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insight on what I should charge

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Green Elegance, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. Green Elegance

    Green Elegance LawnSite Member
    Posts: 32

    I know most of you are seasoned vets, or have more experience in this game than I, but I have found this site to be most helpful, and enjoyable. I have a maintenance job, and some river rock install, and with all the work I have done lately, sometimes feel I am not charging enough. Here is my current job.

    Customer wants the following:
    175sq ft of 2-4inch river rock installed in a area by the side of his home. This will require me to remove the grass, slightly grade with sand and install the liner and of course the rock.
    2.5tons River rock
    1cu yd sand

    In the fron yard he has 800sq ft of total bed space. He needs the following:
    the beds lightly tilled
    2 , 12ft wax myrtles pruned
    15 shrubs trimmed and removed and reinstalled for balance
    3.5 cu yds of hardwood mulch installed

    I am having all the materials, such as rock, sand, mulch delivered. I will have to fetch the liner, and dispose of debris.

    I have an estimate put together, but I want to know if my pricing is in line with the industry. Any help is appreciated.

  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    It's hard to say, it not only depends on the cost of the rock and the sand which varies from one distributor to the next, but whether the customer is having it delivered or if you're taking care of this.

    I am going to assume you are, for the main reason it would appear as if you're getting roughly a cubic yard of each (sand and rock), because the weight of a yard of rock or sand is close to 2 thousand pounds each. As you can see, with the rock I'm being told the weight while with the sand I'm being told the amount, while I much prefer amount over weight, I find it important to stick to one or the other so as to achieve standards.

    That having been said, I would figure the cost of rocks and sand to be somewhere around 40 dollars total, plus cost of delivery would make these materials amount to 70-80 dollars, 80 to be on the safe side. It takes about an hour to spread these with a barrow and shovel, so I'll call the rock and sand in at 130 but keep in mind my prices are based on a lack of certain critical information (such as me assuming you can back the load up right to where it needs to go versus having to treck it across the yard with a barrow, and so on). I am also assuming you're bringing these in on the back of a 6x12 trailer and you'll have to shovel it from the trailer into the barrow, and walk the barrow out of the trailer and then dump the barrow and spread it with a rake.

    As for clearing out the grass, I would spray it with round-up and that costs about 10-15 dollars / gallon (materials and labor) so we're up to 140.

    The mulch is hard to say, I do not know if it is wood fiber or premium double shredded, one costs considerably less than the other, while it has been my experience to order mulch in half-yard increments is counter-productive. The reason is, the cost of a half-yard is 75% the cost of a full yard, so I find it is better to pay the 100% and get a whole yard. That having been said, 4 yards of wood fiber would cost 175 (material, delivery and labor total), plus the 140 = 320 so far.
  3. PxPx

    PxPx LawnSite Member
    Posts: 30

    WOW! I hop eyou have some help! I might try my first landscaping job for my father-in-law. He has a lawn that slopes a little, and he would like it raised with a retaining wall (maybe 10"-12" high) put up. I have no idea what to charge for something like that. Though, I think it can be done, by myself, in a day to day-and-a-half. I'm thinking $50/hr might be a reasonable price, plus the cost of materials. He needs to get it approved by the HOA, so maybe in the springtime.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Oh, the tilling I can tell you:
    - Before you dig, call Miss Utility: It's the law.
    Don't you dare dig or till, you hit a powerline and you are done. Hit anything else and you can be held liable for failure to call, not to mention a stiff fine. The customer's assurance there exist no lines in the ground is not good enough, even if they swear on the bible.
    The number for Miss Utility can usually be found on the County or City Web site.
    - 40 dollar minimum, 800 sq. feet 40 dollars is good.
    360 thus far.

    The rest I couldn't tell you, I need to know what kind of bushes you'll be moving because... If it's just some ornamental light-duty thing you can pick up in 30 seconds with a shovel, then the cost of moving 15 of them I might just throw in with the total thus far. If on the other hand, it's 15 established azaleas or boxwood type of bushes, it can easily take 30-45 minutes to uproot just one of them by hand, and I wouldn't dream of pulling even the first one like that because it's back-breaking work and a backhoe is required: 400 dollars via this method to move 15 bushes.
    Same thing - Call Miss Utility.

    The pruning I have to know if they want just a little taken off to shape it up or do they want it aggressively trimmed back, thou as a general rule I trim bushes for around 10-15 dollars each up to 40-60 dollars for taller ones, 40 dollar minimum this one could easily run anywhere from 40 to 200...

    The liner and other stuff I don't do, so I dunno.
    I would guess 440 - 700, somewhere in that range, thou it could be closer to a grand as well.

    2006 promises more and more to be a great year.
  5. Green Elegance

    Green Elegance LawnSite Member
    Posts: 32

    Rock: 1cu yd is = to about 1ton, which is = about 75sq ft, that is why I am buying 2.5cu yds @ $130.00/cu yd.
    rock total =$325
    liner= $175
    1cu yd sand=$35
    2man crew
    remove sod, dispose of sod, lightly regrade with sand, install rock, near job by wheelbarrow
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    No sir, you said 2.5tons River rock in your original post which equals one yard, and yes I can most certainly spread one yard over 75 sq.feet, hardly the area a car takes up.
  7. Green Elegance

    Green Elegance LawnSite Member
    Posts: 32

    the home is only 1yr old, the shrubs are all ind hawthornes, hollys, and boxwoods, very small about 2-3ft tall , max.
    The tilling is in front, mostly will do with a shovel and pitch fork to mix up soil, but not a roto-tiller
    myrtles, need extensive pruning, they are 12ft tall, and bushy, they want a mushroom effect
  8. Mr Budget

    Mr Budget LawnSite Member
    Posts: 122

    If you are licensed to use this product

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