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mulch job

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by eddy13, Jun 16, 2003.

  1. eddy13

    eddy13 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    Hello everyone, this is my 1st post. I just recently finished my 1st mulching job and was wondering if I priced it right. My partner and I used 23 yards of cypress/cedar mix @ $25.68 a yard. It took us 60 man hours @ $14.50 each. That's $590.64 in mulch, and $870.00 in labor.I used $25.00 on gas and $6.00 on trash bags. That's a total of $1491.64. The customer didn't want to pay for materials so I took off $31.00 and another $15.00 for pulling a flower that was not supposed to be....believe me , we learned our lesson and that won't happen again.That's a total of $1446.64.My cut came out to be $14.27 an hour.How did I do? Could I have gotten more?
    Eddy Cox
    - All We Can Do Lawn Services
  2. Mike Bradbury

    Mike Bradbury LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 493

    you should have gotten more. Can't be self employed billing 15.00 an hour. Need to charge 30.00 to MAKE 15.00.

    That's an enormous amount of time for 23 yards, does that include a lot of prep? Edging the beds? Fabric? Was it an extremely long haul to the beds? I figure 1.5-2 yards per man hour for hauling/spreading (prep work is seperate). For big jobs think tractor with front end loader or bobcat to haul the mulch to the beds. I'd do that job in 1/2 day with my tractor and 1 helper. Charge them 55.00 a yard plus any prep work. Same bill, half a day. I make, ummmmmmmmm, a whole bunch more than 14.50 an hour.

    Learn a lesson on the billing and only show a customer a TOTAL price! Never itemize a bill, for the reason you just discovered, they will nickel and dime your bill to death. If it took 25.00 in gas then that should be part of the bill, but not a seperate item for them to see.
  3. eddy13

    eddy13 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    thanks for the info Mike...I thought we were under, but it was our 1st job and didn't really know what to expect. We had so many hours because it was a large yard and we were hauling mulch in a small pickup that could not be driven in the yard. We did a lot of wheel barrowing from the truck. We also pulled a lot of weeds(I'll use round up next time)and removed some saplings. We have a yard next door to this one that wants mulching done. I estimate that it will take 6.5 yards. So I should charge $55.00 a yard + the cost of mulch? And extra for weeding?Sounds better than the 1st job. Thanks again Mike.....
  4. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Posts: 833

    $1,500 for 23 yards = $65 per yard of mulch.

    The 60 hours including a lot of prep work really scews the rate. It would be easier to evaluate if you could determine 40 hours prep work 20 for mulch or whatever it was.

    Perhap on the next job measure times for each task so you will have a good meter for future bids. Like how long to load a barrow and how many barrows per truck load (=how long to unload). Then you can bid on the job instead of T & M. And you will have workable numbers for 3 yards or 103 yards.

    With long barrow runs (dist from truck to bed) a good pace of a jog is helpful. When working with two A loads and runs the mulch and B spreads it. Trade after an hour or two. When not much spreading is involved, used two barrows, person A loads #1 while B runs and dumps and returns empty to pick up loaded #2. This is when you get paid by the yard not by the hour. :)

    Having a small truck adds a lot of inefficiency to the job. It's tough to pass YOUR inefficiencies off to the customer. So making 20 trips to the supplier instead of 2 is your cost that you pretty much have to eat to be competitive. Do a delivery if there is a spot to dump it.

    When you are doing straight labor with hand tools so $15/hr (while on the low side) is reasonable for NEW operators. Just cause someone charges $50 for mowing with a $10,000 mower doesn't mean they ought to charge $50 for placing mulch. But the profit should be the same for both tasks though.

    Got any pictures????? of the mulch that is?
  5. rebel77

    rebel77 LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Posts: 14

    I charge $65 a yard. That includes delivery, mulch and spreading. I charge seperate for weeding and edging. A lot of people want to pay hourly, sorry I dont do that. Old timers do not want to pay.
    I make a lot more than $15 an hour. Another thing I do is have large jobs delivered.

  6. eddy13

    eddy13 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    Sorry, no pics of the mulch. I have no digital camera.It's got a good color and only used it because it was the cheapest we found. Turned out to be good mulch. Thanks for all the advice, I've gotten a lot of useful tips at this site. I am starting at the bottom with free and borrowed equipment and an old nissan pickup that runs fair. I plan to upgrade as I go. So far, I've made a positive cash flow. I had a setback today... got poison ivy. Gotta go get a shot in the behind. That's $50.00. That's the only way I can get rid of it. Until next time
  7. eddy13

    eddy13 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    thanks rebel....soaking up all the advice I can get.
  8. joshua

    joshua LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,226

    You billed yourself out at $15 a hour, come on raise your prices, the least i bill myself out is $60 and the highest is $100 depending on the job. For my employees i bill them out at $15 a guy.

    think about it 3 months of the year you do nothing, insurance, taxes, gas, your time to meet with customers ( even if you don't get the job its your time you could be doing something else ), workmans comp. , paper work, ect... ect.... ect.... your job for them didn't start when you arrived at the site, it started when you answered there call, went over to sell the job, ordered what you needed, picked it up, did the job, walked them through to make sure they were satisfied, when home made the bill up and sent it to them, got paid and the job was then complete. you have to think about every job just like that because thats what every job includes.

    ohhh yea i forgot the biggest thing of all you're also getting paid for your knowlegde.
  9. eddy13

    eddy13 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    thanks joshua...
  10. hoyboy

    hoyboy LawnSite Senior Member
    from Chicago
    Posts: 346

    If I want $15/hour, I'll go get a job and forget the headaches of owning a business...

    I bill our maintenance jobs (little supervision required) at $35/manhour and our installs at $45/manhour (actually all of our installs are per contract, but I use this hourly rate for "extras" the customer may want at the last minute)

    The overall price you charged doesn't sound TOO cheap (a little though), but the hours spent seem WAAAAYYYY to long. We charge $75/cu. yd. for labor and material for the typical job, but that can go up depending on site conditions, etc.

    good luck...

    Dan Norton
    Hoy Landscaping, Inc.

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