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Bulk Mulch price? sub a bark blower?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by ceaman, Mar 20, 2002.

  1. ceaman

    ceaman LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 131

    I priced bulk mulch from the only local guy I know of. He said $20 per cubic yard of mulch picked up at his facility. I need aproximately 50 cubic yards of material. He offered no bulk discount.

    Does any one know of any good place to buy bulk in Indiana?

    How about subbing out to a bark blower? (Where do I find one)

    MTCDAVE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    Ceaman, If you can find a blower truck, go for it. I have all my properties done by one. If they know what they are doing, it's there is NO WAY you can beat it. I'm a solo operator that does almost 100 yards and does not touch a yard. $$$$$ maker.
  3. Henry

    Henry LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 549

    I would sub it out. The labor to do that by hand would make it very expensive. You can still make money without having to do the work.
  4. TSS

    TSS LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 31

    ceaman- if you do find anyone in indiana please let me know. I haven't found anyone either. As far as the bark blower, I hopefully am in the process of buying one but not it gets closer till next year. That way i will be able to advertise this year for this service. Comming soon to a lawn near you..... bark blowing. :D
  5. ceaman

    ceaman LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 131

    I found a bark blower.

    Earthcorp of Indy
  6. jkelton

    jkelton LawnSite Member
    Posts: 243

  7. Russo

    Russo LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 287

    I have done more than 60 mulch jobs that took over 100 yards each in the past 3 years. I feel I've got to chime in on this one.


    1. Will the sub-k mulch blower edge the beds?
    2. Will he pack or spread mulch as necessary to do the pro job that your name will go on?
    3. Will he provide the mulch?
    4. Will he require that you use a specific mulch that his equipment can blow without clogging?
    5. Will he require you to not only provide the mulch on site, but also require you to provide a loader or bobcat for loading it into his blower?
    6. Will he clean up behind his mulch blowing but?
    7. If you pay by the yard blown, and you know it will take 80 yrds, will he blow all 80 yrds on only half of the property and leave you stuck for the rest needed?( usually blowing goes further, but somehow this crap happens)

    Please consider these things, I am not pulling these questions out of the air. I've had good experiences doing this, but I've aslo learned the hard way about getting screwed by some "Blow" salesman with a fancy lookin machine who merely points out that 1 man blowing can do the work of 5 with wheelbarrows. It's just not that simple of a formula.

    If the mulch cost $ 10 / yard and Mr. Sub-K Blow charges $ 25 / yrd to blow it. You think you can charge $ 45 - 50 installed, right?
    It's better to ask yourself the questions above and make sure before you find out that the mulch his machine requires cost $5 more per yard and you have to send a 3 man crew to the site for 4 days to edge and then clean up after. Oh ya, don't forget, he needs to borrow your loader for a couple days.

    I'll shut up now.

    Good Luck, Landscraper
  8. jkelton

    jkelton LawnSite Member
    Posts: 243

    Obviously, you had a bad experience with this type of service (I probably know who you used). This is my first season in the bark blowing business in your area (Murfreesboro). I have based my company with a customer-driven focus - If the customer (you) has to come after me to clean up the overspray, then I am not doing my job. The whole premise of the mulch blower is to save you time and money. I feel that we are positioned to provide the landscaper a valuable service they can count on day in and day out. Below are the responses that I would give if asked your questions:

    1. I do not do bed prep before I blow. The main reason for this is because I do not have the extra labor to do this (two men per truck).
    2. Each time I work with a new customer, I try to go over the expectations he/she has for the job. My goal is to do as good or better job than the landscaper can do manually. If I know upfront that I cannot me the expectations given to me, I will definitely let the customer know beforehand before I start or when I do the quote.
    3. I always provide the mulch, unless the customer requests differently.
    4. Clogging can be an issue, but I have found out if the operator knows which adjustments to change, you can blow any mulch found in this area. The only material I have had any problem with was very wet composted manure - it would not drop through the feeder.
    5. I do not require that you provide the mulch on site. In certain situations, I could see where having the mulch on site would be beneficial (thus giving the customer a price break). I would think that a job would have to be in the 150~200 yard range to justify this cost. Even if it is decided the mulch would be stored on-site, I have a telescopic loader that I would use in this situation.
    6. I always clean up after I blow. To be honest, I could not imagine not cleaning up afterwards. I believe the RedMax and Echo blowers I have on the truck are definetly essential equipment!
    7. That type of discrepancy would be a major issue in my books. The only way I could see this happen to me is if there was a communication problem or mathematical error. I have not come across this type of situation yet - generally, I can save the customer 10~15% on material usage by blowing it in.

    I hate to see anyone not satisfied with the service - please send me an e-mail or private message. I would love to discuss with you the issues you have and how I could address these issues.

  9. Russo

    Russo LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 287


    I certainly don't want to put a bad label on good people in this industry. That was not my intention.

    I did want to make sure that someone who hasn't sub-ed blowing asks those questions so that they don't do some of the stupid stuff I did; to realize that it's not a matter of " O.K., $25 per yard blown. Let's do it!" That's the real point and an important one in my mind.

    When the customer wants to know why there's mulch against the trunk of the tree because the extension service told them that this is poor mulch installation practices, who's gonna address that? Can you meet the expaectations of your customers?(me)

    I do , however, appreciate the respectful way in which you chose to respond to my ranting session. It wasn't aimed at you or anyone else out there breaking their backs for the work they enjoy. I get a little carried away sometimes when I think of the "stupid taxes" I've payed.

    How do I contact you.

  10. site

    site LawnSite Member
    Posts: 168

    Mulch blowers are great in certain situations. We use them when there are a lot of low shrubs to mulch under. We make sure to have a 40 yard minimum per job, or a couple near each other to justify the cost. Also watch out for long hose runs with the blower. the longer the run the more it clogs.
    We avoid blowing mulch- On small jobs. On wide open jobs where we can hustle around with the tractor. On brand new beds because our guy puts it down too thin for new beds no matter how we ask.
    We supply the prep and cleanup labor, and the mulch. we feed the machine, and he runs the hose. One of our guys helps lug the hose around to avoid smashing bushes.
    Our sub charges $85/ hour to provide a Finn trailer model.

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