How To Bid Retaining Walls

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by mcw615, Sep 27, 2009.

  1. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 473

    I have taken the Allan Block courses for hardscaping and know how to build a wall just have not done one yet. Got a call for a wall probably 4-6 feet tall and 40 feet wide. Have no idea how to price this thing profitably.
     
  2. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,576

    Pretty simple:

    Material (with or without mark up, I use 15%)
    + Labor (I use a shop rate of $200/hour)
    + Machine Time (these can be your machines or rentals)
    + Overhead (What does it cost you to be in business?)
    + Profit (I shoot for 60%)
    = Total price

    Good luck, work safe, have fun.
     
  3. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 473

    We mostly service lawn and landscape maintenance, landscape projects, and irrigation. Our general labor is $40/man hr. I am guessing estimate how many man hours it will take to complete the project like I bid landscape projects and then add costs for specialty equipment, materials, etc. but I don't have any experience with building walls to know an average time it will take to complete the project. I guessing anywhere from 60-80 man hours, but again I want to bid it right.
     
  4. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,576

    Guess: It would take me and my 2 guys about 75 manhours to construct this wall to ICPI standards, I would figure another 10 hours on the mini-ex and 20 hours on the MT 55.

    Assuming free and clear access. If you have to take down fence or crane materials over a house factor that in.

    Since it's over 36" don't forget to add in your engineering costs.
     
  5. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 473

    Are you saying a total of 75 man hours or 75 hours X3 guys? The location is on a hill. On the customers driveway there is a very steep slope, they got a price from a local large company to build the wall about 10-12' tall to make it flush with the driveway, they priced it at 15k. She said it is too much, ha. I say this because they have a million dollar house, which is their secondary house! Husband is a dean of a law school at a fairly large university here in VA, they are both attorneys for however many years, they are in their mid to late 50's, they own a huge attorney office in south florida they have about 10 top of the line attorneys and their office who only rep. celebrities, NFL football teams, big basketball teams such of chicago bulls, lakers, etc. so they stay on airplanes more than I do in my mowing truck. And she told me she was awed when they came back with a price of 15,000 because she can buy some sort of car at that price, she said in her head she was thinking 5-7. I said we can build the wall about 4-6 feet high to decrease the angle of the slope to be able to put some plantings there so I think I can get the job between 4-6k. The rest of the yard from where the wall would be built is on a slope but nothing as steep.

    Now when you said engineering, are you saying doing your own CAD drawing or getting an actual engineer to blue print the project?
     
  6. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,576

    Over 36" you need to have a civil engineer sign off on the design per the International Building Code. Costs me minimum $800 to do that.

    Without seeing, measuring, and having first hand knowledge of the project my best guess is 75 man hours. Or 25 hours for each of us.

    That being said we have our own excavator, dump truck, MT55 and a whole bunch of other equipment to do this with.
     
  7. ALLPro Landscaping

    ALLPro Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 813

    If its a normal not odd ball wall, then I price it buy the square face foot, but I always leave a little extra, other wise if their is more involved then its time plus material then a markup for profit
     
  8. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 473

    Okay so I was in the ball park area of 60-80, figured it would be on the higher side because it will only be about an 8 course, and working on a hill. Getting the first 2-3 layers level is the hardest part and what takes the longest in my opinion.
     
  9. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,576

    Getting it level is the easiest part. Use a Topcon to level your gravel sub-base before you compact it. Once it's within a few thousandths of an inch of being perfectly level start slinging block.

    Are you using Geo Tex and glue?
     
  10. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 473

    I have never done a wall before, I just figured it would take the longest of time getting the base level. What model Topcon do you use? Just googled the item, hoping to push hardscaping more next year
     

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