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View Full Version : Mulch Job, What would you charge?


Greenlawn Guy
05-03-2011, 08:10 PM
Hello Everyone! I am kind of new to doing mulch jobs and was wondering what some of you would charge. The area of coverage is 1023 square feet which by my calculations came out to about 6 yards with the mulch being 2 inches deep.. This would be for the main garden which goes across the entire front of the customers house and 5 smaller gardens along the sides and back of the house. The customer wants the finely ground, dyed Black mulch. I have a supplier that would deliver the mulch for around $250 ( 6 yards at $32.00=$192 + $45.00 for delivery).... My question is how much should I charge? I see the average price people charge to bring and spread mulch is around $70.00 per yard. I figured it would take me and my helper about 5-7 hours to do this with 2 wheelbarrows and clean-up after ourselves. If I charge that much then it comes out to $420.00-$250 for the cost of the mulch leaving me with $170.00 afterwards. This seems kind of low. Could you all give me a better idea of what and how I should charge for this? Your help is appreciated.

Earth_Effects
05-03-2011, 08:35 PM
2 inches is pretty thin if there is no mulch in the bed now. If your just topdressing whats there now, that's ok. Normally if there isn't anything in the bed, you should go 3-4 inches. It will settle some. Assuming your measuring and calculations are right, and you came up with 6 yards, and the terrain is flat, I would charge 470 which includes labor for 2 guys and delivery. If the terrain is hilly and the beds are hard to get to, I would charge $75 per yard. Edging would an extra 0.75cents per foot. 200 feet, is $150.
With that said, I moved 4 yards of mulch by myself, at $70 a yard, in 2.5 hrs. About 1 yard of that went to the back yard, down a hill. That was 2.5 hrs by myself. We get mulch for $25 per yard, you do the math. Im not sure how you came up with 5-7hours for 2 people, especially with 2 barrells..
I would go out of business if it took us that long.

Greenlawn Guy
05-03-2011, 09:37 PM
Thanks for the help. You're right, It does seem like 5-7 hours for 2 people is too long. Also, I talked to the customer after I posted that question and they said they wanted the old mulch taken out first. Its about 4-5 inches deep so I will need double up on the mulch now. At least we can put it on tarps and drag it to the woods which is about 120 feet from the back of the house and dump it back there. So basically I will need 12 yards now. I thought mulch was good for 2-3 years but they insist on having new mulch every year. So with these new figures what would you say for 12 yards of mulch spread out? Plus maybe 1.5 hours to remove the old mulch.Thanks again

Earth_Effects
05-03-2011, 09:55 PM
Dude. Thats a lot of work to remove ALL that old mulch. I would charge them your hourly rate to remove the old mu;lch until you get good at estimating your time right. I would also up-sell installing landscape fabric once all the mulch is out. It takes time to lay fabric down, but its worth it.(Cut up metal hangers for pins to hold down fabric, Bend them like a horseshoe)
Taking out old mulch and dump on site, lay fabric and install 12 yrds new mulch is easily a $1400 job. Again thats a ballpark number. I dont know the layout.

Greenlawn Guy
05-03-2011, 10:44 PM
Oh man, I was way off.I really appreciate all the help. I did mention the fabric to them but they want to use Preen weed killer under the new mulch. That's what they like to do every year. It seems pretty un-necessary. Plus I read it's only good for 3 months. But seriously I was thinking way to low on my bid. Was going to say $600 for just putting 2 inches of new mulch over the old stuff. But yeah, twice as much mulch to spread out and hauling out the old stuff is WAY more work. So that's good you think? Maybe go around $1400. Probably pay my helper 12 an hour and get it all done in one 8 hour day. Not bad after I subtract the cost of mulch and Preen plus paying my helper. Thanks again
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Earth_Effects
05-03-2011, 10:57 PM
that was 1400 with fabric and labor to lay fabric. No fabric iwould charge like 1175 or so. (i dont know the terrain though, and this is why I dont give estimates over the phone too.) Remember, its just an estimate. If it starts taking you longer than you think, be prepared to let them know ahead of time instead of at the end of the job. Keep the customer in the loop at all times.

dtriv89
05-03-2011, 11:00 PM
Don't use fabric under mulch, it won't do much of anything. Also, don't make this job harder then it needs to be. Weed and edge the beds, spread 2" of mulch, clean up and move onto the next job

Nichols Lawn & Landscape
05-04-2011, 01:53 AM
It always takes us longer to remove old mulch than add new. Thats a pain. also fabric is a waste of money and time. if my customers want finely shreded mulch, we use tripple shredded bagged mulch. it cost more than bulk but it doesnt look like a bunch of pulled pork. I charge about $90 per yard for bagged mulch. so for me it would be about a $1300-$1500 job depending on terrain. maybe a lil less since you can just dump the old mulch right there.

Earth_Effects
05-04-2011, 08:28 AM
Don't use fabric under mulch, it won't do much of anything. Also, don't make this job harder then it needs to be. Weed and edge the beds, spread 2" of mulch, clean up and move onto the next job

With all due respect. What makes you think that fabric does nothing? I don't understand that. I always try to put fabric in on new installs, even if it is a pain. Just charge accordingly. Also, 2" inches of fresh mulch in an empty bed is nothing. Once it settles youll be left with maybe 1.5 inches and you can be assured they'll have weeds again very soon. The reason for 3-4 inches of fresh mulch is also to act as a natural weed barrier if fabric isn't used. Just sayin'.
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ron mexico75
05-04-2011, 09:07 AM
With all due respect. What makes you think that fabric does nothing? I don't understand that. I always try to put fabric in on new installs, even if it is a pain. Just charge accordingly. Also, 2" inches of fresh mulch in an empty bed is nothing. Once it settles youll be left with maybe 1.5 inches and you can be assured they'll have weeds again very soon. The reason for 3-4 inches of fresh mulch is also to act as a natural weed barrier if fabric isn't used. Just sayin'.
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I'll chime in even though I wasn't specifically asked:laugh:

This so called "weed fabric" or fabric IS a waste. It does NOT "prevent" weeds. Considering weeds can grow in mulch. Weed seeds spread through the wind land in the mulch and grow very well.

You want to do it the right way? Use snapshot.


**Using weed fabric to prevent weeds is like wearing a raincoat to stay dry while scuba diving**

GravyTrain
05-04-2011, 11:39 AM
Not to mention, after the first year, maybe 2nd year, when then fabric starts to break down, and the weeds (a lot of bermuda around these parts) start breaking through the fabric and the customer decides they want to start over....good luck with that. If a customer asks for any sort of weed barrier, I explain that the mulch will do just as well, and that I will not install fabric. If they insist, they will have to find another company.

hackitdown
05-04-2011, 05:33 PM
I refuse to use fabric. There is nothing worse than dealing with fabric infiltrated with 2 years of weeds and old mulch. I also refuse to remove old mulch, it seems pointless...I just rake it out and put a thin layer over the old.

So I guess that customer won't be calling me any time soon.

ron mexico75
05-04-2011, 08:56 PM
I just can't believe a professional landscaper would post on this site they use fabric all the time and then ask why it's a waste. Wow!
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Tahoe1889
05-04-2011, 09:03 PM
I just can't believe a professional landscaper would post on this site they use fabric all the time and then ask why it's a waste. Wow!
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I Love pulling weeds out of useless fabric. the weed gets so locked in that after you pull it it will be back in a week because you cant get the Roots out of the fabric stay away like the plague.

Creative Cuts
05-05-2011, 10:51 PM
fabric doesn't prevent weeds it prevents the roots from burrowing into the dirt. If a weed does happen to start, a simple tug and it comes completely out. you pull one out of a bed with no fabric you'll never get the whole root. I try to sell the fabric on all new jobs and complete tear-outs. Lay the fabric as close to all edges and cut the smallest hole for plants as possible, keep it tight and flat no folds and staple the piss out of it and you'll have no issues.

KINGMADE
05-06-2011, 12:15 AM
Your paying your helper too much. I would get 2 helpers at 9 or less. We are talking about raking and shoveling. This is not a hard job.

KINGMADE
05-06-2011, 12:17 AM
I Love pulling weeds out of useless fabric. the weed gets so locked in that after you pull it it will be back in a week because you cant get the Roots out of the fabric stay away like the plague.

maybe really old fabric. I have never layed the stuff myself but I have plucked weeds up that have grown on top of the fabric and they come out easy.

twowheelted
06-11-2011, 11:46 PM
fabric doesn't prevent weeds it prevents the roots from burrowing into the dirt. If a weed does happen to start, a simple tug and it comes completely out.

What about nutsedge and other weeds that grow right through the weed fabric? Then you go to pull it and the fabric comes up? Or what about if the area isn't completely flat or the water runs down through the low spots or channels. Bye bye mulch. Try newspaper to suppress the majority of the weeds first. THEN DO REGULAR MAINTENANCE. Contrary to popular belief THERE IS NO MAINTENANCE FREE LANDSCAPES. Unless maybe a plastic landscape? Nope you'd have to sweep it.

I often figure in an extra time to come back and spray at least once for non regulars.

Earth_Effects
06-12-2011, 07:36 AM
I just can't believe a professional landscaper would post on this site they use fabric all the time and then ask why it's a waste. Wow!
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If your referring to me, I didn't say I used it all the time. I said I use it on new installs where the beds have no mulch in it. I was also simply asking why people thought it was a waste, I find fabric to be somewhat helpful in the northeast. Your entitled to your opinion but don't start bashing someone when you don't know the details. Thanks
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dgw
06-12-2011, 07:54 AM
fabric is a waste and a lot of extra work

6 yards of mulch with 2 guys is 3 hours or so (not including bed edging )

so you have 6 man hours , i charge 40 a man hour for labor , so i would charge 250 plus the price of the mulch (your mulch price is very high by the the way)

dgw
06-12-2011, 08:14 AM
oh i just read about the request to remove the old mulch


thats unnecessary , if its stilll thick or clumpy run your cultivator or a small tiller through it, and have your helper follow you around smoothing it with the back of a leaf rake

this will break it up and make it smooth

it might take you guys an hour, so 80-100 extra

trust me, its going to to take way longer than you think to try to take out all that old mulch

dgw
06-12-2011, 08:21 AM
If your referring to me, I didn't say I used it all the time. I said I use it on new installs where the beds have no mulch in it. I was also simply asking why people thought it was a waste, I find fabric to be somewhat helpful in the northeast. Your entitled to your opinion but don't start bashing someone when you don't know the details. Thanks
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i think it is because weeds will grow on top of it

plus its a pain, will start to show eventually and looks bad

good soil and weekly maintenance is key

out of all the beds i maintain i only use snapshot or treflan in a few

the rest are easy to maintain because of good soil and being kept up on

Stillwater
06-12-2011, 09:13 AM
**Using weed fabric to prevent weeds is like wearing a raincoat to stay dry while scuba diving**




I coulden't agree more, useing weed fabric is like useing a condom with a hole in it.

cpllawncare
06-13-2011, 08:06 PM
I still kinda new to this as well, but from what I've read about and learned from the other local LCO's is no one around here uses the fabric, I'm going to try finale as my first weed killer from what I've read and talked to folks about, it works better than anything else on the market currently, it'll kill virtually every kind of weed dead as a door nail.

ron mexico75
06-28-2011, 08:27 AM
I coulden't agree more, useing weed fabric is like useing a condom with a hole in it.

Ohhhh! Now THAT'S BAD!

Century Landscape
06-28-2011, 09:43 AM
I agree that landscape fabric is a total waste. All the jobs (few) that I used it on, weeds just came right up through it anyway. I used it on some beds around my house and what I noticed is when I water it doesn't filter through the fabric worth a S@!#$ Water goes through the mulch, hits the fabric and runs right out. I pulled up the fabric and underneath, BIG SURPRISE, the ground was dried out and hard as a rock. Since I removed the fabric, water soaks right in through mulch and my plants are looking better than ever.:)

Century Landscape
06-28-2011, 09:46 AM
As far as what to charge on the mulch, local prices will certainly dictate, but we figure 1 man hour per yard of mulch. 2 guys on that, you should have it knocked out in 3 hours easy.

By the way, if they want to pay you to pull out the mulch every year and reinstall AT LEAST 3 inches of new, charge a fair price and enjoy the repeat business!

Also, if you can get a better price on the mulch than the average joe customer, charge a markup on it to what it would normally cost joe!

poolboy
06-30-2011, 04:27 PM
Why the hell would someone want the old mulch removed? As long as it's an organic mulch (ie hard wood) you are losing 1 of the major benefits of mulch. Just plain stupid.