View Full Version : 3000 ft new lawn install...a few basic questions

09-15-2002, 08:02 AM
I did a search on this but not much there...I dont do new installs...mostly renovations of existing. Well one of my better commercial customers just built a new patio home and insists I do the lawn install(yuck frankly...dont like this kind of work)...I already agreed to the landscaping...the contractor did a rough grade(and I mean rough) and dumped top soil and spread it around.
There seems to be enough topsoil in most places. I am not buying any new tools to do this job and I dont own a hydro seeder, tractor, and whatever that thing is that you lawn installers pull behind to grade/level/prep...frist of all i want to a good job, make a buck, charge a fair price, AND not look like some scrub on his first real job. I have my Lesco seed and starter fert chosen so I'm ok there....would you mind telling me how you would do this with hand tools and no hydroseeder??? Also, would you give you me a ballpark estiamate on cost? Like I said I dont do installs so you wont insult me no matter how basic your info is....you can email me if you prefer...thanks very much

09-15-2002, 11:05 AM
Do you mean its ready to go now, and your wanting to get the seed down?

If so, here is what I do. I aerate the ground real good for seedbed prep and then use the spreader to lay the seed out. Put the starter fertilizer down and then in some rare instances I take my lawn roller with very little weight and lightly roll the area to make sure the seed has good soil contact.

Also, if the soil needs lime, I would put it out when I aerated.

09-15-2002, 09:14 PM
Add top soil where needed, scratch up the surface a little bit, spread your seed, fertilizer and lime if needed, cover with either peat moss or straw to keep some moisture in, roll it with an empty roller to insure good seed contact with the soil, water. Last time I did a job like this I think it worked out to about .40 to .50 cents a square foot. Have fun.

09-16-2002, 06:24 AM
WMSLAND...does you 40 to 50 cents per ft include materials?? just want to be clear...thanks much

09-16-2002, 10:19 AM
I'd look at a days worth of labor, (8 man hours) 25 pounds of seed, a bag of fert and 3 bales of straw. Rough it up with a rototiller, rake it out, seed, fert and straw it. i'd say $6-700. >40-.50 a foot? WOW

09-16-2002, 10:44 AM
Originally posted by SCL
I'd look at a days worth of labor, (8 man hours) 25 pounds of seed, a bag of fert and 3 bales of straw. Rough it up with a rototiller, rake it out, seed, fert and straw it. i'd say $6-700. >40-.50 a foot? WOW

8 hours? For 3000sf? All the prep work is done. My Plugr's would break the soil up like a tiller in about 20 minutes. $30 worth of seed down and $6 worth of starter fertilizer. I've done many of these and they are in and out when the prep work is already done.

09-16-2002, 04:49 PM
I don't have experience with the aerator method, so I would vote for the rototiller approach as SCL mentioned. And I would suggest that you figure on a day when you consider picking up the materials, doing the work, and customer service afterward. Most people have no clue how to grow grass, remind them that it is a living thing and it NEEDS water. You might even want to set up some hoses and sprinklers for him, especially if the customer is a good client. That will impress and hopefully ensure that the seed gets the water it needs. If you do all this, I would figure a day and roughly $750. If that seems high, remember, if the grass doesn't come in well for whatever reason, you will get a phone call......and that will cost you time and money to add more seed.

09-16-2002, 06:01 PM
You also need to think about the long term. If you till the ground it will be extremely soft. Especially with it being water everyday. What happens to a tilled area when you walk on it? You sink to your ankles. So over the couse of a few months you will have tons on footprints in the soil. Also, you will have some major ruts over time when your mowing.

Seed needs good soil contact and water.

09-16-2002, 09:10 PM
kitzy - The .40 to.50 cents per square foot does include all materials.

09-16-2002, 10:30 PM
I with SCL on this one, there is no way it should take more than 8 hrs to do this job and $70 worth of material.

09-17-2002, 05:11 AM
I dont think I made this point clear...the ground is not "ready to go"...yes top soil was dumped, but there are clods of dirt and clay and stones all over that need worked. I think you get the picture...and as I mentioned, I have to use the hand tools to do this...and frankly even if I had a tractor with the attachments, it wouldn't fit on most of the property...so...does this change your estimate...obvoulsy I also have to load and dispose of the bad ground and stones....no place else to go with it...thanks for all of your points of view...much appreciated..

09-18-2002, 08:17 AM
Now that does make it different. In that case figure the time involved in cleanup and charge per an hourly rate. Once prep is done, then price for aerating, seeding, fertilizing, and rolling if needed.

09-21-2002, 03:25 PM
3000 sq. ft can be worked by hand, no problem. It is hard to give you an est. on time without seeing the condition of the ex. soil. I would get three rakes, six arms, a couple shovels, wheel barrow. You are going to have anywhere from 2-4 yds of debris, if it is as bad as you say it is. Disposal fee??? Not from your area.Other than that 3 bales of wheat straw. You have seed and fert. Aeration is not necessary if it was just raked, graded etc. 4-5 hrs. on the high end $525.00+disposal Do you have a rotary spreader??

Did you contract the grader??

09-23-2002, 07:41 AM
ipm..yes i have a rotary lesco...its almost too big...might use a smaller mickey mouse scotts rotary...no i did not talk to the grader because he is also the guy who installs the lawns in this develpment so needless to say he wont have much reason to talk to me...it is rough graded but has alot of clods to work away...the area around the power box is a real mess ...hole...will go with $800 ..thanks for the input

09-25-2002, 11:35 PM
I would walk the lawn with the customer and show him the "bad" job that the contractor did with the grade. Then I would explain that when I come in behind other peoples work the only way I do this is time and material + 10%. If he insist you do something that you already explained you don't normaly do, put the ball in his hand.

09-27-2002, 12:06 PM
I'm not sure I understand why you guys would aerate a new install. U do this right after spreading the new loam???? I can't see why this would be necessary. We normally spread the loam, york rake to get "almost" finished grade, then hand rake for real nice finish. We put down all the material, roll it out, and then water the snot out of it. Seems like aerating would be a step backwards to me. I just don't see what point it serves in nice, new, LOOSE loam that we put down.

As for straw, the trouble with that is somebody needs to remove the straw sooner or later. It takes to long to decompose on its own, and it looks crappy the whole time its there. If it is put on too think, it will also ****** seed growth. If hydroseeding is not an option, using those lawn pellets is a great alternative. They offer the coverage to help retain moisture, and they disappear when no longer needed.

10-02-2002, 07:13 AM
sometimes I think we should try and follow up on threads we post after the job is done so that we can share info that might help someone with a similar job. This job was completed yesterday. Because of all the handraking and manual grading, it took 16 manhours, a bag of seed, bag of starter, and 5 bales of straw. Final charge was $950. Glad I went with the higher estimate. If I never have to do another new lawn install I will be happy....I dont mind tough jobs, but raking hour after hour is no fun...but it was a fairly profitable job.