View Full Version : $1250 job!!

04-17-2003, 11:46 AM
I'm starting a $1250 job tommorow. I'm stoked about it. It's reseeding (3700sf, breaking up old bare spots, filling them in with topsoil, seed and fert.), trimming hedges, pulling three small shrubs, laying hardwood mulch (2300sf), and weeding beds, about 1700 sf.
All in all about two days. I thought i bid high, guess not!!!

04-17-2003, 01:32 PM
Congratulations to you. Will you be doing all of this by yourself or with others?


04-17-2003, 02:29 PM
2300 sq ft of mulch. thats, ummm, around 20 yds isnt it?

04-17-2003, 02:51 PM
Gravely man,
One other helper.

There is already mulch down they only want a 1 inch cover so lets cut that in half and say 10 yards!

04-17-2003, 03:31 PM
What are the expenses for this job (not incl. labor)? Dumping, mulch, topsoil, seed and fert.?

04-17-2003, 05:01 PM
Originally posted by jimlewis
What are the expenses for this job (not incl. labor)? Dumping, mulch, topsoil, seed and fert.?

I dont have my estimate in front of me but it is alittle bit less than half of the $1250. about 40-45%

04-17-2003, 05:50 PM
I dont have my estimate in front of me but it is alittle bit less than half of the $1250. about 40-45% Ok. So let's assume it's 40%. That's $500. Now we're talking about a $740 job. You said it'd take 2 of you 2 days, right? Let's assume these are 8 hour days. 2 guys x 8 hours x $25 x 2 days = $800. So you're not even making $25 per hour on this job. PLUS, I am making 2 big assumptions above.

Not to burst you're bubble. I am glad you're excited. I remember when a job like this used to excite me too. But realize that it's not ALL that exciting when you break it down. These days, our company gets at least $35 per man hour for jobs like this. Often, it ends up being more. So for that same job, we'd have made $1120.00, rather than $740. Actually, I typically charge $650 / day for the crew who would do this kind of work. So I would have made $1300. That's BEFORE expenses. And I keep that crew busy 5 days a week doing these kind of jobs. They're doing a job today that will net $800 after expenses.

Again, I am not trying to burst you bubble or brag here. I just want you to understand what a job equates to when you really break it down. You shouldn't feel like you overbid this job. You should feel that you underbid it. Always look at the bigger picture with your long term goals in mind.

To run a successful, professional, outfit with all of the stuff needed these days, it takes a lot of money. $740 sounds like good money to you now. And it may be. But at less than $25 per man hour, you're not going to get rich quick. In fact, I argue that it's going to be a real struggle. Hopefully this makes a little sense.

David Gretzmier
04-17-2003, 05:53 PM
2300 sq. ft beds / 12 =191 cu. ft mulch ( 1 inch ) or /27 = 7 yards. It sounds as though you are doing ok, but two guys for two days should charge somewhere around 1400 for labor around here. that plus a 15-35 % markup on materials, would be in the neighborhood where my bid would be. I used to get excited when I was doing mostly mowing and these came along, but landscapers charge more than you think. good luck and I hope this job goes quick and easy.

Dave g

Gr grass n Hi tides
04-17-2003, 07:09 PM
On Sunday I had a spring clean up that took me 8 hrs., which included weeding & mulching flower beds, dethatching, edging, hedge trimming and chainsaw work on two large trees. This was on a home that was going up for sale this week which had been neglected for many years.

The figure I had in mind was actually lower than what the homeowner wanted to give me, but I also spent more time on the job than I thought I would because they were very particular (which is fine). The owner told me he would pay $500. I was prepared to quote the original job at $350, but at that time thought the job would be shorter. Plus, the homeowner added on a couple of things to be done than were not originally planned.

On Wednesday I hand delivered my bill to the real estate agent (yes, a real estate agency that pays fast). While I'm standing there in his office, a call comes in from a buyer that made a full dollar offer on the property. On the market for just 3 days. The real estate guy that called me for the job said to this buyer over the phone, "yes sir I think the landscaping added a lot of value too." No joke. This was a great boost for me.

Aside from a little gasoline, some chain saw oil, and a few leaf bags, my only expense on the job was $48 for two yards of mulch. As a small offset, I wound up with a little firewood !!

I'm new in this business as a full timer, but received a valuable lesson in bidding. Imagine if I had done this job for $350. We work hard work and provide a valuable service, and should be paid accordingly.

04-17-2003, 10:47 PM
The customer is getting a great price. That would be my price for one day of work. :cool:

04-17-2003, 11:10 PM
last season i remeber doing my first big landscaping project... i had spring break so i assumed it would take me a week. hehe i was so happy i was making 20 an hour for 2 people so make that 10 an hour... after the first 3 days of intense labor i was pulling out a stupid lil tree and punched myself in the eye made a nice gash and said f this and went a rented a lil toro dingo(all my trailor could take) and since my customer has been with me for 4 years he understood and doubled the payment to 40 bones a hour. what a learning experience... It turned out to take me and my partner 63 hours each 44 yds of topsoil 200lbs grass seed and about 10 trips to the dump...I'm sure everyone has to learn somehow. hehe make sure to look really deep into the job and firgure it out on paper!!!!!
I don't settle for anything less than 30 a man hour when with workers and bymself 35 an hour.
just finished a 1300 job in getting ready to do the next
gluck presicionlawn

04-18-2003, 02:06 AM
Damn, spuds. That's quite a story. I did stuff like that a lot my first year. I knew absolutely nothing about this business.

One of the first jobs I took on was mowing this 1/3 acre property with 1-2' tall grass. Somehow, in my naivete, I figured it would only take me 3 hours and 1 load of grass. So I bid $60 plus the client agreed to throw in 2 pairs of Nike shoes (Nike headquarters is in my town, so I get that a lot.) Anyway, after about 25 hours with my crappy $50 mower several trips to the dump, I was done. After the 2nd day, I had to hire a friend to help me out. I think I ended up paying HIM more than $60.

To make matters worse, it was almost 100 degrees out side that week. I remember falling down several times and just laying there. I must have had heat exhaustion or lack of fluids because my heart was beating like crazy and I could barely breath. Then, after 15 minutes, I'd get up and start it all over again.

So those were some damn expensive Nikes!

04-21-2003, 05:10 PM
lol thats crazy should have bought one of those brush dr. or something like that..

04-21-2003, 09:11 PM
Originally posted by jimlewis
So those were some damn expensive Nikes!

Jim - you should have posted this reply before your earlier response. Hearing stories like these from a respected LS member as yourself, gives a ray of hope to the "newbies". Also, showing these guys where you are now, and where they should strive to be, offers them a little more insight into the biz. I can't remember my first job over $1000.00, but I do remember the exitement of it!!!
Now I only get exited at the over $10,000.00 jobs. We have some annual mulch jobs at close to $1500.00 alone and they're residential.

A1 Lawn@Landscapes
04-21-2003, 10:17 PM
Learn from the experience. Figure out what you made from the job then divide it by the man hours. Adjust your future estimates as needed.