How much would you charge for this?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by DFW Area Landscaper, Oct 5, 2003.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    I installed a landscape for a lady last August. It's a 13' by 14' shaded courtyard. I feel that I completely underbid this and wanted to see what others would charge for this.

    Here is a pic of the finished install.

    This is what I installed:

    Plant Materials:
    11 Autumn Fern (1 gal)
    18 Coladium (1 qt)
    44 Bronze Ajuga (1qt)
    1 Japanese Maple (25 gal)

    Pavestone:
    approx 60 to 70 sq ft of Plaza 1 pavestone pavers lined with Holland 98 pavers
    1 cu yard of crushed limestone as base material
    1 cu yard of sand
    Necessary edging materials/stakes to hold stones in place
    Winding along one edge requiring lots of brick saw work

    Misc:
    2" Mulch for approx 110 sq ft
    Low voltage lighting including (1) 35w Halogen spot and (3) 20w halogen bollard lights

    After a few folks tell me what they would charge, I'll tell what I actually did charge.

    Thanks,
    DFW Area Landscaper

    degregario 1.1.jpg
     
  2. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Here is another pic so you can see better what you are actually bidding on.

    degregario 1.3.jpg
     
  3. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,128

  4. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    $1,600 is way too low.

    Just to give you a hint, I spent $1,257 just on materials and rental equipment for this job. And nothing was delivered. I had to drive all over the planet picking up pavestones, sand, crushed limestone, plants, etc.

    Anyone else want to take a stab at fair pricing on this job?

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  5. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Oh. I almost forgot. I also brought in a cubic yard of topsoil on this job and had to make a couple of trips to the city dump too.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  6. capital

    capital LawnSite Member
    Posts: 118

    I think you need to decide what your cost are and not others. The price you charge is based on your structure and setup and profit margins you need to make a healthy return on your investment. Do not worry what somene else charges or gets for their work, If you are pricing to high, you will not get the work, if your to low you will find out quickly to raise your prices to get to be where you need to be at.
     
  7. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,128

    I was actually joking. I meant to type $16,000 anyway. Probably between $1900 and $2500
     
  8. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    $1,900 would be too low too.

    Remember, I had to drive to pick up the crushed limestone, the sand, the top soil, the pavestones and the plant materials.

    Next time, I will know to call those vendors and get their price to DELIVER those items to the sight. I'd figure about $100 delivery fee for the crushed limestone, $100 for the sand, $100 for the top soil. Maybe a little higher, maybe a little lower. But if you add $300 to the costs, they jump to $1,557.00.

    Another thing I learned on this project is that it takes a ton of time to get around unexpected problems. And can cost some extra un-budgeted money too.

    For example, the morning I showed up to start on this, the customer had used another contractor to remove the concrete sidewalk and haul it off. However, there were two pieces of rebar sticking out of the foundation and into my work area that had to be removed. So, I drove home, got my hack saw and my bolt cutters and came back. About 50 minutes of drive time round trip. Then, it took me another 30minutes to an hour or so to figure out how to unravel the rebar twinings and cut them one at a time with the bolt cutters. So, all of a sudden, I've sunk about an hour and a half into this project that was completely unbudgeted.

    Then, there's the brick saw. Plug it into the customer's outlet, it hums for a fraction of a second and then nothing. Fuse is tripped. Try another outlet...same thing. After a phone call to the rental place, I figure out the brick saw pulls too much power for older home wiring. Gotta rent a Honda power generator. There...out another hour and half AND $50 for the generator rental.

    Lastly, I learned that Pavestone is a ton of work, especially if you've got winding edges that require a lot of cutting.

    I think it's important to bid with prices that factor in the unexpected. If you don't run into glitches like these, great...extra profit. If you do, you're that much closer to being in line with profit expectations.

    Anyway, my price to install this was $2,393.67 plus sales tax. Way too low if you ask me. That also includes the design and proposal fees.

    If I could re-bid this, I'd have the sand, crushed limestone & pavestones delivered. I'd probably price this about a grand higher. At least $2,900 as a very, very minimum.

    Later,
    DFW Area Landscaper
     
  9. Woody82986

    Woody82986 LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,128

    This just shows that you should always be prepared for everything that can happen when someone else does something to a place that you will be working on before you get there. I always assume that the guy doing the work before I get there is an idiot and forgets to do everything he is supposed to do. I would have probably still bid it in at $2,500 $2,600. This is supposing that the site is close to my home and to the hardware store and the place I am getting my materials.
     
  10. savannahnj

    savannahnj LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Posts: 1

    Nice job. I never go below 2.5x my cost for a small design. It seems like you made some efforts for materials that seemed to be time consuming. Should the customer pay for that? I've been there believe me. This past summer I gave a price for sod thinking I could pick it up ,3770 sq feet, and leave it at the top of the driveway. Low and behold my truck was bottoming out and we had to lug it an extra 200ft in 98 degrees. My mistake. Did I add the additional labor costs to the customer? NO. instead I hired 2 extra guys one day and just got the damn job overwith. Did I stick to my original estimate? yes. As a professional, you must. But I split my mistake by cutting corners along the way and eating the rest. I didnt make my anticipated profit, but we did a pro job that will get me additional work where I would make up for the mistake on the first job. In your case you must charge at least 2450.00. If everything was squared away at the time of installation and it was delivered and so forth, you can move to 3625.00. Well thats my spiel.
     

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