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View Full Version : Need Help Pricing sod job


rockwellpropsol
01-24-2012, 02:26 PM
Hey guys thanks for looking. I need a little help pricing a job i just got. Im new to sod and just wanted aroundabout price. The customer wants the yard tilled, then topsoil put down, and then laying the sod. Can someone show me a breakdown on pricing. It is about 4500 sf. Thanks guys:confused:

tnwildcat
01-24-2012, 10:46 PM
Sounds like major overkill. If you are putting down sod just loosen up soil and lay it. I get best results killing old grass and scalping to ground level. Rent a power rake/dethatcher and tear it to pieces. Rake all access grass off of lawn. Sod will lay better on a surface that isn't overly soft or loose. Price depends greatly on how far you have to move sod. Can pallets be staged all around lawn? Three guys less than a day if you have to move it by hand. Half a day if pallets are staged. Sod goes much quicker also if its mini rolls.

Barrett Landscaping
01-24-2012, 10:52 PM
i would just kill, then cut out all the dead grass and then put down topsoil and then lay the sod.tilling really isnt needed

memphis.landscape
01-24-2012, 10:59 PM
Tilling the ground will typically cause the sod to have more weeds in it. I use a sod cutter (set on .5 in) and then just rake up the debris. you can go over it another time to loosen up the soil to rake it evenly. I typically charge $200-250 per pallet. But if your measurments are correct you are looking at upwards of 11 pallets. so I would be close to $170 a pallet +cost. You and one guy should easily be able to do that in a day.

Barrett Landscaping
01-24-2012, 11:30 PM
the terrain really plays a role in pricing sod. i try and get around $1/sqft including prep work.

Son's Lawn Maintenance LLC
01-25-2012, 02:52 AM
We do a lot of sod installation is South Louisiana. We charge $6.50 per sq/yd thats with us doing the final grade on the site. Hope that helps. We usually get sod for $110 to 120 a pallet.

rockwellpropsol
01-25-2012, 10:07 AM
Im in orlando. How much would i charge to spread 18 cy of topsoil and i have to wheelbarrow it the stuff to the back yard

Barrett Landscaping
01-25-2012, 11:43 AM
figure what your overhead is (cost of material, delivery, labor expenses) then add what you want to make on it. thats alot of dirt to wheelbarrow by yourself though.

Son's Lawn Maintenance LLC
01-29-2012, 09:03 AM
U need to rent u a Dingo with the bucket and land level attachment. That's all we use when moving dirt and preparing the area for sod.
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tnwildcat
01-29-2012, 09:20 AM
Find someone you are familiar with that has owns a bobcat or dingo. Pay them to level the soil. Watch what they are doing and ask if they will teach you to run the machine. I know how to run machines, but on some jobs I can get an operator and machine for less than I can rent a machine myself.

mjsfencing
01-30-2012, 10:46 AM
Hey guys thanks for looking. I need a little help pricing a job i just got. Im new to sod and just wanted aroundabout price. The customer wants the yard tilled, then topsoil put down, and then laying the sod. Can someone show me a breakdown on pricing. It is about 4500 sf. Thanks guys:confused:

I suggest maybe first of all start by estimating hoe many days work it is, and multiply it by how much you would charge per day.

http://www.mjsfencingnorthlondon.co.uk/

mjlcare
02-01-2012, 08:19 AM
im a landscape contractor in orlando. give me a call if you need help with the prices. also we do sub work. you could go with a muck based sod and your really dont need the top soil. i think thats over kill. Let me know if you havnt bid the job yet and if i can be of any help. i have commercial pricelist with all the local nurseries, sod farms and local frieght.

thanks mike
9046228805

andyslawncare
02-01-2012, 08:15 PM
You want to add 2'' of top soil and till to a depth of 6-8''. You will have a shallow root system if you just put top soil on-top of the existing. Kill the lawn with round up 2 weeks before, and another application 1 week before. Take a soil sample to check ph and nutrients, you may need to correct some of that stuff, but the top soil will help adjust nutrient levels too. PM me with your email address, and I'll send you a proposal that I just sent out with a similar type job. Most of my jobs average around $340/pallet, but I'm not installing crap grass, usually emerald, zenith, meyers zoysia, or tifgrand bermuda. You may be using st Augustine in your area, and I think the material prices are close--we don't install st augustine here, as we are on the border line pretty much of its cold tolerance. You need to buy some wide ridgid landscape rakes and a sod roller--these are essential. Hire someone on your first job to help you with the prep...you certainly don't want to mess up your first job.

rob7233
02-01-2012, 09:12 PM
Im in orlando. How much would i charge to spread 18 cy of topsoil and i have to wheelbarrow it the stuff to the back yard

I would charge a fortune for that much hand work! Let's look at it... 27 cu/ft in a cubic yard. A wheelbarrow is typically 6 cu/ft. 27 divided by 6 = 4.5 trips (not to mention loading, unloading and spreading) per yard. 4.5 trips for each of the 18 cubic yards = 81 backbreaking trips for starters!!

The above plus tilling, rough grading and final grading, sod costs, delivery and installation. For best results, count on giving the newly tilled up soil time to settle. What about all the material & equipments costs, delivery and disposal too?

Sounds like this client has listened to Tom MacCubbin's radio show and thinks this what needs to be done. Ever tried to do a nice final grade with chunks of SA sticking up from the ground that you tilled??!! IMHO, you are way over your head. You need to talk with this client and understand what their desires and goals are.

The advice about planting and plant on top of another plant is never a good idea even if it may be dead or not. This applies to those who burn, scalp or trim the grass/weeds down to the dirt and then rake the remainder off etc and then resod on top. This is called a sod layover. I have seen lawns that have had up to three of those done... :hammerhead:

Landscape Poet
02-01-2012, 10:26 PM
I would charge a fortune for that much hand work! Let's look at it... 27 cu/ft in a cubic yard. A wheelbarrow is typically 6 cu/ft. 27 divided by 6 = 4.5 trips (not to mention loading, unloading and spreading) per yard. 4.5 trips for each of the 18 cubic yards = 81 backbreaking trips for starters!!

The above plus tilling, rough grading and final grading, sod costs, delivery and installation. For best results, count on giving the newly tilled up soil time to settle. What about all the material & equipments costs, delivery and disposal too?

Sounds like this client has listened to Tom MacCubbin's radio show and thinks this what needs to be done. Ever tried to do a nice final grade with chunks of SA sticking up from the ground that you tilled??!! IMHO, you are way over your head. You need to talk with this client and understand what their desires and goals are.

The advice about planting and plant on top of another plant is never a good idea even if it may be dead or not. This applies to those who burn, scalp or trim the grass/weeds down to the dirt and then rake the remainder off etc and then resod on top. This is called a sod layover. I have seen lawns that have had up to three of those done... :hammerhead:


I can not stress enough what Rob is telling you here is accurate. Why would you till up the dirt here in the Orlando area....does sand need to be tilled????? All you are doing is getting weed seeds up to the surface to germinate and creating much unneeded work for yourself.

It sounds to me that you are in over your head too for your first sod job. Let me guess you gave the customer a great price of say $250.00 per pallet to lay this sod and wonder why they were so fast to jump on it? :hammerhead::hammerhead::hammerhead:

Think long and hard about what Rob and I have warned you about when you are hauling all that soil to the back yard and your back is hurting.

rob7233
02-01-2012, 10:31 PM
Tilling up lawn areas may only be needed in specific problem lawn areas to improve new sod growth/establishment. Tom MacCubbin's advice is often spot on but the public often doesn't listen closely enough.

This is not recommended or suggested for 4500 sq/ft of total lawn area. Again, where did the client get the idea that all this should be done?

Landscape Poet
02-01-2012, 10:36 PM
Tilling up lawn areas may Again, where did the client get the idea that all this should be done?

Either the google machine came back with this magical answer or channel 13 = there was this really nice man giving this advice on there:laugh:

rob7233
02-01-2012, 10:58 PM
All you are doing is getting weed seeds up to the surface to germinate and creating much unneeded work for yourself.

Well, actually Mike that's not the case in most circumstances. Typical neglected yards(that need resod) have anywhere from 8K to 40K of weed seeds per square foot. (now I'm just repeating what I have been taught).

The goal of tilling the soil over would be to "dilute" the soil surface weed seed bank by mixing it in with soil below. So would grading dirt off the surface left behind by previous sod layovers would achieve the same. Also tilling can reduce a nematode problem if you go deep enough and/or bring in some clean organic matter.

I think the weed issue your seeing with tilling is, by doing so you've just perfectly prepped the soil (like in a garden) by bringing the good stuff up and by eliminating any compaction issues. So, the remaining seeds do what they do, in the newly favorable conditions. Still, your not bring up more weed seeds by tilling, maybe just getting a better germination rate ?? I guess I'm basically just splitting hairs with ya. :dizzy:

In addition, we can still get compaction issues with our Myyaka Fine sand here in Florida but with the relative large particulate matter of the sand compared the clay or silt up north, it's seldom a problem.

rob7233
02-01-2012, 11:04 PM
Either the google machine came back with this magical answer or channel 13 = there was this really nice man giving this advice on there:laugh:

Or either Orange TV or maybe the client even asked a Master Gardener.

Landscape Poet
02-01-2012, 11:23 PM
All you are doing is getting weed seeds up to the surface to germinate and creating much unneeded work for yourself.
[QUOTE=rob7233;4294824]
Well, actually Mike that's not the case in most circumstances. Typical neglected yards(that need resod) have anywhere from 8K to 40K of weed seeds per square foot. (now I'm just repeating what I have been taught). As opposed to what - a lawn that does not need Sod? How many seeds are there....what does a seed need to germinate.....water, air, correct temp.....and in some cases light. So by bringing anything below up - you are giving it essentially anything it needs.....including light which it did not have before if it did need.


The goal of tilling the soil over would be to "dilute" the soil surface weed seed bank by mixing it in with soil below. So would grading dirt off the surface left behind by previous sod layovers would achieve the same. Also tilling can reduce a nematode problem if you go deep enough and/or bring in some clean organic matter. First, how would tilling benefit vs removing the top layer with a sod cutter in most cases. How would tilling reduce a nematode problem please explain. And last but not least - most tillers go how deep? Essentially how much organic matter do you expect to find in the lower depths that those tillers would go that are not already up the upper 25 inches of the soil? Most of your organic matter is not going to be down that deep. Most OM is in the top 20 inches of the soil would be my guess without referencing back to materials - so digging deeper is not going to bring OM back to the surface as you are essentially just getting closer to the parent material of the soil.



I think the weed issue your seeing with tilling is, by doing so you've just perfectly prepped the soil (like in a garden) by bringing the good stuff up and by eliminating any compaction issues. So, the remaining seeds do what they do, in the newly favorable conditions. Still, your not bring up more weed seeds by tilling, maybe just getting a better germination rate ?? I guess I'm basically just splitting hairs with ya. :dizzy:
In addition, we can still get compaction issues with our Myyaka Fine sand here in Florida but with the relative large particulate matter of the sand compared the clay or silt up north, it's seldom a problem. Right - compaction generally is not a huge issue in our area, except if you have Massey or one of the other L & O companies that sell lawn aeration along with there service. Now that does not mean it can not happen, but I most commonly find it along the driveway, by the mailbox or in lawns where children or adults commonly follow the same path...for example if they store their trash can on the side of the house....you can bet eventually there will be a gradual decline of the turf there.

Either way we are splitting hairs as you said...but the end result you and I know we are not tilling up 4800 square foot of anything :hammerhead: and damn sure are not wheeling how many times back and forth into that back lawn not to mention the amount of settling that yard will do :cry::cry:....that is what bobcat and dingos are for....speaking of compaction issues:laugh:

Landscape Poet
02-02-2012, 12:09 AM
im a landscape contractor in orlando.

thanks mike
9046228805

How come your LS profile in the upper right hand corner says you are in Jacksonville then?

Landscape Poet
02-02-2012, 12:21 AM
You want to add 2'' of top soil and till to a depth of 6-8''. Again Why? Please explain the benefits of this. The A horizon of the soil is going to be 25 inches...so what is adding your 2 inches of soil and then tilling it in going to add? How would you go about ensuring the top soil you are putting down is of a quality that would ensure it is not filled with weed seeds?


You will have a shallow root system if you just put top soil on-top of the existing. Kill the lawn with round up 2 weeks before, and another application 1 week before. Take a soil sample to check ph and nutrients, you may need to correct some of that stuff, but the top soil will help adjust nutrient levels too. So how would you go about correcting the soil issues that we face here in FL. Exactly what are you planning to amend the soil with that is going to be a cost effective way of doing so? How much extra are you charging for a pallet since you are doing all this or are you doing all this for the $340 a pallet? Zoysia is a premium down here so if you would be installing it for that price down here you would be leaving money on the table in most instances.



PM me with your email address, and I'll send you a proposal that I just sent out with a similar type job. Most of my jobs average around $340/pallet, but I'm not installing crap grass, usually emerald, zenith, meyers zoysia, or tifgrand bermuda. You may be using st Augustine in your area, and I think the material prices are close--we don't install st augustine here, as we are on the border line pretty much of its cold tolerance. Really - you can tell all this from a single post on the internet? If so I need a estimator ....wait...I mean one of my competitors needs a estimator....you willing to relocate or can you just do all your estimating over the phone?
SO as long as I am installing one of the cultivators or turf type that you install it is not crap grass? Good to know...I will stop worrying about the sod farm and if they produce weedy sod etc cause I am not install crap grass. :laugh:



You need to buy some wide ridgid landscape rakes and a sod roller--these are essential. Hire someone on your first job to help you with the prep...you certainly don't want to mess up your first job. No he does not want to mess up his first job...that is why he came to the internet to seek advice from professionals like you! :clapping::clapping::clapping:

mjlcare
02-02-2012, 09:48 AM
i moved from jax a couple years ago, dont get on here much and never really thought about the area. our business as grown so much, nothing in the signature is correct either. i guess time to change things.

lol thanks man

where you located at in orlando, i do agree with you, most posters on here dont know how to resod lawns in orlando. most yards if you go down say 3-4 down you get really crappy soil from where they made lakes and raised the lot level in doing so.

to the original OP just sub this first job out and watch and learn how someone that has s few sod jobs under there belt.

Landscape Poet
02-02-2012, 06:11 PM
where you located at in orlando, .



I am actually just a few minutes north in Oviedo but we do Sod work wherever it may arise.

Florida Gardener
02-02-2012, 06:32 PM
I am going to throw this is in. I have one property that was completed re-sodded 3.5 years ago. 10k of Bahia/weeds that we put down floratam. I scalped down to the dirt(weeds were sprayed 10 days prior), and then new sod was laid. I can tell you after 3.5 years, there is VERY little weeds. Maybe 1 small area of CG, a little bermuda, and some broadleaves. Very normal for St Aug. I wouldn't dismiss a straight lay, it can work in some situations.
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MR-G
02-02-2012, 07:16 PM
we are doing a straight lay tomorrow of 18 pallets....sprayed and scalped the bahia crap 10 days ago or so....installed irrigation and now the sod....been doing it this way for 25 yrs...never had any problems as long as it is properly maintained from the beginning......

Florida Gardener
02-02-2012, 07:25 PM
we are doing a straight lay tomorrow of 18 pallets....sprayed and scalped the bahia crap 10 days ago or so....installed irrigation and now the sod....been doing it this way for 25 yrs...never had any problems as long as it is properly maintained from the beginning......

Good point. I fertilize the St Aug every 3 months and it looks phenomenal. This is the time of year to straight lay Bahia/weeds as the weeds are dead and Bahia dormant.
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Landscape Poet
02-03-2012, 01:18 PM
There is time and place for a layover IMHO and that is when budget is the biggest priority other than just getting turf but I feel the client should make that choice if they want it removed as recommended or not. If money is there biggest concern - layover is a option but they need know that it is not preferred and they are getting what they pay for.

andyslawncare
02-03-2012, 09:18 PM
Again Why? Please explain the benefits of this. The A horizon of the soil is going to be 25 inches...so what is adding your 2 inches of soil and then tilling it in going to add? How would you go about ensuring the top soil you are putting down is of a quality that would ensure it is not filled with weed seeds?

So how would you go about correcting the soil issues that we face here in FL. Exactly what are you planning to amend the soil with that is going to be a cost effective way of doing so? How much extra are you charging for a pallet since you are doing all this or are you doing all this for the $340 a pallet? Zoysia is a premium down here so if you would be installing it for that price down here you would be leaving money on the table in most instances.


Really - you can tell all this from a single post on the internet? If so I need a estimator ....wait...I mean one of my competitors needs a estimator....you willing to relocate or can you just do all your estimating over the phone?
SO as long as I am installing one of the cultivators or turf type that you install it is not crap grass? Good to know...I will stop worrying about the sod farm and if they produce weedy sod etc cause I am not install crap grass. :laugh:


No he does not want to mess up his first job...that is why he came to the internet to seek advice from professionals like you! :clapping::clapping::clapping:


What a way to beat a brother down. I feel that I'm being picked on. I've done my research, gone to college, and study soil reports every day. What's it matter if the top soil has weeds, can you not solve the weed problem your self? I buy from NG turf, and haven't had any weed problems yet. My installs are checked on 2 or 3 times during their establishment to watch for insects...its just something to expect and watch for, same goes for weeds.

The way that I have learned and studied to prepare soil is to amend 25% by volume of the root zone, or don't amend at all. I am also working in clay, and it is beneficial in the clay to do this. The point here is to not just put new organic matter or top soil on top of the soil because the roots will not grow deep, and you will have a weak strand of grass. I follow the rule of 25% and have excellent results in root depth compared to sites where top soil is not tilled or where no amendments were used and grass was planted on clay. I also see lower phosphorous levels on properties that have been laid on clay than properties that have received 25% amendment.

My installed price of zoysia ranges from $311 to $390 per pallet, and yes I can suggest info over the phone if you have a soil report, photos, and dimensions and be pretty accurate.

My response was to help a new guy install a quality lawn, not to have people with too much time to question educated and experienced advise.

andyslawncare
02-03-2012, 09:23 PM
also, I con't care about cost effectiveness when doing a job. If the customer doesn't like the price, I'll move on to the next one. I have a high closing rate; 95% since October 2011...sold over $60,000 in this time frame with no questions or price shopping. My technique works for me, and it might not work for everyone.

Landscape Poet
02-03-2012, 11:57 PM
also, I con't care about cost effectiveness when doing a job. If the customer doesn't like the price, I'll move on to the next one. I have a high closing rate; 95% since October 2011...sold over $60,000 in this time frame with no questions or price shopping. My technique works for me, and it might not work for everyone.

If you have a 95% close rate - I would guess that you are the lowballer. I am not saying there is a problem with that, there is a marketing and sales method that works for everyone but I am saying if you are doing all that work for $395 a pallet, amending the soil, tilling it...I would guess you are leaving money on the table for the efforts you are putting forth. And again, I am not saying you are the cheapest around your area but maybe for the efforts that you are putting forth. And by no means am I saying your approach is incorrect as I am all in favor of fixing the soil structure.

Correcting matter and the structure here would be priceless for many lawns because of the poor holding capacity of many of the soil structures in the lawns here. The issue is that you will not find many clients that are willing to pay for the appropriate price for it to be done. This is the reality that the OP will face when enter the sod installation field here.

Kelly's Landscaping
02-04-2012, 11:27 AM
Must be a southern thing tilling the ground to sod it is a great way to uncompact the soil only to have it rut latter when you finally use mowers on it. Up here our sods blue grass and its 6 foot x 18 inch rolls. The top soils step is great since its easily raked flat and gives you a finished surface to roll out your new lawn on. It's been at-least 2 years since we have done sod job but the prices were usually the same nuking then cutting out the old lawn adding soil and grading the new lawn then sodding the area. Worked out for us .95-1.05 per sqft so 4500 sqft would be about 4500 dollars. There is not a lot of room in pricing this sod cost 30-35 cents a foot here top soils 28-30 a yard and then there is all that labor.

andyslawncare
02-04-2012, 05:59 PM
I get 18 yards (1 dump truck) of screened top soil for $286.13 delivered