a little help for a new guy

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by bigcountry01, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. bigcountry01

    bigcountry01 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 136

    ok guys im pretty new to the landscaping part of this industry. I mostly do mowing and mulch jobs but i want to get into doing more landscape design. Ive got a few questions i would like some advice on. First off i got a call this week to do a pretty big landscape job in an upscale neighborhood close to me. To give u an idea the job estimate is around $4,000. I have never done a job this big before but i want to take it on for a learning experience. My first question is do u require a deposit upfront on a job costing this much? If so how much? I was thinking of asking for 50% upfront just to cover myself. Also do u add a percentage on to the cost of materials to cover overhead? i was going to add 10% to the cost of my materials (which are discounted) to cover overhead. thanks guys for any advice and help u can give me
     
  2. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Posts: 3,497

    Are you tax exempt? If not, do not show a mark up on the contract for the material........its illegal.

    50% deposit is pretty much standard

    What are you doing? What are your costs and whats your margin......then you'll know if $4,000 is a good price. If you're not walking away with $1500 something is possibly wrong with your "estimate".
     
  3. jbailey52

    jbailey52 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,089

    I agree... and I hope this homeowner never mentioned $4,000 and thats where your getting this estimate from.. from some of these questions, I wonder if you are on the verge of a big error with your estimating, and digging yourself a hole
     
  4. bigcountry01

    bigcountry01 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 136

    ok this is what i did. I priced all my materials(rock, mulch, shrubs,trees,etc) i added 10% to that total to cover for over head. Then i figured up how many hours it will take us to complete the job. I'm charging 100 dollars an hour for me and three employees. We arent spliting it $25 dollars a piece either, thats just what im charging. Added that to the price of materials and got my total. I am not really "marking up the price of the materials" im adding 10% to the total of materials. I am not showing that i payed 25 dollars a shrub when i really only payed 10 dollars. This is just to cover myself incase i end up needing another yard or two of stone or other materials.
     
  5. grasswhacker

    grasswhacker LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,873

    You should double your shrub and tree prices in case you have to replace any. At least a 50% mark up on rock and mulch. And lastly 100.00 per hour for 4 people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????????????????????????????????? It should be 50-75.00 per man hour for a LS job. 100.00 per hour if doing it solo.
     
  6. palawnman

    palawnman LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 159

    I just had to jump in and throw in my .02. $100/hr for 4 guys labor is extremely low. You should be making more money when doing a landscaping job than when you do cutting lawns. At least thats a rule of thumb that I try to live by. Also, are you offering a warranty on the plants? 10% markup isnt much, even on $4000. I know it seems nice to get a $4000 job but only if you get the profit that you deserve on it. Like someone said earlier, I would at the very least look to make $1500, hopefully more depending on exactly what you are doing. I just dont want to see you take a job this big and not be ready for it. You are better off waiting for a smaller landscaping job to learn on. Remember like you said you are trying to learn the pricing structure on landscaping, the bigger the job that you learn on, the more you stand to lose in the end. Dont jump head first, take calculated risks. Learn on smaller jobs where you wont lose your shirt even if you make mistakes. Not trying to be negative, trust me, I love landscaping because I rely on that for a good portion of my business. Good luck with it.

    Ron
     
  7. bigcountry01

    bigcountry01 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 136

    thanks alot guys for the help. I will also be running a bobcat for the rock if this accounts for anything. if im charging man hours i would assume i wouldnt charge hours for operation on the bobcat. I will probably charge more like $60 a person. what kind of warranty do u guys offer on trees and shrubs? 1 year? or less? what kind of mark up do u guys charge? more like 15 or 20%?
     
  8. palawnman

    palawnman LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 159

    You are running a bobcat, have 4 guys of labor working + materials...and you are still around $4000??? How many hours of labor are you thinking? Where did the $4000 come from? Maybe I missed it. If this is a full day of labor with the bobcat AND 4 guys...$4000 is really low if there are alot of other materials. Figure out your total cost for everything..labor, materials, if you have to rent the bobcat...then go from there. At least you will see how much you are going to make. Good Luck.

    Ron
     
  9. grasswhacker

    grasswhacker LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,873

    1 year on plant material
     
  10. BCFLawnLandscape

    BCFLawnLandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 333

    I charge my bobcat like I'd charge for a person. If I have one person running the bobcat at 75 an hr. then i'm charging 75 an hr. for the bobcat as well. You haven't given much input as far as material you are using or how many hours or whatever, but I would definitely be charging AT LEAST $50 per man hr. Don't sell yourself short!
     

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