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GrahamLandscaping
05-21-2011, 05:23 PM
I just recently started my own landscaping business and today I received my first call to give an estimate. I calculated that it would take roughly 3.5 yards of mulch to complete the job so to be safe I told the customer I would use 4 yards. The beds are in pretty bad shape with weeds, rocks and over grown plants. The customer would also like me to edge around all of the beds before I spread the mulch. My question is how much I should charge to complete this job. I do not want to over charge the customer but I also do not want to under charge so I am not making money for the work I am doing. Please help me out to give him a fair price for this job. Thanks!

nepatsfan
05-21-2011, 05:25 PM
four seventy five

GrahamLandscaping
05-21-2011, 05:29 PM
Can I get a price break down for that number if possible?

Mulch here in Ohio generally runs $32 per yard and there is a $20 delivery fee as well.

I also will be the only one working on this job.

PROCUT1
05-21-2011, 05:29 PM
Two hundred fifteen
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nepatsfan
05-21-2011, 05:32 PM
160 for mulch. 315 for labor which includes bed prep, weeding, edging, and spreading the mulch

GrahamLandscaping
05-21-2011, 05:43 PM
Thanks for the input both of you. Any other suggestions? Like a formula or something that I can use over and over again to make it simple?

GrahamLandscaping
05-21-2011, 06:05 PM
I did some of my own calculations and this is what I came up with...

Material: Mulch $32/yard + 25% mark up + 8% tax = $44/yard. 4 yards x $44 = $176
Labor: 3 hours x $35/hour = $105
Delivery/dumping fee = $50
Total cost = $331.00

Is this a good estimate for this job?

nepatsfan
05-21-2011, 09:05 PM
Typically I do a hundred bucks a yard installed. I added 75 because you said there were excessive weeds and rocks so I figured a couple hours more than normal. I think three hours to edge weed and spread mulch by yourself is very optimistic especially if the beds are in rough shape. I would plan on a full day and be happy if you finish sooner.

jwsland
05-21-2011, 09:56 PM
Typically I do a hundred bucks a yard installed. I added 75 because you said there were excessive weeds and rocks so I figured a couple hours more than normal. I think three hours to edge weed and spread mulch by yourself is very optimistic especially if the beds are in rough shape. I would plan on a full day and be happy if you finish sooner.

What he said.

knox gsl
05-21-2011, 10:24 PM
My formula is pretty simple. I use $.50 per linear foot for edging around an existing edged out bed and $.75 if it needs bed prep and edging. I charge $75 per yard of hardwood mulch installed, extra if dyed mulch. Any bush trimming I add $7.50 for small items and $15 for large ones including haul off. I will use these numbers for getting my total price but I don't break it down for the customer, its not really something they need to be picking apart. I have found the best tool for bed prep is a mini tiller. Mine is a Stihl FS56 with the trimmer head removed and tiller head attached, a very profitable tool.

thom
05-21-2011, 11:41 PM
let us know if you get the job.

GrahamLandscaping
05-22-2011, 12:07 PM
He said he will call sometime today and let me know. I'll post if I get the job or not once I find out. Thanks again for the help

nepatsfan
05-22-2011, 12:56 PM
He said he will call sometime today and let me know. I'll post if I get the job or not once I find out. Thanks again for the help

How much was your proposal?

GrahamLandscaping
05-22-2011, 02:06 PM
I told him I would do it for $331.00

PerfectEarth
05-22-2011, 02:12 PM
Solo, 4 yards of mulch, and all those extras......at 35.00/hr, estimated 3 hours. oops.

Not good at all. Especially at such a high mulch cost (with minimal mark-up)...Not sure of your work quality, but you underpriced big time.

nepatsfan
05-22-2011, 02:14 PM
I told him I would do it for $331.00

He is thinking about it?!?! You are going to work for next to nothing on this job.

Patriot Services
05-22-2011, 02:27 PM
Side note. Always cut a deep edge when doing bed rehabs. Makes all the difference between a pro and a hack that lays mulch over the grass.
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GrahamLandscaping
05-22-2011, 03:51 PM
Solo, 4 yards of mulch, and all those extras......at 35.00/hr, estimated 3 hours. oops.

Not good at all. Especially at such a high mulch cost (with minimal mark-up)...Not sure of your work quality, but you underpriced big time.

PerfectEarth, how would you have marked up the mulch? Im new at this so im pretty much just guessing at how long these jobs will take me. judging by what you guys are telling me it will take much longer than 3 hours...i guess i just need to figure out how long things will take me and just base estimates off of that in the future. Also, should I have charged more per hour of work since there are a lot of weeds to pull and preping the beds will take a decent amount of work?

Patriot Services
05-22-2011, 03:55 PM
PerfectEarth, how would you have marked up the mulch? Im new at this so im pretty much just guessing at how long these jobs will take me. judging by what you guys are telling me it will take much longer than 3 hours...i guess i just need to figure out how long things will take me and just base estimates off of that in the future. Also, should I have charged more per hour of work since there are a lot of weeds to pull and preping the beds will take a decent amount of work?

Yes, you always charge for extra work. Estimating is the hardest skill to learn. Even seasoned guys will tell it can be anguishing at times. You want the job but you don't want to give the store away. You want the customer to get a sense of value and want to retain your services. All the while you want to make money. The customer sitting on his decision only adds to the fun.
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PerfectEarth
05-22-2011, 05:26 PM
Yes, you always charge for extra work. Estimating is the hardest skill to learn. Even seasoned guys will tell it can be anguishing at times.Posted via Mobile Device

Agree! I do hate estimating... still learning with every one but getting better.

BUT, with that said, 35 per hour is dirt cheap for running a job- or just plain crazy- if you are running a legit business with the appropriate equipment/tools, paying tax, insurance, fuel, maintenance, all other overhead items, etc etc etc... So it seems like you are just picking a labor rate outta the blue, or tell me if I'm wrong.

As for the mulch, you might have to find a spot to get it cheaper. And bed prep prior to mulch can take considerable time if you do it right. Spreading the mulch is the easy part.

I couldn't give you an exact labor price on you job because I have no idea exactly what it entails. 4 yards of brown hardwood bulk mulch would run my customer about 145.

lukemelo216
05-22-2011, 06:04 PM
I agree with perfect. IF the beds are really bad as you make them sound, you should plan on at least 1 to prep them with 3 guys. For our prepping we will weed all the beds (large weeds), small little weeds we wil just hit with roundup (im talking like little grassy weeds etc). clean out the leaves and debris. Then we will take our mulch-pro thats attached to a weed eater and run it over the mulch. This breaks up the mulch to allow more breathing room for the mulch. And so it doesnt create that hard compacted mulch under the new mulch becasue that can allow the new mulch to wash out easier.

Then we will lightly rake that all out and get the base fairly level. Then edging the beds. We take a stick edger with a wavy blade and run it around, then use a razorback to deepen the edge and then follow up with the spade to get it nice and flat and even. All the grass clumps are hauled out and the nice soil is raked evenly into the old soil and covered with the old mulch. No clumps of soil are left. On a project of that size from the sounds of it, we could probably have it edged and cleaned in about 30-45 minutes with 3 guys.

Then spreading the mulch. We use 3 guys usually spreading the mulch and we could do that in about 1 hour. 2 guys wheeling and the other spreading it. We dump it and rough spread then afterwords go over with leaf rakes turned over and level it out. All the small delicate plants (perennials and annuals) all get mulch spread with a pitch fork. One hold the plants and the other gently spreads.

Sp right there were talking about 8 hours to do that job in really high quality work, and to make it look right. Our labor rate is actually $35.00/hour (varies by region), but you need to figure that out for yourself. So right there thats $280 plus then the 4 yards of mulch. Depends on what kind your using, for us we sell our double ground dyed brown at $30/yd (get it for $24). If we can haul it ourselves (3 yards in the truck and another 5 on 6 on the trailer its $50/delivery fee, if we have it delivered we add 10% onto our delivery fee from the supplier.

So I would be at least at $450 for that job. Which isnt too bad for 3 guys in and out in
about 3 hours (4 if you include pickup time for the mulch). You can get 2-3 jobs done per day at that rate and if they are all $450/job that $1350 per day, not a bad day at all. IF we have a full day of mulching we will just go to the supplier in the morning and pick up 10 yards and then just go, saves time later. Any extra mulch we will probably just have delivered.

GrahamLandscaping
05-23-2011, 01:56 PM
Judging from what you guys are telling me you all run much more legitimate businesses than I do. I'm sure you've all been in the business longer than I have as well though. I'll be sure to keep all this information in mind the next time I give an estimate. thanks for all the help its much appreciated

Patriot Services
05-23-2011, 02:29 PM
Keep us posted how it all turns out. Before and after pics are a great idea for us and from a documentation standpoint.
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gimmejava
05-23-2011, 09:29 PM
Don't get overwhelmed and discouraged. It's a learning experience and we've all underbid jobs at one time or another. You learn from your mistakes and do better the next time.

nepatsfan
05-23-2011, 09:31 PM
Don't get overwhelmed and discouraged. It's a learning experience and we've all underbid jobs at one time or another. You learn from your mistakes and do better the next time.

We told him what to bid??:dizzy:

JNyz
06-04-2011, 01:24 PM
Typically I do a hundred bucks a yard installed. I added 75 because you said there were excessive weeds and rocks so I figured a couple hours more than normal. I think three hours to edge weed and spread mulch by yourself is very optimistic especially if the beds are in rough shape. I would plan on a full day and be happy if you finish sooner.


Agree. Sounds about right.

cpllawncare
06-04-2011, 03:54 PM
Do you guys think it's a good idea to have a set pricing schedule set up for jobs like this? I went to bid on a similar job this past week and was lost on the pricing, also if you were to come up to a job that was too big for a solo like myself how do you price for subing it out?

knox gsl
06-04-2011, 04:06 PM
Do you guys think it's a good idea to have a set pricing schedule set up for jobs like this? I went to bid on a similar job this past week and was lost on the pricing, also if you were to come up to a job that was too big for a solo like myself how do you price for subing it out?

If I come across something too large for me to do then it will be evauluated after talking to any other parties involved and I will get back to the customer. Usually someone with a large project like that is understanding of these terms.