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View Full Version : Give me your input on spreading mulch?


leeslawncare
02-10-2005, 10:28 PM
I'am spreading mulch an sifted topsoil for 70.00 per yrd.I've did this search an opened up this post way long ago.Lets open this up again.What are you guys priceing this this year?I can carry 1 yrd of top soil per load, an 2 yrds mulch.Had a client ask me today about speading 20+30 yrds an i gave him my price , he thought it was crazy.On the other hand I've just finished a 8 yrd top soil an 12 yrd mulch spread for a contract client.Mulch is 22.00 per yrd top soil is 25.00 .Is my price too high or is my other client to cheap???

Gilla Gorilla
02-10-2005, 10:32 PM
If you want to rebid the job that you lost then have the top soil dropped off by the supplier and ad in the delivery fees and discount your price some for the amount of topsoil being spread. Maybe come down to $55.00 or $60.00 per yard for spreading plus the delivery fees.

Just a thought if you wanted to get that job.

leeslawncare
02-10-2005, 10:45 PM
.I've got the top soil an 12 yrd mulching job . The guy with the 20+ job thought it was high. I also reccomended him to call earthscapes(a mulch blowing company ) here in town an they do charge 55.00 per yard for homeowners an i get iet for a little less.He said 55.00 was crazy .Sorry i didn't put that in my last post ..

Blades of Steel
02-10-2005, 10:46 PM
I installed 150 yds of playground mulch with a tractor today for $2500 is that fair??? Thats only 16.66. per yard and they pay and have the mulch delivered. Of course I give them a break because of how much I install annually. I install about 1500 yds annually for them...

Tim

leeslawncare
02-10-2005, 10:52 PM
guess i'am screwing him then ? I'am taken it 2 yrd at a time .He hasn't got the space to drop that kinda load at his property.Thanks for you input ...If you had to do it my way what would you charge?drive time is 20.00 min to his house ,unloading is 45min .what would you do it for?

dvmcmrhp52
02-10-2005, 10:56 PM
If they have a driveway it can be delivered.
I wouldn't even touch the job doing it 2 yards at a time.

leeslawncare
02-10-2005, 11:08 PM
thank you for your input..this drive is straight uphill horse shoe type .what would you wheel barrell that stuff up there for?i could have had it delivered. Trying to to figure out if i should fell bad about this? Thanks guys

Gilla Gorilla
02-10-2005, 11:10 PM
You should seriously look into renting a tandem axle trailer for a day that can hold some yardage. My 7x12 tandem trailer with 24 inch sides has had 5 yards of heavy azz top soil in it. Yeah I know it was really overloaded by about 1500 to 2000 pounds but I got it there with no problem. As far as mulch I have had about 7 to 8 yards in the trailer at one time with no weight problem at all an my F350 pulled it fine.

If you rent a trailer the money that you save by not having to make so many trips will far outway the money that you put out on renting a trailer for the day.

Have fun and good luck

leeslawncare
02-10-2005, 11:14 PM
but i don't normally do this kinda work. one time a year. only a couple of clients. can't justify the expense ..

GetSomeGOJO
02-10-2005, 11:23 PM
Depends on Mulch grade. We deliver 1 yd. at $35 and spread per hour. 21.50 hr + 17.50 each xtr laborer. Fast is key w/mulch

Gilla Gorilla
02-10-2005, 11:28 PM
Are you saying that you cannot justify the expense of renting a bigger trailer for probably $150 to $200 a day tops!!! If this is the case think about how many trips you will have to make with hauling only 2 yards versus 6 or 8 yards at a time or eveing having it delivered for probably $75 to $100 tops. Think about all of the extra wear and tear on your truck plus fuel and maintenace cost. All of that stuff ads up quickly when you have to make 6 trips to finish mulching the yard or one or two trips with renting a bigger trailer or no extra trips becuase you had it delivered for a fraction of what it will cost you in time and fuel for making 6 trips to get that 12 yards of mulch.

Just think it over and see which way you would rather go.

leeslawncare
02-10-2005, 11:41 PM
ya i could do that but ..he will pay the 70.00 per k now tell me what would you guys do?the other guy said it was too high.my question is now ,should i have a hard time going to sleep tonite?Good night !

lawnman_scott
02-10-2005, 11:50 PM
Dont rent a trailer for a cheapscate, because then you have to work that into the price. Having it dropped is alot more work than out of the back of a truck. Anyone too cheap to pay for mulch for their home doesnt need it done. Is he a lawyer or a convience store owner?

MMLawn
02-10-2005, 11:53 PM
YES $70 a yard is too much for TN. As someone else mentioned the going rate in this area and yours is $50-$55 a yard installed and most every one I know would deeply discount a 30 yard job because you can also buy that quanity cheaper. You should be able to get that amount for $16-$20 a yard easy. So you could discount him below that $55 a yard and still make good money.

As far as hauling it. Don't. If a dump can't get up his driveway have it dumped in the beginning of the drive and spend $200 and rent a skid steer for the day.

LB1234
02-11-2005, 12:41 AM
guess i'am screwing him then ? I'am taken it 2 yrd at a time .He hasn't got the space to drop that kinda load at his property.Thanks for you input ...If you had to do it my way what would you charge?drive time is 20.00 min to his house ,unloading is 45min .what would you do it for?

I'm confused :dizzy:

If he can use 20 yards mulch how can he not have a place to store it for a day or two?

HOOLIE
02-11-2005, 12:59 AM
I guess I'm in a similar situation as you. Got a small truck, can't carry very much at a time, and with the larger mulch jobs it gets to the point where, to make any money for myself, I have to price the job higher than they might pay somewhere else. That's why I like the 2 or 3 yard jobs.

You said the customer also thought $55 yd was too high. I wouldn't bother then, especially if you have to rent equipment or spend a total of a day with drive time.

One possible solution- break the job down, if you can't dump 20-30 yards there, have them dump 7-10 yards one day, spread it, repeat until finished. Usually the delivery charges aren't that much (at least where I get it)

Groundcover Solutions
02-11-2005, 01:37 AM
I installed 150 yds of playground mulch with a tractor today for $2500 is that fair??? Thats only 16.66. per yard and they pay and have the mulch delivered. Of course I give them a break because of how much I install annually. I install about 1500 yds annually for them...

Tim

ummm... How much do you get your playground material for? We charge around 25 per yard installed for playground we can get it at around 14 per yard. I have never been under 19 for playground (when we provide the mulch) even if we do a large amount of yards for the customer. But that is hear in MI

Lawn-Scapes
02-11-2005, 01:50 AM
I installed 150 yds of playground mulch with a tractor today for $2500 is that fair??? Thats only 16.66. per yard and they pay and have the mulch delivered. Of course I give them a break because of how much I install annually. I install about 1500 yds annually for them...

Tim

I don't know.. but that must be one heck of a playground!!!

Coffeecraver
02-11-2005, 06:36 AM
I charge 65.00 per yard. 2 yards or 50 yards it dosn't matter

The job is worth it.

When the plumber or comes to the house and charges 75 dollars per hr.
If the job takes 10 hours do you think you will get a break,I think not.

The landscape profession is a valueable service just like plumbing
The end result is what the client is paying for.The education you have
is worth something and that needs to be spread out over many jobs.
The licences,member dues,CEU's all cost.

If the client wants to save money then he should, obtain the mulch himself
have it delivered,and directly pay the vendor.

Then the job you are doing is based upon the mulch he has on hand.
To install that you need to consider the condition of the existing beds
Have they been mulched before? Has the edge been kept up or do the beds need a new one.

Edging is a job all by itself,I charge 1.50 per ft.to install new edges this
charge include removal of grass in that area up to 4' wide.
I charge .75 cents per ft. if the edge is already in place but needs to be refreshed for the new mulch.

To install the mulch that is on the job I would still charge 45.00 per yard.

Any savings that you can get like getting the mulch for 17.00 per yard when your client gets it for 22.00 per yd. They belong to you.

20 yds of mulch installed = 1300.00
:)

TScapes
02-11-2005, 06:29 PM
Here is my belief... if you can sell your service at a higher price, do it! I'm up the road from you, in Knoxville, and the market would not allow $70 per yard of mulch. We do about $38 to $40 per cubic yard. That seems to be the average market price here, though some of the "Fly-By-Nighters" do it for $25 or so. Nashville seems to be around the same price, but I know of a few companies that get up to $55 per yard. The key is your cost! If you can only carry 2yds per trip, then your price should reflect that. How far you have to go to get it and the window time it takes you to deliver it should be factored into your cost. So my price would definately go up if I were in your situation. Do some math as to what your costs are. Be sure to include the travel time. What ever the price you feel comfortable offering, stick by that.

adam underwood
02-13-2005, 12:02 AM
how thick do you guys spread your mulch? and when you talk about spreading yardage, do you include putting down some type of weed barrier or just throwing it over the old stuff?

leeslawncare
02-13-2005, 12:21 AM
well .i did the job today .12yrds at 65 per k .2 yrds at a time .Yes it was a lawyer.I also put down 8 yrds of topsoil at 1 yrd per trip 70.00 per yrd truck would only hold 1 yrd sifted topsoil. trip time was 18 miles per load. You do the math .I made the cash.$$

adam underwood
02-13-2005, 09:48 PM
about how much square footage does one yard of mulch or topsoil cover when spread on the ground?

new2nash
02-15-2005, 06:38 PM
I don't mean to rip on anybody- everbody, including me, has priced too low on a service at some point, but....the average time to spread mulch according to most time studies I've seen is 1 man hour per yard. If you're charging $45 per man hour plus the retail price of the material (say $22/yd.) you would charge at least $67/yd. (I charge $75 because my labor rate is slightly higher than $45 and I put down better quality mulch). $65 or $75 per yard is NOT ripping anyone off. That is a fair price for a pain in the ass job. Sure people occasionally look at me like my prices are ridiculous and some just thank me for my bid then hire someone else (no problem- obviously they weren't the right fit for my service). But when I get the job I make MONEY- the main reason I do this. You can't worry if Mulch Pro or Johnny Loser Lawn Service does it cheaper. Set your price towards the high end of the scale and make MONEY, dudes! Don't spin your wheels to see who can give it away the cheapest! And who wants a huge mulch job if you have to discount it so heavily- to get it you're tying up many man hours that could be spent making your normal rate! It's the downward spiral to going out of business.

Most likely people pricing much below that $67 figure are taking a loss on mulching without realizing all the true costs. Some other aspect of their biz is making enough to carry the loss so it's hidden- but a leaking ship will sink eventually. Why? Because being cheap, you'll tend to get more and more mulching- that's very bad if you're too cheap because then guess what? You lose more and more money on a bigger and bigger percentage of your business!

And some guys are just bent on being as cheap as possible to "get plenty of work" and 10 years down the road they're driving a falling apart truck, can't pay their debts and wonder why..."after all those years of hard work" they "have nothing to show for it." I have plenty to show for it but only because I'm willing to put up with the occasional "You charge too much" or "you're a ripoff"....whatever. I belong to another forum also- for landscape biz owners, most of whom have been in it a long time and are grossing/netting in the hundreds of thousands. It's rare to see a man hour rate mentioned there under about $55 and those businesses are from all over the U. S. and Canada. And almost all charge at least $70/yd. for mulching.

As far as "the market won't bear more than" - that is incorrect thinking. In every market there are people willing to pay a premium for good service and all aspects of what that phrase entails. If you find 100 to 250 of those people, service them regularly, and keep them happy, you can have one hell of a profitable business going and the great lifestyle that goes with it. Go in the other direction and if you're not out of businress in a few years, you'll likely be so stressed over money issues and such that you'll wish you were.

Once again, charge what you like, I'm not ripping on anyone, just giving some food for thought.

Groundcover Solutions
02-20-2005, 02:45 PM
I don't know.. but that must be one heck of a playground!!!

100-150 yards is a your a normal to large sized playground. you just need to keep in mind that at most points you are installing 12 to 15 inches of new mulch. When we do playgrounds we are instructed to fill in all wholes. IE under the swings, slides, and other playground equipment this can take several extra yards to fill and level off. Playground material tends to settel and move around alot more than your avarage landscaped bed. And due to city and state codes you must have enfough materail to provide and adiquite landing seface for the kids. most playgrounds have lines on all the equipment where it is placed into the gorund. These guid you to the amount of materail. Sometimes this requires a full 12" of material being applied over the intire play area and the you add the wholes which can be a up to 2 feet below what you are filling it to.

newbomb
02-25-2005, 07:09 PM
I charge 65.00 per yard. 2 yards or 50 yards it dosn't matter

The job is worth it.

When the plumber or comes to the house and charges 75 dollars per hr.
If the job takes 10 hours do you think you will get a break,I think not.

The landscape profession is a valueable service just like plumbing
The end result is what the client is paying for.The education you have
is worth something and that needs to be spread out over many jobs.
The licences,member dues,CEU's all cost.

If the client wants to save money then he should, obtain the mulch himself
have it delivered,and directly pay the vendor.

Then the job you are doing is based upon the mulch he has on hand.
To install that you need to consider the condition of the existing beds
Have they been mulched before? Has the edge been kept up or do the beds need a new one.

Edging is a job all by itself,I charge 1.50 per ft.to install new edges this
charge include removal of grass in that area up to 4' wide.
I charge .75 cents per ft. if the edge is already in place but needs to be refreshed for the new mulch.

To install the mulch that is on the job I would still charge 45.00 per yard.

Any savings that you can get like getting the mulch for 17.00 per yard when your client gets it for 22.00 per yd. They belong to you.

20 yds of mulch installed = 1300.00
:)

Finally someone has addressed the question I had. Everyone talks about their price per yard to " throw mulch" This is the first time I have heard any one mention any thing about preping the beds. I generally try to get $100 yd for installing mulch but that includes all the prep work too. Weeding, cleaning out old leaves and newspapers and edging. I do a lot of townhouse work so I will usually trim up the shrubery too. It is usually minimal. A quality job costs. If someone wants to be cheap, I move on. Let them hump 2 or 3 yards of mulch one Saturday and I bet they don't complain again. The problem is people can flow in and out of this industry overnight and they are nieve and will work cheap. You only get what you pay for though.

-Paul

new2nash
09-30-2005, 08:26 PM
"Be brave, be strong and most of all be proud you are a lawn mower."

Okay, but please note that I'm an Exmark, not a Murray.