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Estimate Formula

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Daleman, Mar 14, 2003.

  1. Daleman

    Daleman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 90

    Ok guys here is the formula I am planning on using to bid my landscape jobs, please comment on how you feel about it.

    Plant Price X 15% + ($40 hour for labor X hours to complete)

    so lets say we are going to build a small "mound" at the entrance of a neighborhood. The materials cost 1,000. I guess it will take 16 hours to complete.

    1000 X 15% = 1150
    40 X 16 = 640

    Total Project = 1,790

    What do you guys think??
  2. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 488

    Is 15% on the plants enough. What about warranties. I personally mark plants up based on their relative risk, some plants never die, and some always die.

    I do like basing labor on time rather than percentage of material. Just make sure that the $40 is covering direct and indirect labor, as well as overhead. Most of you overhead should be recovredwith you labor costs. Also what about equipment costs?

    Main thing is build you charges from your costs, paying special attention to labor hours. Keep good records of time spent on things so that you can revise you estimating as you go along

    Austreim Landscaping
  3. Lombardi

    Lombardi LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 538

    I agree with Doug. You should charge more for the plants especially if you are offering a warranty. In my area the nurseries I deal with provide me with a contractors price list and a retail price list. If the customer wants the plant warranty I charge them full retail. If they want to save money and not have the warranty I will deduct 25% from the retail price. As far as bidding goes, I add 65% of the cost of materials to the bid if it is simple plant installs and 85-100% if it entails stone walls or anything that is very labor intensive. Any rental charges for equipment is also added on to the bid.
  4. Shuter

    Shuter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,171

    That formula seems good, if it works for you. I do about the same, just a little different. I buy my plants from one wholesaler. I get a 25% discount. I charge the customer full price. Then multiply $30.00 / hr / man x # of labor at job site plus a fee for equipment and planting supplies, like peat or fertilizer. Then add on a watering charge to water after job is done.

    About bad plants, if installed properly and I still have a problem, the wholesaler will replace.
  5. mklawnman

    mklawnman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 634

    I'm actually going to be doing more landscape work this year and also have to do that sort of estimation work too. Up to now we've been charging 15% on materials and $35/hr/man. Then the new stuff would be adding a charge for renting a skid loader and the amount of time using one, I've heard people charge like $60/hr for using a skid loader on a job, so I'm guessin thats resonable plus rental cost also.
  6. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    Matt, you can go considerably higher on plant markup in our area and you will get it, considerably higher. $1000 worth of plant material would make you only $150 at 15%, that barely covers time getting it and getting back to the site. Think about plants that may fail on top of this, one dead plant and the time to go back later and replace it, you just lost money. Your labor charges will not cover these losses, they cover your other costs involved in that job. :)
  7. LawnGuy73

    LawnGuy73 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,945

    You can do alot better then 15%, we get a 20% dicount on landscape material and we still have done asmuch as a 100% mark up with no warrenty ater one year....with this sytem we've never had problems getting or keeping customers
    But thats just what we do....
  8. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    We double the prices for plants, which comes out to the retail price of the plant, that way we can offer a 1 year full replacement warranty on all plants and if a few dies we wont be out of any money.

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