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Johnagain
10-25-2011, 11:53 PM
I have never spread rock before but I have a subdivision that is using it more and more instead of mulch. I have to give a bid Thursday and I don't know a labor charge yet. How long does it take to spread a yard of rock verses mulch. With mulch I have priced it out for 5 yards and 3.5 hrs labor. I know rock will take longer to smooth than mulch. Any one have any estimates, will it take 15 minutes per yard longer, maybe 30 minutes. Should I figure a yard a hour. Just not sure. I will be shoveling out of my dump trailer and wheelbarrow to back yard.

Florida Gardener
10-26-2011, 12:03 AM
I have never spread rock before but I have a subdivision that is using it more and more instead of mulch. I have to give a bid Thursday and I don't know a labor charge yet. How long does it take to spread a yard of rock verses mulch. With mulch I have priced it out for 5 yards and 3.5 hrs labor. I know rock will take longer to smooth than mulch. Any one have any estimates, will it take 15 minutes per yard longer, maybe 30 minutes. Should I figure a yard a hour. Just not sure. I will be shoveling out of my dump trailer and wheelbarrow to back yard.

If its bagged I double the bag price and I make good money doing that. Now, by the yard you figure is way more labor intensive so I would estimate it taking longer. Plus you put less in the wb since it is heavier. I would budget an hour per yard to be on the safe side. Make sure you have a flat shovel and metal rake. Good luck.
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Johnagain
10-26-2011, 12:23 AM
Diamond,
Thanks for the info. I was thinking about a charging a hour per yard. Just needed a 2nd or 3rd opinion. I know mulch is easier in the bag but I think rock might be easier in bulk. The wheelbarrow will fit under the lip of the trailer so I can just slide the shovel and don't have to pick it up. When I need the rock closer to the gate I just lift the dump. I can see getting real tired by the 4th or 5th yard.

Keith
10-26-2011, 01:07 AM
An hour a yard, maybe an hour and fifteen would be about where I would put it. I did 15 yards on a place a few years ago and it took a while, I know that. That's a bunch of trips with the wheelbarrow. You just can't put much more weight in there than maybe 3 cu ft. Even that tends to get smaller as the day rolls on. Double wheel wheelbarrows did not work well for this. I found my best friend was a single with a poly body. Depending on how far you have to move it, adjust from there. If it's more than 100 ft a trip, I would look think you might be closer to an 1 1/2 hours per yard.

Florida Gardener
10-26-2011, 07:39 AM
Like Keith said and what you are thinking is that fatigue will start to set in after so much. Maybe you do want to budget 1.25 hours per yard. It's always better IMO to be a little higher than kill yourself on a job like this.
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greenpoint
10-26-2011, 06:20 PM
I agree with the others - especially when going into a back yard, river/lava rock seems to take double the time that mulch does. Plus the fatigue factor and back pains when you're done. I'd budget 6-7 hours of HARD work... make it worth your time!

Johnagain
10-26-2011, 08:07 PM
Thanks guys for the good advice. I think I'll budget labor at 1.25 hrs per yard. If it takes a little longer then I'll know exactly what to charge in the future. I'm not sure they will want to spend that amount of money but we'll find out. Rock is $115 a yard plus my labor. Hope they don't have a heart attack when I give them an estimate.

Keith
10-26-2011, 08:48 PM
That happens. People with big ideas and empty wallets. Honestly, I hate doing rock for this reason. I mean, how much can you mark it up? I am not getting any better deal on it than they would. You can tack on a delivery fee, otherwise you are stuck making any profit on the labor only.

I usually never mention "yards" to the customer. If a job is going to take 5 yards of mulch, chances are it will not take that much rock. If you think it will take four, give an estimate based on 5 yards and 6 hours labor. I'd slap a total of about $850 to 900 on that job. Worst case, 5 yards at around $625 + $50 for delivery + labor charge. If I was right about it, and it only took four yards, I'd have another $125 in the bank and about an hour less time doing it.

But then again, some customers will realize how back breaking the job is. No way could they do it themselves. You could just straight up tell them that you pay exactly the same as they would. It's going to be right at $125 a yard and you are going to charge $200-225 a yard delivered and installed. It all depends on the customer. No matter how you do it, it's a dusty, nasty job :D

I don't know where you are getting it, but be careful that you don't get a bunch of fines mixed in there. I've bought a yard before and unloaded it out of the truck and about half of it looked like sand.

Florida Gardener
10-26-2011, 09:02 PM
Just doing a rock job does kinda suck cause your only making labor. I pretty much only do it for maintenance customers and if someone else wants it done it will cost more. It is backbreaking and very labor intensive. I don't even like picking it up, I just have the spot deliver it to the location. Less wear and tear on my stuff
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Keith
10-26-2011, 09:34 PM
Oh yeah, don't forget the price of the fabric. I usually use Dewitt Pro5. A 750 sq ft roll will set you back about $100. That's just about enough for 5 yards of rock at the depth of 2-2 1/4".

justanotherlawnguy
10-28-2011, 01:58 AM
Rock jobs are a major pita. I price rock jobs between 3-4 times the cost of mulch. Price includes prep, delivery, and labor.

Like the other guy said, if it measures 5 yards for mulch, it will probably only be 3 or 3.5 yards of rock, but charge the price based on whatever it measures for mulch.
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Johnagain
10-28-2011, 02:15 AM
Went to talk to home owners today. Measured out to 8 yards. Gave them a price for mulch and a price for rock. They didn't act surprised with the quote I gave them on rock. They must have been pricing rock at the nursery. They wanted to think about it for a while. It's just one of those jobs that I don't care if I get it or not so I priced it 6 times the rate I charge for mulch. If I do get the job at least it will be cooler weather doing the work.

White Gardens
10-28-2011, 02:45 AM
Oh yeah, don't forget the price of the fabric. I usually use Dewitt Pro5. A 750 sq ft roll will set you back about $100. That's just about enough for 5 yards of rock at the depth of 2-2 1/4".

You need to look into the SRW fabric. I can get a 4x400 roll for 100 bucks. Used to pay only 50 but the price of petroleum pushed it up.


...

Keith
10-28-2011, 03:24 AM
If I do get the job at least it will be cooler weather doing the work.

They'll call you back in June :hammerhead:




White Gardens, which SRW fabric are are you using. I don't know if I have a distributor for it locally.

Johnagain
10-28-2011, 09:19 PM
[QUOTE=Keith;4199365]They'll call you back in June :hammerhead:

Ain't that the truth. Price will go up if they wait that long.

rob7233
10-28-2011, 09:20 PM
I don't want do rock and if I get a request for it, I try to convince the client that organic mulch would be a better choice. IMHO rock as mulch looks its very best the day it is installed, and gets worse everyday thereafter.

Rock as mulch is great place for weed seed germination and bugs. They like rock since there is generally consistent moisture retained underneath and plenty of warm void places to hide. With our FL sand soil, rock mulch will sink deep especially without a barrier. Many clients seem to think it's a good idea at first, then after several years later, decide to have it all pulled out.

How many have had the experience of removing sunken gravel from bedding areas? I don't think 1.25 hours labor per yard would be near enough when removing large gravel/river rock or even lava rock. What methods did you use and how did you or how should you have, factored in the labor for removal and disposal?

BTW, I'm in Louisville at the GIE-Expo and decided not to go to Fourth Street Live for Charlie Daniels ... Did I miss anything great?

Keith
10-28-2011, 10:45 PM
Removal? Hah! That's a different story. No one has asked me to remove any yet.

Here are my guidelines for using gravel.

1. It has to be contained with curbing or something substantial. No way to keep it in the bed...I won't even give them a price on it.

2. Has to have weed block fabric. No fabric, no rock. No cheap stuff either. I have a job from ten years ago that the fabric is still just fine. Need to replace a plant? Pull the rock back, slit the fabric a little more and replace. Bigger deal than mulch, but not terrible.

3. You must use good, reliable plant material.

4. No marble chips. They pick up dirt like crazy and will be filthy in a year. River rock holds up great. Timberlite or mine slag does not hold up quite as well. It's nice when it goes in, but it does need to be refreshed at some point. One I did with timberlite ten years ago was refreshed this year and should have been done three years before.

5. If you have trees in the hang over the area, you might want to reconsider the rock. Leaves will stick in there. Some will come out fairly easily, some will not. I found out putting it around any kind of cypress is not a good idea. They drop fine stuff all the time that will pack in between the rock.

rob7233
10-29-2011, 12:31 AM
Keith, you forgot to mention grass clippings and leaves from the neighbor Oak or Sycamore etc. that blow in from down the street.

There are many more benefits from organic mulch for plant material than there are from inorganic types like rock. So, why use it? Rock, in a non plant bed? No problem then.

I also agree that proper bed preparation is often greatly overlooked with applying any type mulch in a bedding area. I'm also not a big fan of weed cloth/barriers because of the same reason - improper selection, prep and installation.

White Gardens
10-29-2011, 12:58 AM
White Gardens, which SRW fabric are are you using. I don't know if I have a distributor for it locally.

I'll have to see if I if I have the tag from my last roll to give you the exact specs.

It's a spun bound landscape fabric, heavy duty. Comparable in construction to the Dupont fabric only thicker/heavier.

I've done multiple rock removals and installations over the last 6 years or so. Probably have removed over 50 tons of rock and installed over 100.

Just want to thank all you guys who don't mess with rock for giving me more work. :waving:

...

Keith
10-29-2011, 03:18 AM
Keith, you forgot to mention grass clippings and leaves from the neighbor Oak or Sycamore etc. that blow in from down the street.

There are many more benefits from organic mulch for plant material than there are from inorganic types like rock. So, why use it? Rock, in a non plant bed? No problem then.

I also agree that proper bed preparation is often greatly overlooked with applying any type mulch in a bedding area. I'm also not a big fan of weed cloth/barriers because of the same reason - improper selection, prep and installation.

Grass clippings have never been an issue for me. I mulch though. Oak, and especially sycamores are not a problem. You can blow those right out. Actually easier than with mulch. Hedge clippings are kind of the same story. Just blow them out on the grass and rake them up.

Most plants do just fine in beds with gravel. I wouldn't go sticking recycled crushed concrete in there, but river rock is not going to affect pH. I don't ever push anyone into it. I'd much rather do mulch with no fabric, and do it every year or two. But occasionally you run into that person who want's something different and semi-permanent.

Here is a perfect example. I had one person who really would not mulch until everything was gone. You could not get them to mulch but every three years at the most. It was a weed nightmare. One day he told me he wanted to rip out everything, do all new landscaping...and he was putting in curbing. River rock was his, and my best option.

Ric
10-29-2011, 08:28 AM
.

While Keith has done a great job of explaining Stone mulch the only thing I can think to add of importance is the SIZE of the stone.

The Larger the stone the more stable it is to stay put. Blower can and will move smaller stones. I like to use 3/4 to 1 inch size because as the stone gets larger it cover less sq ft per yard of stone. Therefore for economic reason the size stone makes a Price differences upon installation and endurance or how long it stays good.


A little Trivia is the popular FIRELITE Stone Mulch is actually Blast Furnace Slag from the Steel mills of Pittsburgh Pa the home of Lawnsite. The Slag at one time was a waste product of Burnt Coal from the steel mills and found in great quantities all over Western Penna Rail Road tracks where it was dumped. Today it is screened and sized and shipped to Florida where it sells for well over a Hundred dollars a yard.

..

Florida Gardener
10-29-2011, 08:37 AM
IMO, rock and mulch both have their places in the landscape. Rock adds different color, texture, and design looks. Rock gardens are nice when the right plants are chosen, and a desert or drought tolerant landscape will look good with rock as well. Mulch has to be replenished just like rock does so that isn't any kind of concern to me. The only thing is cost and that comes down to the customer. The cheapest rock in a bag is almost double that of mulch. Mexican Beach Pebble is $18/bag. Rock can get pricey but looks 100x classier to me than mulch.

Keith
10-29-2011, 01:10 PM
I wish I had a decent source for larger beach pebbles. I can only get the smaller to mediem ones from Sunniland. They are the same as you can find in Lowe's locally, but at a cheaper price. Still very expensive and I only used them as an accent around fountains and such.

lyndont
05-14-2012, 03:05 AM
i have been doing a lot of river rock jobs lately and found it to be much easier with a 5 gallon bucket. you just fill it up and dump it but it gives you control over where it goes and you don't have to mess with spreading piles from a wheelbarrow. try that next time and let me know what you think. I have found that it saved me a lot of time and work. I like to use flat sandstone for places planters on with the rock also. If you can talk them into that vs planting where the rock is you can use heavy duty tarps for the underlay and it should last a lot longer then the fabric but some people will want to plant things there. Sams has a good deal on the preen fabric i think i bought a 4x225 ft roll for $30 a couple weeks ago but I am sure its a seasonal thing like everything at sams but next year i plan on buying a few rolls

mjlcare2
05-14-2012, 08:39 PM
I wish I had a decent source for larger beach pebbles. I can only get the smaller to mediem ones from Sunniland. They are the same as you can find in Lowe's locally, but at a cheaper price. Still very expensive and I only used them as an accent around fountains and such.

I got just the place for you Keith.. Pebble Junction in Sanford.. They have EVERYTHING.. Great prices and reasonable delivery. As to picking it up yourself.. DONT.. unless you have a trailer that can hold that kind of weight.. 3/4 to 1.25" River rock weighs about 2k pounds per yard. Each yard covers about 100 sq at about 2" deep.. You will need a strong wheelbarrow and I wouldn't try it by yourself, Hire it out to somebody else who does it on the regular or make sure you have some employees or help for the day.. its a bear of job!

Tri-City Outdoors
05-16-2012, 05:11 PM
Use bagged rock. We have never do bulk rock (or mulch) in a landscaped area. Buy the bags on a pallet have them load it. If you not traveling far to install it. A bag on each shoulder work great and is fast. Price depends how far you need to travel to install it. Most of the time materials x 2.5. But, at least double and as high as 3.5.
We only install rock with weed mat and a good edge able boarder. Over time the rock will compact the soil around the plants. Weed mat blocks some water and we feel the irrigation needs to be ran for a longer amount of time. We will only install weed mat with rock and never mulch.

Landscape Poet
05-16-2012, 07:23 PM
I second Pebble Junction Keith. If you have not been I think you will like what they have to offer.