View Full Version : Would appreciate your 2 cents on this estimate.

04-18-2003, 06:53 AM
A small estimate that I'd like your opinion on. ....I try to get comparisons locally but not much luck as its all over the map on prices here.

500 sq feet new beds installed...Roundup the grass, strip the sod, dispose of sod off site, apply 3 inches of topsoil to beds(figure about 5 yards..can park the truck 10 feet from the beds...dirt from truck to barrow to bed)

Install natural 3-4" bed edge around new and existng beds...about 220 linear ft.

Ignore material cost. What ballpark range would this cost in your market? I'm thinking somewhere in the $400 range for labor only. (BTW I'm hauling the soil) thanks much

04-18-2003, 10:11 AM
Why don’t you tell us how you came up with the $400 and then perhaps more people could get in on the conversation.
For starters I would not use Round up …I would use a sod cutter to remove the sod. Do these beds not need any other excavation? The soil is all-good under there?
Anyway… tell me how much excavation you are taking away… in cubic yards. How long do you estimate that will take you – in hours? Are you guessing or do you have production rates for this type of work? Guessing is fine ….if you keep track for future reference. Okay now you have your excavation out of there and trucked away. (keep trucking time separate) What is your next step? Are you going to edge the beds … how much time for that – Linear ft per hour? Next your adding soil ..(don’t forget trucking time) how long for that? You said 3” … that doesn’t sound like much and don’t forget to add 25% for compaction. Next you have general conditions … clean up…talking with customers …travel time … add in about 3 hours labor per guy per day for that.

See what I am getting at if you were to break the job down into tasks ?. ,,,then go through and add up all your labor hours. …add your materials plus percentage and add your equipment plus percentage….add in your profit.
Not sure if this is at all helpful to you ..I’d just rather see how someone came up with the quote and maybe comment on things they may be forgetting. Bottom line is..your $400 may be low.

Little Guy
04-19-2003, 12:59 AM
But I can say $400.00 is way to low $650-850.00 Plus dump fees and loam/compost/mulch/!

If I can't make money I wouldn't do it, unless it become a contract customer with a sure potential to be a great account.

We are not all in the same situation so what I would or would not do differs from probably everyone on the site.

Hope it helps!

Little Guy


04-19-2003, 06:30 AM
Well Guys I had to chukle at your responses. I am never known to lowball ANY prices. In fact I'm usually one of the people here that are in the higher fee ranges for most work because we do some of the best work in my area. Yes Kris I have production rates ...for ex: 100 ft an hour for bed edging. Soil pickup and dump site is 5 minutes away and on the way to the job site. Job site is 7 minutes from the shop. Virtually no windshield time on this job. Soil under turf needs no further excavation as nothing will be planted in these beds....mulch only. Stripping dead sod on a dry day is a piece of cake when its been killed. Only the dead sod comes up and it weighs very little. I've done this many many times and its ez to strip off and have never had grass later come thru the soil and mulch. I'll bump the labor to $500. If I cant get the job done in 7 hours I'd better look fo another line of work...thanks for your input..much appreciated.

04-19-2003, 11:01 AM
Hey no problem ... don't take any offence to my post. It's almost impossible to talk prices on here ..every area is different and every business has much different needs.
That is why I mentioned production rates. Like I said ...I'd much rather see how a guy came up with the quote... the hourly rate that is used for labor is not important.

04-20-2003, 05:57 AM
good point Kris...usally when I want to check out a bid with the folks here I'll just ask for man hours....for some reason I had a brain fade here and ask for a $ quote. Yes indeed the hourly rates vary widely here depending on the state and locale. Just read another post where bed edging rates are as low as 40 cents a foot and yet a number of guys here swear it needs to be a $1 per foot no less.....thats why I like the new forum for us to network with guys from at least the same state and maybe even the same town.

04-20-2003, 10:36 PM
$500 +
Your back will feel it in the morning:D Joel

04-23-2003, 09:26 PM
Originally posted by GarPA
Roundup the grass, strip the sod,

Gary, just curious, is it necessary to strip the sod after applying Round Up?
Wouldn't one or the other suffice on it's own?


04-23-2003, 10:35 PM
Jon...the reason I'm using Roundup before stripping is because I cant get into allot of the tight places with the machine and I've found over the years that if the turf is dead, sod stripping by hand is soooooo much easier than if the grass is alive and well. Its still not fun doing it the old fashioned way...oh well ...at least I'll get a good workout.

04-23-2003, 10:47 PM
So just using Round Up and laying mulch on top of that won't do? The sod HAS to come up?

I ask because I have a similar job coming up but about half the size (240 sq.ft.), and they just want mulch put into the new bed (new bed around existing evergreen shrubs).

I don't have a sod cutter, and it's too small of a job to warrent renting one.

I also can't apply RoundUp (no license, yet), but the customer said he'll spray it since he has some already.

I had planned to just cut in edge and apply mulch on top a week after he sprays.

No good? Sod HAS to come up still? Hope not. Didn't price job for that extra labor of digging out sod by hand.

04-24-2003, 05:34 AM
Jon most times I do what you are planning to do ...this customer just wants the sod up because they dont want landscape fabric put down and they are afraid some leftover grass will still come thru the soil and mulch...told him that wont happen but he insists on having the sod taken up. So he is paying foro it. I've never had a problem doing it the way you are planning to do it.

04-25-2003, 10:13 PM
$600-700 sight un-seen...:cool:

Kohls Landscaping Co
04-26-2003, 08:53 PM
Most times when I make a new bed, i'll edge out the edge of the bed and take it the grass out about 2 feet inside the edge. In most conditions, when making a bed, I'll order topsoil and raise the bed (you don't want the bed "sunken"). The topsoil will sufficate the grass and no round-up has to be used.... just an idea...

04-27-2003, 04:30 AM
Thanks for the tip....I'll try that in my own yard...I just always assumed that even if I raise it with at least 3 inches of soil , that I still needed to R-up the grass...And on the suject of of "sunken" beds ...I always almost insist the customer let me raise the bed...too many times I see guys , especially for a new home, just throw the plants in and put mulch on ...it looks like ----....beds need to be raised if only by a little....looks so much more professional

Kohls Landscaping Co
04-27-2003, 06:22 PM
i've never had a problem with the grass coming up through even the 3 inches of soil.... not to mention there's gonna be around two inches of mulch on top up that... just make sure you take out enough grass around they edge where the bed begins to slope back down... best of luck...