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eddy13
06-16-2003, 01:15 AM
Hello everyone, this is my 1st post. I just recently finished my 1st mulching job and was wondering if I priced it right. My partner and I used 23 yards of cypress/cedar mix @ $25.68 a yard. It took us 60 man hours @ $14.50 each. That's $590.64 in mulch, and $870.00 in labor.I used $25.00 on gas and $6.00 on trash bags. That's a total of $1491.64. The customer didn't want to pay for materials so I took off $31.00 and another $15.00 for pulling a flower that was not supposed to be....believe me , we learned our lesson and that won't happen again.That's a total of $1446.64.My cut came out to be $14.27 an hour.How did I do? Could I have gotten more?
Eddy Cox
- All We Can Do Lawn Services

Mike Bradbury
06-16-2003, 02:53 AM
you should have gotten more. Can't be self employed billing 15.00 an hour. Need to charge 30.00 to MAKE 15.00.

That's an enormous amount of time for 23 yards, does that include a lot of prep? Edging the beds? Fabric? Was it an extremely long haul to the beds? I figure 1.5-2 yards per man hour for hauling/spreading (prep work is seperate). For big jobs think tractor with front end loader or bobcat to haul the mulch to the beds. I'd do that job in 1/2 day with my tractor and 1 helper. Charge them 55.00 a yard plus any prep work. Same bill, half a day. I make, ummmmmmmmm, a whole bunch more than 14.50 an hour.

Learn a lesson on the billing and only show a customer a TOTAL price! Never itemize a bill, for the reason you just discovered, they will nickel and dime your bill to death. If it took 25.00 in gas then that should be part of the bill, but not a seperate item for them to see.

eddy13
06-16-2003, 11:33 AM
thanks for the info Mike...I thought we were under, but it was our 1st job and didn't really know what to expect. We had so many hours because it was a large yard and we were hauling mulch in a small pickup that could not be driven in the yard. We did a lot of wheel barrowing from the truck. We also pulled a lot of weeds(I'll use round up next time)and removed some saplings. We have a yard next door to this one that wants mulching done. I estimate that it will take 6.5 yards. So I should charge $55.00 a yard + the cost of mulch? And extra for weeding?Sounds better than the 1st job. Thanks again Mike.....
Ed

Green in Idaho
06-16-2003, 07:26 PM
$1,500 for 23 yards = $65 per yard of mulch.

The 60 hours including a lot of prep work really scews the rate. It would be easier to evaluate if you could determine 40 hours prep work 20 for mulch or whatever it was.

Perhap on the next job measure times for each task so you will have a good meter for future bids. Like how long to load a barrow and how many barrows per truck load (=how long to unload). Then you can bid on the job instead of T & M. And you will have workable numbers for 3 yards or 103 yards.

With long barrow runs (dist from truck to bed) a good pace of a jog is helpful. When working with two A loads and runs the mulch and B spreads it. Trade after an hour or two. When not much spreading is involved, used two barrows, person A loads #1 while B runs and dumps and returns empty to pick up loaded #2. This is when you get paid by the yard not by the hour. :)

Having a small truck adds a lot of inefficiency to the job. It's tough to pass YOUR inefficiencies off to the customer. So making 20 trips to the supplier instead of 2 is your cost that you pretty much have to eat to be competitive. Do a delivery if there is a spot to dump it.

When you are doing straight labor with hand tools so $15/hr (while on the low side) is reasonable for NEW operators. Just cause someone charges $50 for mowing with a $10,000 mower doesn't mean they ought to charge $50 for placing mulch. But the profit should be the same for both tasks though.
******************

Got any pictures????? of the mulch that is?

rebel77
06-16-2003, 09:28 PM
I charge $65 a yard. That includes delivery, mulch and spreading. I charge seperate for weeding and edging. A lot of people want to pay hourly, sorry I dont do that. Old timers do not want to pay.
I make a lot more than $15 an hour. Another thing I do is have large jobs delivered.

Rebel77

eddy13
06-16-2003, 11:28 PM
Sorry, no pics of the mulch. I have no digital camera.It's got a good color and only used it because it was the cheapest we found. Turned out to be good mulch. Thanks for all the advice, I've gotten a lot of useful tips at this site. I am starting at the bottom with free and borrowed equipment and an old nissan pickup that runs fair. I plan to upgrade as I go. So far, I've made a positive cash flow. I had a setback today... got poison ivy. Gotta go get a shot in the behind. That's $50.00. That's the only way I can get rid of it. Until next time
Ed

eddy13
06-16-2003, 11:30 PM
thanks rebel....soaking up all the advice I can get.

joshua
06-16-2003, 11:44 PM
You billed yourself out at $15 a hour, come on raise your prices, the least i bill myself out is $60 and the highest is $100 depending on the job. For my employees i bill them out at $15 a guy.

think about it 3 months of the year you do nothing, insurance, taxes, gas, your time to meet with customers ( even if you don't get the job its your time you could be doing something else ), workmans comp. , paper work, ect... ect.... ect.... your job for them didn't start when you arrived at the site, it started when you answered there call, went over to sell the job, ordered what you needed, picked it up, did the job, walked them through to make sure they were satisfied, when home made the bill up and sent it to them, got paid and the job was then complete. you have to think about every job just like that because thats what every job includes.


ohhh yea i forgot the biggest thing of all you're also getting paid for your knowlegde.

eddy13
06-17-2003, 12:09 AM
thanks joshua...

hoyboy
06-17-2003, 08:03 PM
If I want $15/hour, I'll go get a job and forget the headaches of owning a business...

I bill our maintenance jobs (little supervision required) at $35/manhour and our installs at $45/manhour (actually all of our installs are per contract, but I use this hourly rate for "extras" the customer may want at the last minute)

The overall price you charged doesn't sound TOO cheap (a little though), but the hours spent seem WAAAAYYYY to long. We charge $75/cu. yd. for labor and material for the typical job, but that can go up depending on site conditions, etc.

good luck...


Dan Norton
Hoy Landscaping, Inc.

eddy13
06-18-2003, 04:13 PM
Originally posted by Green in Idaho
$1,500 for 23 yards = $65 per yard of mulch.

The 60 hours including a lot of prep work really scews the rate. It would be easier to evaluate if you could determine 40 hours prep work 20 for mulch or whatever it was.

Perhap on the next job measure times for each task so you will have a good meter for future bids. Like how long to load a barrow and how many barrows per truck load (=how long to unload). Then you can bid on the job instead of T & M. And you will have workable numbers for 3 yards or 103 yards.

With long barrow runs (dist from truck to bed) a good pace of a jog is helpful. When working with two A loads and runs the mulch and B spreads it. Trade after an hour or two. When not much spreading is involved, used two barrows, person A loads #1 while B runs and dumps and returns empty to pick up loaded #2. This is when you get paid by the yard not by the hour. :)

Having a small truck adds a lot of inefficiency to the job. It's tough to pass YOUR inefficiencies off to the customer. So making 20 trips to the supplier instead of 2 is your cost that you pretty much have to eat to be competitive. Do a delivery if there is a spot to dump it.

When you are doing straight labor with hand tools so $15/hr (while on the low side) is reasonable for NEW operators. Just cause someone charges $50 for mowing with a $10,000 mower doesn't mean they ought to charge $50 for placing mulch. But the profit should be the same for both tasks though.
******************

Got any pictures????? of the mulch that is?

eddy13
06-18-2003, 04:14 PM
oops....sorry, just figuring out how to use the quote option...
- Ed

vardener
06-19-2003, 09:48 PM
I try and use nothing but cypress mulch. unfortunately, it only comes in bags here in MD. but for the bags, I charge about $5 per bag. If laying 20 bags of mulch takes me about 2 hours, I jsut made $50 per hour.

I won't leave my couch unless I can make $50 per hour. That is unless I'm helping out a friend. or a friend's mom.

Rock on with your Nissan and borrowed tools. These guys with their lists of equipment in their signature blocks started out of a pickup with borrowed tools as well I'm sure.

eddy13
06-20-2003, 12:07 AM
thanks vardener.....
-Ed ( gotta new account today)lol

gogetter
06-21-2003, 01:29 AM
Originally posted by eddy13
We had so many hours because it was a large yard and we were hauling mulch in a small pickup
Ed


Eddy, you picked up and hauled 23 yds of mulch in a Nissan pick up? How many trips did this take you? And why in the world didn't you just have it delivered?

I'm guessing maybe one yard per trip? So around 23 trips? That's where half your hours came from.
Your price was not too bad, but the man hours are insane.

Most any place I know of will deliver for free if it's over 5 yds.

eddy13
06-21-2003, 09:39 AM
It took us 12 trips, 2 yds. at a time. We had a yd left over but charged her for it. Ended up giving it to my partner's grandma.lol
You are right, the driving ate up about 20 hrs. but it was a good in between break and really didn't hurt us because it was our 1st and only job at the time. I got another mulch job in a few weeks.I will let you know how it turned out. Thanks for all the advice.
- Ed

landscapingpoolguy
06-21-2003, 12:18 PM
23 yards in yur pick up truck!!!!!Why didnt you just have it deilvered.....? What I do is add the price of the mulch plus 20 percent for me, plus the delivery price plus 20 percent for me, plus the equipment cost plus 50 dollars for me, plus labor which I bill out at 63 dollars an hour for 3 guys, $40 for me and $13 for my guys plus I make 10 dollars on every hour they work. Hey how much diid the gas cost you to make a dozen trips? case in point... i just put in a bid to mulch a stroage facility....40 yards of dark mulch at $10 /yd my cost, gave to them at $15 /yd= $400 my cost, $600 there cost, plus it was a 80 dollars to deliver so I charged $100, plus 250 for a skid steer rental for the day, I charged $300, plus I figure about 10 hours labor at $63 (we move about 4-6 yard and hour with 3 guys and a skid steer) thats $630. (always give yurself an extra hour or two, travel time and un expected delays can eat up profits) Total cost of the job.....$1630.00 plus tax. My net minus expeses and labor $770.00. Wanna break it down hourly? Thats $77 an hour. Thats sounds like a good days worth of work to me. Need any help pricing a job? I say post it first the well help ya price it till ya get the hang of it.

Good lLuck

Chuck
Perfect Property Services Inc.

eddy13
06-21-2003, 12:36 PM
thanks Chuck...
-Ed

Green in Idaho
06-21-2003, 02:28 PM
Originally posted by landscapingpoolguy
i just put in a bid to mulch a stroage facility....40 yards of dark ... My net minus expeses and labor $770.00. Wanna break it down hourly? Thats $77 an hour. Thats sounds like a good days worth of work to me.

1,630 Bid
- 400 mulch
- 250 rental
- 130 direct labor (assuming $10/hr + 30% burden)
- 80 delivery
__________
$770

URRRCH!
Chuck, check your labor again. You wrote $63/hr - 40 for your you and $13 guys & $10 for profit/hr.

$13/hr for THREE GUYS????

More like $10/hr wage +30% burden = 13 x 3= 39/hr + your $40 (too much) + your $10 = $89/hr NOT $63. $89 X 10 hours = $890
For just the 3 guys it's $390

1630-400-250-390-80= $510
- Your $40/hr
=$110 gross profit for 10 hours of work.

THEN
- total office, advertising, expenses for the month / 160 hours x 10 hours
- truck payment /160 hrs
- fuel
- time it took you to bid it
- time to bill
- time to clean up
- etc, etc.....
-TAXES

10 Hours on Site???
You are on the job for 10 hours with 4 people that's 40 manhours. 40 manhours for 40 yards of mulch WITH a loader???? 1 Yard per hour??? 1 yard has 27 c.ft. A barrow has 6. That's 5 loads of wheelbarrow per yard. Five wheel barrow loads in one hour???? Can a hard worker load, drop and do an easy spread of 1 yard per hour. It doesn't seem like you are getting any efficiency with the rental.


Your thoughts?

chitwood
06-21-2003, 03:41 PM
On my first mulch job I doubled the price of mulch on used that as my rate - 30$ per yard installed
I bought a 10 cubic ft wagon and used it to haul across the lawn - cost 125$.
On your first job its hard to say it will take 8, 15 or 23 yards of material. The experence you got will be worth more than the 15$ per hour. Next time try delivery and also I billed based on the 10 cubic ft wagon load v/s the 2 yds you bought at the supply yard. I have found that most of the time I get 2 1/2 yards in my small trailer instead of the 2 yds I pay for. 3 wagon loads 27 cubic ft = 1 yd, get paid for what you actually handle not what the guy on the loader at the yard says you got. Good luck

landscapingpoolguy
06-21-2003, 09:49 PM
hey GREEN IN IDAHO,

Im dead on with my labor----- My total labor cost for 2 workers(NOT 3) is $13 dollars an hour I pay one $6 an hour and the other $7 an hour....... yes I charge 40 an hour for myself.(ONLY 3 MEN ON SITE INCLUDING MYSELF)
$40=me
$6 =worker1
$7 =worker2
$53+10 for every hour my guys work=$63 an hour.....and yea i can minus the office time but i think it took my a total of 10 minutes to do the estimate.....and i do alot more then one mulch job a month and i hope you do too and yea total time for the job is really an 8 hour job...the entire job is operating the skid steer while the guys spread it...no wheel barrows needed. so if we do 4 - 6 yards an hour, minimum 4 yards an hour then max time is 10 hours for 40 yards...10 x $63 is $630.00...1630-400-250-80-130=770......dont worry I checked it twice before I put in the bid. But i think you should reread before you post or criticize.

Chuck
Perfect Property Services Inc.
"Perfect Every Time"

Green in Idaho
06-22-2003, 12:03 AM
Originally posted by landscapingpoolguy
hey GREEN IN IDAHO,... i think you should reread before you post. ChuckPerfect Property Services Inc.
"Perfect Every Time"

Oooooooh.
Well I stand corrected now that you have clarified your employee wages and that you changed from 10 to 8 hours.

And secondly, can I come work for you for the summer? I hear Jersey is wonderful this time of year. I would love to earn $6/hour!

Maybe you could visit the thread about why teenagers go out and buy a Murray to start mowing themself instead of working for someone else..... And it's not "criticizm"-- just a thought... :rolleyes:

Or maybe the thread of why it's so hard to find good employees. Or the thread about payroll taxes and labor burden. Or the thread about labor efficiency. Or the thread about the recovering overhead costs....

Enjoy your profits. :)

Green in Idaho
06-22-2003, 12:07 AM
How about this " I have no idea what my real costs are so I just charge $100 for every hour I'm on site. I cross my fingers and hope it all works out in the end"? (that's just a hypothetical analogy for those wanting to jump all over it).

For others reading this, it is more important to separate that rate out to identify of the $100 (for example) how much is for an actual wage for me, how much goes to equip, how much is for the vehicle sitting on the curb, for the fuel, insurance, etc..

It is important to know when one expands and a foreman is on the job instead of the owner. And it's important when one needs to start tightening the cost belt and when trimming fat on a bid to be more competitive.

landscapingpoolguy
06-22-2003, 01:16 PM
Everyone starts a the bottom.......Everyone......a 6 dollar an hour wage is a common wage for a daily laborer here. ......And if they take that wage who am I to complain........

Workers with no experience must understand that they cannot be compinsated the same as workers with experience.....

And as far as teenagers buying a murry and goin out on there own to mow.....well i applaud them.... cause we were all there at one time or another..and theat is the best time to learn how to do it right...when expenses and liablity are low.....that is the entrepenurial drive in all of us that comes out early as a teenager struggling to make a buck......som succeed an others fail but i do applaud there corageous efforts.....

But over time we learned how to make profits from the backbreaking labor we endured.....

Am I a large corporation employeeing 50 illigal immigrants and calling them day workers and trying to skimp on workmans comp and taxes? No.....im a small local guy competeing against these local monsters...paying my taxes and my workmans comp and gen liabilty...

and yes i do understand the back ground expenses of a daily business, Truck Payment, Financed equipment Payment, Taxes, Insurance, amintenece etc,etc......and this is where the profits from my jobs is applied to. MAybe in my original post i came across that way, but that is not true....Its not like im putting all this cash into my pockets and walking away.....

All im saying is that its a good days work and a nice daily profit for the company.....

Why do my workers allow me to pay them so little ? because im right next to them breaking my back just as hard.....and patting them on the back for the hard work they endure...every customer of mine knows that......and its becasue of this reputation for working hard and adding a personal touch to all of my jobs be it maintenece or installation that my business continues to prosper......

Green In Idaho, I wish you the best luck and prosperty and I hope that this constant crunching of back ground numbers does not effect yur mental or physical health or cause any undo stress.

Good Luck

Chuck
Perfect Property Services Inc.
"Perfect Every Time"

gogetter
06-22-2003, 08:08 PM
Originally posted by landscapingpoolguy
a 6 dollar an hour wage is a common wage for a daily laborer here.


Uhhh, I don't know about that! But if telling yourself that helps ya sleep at night............

landscapingpoolguy
06-23-2003, 07:12 PM
hey i get um for 6 bucks an hour why cant you guys?

Chuck

Green in Idaho
06-23-2003, 08:00 PM
Of course they can be had for $6. Just not retained for very long... and not the quality to "think" on their own or to work on their own. Your profile says 2 years. Check back in 5 years and see how many employees you go through.... :(

When your customers ask why you charge $63/hr compared to Joes Lawn charging $25/hr you tell your customer's "you get what you pay for," right?

You ALSO get what you hire for....:dizzy:

landscapingpoolguy
06-23-2003, 08:02 PM
Thanks to all of the lawn business Gurus out there.....what would i do without yur sarcasm and critism.

Chuck

Steph
06-25-2003, 04:14 PM
Where do you purchase your mulch for the big jobs? I know of a really good business that delivers. They have a Tractor Trailer business in Lyndon, Vermont and go ALL OVER the place. They make their mulch and they are great people to deal with. Check them out call Karl Johnson Trucking and ask for Lisa.

mdvaden
06-26-2003, 02:27 AM
We mainly use barkdust or I suppose compost could be considered mulch.

In Beaverton, the mulch is $80 per unit, and the bark $120 per unit. A unit is about a 7.5 yd. truckload.

Your 23 yds. is what I call 3 units.

On a reasonable yard, when I was 35 (now 43), I could put out 1 unit myself in 2 to 3 hours. Probably 3 to 4 on the 2nd if there were 2.

Basically, I'd just get 2 temp workers for 23 yards. We would go with one of us per unit, and get that whole mess of mulch out and spread in about 4 hours.

Bark is blown on at $220 per one unit. So we need to stay within about $100 to $150 of labor, otherwise blowing is a better option that will out-compete us.

eddy13
06-28-2003, 02:33 PM
I've been away for a week and I come back with more replies waiting. Thanks to all of you for the comments, they have been extremely helpful. I feel a little more like a professional. I have been doing a lot of mowing in the past week and no mulching. I have one job lined up but with no actual date as of yet....waiting on them. I will certainly post how it goes when it happens. Also, how much are delivery costs for mulch in everyones locations? I guess that would be a good poll to take.
Steph, we get a cedar/cypress mix here locally that is $25.68 a yard but is cheaper at a contractor's discount. Does the place in VT deliver to Mississippi?That sure is a long way.
Thanks again everyone and keep the advice coming.
-Ed