View Full Version : Don't do many landscape jobs so...

Expert Lawns
08-04-2002, 09:34 AM
i don't do many landscape jobs, mowing lawns is where i make my money. i have a customer who wants me to pull out flowers, shrubs and weeds from the raised flower bed going around the side of his house and around part of the back. then its to be filled in with top soil. i will put down weed barrier (mesh) and top it with cedar chips. what is a fair labor cost? i know to charge for product, but for the labor what do you guys charge? it will take maybe 1/2 to 3/4 of a day to do. very tedious and i will be doing it myself.

08-04-2002, 01:54 PM
not to be smart here but you have it all figured out except one thing, what is your time worth?

08-04-2002, 02:00 PM
You should make some profit on the materials you are buying. Since you mow, do you know how much you make per hour after deducting the cost the equipment and fuel? You should be allowing some money for your overhead also.

Expert Lawns
08-04-2002, 04:07 PM
yes i know about what i make mowing lawns. so if i make that amount (X) my labor rate for the landscaping job, it would be fair to them and profitable to me?

you mentioned that i should make money on the product too. lets say the weed barrier is $9. i should then charge how much for it? $12-15? same with the multch and soil?

Lawn Wizard
08-04-2002, 10:43 PM
I do $30- $35 a man hour and add 25% to materials. I work solo too and handweeding is tedious make them pay for it.

Expert Lawns
08-06-2002, 11:41 AM
here's what i did..........

took the total of product and multiplied it by 25%.

took my hourly rate multiplied it by 4 (figuring 4 hours tops)

then added $10. kind of a buffer for gas, unexpected expenses etc

that total sounded pretty good to me. is there anything else i need to take into consideration. there is no dumping fee, i will be bagging the weeds.

08-06-2002, 11:51 AM
Originally posted by Expert Lawns

that total sounded pretty good to me. is there anything else i need to take into consideration. there is no dumping fee, i will be bagging the weeds.

Skip the weed barrier...you'll be glad you did in the long run.

Expert Lawns
08-06-2002, 05:14 PM
why should i skip the weed barrier? the customer requested it. the only thing i can think of is getting more work out of for weeding etc.

08-07-2002, 10:30 AM
There are many past threads discussing the pros and cons of landscape fabric, but the majority seem to agree that it is worthless unless used under stone. Reason being, once the mulch starts to decay on top of the fabric you have in essence created an environment in which weeds can survive and root. In addition, these roots will become enmeshed in the fabric making them all the more difficult to remove. The profit you'll make will not counter the PITA you will encounter when the weeds start. I talk all of my clients out of the use of fabrics and instead preach IPM. There have been numerous new properties where I have been compensated to remove the fabric after it has been in for only a few years and the problems as I have stated above had begun.

Bills Lawn Service
08-07-2002, 11:13 AM
I agree with the no mesh--bad stuf down the road

08-07-2002, 03:51 PM
I'm new to this board but I like it so far...I agree to skip the fabric. Mulch doesn't hold it down, like rocks do, and it'll end up looking bad when the mulch (inevitably) slides on it, and exposes the fabric. Thick mulch will keep the weeds back.

Expert Lawns
08-08-2002, 02:31 PM
do you have to treat the soil with anything to prevent the growth of weeds?

08-10-2002, 06:09 AM
No fabric. I put some down when i was spreading drain rock, but that's it. 3 inches of drain rock isn't going to let much light in, and that's about the only place it should be put down.

08-10-2002, 08:35 AM
You had mention that it may take you 3/4 of a day and then you charged for 4 hours ... this is a very common mistake. Everyone is inclined to say " oh I can do that fairly quickly" ... go with your high estimate of 3/4 of a day.

When doing a estimate ... go through each task


Labor ... 3 hrs x your hourly rate


1 cubic yards at x per yard
Labor .... 1 hour

fabric and mulch ( i would not use the mulch ..insted use a Pre E )
material cost = x amount
labor= 2hrs

trucks- i day at 75 per

General Conditions = 2 hr x hourly rate ( this covers travel, clean up, talking with customer etc)

Add up total labor hrs x hourly rate
Add up total material x 10%
Add up total equipment x 25% ( in this example only your truck)

Total plus profit... usually go 18% on small job

Tony Harrell
08-11-2002, 08:31 AM
There seemed to be a subtopic about weed barriers in here. I have to relate some of my experiences. Weeds will grow on top of mesh. One other thing I've seen is solid thick plastic. It's even worse because ants and other insects are protected from pesticides. Also, it stops the mulch from delivering nutrients. I see huge developements with this stuff around every house in the developement. I don't know if it was the builder or the landscaper but, it's really causing problems for the home owners because of the ants and also the fact that water can't reach the plants properly. I use a one time treatment of roundup followed up with a couple layers of newspaper. Then I add the plant materials followed by mulch or pine needles.