Help with pricing

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by TN_mower, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. TN_mower

    TN_mower LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Posts: 25

    Im new to the business and im looking to grow as a solo operation due to me being in school and not wanting to have a worker until needed. I recently did an hour and 40 minute edging job and 2 trash bags of leaf cleanup that were accumulating around his garages. I used to mow one of his propertys at the beginning of spring and he sold the property. He likes mowing and his edger broke so thats why he called me. But anyway, total time was 1 hour and 40 minutes of work time. I charged him $30 an hour which translated into $50 total. Is that a fair price? He want's me to do a mulching job for him soon and im going to have my brother help me since it's a pretty big job, how should i charge the mulching? I can't really give him a set price so should i charge $30 ea. man hour? Thanks for the help!
  2. C Jovingo Landscaping

    C Jovingo Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 436

    For mulch installs, most charge per yd. I've read threads in the past where some areas don't support the price per yd my area does. I started at $65yd & now charge $75yd for mulch/installed when I realized my area supports it. Price does not include prep. I get contractor pricing on mulch. The hardwood mulch I use use is abt $28yd regular price,my price is $20. So $75-$20=$55yd for installation. I'm solo so I wheel & spread mulch myself & can do 1yd an hour. Havin help you can do more cuz 1 can wheel mulch while the other spreads it. Don't forget to include other costs like delivery charge or your time & fuel if you pick mulch up. My supplier delivers for $40 (1-10yds). I pick up if 3yds or less, over 3yds i have it delivered.

    Don't tell customer your price per yd, they flip! Estimate how many yds you'll need & give a price for the job. There is a formula out there for measuring SQ FT of beds to determine Yds of mulch needed if you are not good a guessing amount needed. Google it. I used it when i started, but don't subtract % for plants & shrubs like I did the first time i used it. If it looked like the plants took up 50% of bed, i only used 50% of the SQ FT to estimate, then realized i had to fill in thin spots in ground cover & through mulch under shrubs, etc. So I quit subtracting SQ FT for plants. If you need & can't find formula I still have PDF on laptop & can post it later this evening.

    Hope this helps
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  3. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Most customers do not even know what a yard is.
  4. C Jovingo Landscaping

    C Jovingo Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 436

    Lol! Yeah, but they might know they can get economy mulch for $18yd & my install price per yd is 4X's that. They just hear price per yd & compare to what they can get mulch for.

    OP don't use Economy mulch it promotes weeds from all the garbage they use to make it. My price for Economy mulch is like $14yd but I don't use it.
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  5. DiSantolandscaping

    DiSantolandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 346

    simple formula is

    length x width x depth divided by 324.


    20 x 4 x 3= 240

    240/324= .75 which is 3/4 of a yard.

    in my area we charge by the yard but its basically the same as doing it all seperate.

    take your price which mine is 25 per yrd
    add 30 % to that which is 32.50 per yrd that you would charge them
    then if you can do a yard an hour the x amount per hr per yard.

    so if you get 30 per man hr and its going to take you an hour to do it. then you would take $30 + $32.50= 62.50 per yard. hope this helps you out.
  6. C Jovingo Landscaping

    C Jovingo Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 436


    Yours is simpler. What is the 324 you are dividing by. I'm sure it has to do with the depth basicaly being 3ft deep in ur example. But it still gets the same answer as my formula.

    Formula I have is Length X Width divided by coverage depth from chart below

    1yd will cover

    1"-320 sq ft

    Your 20' X 4' X 3"

    20X4=80 sq ft
    80/110=.72727272727272 (.75 yd)
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  7. TN_mower

    TN_mower LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Posts: 25

    Would $80 per yard be too much? That's installed, delivered, and a total of 2 people working. Costs me $22 a yard last time I checked. Any help appreciated!
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  8. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,063

    It really depends on your area, access, plant density and other factors such as how much bed prep is needed. I'm generally higher than that, but that's for premium mulches such as hemlock, cedar and pine bark that cost me $38/yard or more. I generally can spread 1 to 1.5 yards of mulch per hour after the beds are prepared. If the areas are mostly open and I can just dump and spread it goes pretty fast. If there are a ton of small plants densely packed it goes much slower.
  9. TN_mower

    TN_mower LawnSite Member
    from TN
    Posts: 25

    Thanks Darryl I appreciate your response. May I ask how you go about in prepping the beds. Whats your method(s)? Thanks!
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  10. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,063 secret :p

    Well, first I rake back the existing mulch a bit and edge them. Sometimes I spread the soil I generate from edging out just above the edge (which is why I raked back the mulch) and sometimes I just put it straight in a wheelbarrow and dispose of it. You generally don't want to be mixing that soil in with the existing mulch. Then I do any weeding necessary. Than I smooth the whole bed out. That way I get a nice even smooth layer of new mulch. Generally I leave any existing mulch in the beds unless the new mulch is a totally different color. Oh yeah...before any of the above I blow them out good with a leaf blower. I think that about covers it.

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