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kutnkru
01-20-2003, 08:01 PM
Was just figuring with all the new faces and the start of the season right around the corner it might be a good time to compare bidding strategies for the upcoming season. Heres a spec sheet that we received (again) recently. We didn’t get the bid last year, I thought it was awarded elsewhere (lol), so I guess we get yet another crack at it!!!

Landscape beds have to be established next to the houses foundation, as all areas currently are turf to the foundations concrete. Approximate size of beds according to spec sheet were 1500sf, I estimated #s based on 1800 sf. They requested 1’ of this soil mixture: 50% peat and 50% Grade A topsoil to be combined in a ratio of 2:3 mix with present soil. I gave them a figure for 2/3 top and 1/3 peat. Mulch to be applied 3” deep over weed barrier.

They also stipulate that all labor should include bed prep, deliv/instal of mulch, bed edge definition, removal of sod, planting and fertilizer, plus dump fees.


PLANT SPECS:
BROADLEAVED EVERGREENS ................ $ 363.88
Boxwood ‘Green Mountain’ .......... 2gl. ..... 2 / 31.99
Holly ‘Blue Maid’ ........................... 5gl. ..... 5 / 27.99
Holly ‘Blue Stallion’ ....................... 5gl. ..... 1 / 29.99
Rhododendron ‘Sumatra’ ............. 2gl. ..... 1 / 69.98

EVERGREENS ........................................ $ 1043.65
Juniper ‘Blue Sargent’ ................... 2gl. .... 20 / 22.99
Juniper ‘Goldtip Pfitzer’ ................. 2gl. ...... 4 / 22.99
Pine ‘Mugho’ ................................. 5gl. ...... 9 / 47.99
Spruce ‘Bird’s Nest’ ....................... 2gl. ...... 2 / 29.99

FLOWERING SHRUBS .............................. $ 472.85
Barberry ‘Bonanza Gold’ ................ 3gl. .... 10 / 31.99
Barberry ‘Crimson Pygmy’ .............. 3gl. ...... 4 / 31.99
Viburnum ‘Koreanspice’ ................. 3gl. ...... 1 / 24.99

ORNAMENTAL TREES .............................. $ 1219.93
Dogwood ‘Kousa’ ........................... 6-8’ .... 1 / 149.99
Dogwood ‘Green Mountain’ ............ 6-8’ .... 3 / 189.99
Flowering Crab ‘Sargent’ ............... 6-8’ .... 1 / 149.99
Japanese Maple ‘Bloodgood’ .......... 6-8’ .... 1 / 149.99
Plum ‘Thundercloud’ ....................... 6-8’ .... 1 / 149.99

PERENNIALS ............................................. $ 56.97
Hosta ‘Royal Standard’ .................. 2gl. ..... 3 / 18.99

ROSES ...................................................... $ 99.95
Hardy Rose Shrub ‘Mediland’ ......... 5gl. ..... 5 / 19.99

VINES ....................................................... $ 59.99
Clematis ‘Haku Ookan’ .................. 2gl. ...... 1 / 59.99



Heres how my numbers came out:
$2345.00 = 67 yds. TP + Peat
$650.25 = 17 yds. Mulch
$85.00 = Fabric
$22.75 = Fert. Tablets
$3317.22 = Plant Stock
$350.00 = Clean-Up/Hauling
$150.00 = Pick Up/Deliv.

$1420.58 = Labor
4 emp w/ Crew Avg Wage of $11.75
93 Total Hrs or 23 Crew Hrs
Labor burden 30%

$340.00 = Misc. Equipment
Sod Cutter 1 day rental
Skidsteere 3 day rental

$390.63 = OverHead
Based on 23 Crew hrs
General, Truck, Call Back Guarantee etc.

$513.62 = Sales Tax
$1362.76 = 15% Profit

Bid Package: $10,447.81

Turfdude
01-20-2003, 10:12 PM
Kru,

It looks like you've put some thought into this. It's tough for me to know your rates for mats & rentals in your area. You should consider 3 triaxles of soil (each should hold 16-17 cu yds of soil and delivered if you shop around for about $250-300 each) then p/u the rest of the difference in peat moss. I think you may be underestimating your equip rental. Your overhead may be a bit low too - you should really have overhead broken down into fixed and variable rates. The fixed rates generally are applied more toward the materials (you always have phone, insurance, rent, and all others that come monthly). The variable ones generally apply more toward labor (w. comp, vacation, paid breaks, holiday, sick time, etc and fluctuate more per job occurence or labor usage).
Other than that a 15% profit is a great number these days, especially seeing how the market ISN'T doing! I always soot for 14% low to 20% high on profit. Also, it doesn't hurt to overestimate manhours a little for the unexpected problem. Finally, we also have calculated a % for plant material lost and add it to all of our plant materials.
You're close enough to North Jersey & should consider the classes on landscape estimating given at Rutgers college each winter.

Bob

P.S. I don't know about tax laws in your state, but in NJ if I do an install, I get a completed ST-8 sales tax exemption form as landscaping is a capital improvement!

steveair
01-20-2003, 11:44 PM
Hello,

I will start off by asking how competitive your market is........only because the price seems very high too me for a 'average' foundation planting.

First of all, your plant pricing seems quite expensive.........

$23 for a 2 gal juniper......????
$69.98 for a 2 gal rhodi.....???
$31.99 for a 3 gal barberry???

I know these numbers are most likely retail, but these are very high numbers to be using for plant material.....I would use YOUR COST for plant materials when figuring out what the job is costing you.....already you have a very, very 'overinflated' plant value. You talk about % profit later on as being 15%.......well, its probably more like 30-40% when you add in the money you just made on the plants........correct? And if that is so, then are your competitors shooting for 30-40% profit? Probably not, as most are in the 20%. I prefer the idea, as previously mentioned, of adding a certain % to the bid for warranty replacement rather than marking up all the material individually.

I know, I know, I know what all the books, seminars, etc. etc. have to say on marking up material......however, these days, the market is becoming tighter and tighter, especially for jobs like this.
You can perhaps get away with some markup, but in a bid situation like this, I would keep it at a mininum. Perhaps if this were a referral, things may be different.....but on a bid....well, you have to play the 'game'.

Again, not sure how your market is, but I know my competition is not using numbers like these.

Your topsoil and mulch prices seem about right for BOTH COST AND INSTALLATION, but not for cost alone. In other words, the price you are charging for the mulch and the topsoil would be what others would charge for both cost and installation.......you then go on to add labor into the bid.......you are double charging the installation of these in a sense.

Equipment rental needs to be checked.......not sure of anyplace you can get a skidsteer for AND a sodcutter for $340 for 3 days (3 days for the skidsteer only I mean)

Labor time seems high.......I would figure about 50 hours of labor at the high end......thats 50 single man hours, not crew. you have something like 90+ man hours.......a big, big difference.

Without really getting into it, I bet guys will be coming in at around 7k on this one.........I wouldn't be surprised to see even 6k numbers thrown in either.......

Material is all very small..........can be purchased cheaply, acquired easily, and installed quickly......especially with all that topsoil.
Also, the cost of insuring such a install is not that high.....no high cost items. Many guys would do the job for 7k and still give a full warranty.

Power to you if you can get them to go at this price. Hopefully your good rep. and quality will sell it, but it takes a very, very good rep to make someone think twice about saving 3-4k or using you.

I think I would be in the low 8k range and be happy with this one. The only thing that really bothers me is the way in which the bid was written........sounds like a typical L.A.'S (Little Attention Spent) spec sheet.........Weed barrier, what a waste!. For the sole reason of wasting my time installing it, I would likely throw a few extra hundred on the bid just for the headache. Also, the idea of 'trying' to mix 67yds of material into the existing soil........another 'concept' idea that sounds good in theory but good luck attempting in the 'real' world. And finally.......6-8' trees???????......those aren't trees, those are twigs.....lets talk caliper here, not 'feet'. Maybe add a couple more hundred on to the bid for the sole reason that the people submitting it are basically 'clueless' to what they are actually requesting to be done and that they may be 'clueless' as to what the job is going to cost.



steve

kutnkru
01-21-2003, 11:26 AM
Bob wrote:
You should consider 3 triaxles of soil (each should hold 16-17 cu yds of soil and delivered if you shop around for about $250-300 each) then p/u the rest of the difference in peat moss.
I am basically figuring 10 hrs for the blending, hauling, and dumping of materials, which should be above and beyond the actual scope of the work. I will be able to add the peat right into the royer as the soils are being blended prior to transport.

I think you may be underestimating your equip rental.
This was not a fair assessment as I have family with a skidder that can be borrowed for $10/day. The avg. rental of this unit out the door would be $202.23 incl. damage waiver and taxes per day. If you rent the machine for 4 days $808.92, you get the machine for a total of 7 days. The sodcutter goes for $43.20 out the door. Im guess we have better than avg. equipment rental stores???

Your overhead may be a bit low too –
Yes I looked at my notes from last years fig and don’t know where that fig came from –(lol).

Finally, we also have calculated a % for plant material lost and add it to all of our plant materials. …. You're close enough to North Jersey & should consider the classes on landscape estimating given at Rutgers college each winter. …. I get a completed ST-8 sales tax exemption form as landscaping is a capital improvement!
Thanks for the tips.

kutnkru
01-21-2003, 11:35 AM
Steve wrote:
I would use YOUR COST for plant materials when figuring out what the job is costing you.....already you have a very, very 'overinflated' plant value. You talk about % profit later on as being 15%.......well, its probably more like 30-40% when you add in the money you just made on the plants ........ correct?
Steve I went back and dug up my notes from the site and it turned out at the point the bid was issued we were in a heavy growth period for Lawns, so I did in fact submit last years estimate based on the retail value of the plants NOT cost.

Again, not sure how your market is, but I know my competition is not using numbers like these.
Competition in this area is fierce. Its virtually impossible to get up to the table against some of the major players in the area, as they are bidding for what the average Joe purchases materials for. I would expect that’s to be expected however based on VOLUME discounts a dedicated Landscape Construction Firm are able to achieve v. the Lawn Guy who tries to do both lawn care and enhancements.

Your topsoil and mulch prices seem about right for BOTH COST AND INSTALLATION, but not for cost alone.
This too was an aspect when I do the math where the numbers were extremely high. I had TP as $35/yd when I can buy the best blend available for about $12/yd. I believe this number would have been what the local nursery retails for (yet again inflated price I see). The mulch price follows the same suit as retail before installation.
Equipment rental needs to be checked.......not sure of anyplace you can get a skidsteer for AND a sodcutter for $340 for 3 days (3 days for the skidsteer only I mean).
This was not a fair assessment as I have family with a skidder that can be borrowed for $10/day. The avg. rental of this unit out the door would be $202.23 incl. damage waiver and taxes per day. If you rent the machine for 4 days $808.92, you get the machine for a total of 7 days. The sodcutter goes for $43.20 out the door. Im guess we have better than avg. equipment rental stores???

The only thing that really bothers me is the way in which the bid was written........sounds like a typical L.A.'S (Little Attention Spent) spec sheet.........Weed barrier, what a waste!. For the sole reason of wasting my time installing it, I would likely throw a few extra hundred on the bid just for the headache. Also, the idea of 'trying' to mix 67yds of material into the existing soil........another 'concept' idea that sounds good in theory but good luck attempting in the 'real' world.
I agree and basically surpass the fabric detail as much as possible. I also found the mixing of soils to be an architect/designer tweakin his wrist, so I just planned on blending the soils from the holes that are dug???

And finally.......6-8' trees???????......those aren't trees, those are twigs.....lets talk caliper here, not 'feet'.
I was re-thinking the very same thing especially considering the hilltop locale of the site??? I have adjusted the figs. to allow larger caliper sizes.

kutnkru
01-21-2003, 12:04 PM
Heres how my numbers will be sent not under diress of a mowing schedule -LOL!!!
$1200.00 = 67 yds. (45/TP + 22/Peat)
$408.00 = 17 yds. Mulch
$85.00 = Fabric
$22.75 = Fert. Tablets
$2340.25 = Plant Stock (incl. guar.)
$350.00 = Clean-Up/Hauling
$150.00 = Pick Up/Deliv.

$931.78 = Labor
4 emp w/ Crew Avg Wage of $11.75
60 Total Hrs or 16 Crew Hrs
Labor burden 30%

$649.89 = Misc. Equipment
Sod Cutter 43.20/day + Skid Steer 202.23/day (x3)

$520.00 = Overhead

$324.48 = Sales Tax
$1047.32 = 15% Profit

Bid Package: $8,029.47

For calc hours I figure that 1 guy can move 2 yards per hour by hand so that = 34 hrs. If Im etsimating with a machine I figure a machine does the work 75% faster (9hrs) throughout the course of a day because there is simply no fatigue factor (well shouldnt be lol).

I always calc mulch apps at 1 hr applied per yard which helps to compensate for travel time to and from wholesaler (17hrs).

For the bed prep, 6m/sf of turf area cut w/ sod cutter per hour = 3hrs + removal of 1800sf (250sf per m/hr w. 4 empl) = (10 hrs).

For the plants I basically calc 2-3gl sized pots at 8 planted per man/hr, and 5 gl containers at 4 per man/hr. These fig include fert tablets and the like. As for the trees, I simply allow an hour for each which should be more than sufficient time for B&B stock. Installation time totaling (24hrs).

RwADesigner
01-21-2003, 02:03 PM
Im glad to see a post like this....

I am extremely curious of how you guys bid your plant materials


or do you charge (cost) x (desired profit) x (labor/hr) and then add (overhead)

or (cost) + (desired profit of total cost of plant material) + (estimated labor/hr) + (overhead)

example: cost of a 3 gal azalea........$6.75

Now say you had 20 of these at $6.75, how would you bid this plant material to be installed.

Just curious

I will post how i do it later.

thanks

kutnkru
01-21-2003, 02:57 PM
My figure was calculated this way:
Plant Materials + Guarantee + Materials x 8% = Sales Tax

Plant Materials + Guarantee + Materials +
Hauling + P/Up & Deliv + Labor + OH +
Rentals + Tax = Sub-Total

Sub-Total x (desired profit) = Bid Pricing

Turfdude
01-21-2003, 06:33 PM
Originally posted by RwADesigner
Im glad to see a post like this....

I am extremely curious of how you guys bid your plant materials


example: cost of a 3 gal azalea........$6.75

Now say you had 20 of these at $6.75, how would you bid this plant material to be installed.


thanks

20 *6.75 *1.xx where xx represents sales tax. This gives you your mats cost. add % for fixed overhead add % replacement cost

labor = 20*15/60 or 20*20/60 for laborhours (15mins/60mins/hr)
labor hours*laborrate/hour*1.yy where yy = variable overhead.
although kru can plant 8 shrubs per hour, I don't think he's allowing time to pull shrubs from truck, transport to planting location and dig holes,check for best side facing out ,proper depth,etc in 7.5 mins each. (Not unless he's superman) I figure 15-20 mins each (rather be on the high side in time estimating)

Add material subtotal+labor subtotal+profit%+travel time+charge for truck for final price

Now don't forget you'll probably at minimal be adding 2 yds of mulch too. Roughly for 20 plants@$6.75 bid price =$575.00 for small job if there is no sod stripping and mulching only.

Bob

kutnkru
01-21-2003, 07:42 PM
Originally posted by Turfdude
... although kru can plant 8 shrubs per hour, I don't think he's allowing time to pull shrubs from truck, transport to planting location and dig holes,check for best side facing out ,proper depth,etc in 7.5 mins each. (Not unless he's superman) ... Actually bob I was trying to figure out how it was that guys like Steve and their crews are able to plant so efficiently - hence the figs above (lol).

My original calculations were probably closer to how you would estimate thus the 24hrs for planting installations: ;)
2gl 4 per hr
3gl 4 per hr
5gl 2 per hour
Trees 1 hr each

Being in a tight market as Ive mentioned prior, I thought that it might be best to have an alternative plan if the bid came up for ??? I would know --or-- at least be able to guess as to how the big dawgs were calc their numbers for production.

I'd be guesstimating that the more fine tuned ops were planting the materials in about 18 man/hrs.

RwADesigner
01-21-2003, 07:49 PM
when you guys are saying....plant per/hr I am assuming you are meaning everything including unloading from truck/layout of plants/digging holes/fertilizer/planting plants.....anything else im not listing ???

Turfdude
01-21-2003, 07:53 PM
Originally posted by RwADesigner
when you guys are saying....plant per/hr I am assuming you are meaning everything including unloading from truck/layout of plants/digging holes/fertilizer/planting plants.....anything else im not listing ???

BINGO!!!!;)

Even included is time to loosen and or score container plants w/ knife, remove cages on B&B mats, untie & fold burlap in hole,etc..
"womb to tomb" from when plants get to site. Just make sure travel to Nursery & loading is accounted for elsewhere in bid.

Bob

P.S. anyone else wanna bid that small azalea job??

RwADesigner
01-21-2003, 07:54 PM
gotcha!

kutnkru
01-21-2003, 09:02 PM
Without mulch yet incl ammendments $362.32
With mulch incl. ammendments $454.51

steveair
01-21-2003, 11:07 PM
Hello,

The way I like to approach 'Bid' situations..........and I say 'bid' because pricing jobs that are referrerals, cold calls, recommendations, etc. are different.

My main problem with the way kut figured the bid is he used 'inflated' values for all of his materials. When doing a bid, you should start with the 'cost' of the materials. This way, you can see what the job is 'actually' costing you. In bidding situations, you need some information on what bids are going for in your region, who it is your bidding against, and also, who the people are that you are giving the bid too.

For instance. Maybe xyz landscaping does the multiplier method for there plant material.....in other words, they are going to put plant material in at a price 2x higher that wholesale. Knowing this, you could then put material in at a 1.95 factor technically, and beat them, and still make a good profit if all other things were the same.

In a bid situation, you should use the 'real' costs of all the materials, and then decide at the end of your estimate what percent profit you would like to make. I'm not that well experienced, but I know guys who KNOW they can put the plant material in at wholesale plus 30% and come out competitively. This ability is only gained through experience.

As for biding 8 plants.......well, I'm not very good at that either. Again, I am a very small operation and just know how long a job similiar to this will take.........All aspects considered(ie. deliveries, plant loading/unloading, planting, cleanup, mulching, etc. etc.) I know that I can, and have done, the job in the area of 50hrs, and am confident I will do the same. I don't get into 'indivdual' plant times, times for loading/unloading, times for topsoil installation, etc., etc. as individual jobs............I will say that I use too, but after my 'guesses' became very close to my calculations, I have determined not to sit there and analyze every little aspect of a job. I guess its one of those things that just occurs over time. And again, I'm a small operation, so that makes it a bit less critical and gives me a little headroom........(I'm not going to have 8 guys sitting around for 2 hrs waiting for a truck to arrive in other words eating up all my profit)

Good luck with the bid.......I hope you get it.

steve

steveair
01-21-2003, 11:22 PM
On the azalea job.........

I won't even bother giving a bid......... Way too many unknowns for such a small job.

Are they going into existing beds? Are they going into a newly created bed that needs to be completely constructed? Is the job far away from me? Where is the job located, a 'good' part of town (meaning ritzy), out in the country (meaning NO $), are the people past customers who I have bid high and know I can bid high, is there future work to be had, did I get a good sense from the people when I met them, etc. etc. etc...........

Small jobs can make or break you............you either make good money or no money......if you break even or make little on a small job, then too me, you lost money, and therefore, why should you have even bothered. You can spend just as much time on a 'small job' estimate as you do on a 'large job' estimate in many cases. I've had small jobs turn into nightmares...............too me, the small jobs are the 'high risk' jobs, and therefore demand 'high estimates'.

When bidding small jobs, I basically throw out the book of 'fundamental pricing principles' . When it comes down to it, its really a matter of 'how much do I want to TRY and make here'. Sit down, figure the cost out quick, say to yourself 'what do I think these people are willing to pay for this', and give a price.

I would have to say that 20 azaleas has to be in the $400-$500 dollar range............but I know for a fact that guys have gotten $1200 for them too, so you can bet I'm going to think twice about giving them a 'by the book' estimate.

And to be honest with you, would you really even consider giving a bid on a job so small?...........Would it be worth it? Is there a 'scientific' method to doing it? I really don't think so. Just throw a number out and see where it goes. If the people need a bid on 20 plants, then with 100% certainity, the person with the lowest is going to win. Do you want to be the 'lowest' person?
steve

RwADesigner
01-22-2003, 10:06 AM
On the azalea job......... I won't even bother giving a bid......... Way too many unknowns for such a small job.


Steve,

Oh no man, you misunderstood me. This isnt a real bid. I was merely giving an example of some shrubs just so i could see how similiar my estimating was to everybody in this forums, since they were discussing a job already. LOL.....i never do jobs this small anyways...you are right >>>not worth the hassle.

Turfdude
01-22-2003, 11:00 AM
I would only consider a job like this if I could schedule it in concurrence w/ another landscape job in the same development. That way, you're already at the nursery getting your materials and you're already loaded and ready to go.

Bob

steveair
01-22-2003, 11:26 AM
Hello,

Sorry for getting off track so much.

My estimating is all based on the principles and idea of James Huston........I won't get into the ideas, because you can just go buy the book instead and save me all the typing.

I guess the point I was trying to make is a lot of how bids are done is how big the job is.

If I'm doing a 3 million job estimate, then yes, knowing all the 'little details' becomes very important. In other words, I dam well better know how long it is going to take to plant 20 azaleas.

However, because of the size of my operation, every thing is somewhat relative........as I feel it is for a majority of the operations out there.

I always try to remember that, though the systems and methods giving by experts and large companies are efficient, they don't necessarily apply to small operations. I think this is a very important point.

When going to such sites as this, There are guys here doing millions and millions a year......there pricing procedures have to be lean and efficient, down to the last penny. For small guys like myself and Kutnkru, I think you have to 'know' the fundamentals of how they price jobs, but not the 'low down' nitty gritty.

I mean, I know my times. I know that if I have to plant 1 tree for someone, I will probably spend a half of day doing it, maybe even a full day when you consider all the time involved. But I also know that it is going to be only myself, and perhaps a helper. Therefore, the worst case scenario is going to be a full day work for myself and 1 day pay for a helper. Do I really need to concern myself with calculating the time it takes to load the truck, unload the truck, clean up, mulch, pick up materials, etc. etc.....no. But for large operations............well, yes.


steve

RwADesigner
01-22-2003, 11:28 AM
Well Put!