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Jencathen
04-19-2010, 11:41 PM
Hi! I was wondering if someone could give me a hand on figuring out what to charge a new customer and the best steps to prep for laying the sod.

Because of the location and type of sun and traffic he is getting it was recommended by a sod supplier that we put in Celebration Bermuda which costs $150 a pallet and that covers approx. 450 sq. ft. The area I'm sodding is approx. 750 sq. ft. I have attached a couple of pics my husband took so please forgive the quality of them. LOL

I've seen on the forums people charging anywhere from .75 to 2.50 per Sq. Ft. Does this include all the overhead like delivery charge, prep work, hauling off old sod, and labor?

I will need to rent the equipment to use for prep work. Because the homeowner lives in another state, I will need to go back to water the sod every other day for 3-4 weeks and the drive is about 30 minutes one way.

As far as the steps to prep, I'm a bit confused. Some say to use a rototiller and then rake and remove the old stuff then even out with topsoil and fertilize. Another person stated to just use a sod cutter.

I guess what I'm interested in knowing from people who are very experienced at sodding is what is the best method for prep and what equipment do I need?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

dave50kate
04-20-2010, 12:16 AM
Here is what I do in Salem, Oregon. 1) I kill the existing persistent weeds, two roundup sprays at weekly intervals with another week or two to show its death. We have bent grass and annual bluegrass in our climax lawn. The bent needs to be very dead or its rhizomes are back up in a short period of time. 2) Peal the sod off with a sod cutter. 3) rototill 4 to 6 inches deep, grade rake, and roll to compact, regrade as needed, re-roll. (add 2 inches of compost prior to tilling if in the budget). 3) apply the fertilizers, dampen soil and then install sod, roll it for good soil contact. 4) set up your BATTERY POWERED TIMER on the hoses, lay out the hoses and sprinklers, test it and come back once or twice in the next week to make sure the timer is working and watering adequately. 5) bill the customer!!! a small area like this will approach $2.00/sf (or more), adding mulch at about .35 to .40 per sf to that price(labor + material [about 1 hour /cu yd labor]). Larger areas2500 sf wiill be $1.25 to $1.75 / sf. I rent all gas equipment but my blower. I pay to dump the old sod and debris. My Labor rate is $35/hr.

bigslick7878
04-20-2010, 01:24 AM
Jesus first off tell them to get rid of those stupid trees or it is going to be tough to grow grass. Can't have both.

I would tell them to dig out a mulch bed around the perimeter as well rather than have the grass running up against the house/walls and what not. It will save money on the sod too. If they want trees put them in the corners not the middle of the yard.

Just scalp whatever is there with a trimmer/mower on it's lowest setting, rake up debris and then kill the rest.

Lay the sod right over top of it with some starter fertilizer.

If sod costs you $250 I would charge around $400 - $450 to put it in.

Done deal.

Kiril
04-20-2010, 10:50 AM
Hi! I was wondering if someone could give me a hand on figuring out what to charge a new customer and the best steps to prep for laying the sod.

Because of the location and type of sun and traffic he is getting it was recommended by a sod supplier that we put in Celebration Bermuda which costs $150 a pallet and that covers approx. 450 sq. ft.

I don't know why anyone would recommend putting a full sun turf under trees. Personally I would ditch the turf idea and landscape around the trees, especially without irrigation in place.

Jencathen
04-20-2010, 12:21 PM
Celebration Bermuda grass is not a full sun application. The reason it was chosen was because of its low maintenance, tolerance of the amount of shade the client would get, and he is bound and determined to have sod because this property is being sold ASAP.

Here is a link about celebration bermuda. Obviously, I'm not a sodding expert, but my supplier is and we did some research after he told us about it. Here is the link. It is kind of interesting. http://www.sodsolutions.com/about/celebration/homeowners/t_celebration

bigslick7878
04-20-2010, 02:36 PM
Celebration Bermuda grass is not a full sun application. The reason it was chosen was because of its low maintenance, tolerance of the amount of shade the client would get, and he is bound and determined to have sod because this property is being sold ASAP.

Here is a link about celebration bermuda. Obviously, I'm not a sodding expert, but my supplier is and we did some research after he told us about it. Here is the link. It is kind of interesting. http://www.sodsolutions.com/about/celebration/homeowners/t_celebration

The trees need to go.

They will likely get bigger, much bigger and there will be no sunlight whatsoever.

I don't care what kind of shade tolerant grass you get it will die, especially if it is bermuda.

Grass or trees. Take your pick.

Jencathen
04-20-2010, 03:51 PM
Hi Big! We won the bid so I'll tell my husband to discuss the tree issue, but I don't think the owner cares as he is just prettying up the property to sell ASAP so he doesn't care in the long run probably if the sod dies or not. I think it is more window dressing.

Thanks for your tips though. Being the new kid on the block in this industry has a huge learning curve and I appreciate being able to come to a forum and get the advice from experienced professionals. :clapping:

bigslick7878
04-20-2010, 06:10 PM
Hi Big! We won the bid so I'll tell my husband to discuss the tree issue, but I don't think the owner cares as he is just prettying up the property to sell ASAP so he doesn't care in the long run probably if the sod dies or not. I think it is more window dressing.

Thanks for your tips though. Being the new kid on the block in this industry has a huge learning curve and I appreciate being able to come to a forum and get the advice from experienced professionals. :clapping:

Tell the customer the yard would look better with the trees gone, and it will probably sell faster.

The yard does not look that big to start with and when you plant 3 trees smack in the middle it takes what little space you had and shrinks it even more froma visual perspective.

Kiril
04-20-2010, 09:07 PM
Celebration Bermuda grass is not a full sun application.

I don't agree. The classification of "fair" shade tolerance means it will not do well in shade ... which is typical for a bermudagrass. I still don't think turf, of any kind, is appropriate here, especially without irrigation.

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
04-20-2010, 09:44 PM
it doesnt matter. obviously she doesnt care either. she was just asking for advice of how to go about putting it in. its obvious that the homeowner wants a temporary solution just so he can get rid of the property and she just so happened to be the one installing it. i would have done the same thing if some1 asked me to put it in. i would have given the same advice about the trees myself, but in the end it doesnt really matter what u think does it? its in the customers hands

Kiril
04-20-2010, 10:17 PM
it doesnt matter. obviously she doesnt care either. she was just asking for advice of how to go about putting it in. its obvious that the homeowner wants a temporary solution just so he can get rid of the property and she just so happened to be the one installing it. i would have done the same thing if some1 asked me to put it in. i would have given the same advice about the trees myself, but in the end it doesnt really matter what u think does it? its in the customers hands

If the intent is too make it look good for selling, kill the weeds and mulch it with wood chips. A cheap and quick solution. At least then you are not introducing bermudagrass into an area that a new owner might not want bermudagrass in, and then will be faced with trying to get rid of it.

Jencathen
04-20-2010, 11:29 PM
This is South Texas. About all anyone uses down here is Bermuda Grass of some variation. I don't think a new owner is going to not want it considering that no matter what home they buy down here most likely has bermuda grass. The climate is hot and humid and we are on the coast.

In the end I'm more concern with giving the customer what he wants in the end.

Now I'm looking more at advice on how to install it at this point. I do appreciate all the input because I will utilize it as needed and depending on the circumstances.

Kiril
04-21-2010, 12:49 AM
I thought the customer wants to sell the house?

If you have already made up your mind despite what people have recommended here, then what advice is left to give?

Do it the way you want, and hopefully learn from your mistakes.

Jencathen
04-21-2010, 01:03 AM
I thought the customer wants to sell the house?

If you have already made up your mind despite what people have recommended here, then what advice is left to give?

Do it the way you want, and hopefully learn from your mistakes.

First off I asked particularly for HOW to install sod and HOW to go about pricing. Never once did I request advice about IF I should or shouldn't sod or if should or shouldn't remove the trees. So if you want to give advice for what I am asking about the steps involved in re-sodding then I'm all ears or eyes as the case may be. :)

Also, the customer who is selling his house is the one paying for it. I'm not sure what I said that implied he wasn't still selling his home. Until he does manage to sell it, he needs us to maintain the lawn as he is in Washington and not Texas. If he wants sod and he is the one paying for that sod then he should get what he wants. So as I said above in the end he has the final say of what he wants. I can either take his business or he will go find someone else that will do what he wants.

Anyway I'm still looking for advice on the most recommended steps of sodding. I'm not looking for advice regarding trees or the type of grass that I'm using. If I was unclear on my initial post and created confusion on what I was asking I apologize for that.

Thanks again!

Kiril
04-21-2010, 01:13 AM
First off I asked particularly for HOW to install sod and HOW to go about pricing. Never once did I request advice about IF I should or shouldn't sod or if should or shouldn't remove the trees. So if you want to give advice for what I am asking about the steps involved in re-sodding then I'm all ears or eyes as the case may be. :)

Jen, if I were in your shoes I would have the sod company install after you have prepped the area. That said, without irrigation it will more likely than not be futile effort and you will end up losing money, especially after the 1 hour drive. Every other day watering by hand is just not going to cut it with new sod unless it is raining everyday for a month or so. IMO you are setting yourself up for failure. If you are still determined to do this, then you at the very least should setup some type of temporary automated irrigation which will irrigate 1-2 times a day.

Jencathen
04-21-2010, 01:32 AM
Yes after either you or maybe it was someone else told me about that automatic water thing earlier, I found one to buy that has a 4 hose connection to it and I charged it plus the cost of hoses and sprinklers to the customer with a 20% markup. After ya'll told me about the driving that made perfect sense to me.

So basically this is what I did and tell me what you think cause I really do want to learn.

My costs are the following and if I'm missing something I should be charging please let me know because pricing is really our weak point too because we are so new and I don't want to undercut people and create a problem in the industry down here. I want to stay competitive in pricing.

2 pallets: $300 + $50 delivery fee
Sod Cutter: $35/day rental
Roller: $20/day rental (Not sure if I need this, but I charged for it)
Fertilizer: $50
Haul away old sold: $50
Labor: $30 x 2 peeps per hour for 5 hours (I wasn't sure how long this installation will take as I've never done it yet. The sod person said 3 hours, but he's been doing it for 25 years so of course he is fast)
Hoses: $20
Automatic water thingy by Orbit: $40
Sprinklers: $30

I then added all that up added 20% to it and then I added 8.25% sales tax to that.

We will be going out every week to mow until he sells it and we are charging him $85 for that so we'll be able to make sure the automatic thing is working.

I do appreciate you helping me. I know I'm a newbie in this business and sometimes I don't even know the right questions to ask.

Jencathen
04-21-2010, 01:40 AM
Oh maybe I should create another thread rather then ask this here, but I'll go ahead since I know you are helping me already.

He want us to either do the following or subtract it out. He wrote the following:

mow the pasture and push the dirt back over the waterline trench to the barn.

First off, he is speaking greek to me. As you can probably tell the house we are doing is on a farm. The biggest piece of equipment I have is a Wright Stander like a smaller/medium one. I don't know how to go about subcontracting and do I mark up what I'm charged and if so how much do I mark it up?

GrassIsGreenerLawnCare
04-21-2010, 01:41 AM
sounds right to me. i think u asked perfectly legitimate questions. who the hell cares what the NEXT owner has to deal with. You are most likely not going to be working for the NEXT owner and all that matters is that u make some money off this installation and keep your CURRENT customer happy. Best of luck

Kiril
04-21-2010, 09:52 AM
Yes after either you or maybe it was someone else told me about that automatic water thing earlier, I found one to buy that has a 4 hose connection to it and I charged it plus the cost of hoses and sprinklers to the customer with a 20% markup. After ya'll told me about the driving that made perfect sense to me.

So basically this is what I did and tell me what you think cause I really do want to learn.

My costs are the following and if I'm missing something I should be charging please let me know because pricing is really our weak point too because we are so new and I don't want to undercut people and create a problem in the industry down here. I want to stay competitive in pricing.

2 pallets: $300 + $50 delivery fee
Sod Cutter: $35/day rental
Roller: $20/day rental (Not sure if I need this, but I charged for it)
Fertilizer: $50
Haul away old sold: $50
Labor: $30 x 2 peeps per hour for 5 hours (I wasn't sure how long this installation will take as I've never done it yet. The sod person said 3 hours, but he's been doing it for 25 years so of course he is fast)
Hoses: $20
Automatic water thingy by Orbit: $40
Sprinklers: $30

I then added all that up added 20% to it and then I added 8.25% sales tax to that.

Time + Materials + Overhead + Profit

Based on the pic, I would have said 3-4 hours as well .... just to lay the sod. I hope you don't think you can do this entire job in 5 hours?

That said, I still think you should have them do it. Knitting sod may not be that hard, but if you don't know what you are doing it can quickly turn into a disaster. I have seen some really bad sod jobs, even by the so called "pros". If it is not done right, and more importantly watered right while it is getting established, it will die, starting at the edges. Watch them do it, then you will know how to do it in the future.

BTW, proper site prep is by far the most important step, and also the most time consuming.

Why do you need a sod cutter? Fertilizer .... what type? A high N fert on new sod is not good. Have you done a soil test?

We will be going out every week to mow until he sells it and we are charging him $85 for that so we'll be able to make sure the automatic thing is working.

New sod should not be cut for at least 3-4 weeks. Based on the pics, I would say you need a minimum of 4 impacts to adequately cover the area (assuming it is a square). It is unlikely you will be able to run 4 impacts off of one hose bibb, especially with the required backflow protection.

With respect to subbing ... add whatever you feel is appropriate for your time spent managing the job. Some people markup sub work based on percentages, but I personally won't do that. Don't know how big the pasture is, but it will probably require a tractor. Isn't there one there already or did the guy just have someone else do it?

Backfilling a water line trench. What is the water line for? Where is it coming from? Where does it go to? Code, especially TX code, are pretty strict about this kind of stuff.

Kiril
04-21-2010, 09:54 AM
who the hell cares what the NEXT owner has to deal with.

It is called responsible land stewardship, something I expect you care and know nothing about. :rolleyes:

Jencathen
04-21-2010, 03:56 PM
Okay based on your suggestions, I'm going to sub out the prep work and go and watch them do it. Do you think they will mind me looking over their shoulder and watching? Maybe, I should ask them prior...

I already gave the owner an estimate which he accepted so I prob will end up taking less, because I didn't contact the subcontractor first and get the estimate on the prep and add that into the cost. I'll know next time. On the hour thing I had no idea about the timing for the sod. The sod farm guy said it takes two of his guys 3 hours but he's been doing it for 25 years so ya of course he can. LOL The mowing had the hourly rate already worked into it so we just used our normal formula for mowing.

The guy that lives behind me is a farmer and the mayor of our town so I think that I will go over and talk to him about it, he might just know someone in the business that is reputable and reasonable. I would love to get a relationship with a bigger company that focuses on big projects because maybe I can throw them the big stuff because we don't have the equipment or manpower to deal with that and maybe they'll be so busy that they have a little job that they'll throw my way. I guess I could dream. hehe

I appreciate everyone's feedback. I'll stop in at the end of next week to let ya'll know how it went. I'll bring the camera and take the pics. My husband isn't the best picture taker as you can tell from my first post. haha Poor guy!

Kiril
04-21-2010, 08:02 PM
Okay based on your suggestions, I'm going to sub out the prep work and go and watch them do it. Do you think they will mind me looking over their shoulder and watching? Maybe, I should ask them prior...

You have to do the site/soil prep, they will just lay the sod.

Jencathen
04-21-2010, 10:02 PM
Ahh okay. I'll have to make some calls tomorrow. Thanks!