to pick it up deliver it, tear open every bag and spread??? All for $19 wow! That would take 1 man at least what - 3 hours if not more - so are you happy with $6.33 an hour.

The Bulk method - say is the cheapest I have seen for hardwood (and I promise you it is not all hardwood but probably about 50% compost mix and hardwood - which BTW is great stuff for the beds), anyways $16 bucks a yard. Lets say this method takes 2 hours to go have them dump it in your bed drive to home and fill wheelbarrow and spread - hours total - Ok that's $39/2hrs $19.5 per hour @ $55 a yard plus you still have the truck, gas, ins, taxes, trailer and tools to pay for???

So the other guys who are cheaper are doing?..... what are they doing?..... the above math is fact so their trick is?..... bingo we have a winner. They use bulk for sure and the $35 per yard price is for really a half yard so it's really $70 and they make $54 or $27 an hour. As a home owner you see a pile of mulch you don't know how much:confused: is on that trailer. A 8 ft bed PU hold about 2 yards - they show up @ $35 per yard to spread and charge for 4 $140. Thy just are basically liars!

Or they are just really stupid and work for about $6 and hour which is below minimum wage - don't pay any taxes and their trailer has two barely turning wheels on a 4 wheel trailer and you can see their holes in their socks thru the hole in the rust covered doors :laugh:

Solution - communication with customer.
Ask the customer how they have bought mulch in the past? How many bags? Price it by the job. Ask them how deep it needs to be. Fluff up exisiting mulch to complement the mulch you add. Stick with whatever color they already have. Compare apples to apples. Not apples to lies.

OrganicsMaine
02-11-2010, 11:34 AM
I think customer confusion and miss information is the reality of these low ball prices you have to compete with.

Example - the cheapest bagged mulch - like when they do their blow out specials at the local gas/c-store stations is say $2 for 1.5 cubic feet (earlyin spring they start at 3 for $12 then 3 for $10 the 3 for $9 then $2 a bag BTW)
So a yard has 27 cu ft = $36 for a yard (at the cheapest price and trust me this stuff is crap mulch) - you charge JUST $55 to pick it up deliver it, tear open every bag and spread??? All for $19 wow! That would take 1 man at least what - 3 hours if not more - so are you happy with $6.33 an hour.

The Bulk method - say is the cheapest I have seen for hardwood (and I promise you it is not all hardwood but probably about 50% compost mix and hardwood - which BTW is great stuff for the beds), anyways $16 bucks a yard. Lets say this method takes 2 hours to go have them dump it in your bed drive to home and fill wheelbarrow and spread - hours total - Ok that's $39/2hrs $19.5 per hour @ $55 a yard plus you still have the truck, gas, ins, taxes, trailer and tools to pay for???

So the other guys who are cheaper are doing?..... what are they doing?..... the above math is fact so their trick is?..... bingo we have a winner. They use bulk for sure and the $35 per yard price is for really a half yard so it's really $70 and they make $54 or $27 an hour. As a home owner you see a pile of mulch you don't know how much:confused: is on that trailer. A 8 ft bed PU hold about 2 yards - they show up @ $35 per yard to spread and charge for 4 $140. Thy just are basically liars!

Or they are just really stupid and work for about $6 and hour which is below minimum wage - don't pay any taxes and their trailer has two barely turning wheels on a 4 wheel trailer and you can see their holes in their socks thru the hole in the rust covered doors :laugh:

Solution - communication with customer.
Ask the customer how they have bought mulch in the past? How many bags? Price it by the job. Ask them how deep it needs to be. Fluff up exisiting mulch to complement the mulch you add. Stick with whatever color they already have. Compare apples to apples. Not apples to lies.

As always Barefoot, well said.

MDLawn
02-11-2010, 11:42 AM
Well said Barefoot! Very true about not knowing the amount they are getting. I have seen plenty of jobs like this where the mulch barely covers the ground it was spread on!

froglawn
02-11-2010, 12:50 PM
not in the Richmond area but make sure you're getting good quality mulch. bark is better than bark/wood combo.

Ryan_VT
02-11-2010, 01:13 PM
Sometimes I charge $70-80 if its a difficult install. I would turn down less than $40. All mulch jobs are different. Commercially in Richmond my past employer charged $35/yd for contract mulch. They charged for a 3" layer. Got shitty shredded pallet mulch for $17, and put down 1.5 inch at most. If they had put down 3" everywhere they would not have been profitable.
$50-60/yd is a fair price in Richmond. Anyone cheaper has a scam or doesnt charge enough.

greenacresva
02-11-2010, 10:32 PM
Thanks 4 alll the feedback. I'll definitely keep prices where they are or maybe higher if its a difficult job. I always buy bulk. Just FYI for you Richmond guys: Check out Mulch Unlimited out on Richfood Rd. off of 301. They have got a great price on dyed brown and the quality's good too. I used to use Yardworks which was good quality but they became very pricey. I'm hoping this tough economy will have weeded out some of these lowballers for 2010!

MDLawn
02-12-2010, 08:58 AM
Thanks 4 alll the feedback. I'll definitely keep prices where they are or maybe higher if its a difficult job. I always buy bulk. Just FYI for you Richmond guys: Check out Mulch Unlimited out on Richfood Rd. off of 301. They have got a great price on dyed brown and the quality's good too. I used to use Yardworks which was good quality but they became very pricey. I'm hoping this tough economy will have weeded out some of these lowballers for 2010!

Probably will be more of them but that happens in any industry. Just keep doing what you do and do it well. Let them be the statistic that 4 out of 5 businesses that fail withing a year.

Darryl G
02-12-2010, 10:02 AM
Wow, it's a wonder I do any mulching at all.

I charge my cost plus 15 or 20% markup on the material and $10/yard delivery plus install time. I usually use cedar bark mulch (cost $43/yd) or pine bark mulch (cost $40/yd). So I'd be at $60/yd just to delivery some nice cedar bark mulch. Figure some minor weeding and edging in and my productivity is around 1 yd/hour...price it at $45/hr so now we're up to $105/yard plus tax and that brings you to around $110/yd.

Yah, I can get a double ground hardwood mulch for $25/yard, but I really don't like it. It tends to decompose pretty fast, smells like garbage at first and tends to pop fungus after a while. Both cedar and pine bark mulch smell nice and look good. I hate when someone insists on using that died red stuff. But worse I hate that coarse bark mulch..goes flying if you hit it with the string trimmer, you can't blow it without it going flying and heavy rains float it.

I find a yard of bulk mulch goes farther than a yard of bagged mulch. The place I go to for mine has a one yard bucket but they heap it to as much it will hold. So I get about 30% free really. For mulch jobs over 6 yards or so I'll bring my tractor with front end loader out to speed things up. It makes a really nice wheel barrow.

Are you guys including bed prep time in your pricing or is that extra?

OrganicsMaine
02-12-2010, 12:22 PM
I don't include any of the bed prep work in my installed prices. Usually I am doing everything at once, so I bid the work out by figuring how many mhrs. it will take to do the clean up work, and then figure the mulch +1mhr per yard....If I am just doing mulch, I charge retail for mulch, and then 1mhr per yard to install...$40/mhr.

So, when I am doing a full clean up, they get their mulch for less than retail, but still 20% above my cost, ($70/yd. installed), and they are paying for the time for me to do the clean up work as well.

Never have any problems with this.

Lawnut101
02-19-2010, 11:07 AM
There are some companies around here that can get their mulch really, really cheap. I am talking about $9/yd for shredded hardwood. They then spread it for around $50-55 a yd. I think that's really cheap. I try and figure my mulch cost, delivery, labor and markup. I make most of my profit off of delivery and labor.

Barefoot James
02-19-2010, 05:45 PM
There are some companies around here that can get their mulch really, really cheap. I am talking about $9/yd for shredded hardwood. They then spread it for around $50-55 a yd. I think that's really cheap. I try and figure my mulch cost, delivery, labor and markup. I make most of my profit off of delivery and labor.

You can get that mulch for free from tree companies too - that is all it is.