Mulch Job, What would you charge?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Greenlawn Guy, May 3, 2011.

  1. Greenlawn Guy

    Greenlawn Guy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Hello Everyone! I am kind of new to doing mulch jobs and was wondering what some of you would charge. The area of coverage is 1023 square feet which by my calculations came out to about 6 yards with the mulch being 2 inches deep.. This would be for the main garden which goes across the entire front of the customers house and 5 smaller gardens along the sides and back of the house. The customer wants the finely ground, dyed Black mulch. I have a supplier that would deliver the mulch for around $250 ( 6 yards at $32.00=$192 + $45.00 for delivery).... My question is how much should I charge? I see the average price people charge to bring and spread mulch is around $70.00 per yard. I figured it would take me and my helper about 5-7 hours to do this with 2 wheelbarrows and clean-up after ourselves. If I charge that much then it comes out to $420.00-$250 for the cost of the mulch leaving me with $170.00 afterwards. This seems kind of low. Could you all give me a better idea of what and how I should charge for this? Your help is appreciated.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2011
  2. Earth_Effects

    Earth_Effects LawnSite Member
    from NY
    Posts: 21

    2 inches is pretty thin if there is no mulch in the bed now. If your just topdressing whats there now, that's ok. Normally if there isn't anything in the bed, you should go 3-4 inches. It will settle some. Assuming your measuring and calculations are right, and you came up with 6 yards, and the terrain is flat, I would charge 470 which includes labor for 2 guys and delivery. If the terrain is hilly and the beds are hard to get to, I would charge $75 per yard. Edging would an extra 0.75cents per foot. 200 feet, is $150.
    With that said, I moved 4 yards of mulch by myself, at $70 a yard, in 2.5 hrs. About 1 yard of that went to the back yard, down a hill. That was 2.5 hrs by myself. We get mulch for $25 per yard, you do the math. Im not sure how you came up with 5-7hours for 2 people, especially with 2 barrells..
    I would go out of business if it took us that long.
     
  3. Greenlawn Guy

    Greenlawn Guy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Thanks for the help. You're right, It does seem like 5-7 hours for 2 people is too long. Also, I talked to the customer after I posted that question and they said they wanted the old mulch taken out first. Its about 4-5 inches deep so I will need double up on the mulch now. At least we can put it on tarps and drag it to the woods which is about 120 feet from the back of the house and dump it back there. So basically I will need 12 yards now. I thought mulch was good for 2-3 years but they insist on having new mulch every year. So with these new figures what would you say for 12 yards of mulch spread out? Plus maybe 1.5 hours to remove the old mulch.Thanks again
     
  4. Earth_Effects

    Earth_Effects LawnSite Member
    from NY
    Posts: 21

    Dude. Thats a lot of work to remove ALL that old mulch. I would charge them your hourly rate to remove the old mu;lch until you get good at estimating your time right. I would also up-sell installing landscape fabric once all the mulch is out. It takes time to lay fabric down, but its worth it.(Cut up metal hangers for pins to hold down fabric, Bend them like a horseshoe)
    Taking out old mulch and dump on site, lay fabric and install 12 yrds new mulch is easily a $1400 job. Again thats a ballpark number. I dont know the layout.
     
  5. Greenlawn Guy

    Greenlawn Guy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Oh man, I was way off.I really appreciate all the help. I did mention the fabric to them but they want to use Preen weed killer under the new mulch. That's what they like to do every year. It seems pretty un-necessary. Plus I read it's only good for 3 months. But seriously I was thinking way to low on my bid. Was going to say $600 for just putting 2 inches of new mulch over the old stuff. But yeah, twice as much mulch to spread out and hauling out the old stuff is WAY more work. So that's good you think? Maybe go around $1400. Probably pay my helper 12 an hour and get it all done in one 8 hour day. Not bad after I subtract the cost of mulch and Preen plus paying my helper. Thanks again
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  6. Earth_Effects

    Earth_Effects LawnSite Member
    from NY
    Posts: 21

    that was 1400 with fabric and labor to lay fabric. No fabric iwould charge like 1175 or so. (i dont know the terrain though, and this is why I dont give estimates over the phone too.) Remember, its just an estimate. If it starts taking you longer than you think, be prepared to let them know ahead of time instead of at the end of the job. Keep the customer in the loop at all times.
     
  7. dtriv89

    dtriv89 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 110

    Don't use fabric under mulch, it won't do much of anything. Also, don't make this job harder then it needs to be. Weed and edge the beds, spread 2" of mulch, clean up and move onto the next job
     
  8. Nichols Lawn & Landscape

    Nichols Lawn & Landscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 3

    It always takes us longer to remove old mulch than add new. Thats a pain. also fabric is a waste of money and time. if my customers want finely shreded mulch, we use tripple shredded bagged mulch. it cost more than bulk but it doesnt look like a bunch of pulled pork. I charge about $90 per yard for bagged mulch. so for me it would be about a $1300-$1500 job depending on terrain. maybe a lil less since you can just dump the old mulch right there.
     
  9. Earth_Effects

    Earth_Effects LawnSite Member
    from NY
    Posts: 21

    With all due respect. What makes you think that fabric does nothing? I don't understand that. I always try to put fabric in on new installs, even if it is a pain. Just charge accordingly. Also, 2" inches of fresh mulch in an empty bed is nothing. Once it settles youll be left with maybe 1.5 inches and you can be assured they'll have weeds again very soon. The reason for 3-4 inches of fresh mulch is also to act as a natural weed barrier if fabric isn't used. Just sayin'.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  10. ron mexico75

    ron mexico75 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,705



    I'll chime in even though I wasn't specifically asked:laugh:

    This so called "weed fabric" or fabric IS a waste. It does NOT "prevent" weeds. Considering weeds can grow in mulch. Weed seeds spread through the wind land in the mulch and grow very well.

    You want to do it the right way? Use snapshot.


    **Using weed fabric to prevent weeds is like wearing a raincoat to stay dry while scuba diving**
     

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