Cost Ratio of materials to labor?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by RedSox4Life, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. RedSox4Life

    RedSox4Life LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,499

    Here's the deal. I was asked to give a maintenance estimate on a decent sized nursing home in my area today. Assuming I get the job for next season, they also want to completely redo all of the flower beds. The budget for improvements is $15,000. I don't plan on creating many, if any, new beds, I was more thinking I'd replace the existing tired/overgrown shrubs and flowers with new ones.
    Now to be honest, this scope of design is beyond me, I plan to sub it to a landscape designer I know to do the plant selection, layout etc., and I will do the removal/install work. So my question is, is there a formula you guys use to figure out how much money to spend on plant materials and how much money to dedicate toward labor? Like should I tell the designer he has for example $5000 to play with including his fee? I realize of course there'sa lot of variables, and no two jobs are the same, but is there a way to figure roughly what percentage of the budget should be dedicated to which aspect of the job. I appreciate any advice anyone can give.:waving:
     
  2. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,953

    I'd go nuts trying to design a job that way. I think the best way to do it is to do a thorough site analysis- measure everything, inventory ALL the plant material, and start by deciding what to keep and what to rip out. Can any of it be transplanted on site? Then have your designer do a plan, with the understanding that maybe it can't all happen right away. I've done landscape plans where year one, the cleanup happens and the large trees and screening shrubs go in. Year two, the smaller and ornamental shrubs happen, and year three it gets finished out. If I were designing the job, that's how I'd go about it, and I'd present the client with an a la carte style proposal: break the project into sections, with numbers for the trees, the shrubs, and the smaller stuff (including labor!). That way, even if the estimate is over their $15K, they might say "ok, let's just clean up the back for now, but spend the bucks at the entrances.

    If you do it this way, worst case scenario the client picks what they want to spend their budget on and has a long-term plan for future money they want to spend with you. Best case scenario, they up their budget.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Dodge Truck

    Dodge Truck LawnSite Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 86

    2.5-3 times the cost of materials USUALLY works out but every job is different
     
  4. Dodge Truck

    Dodge Truck LawnSite Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 86

    I hope your not suggesting showing the financial numbers(markup, labor etc...) to the client expect for the final price or final price per section, but the number of plants etc...
     
  5. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,953

    No way- but thanks for pointing that out, that I should clarify. Just "Bed A, Trees installed $x, Shrubs installed $x, etc." Some states require you to break it down further, but I don't think MA is that way, is it? Some contractors break labor and materials out separately, but there's no reason to show your markup.
     
  6. RedSox4Life

    RedSox4Life LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,499

    This budget is for year one of the project, and only for the front of the building. The following years they will want the rear of the building redone, then the sides etc...

    As far as the idea to start from scratch, the building itself as well as the rest of the property is pretty square and uniform, which I believe makes it hard to change things around significantley, hence my plan to change the actual plants instead of the beds. But as I said before, I have minimal design experience. Any other opinions on this?
     
  7. flascaper

    flascaper LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    To make it simple. You pay 5 for a 3gal plant you charge 10 and 5 more to plant.
    30 7gal 55 15 and so on
    Mulch you pay 22 yard chrge 32 and 32 per yard install.
     
  8. borwicks

    borwicks LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 615

    I break apart the bid so the customer knows what there paying for. I do not mark up any of my materials. I include time for pick up, disposal etc. under labor. Your labor rate would be what you want to make for each task per hour. Getting supplies, disposal, hand tool work, skid steer work, small powered equipment work etc. All my monthly contracts have the price broken out for them so they can call to get something done and already know what there going to be billed per hour for each piece of equipment or person. Ive found that this is the way to for the customer to trust you and will lead to more work for you without having to bid every job. If your getting started and have to bid the job up front and you think the job will take 10 hours add a couple more because more than likely you forgot something like breaks, lunch, extra trip to supply house, talking with customer.
    Best of Luck. Russell
     

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