New Lawn Install???

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by yardatwork, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. yardatwork

    yardatwork LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 645

    Need help from those guys who do seed/dirt install on new lawns. I've done many reseeding jobs over my 15 years in the business...but...I've never done a brand new lawn install. The house was just built, drive way is going in on Wednesday and a shed will be place in the following week. So...I get the call to give an estimate on the lawn install. Here's all the details:

    *24,000 square feet
    *Needs minimal final grading and will need a good topcoat of soil...I'm saying 1 inch of mixed (manure/screened) soil...roughly 74 ton at $37.00 per ton.
    *150 pounds of seed

    Here is my estimate. Please let me know if I'm in the ball park or way out in left field. Thank you in advance for any replies.

    74 ton mixed soil - $2738.00
    150lbs hardy mix seed - $300.00
    skid rental - $300.00
    fuel refill - $50.00 (estimation)
    tax - $203.28
    soil delivery -$300.00 (not sure on this since my supplier would deliver in a
    tri-axle. estimating 3 trips.)
    minor skid grading labor/yard prep - $240.00
    soil labor/seed labor - $4810.00
    ---------------------------------
    TOTAL - $8941.28
     
  2. nashlawn01

    nashlawn01 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 463

    $9000 for a little over half acre would be awesome but here in my area they would either laugh me off the property or throw rocks at me until I was out of sight
     
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    A 1" screened manure topsoil over the existing soil, done with a bobcat,,, in the Spring...

    If the soil is that bad that the h.o. is even considering a topdress,,, you might be further ahead to just slit-seed , then smooth over compost with a rake...

    My concern is that you're going to do a $9k job leaving compacted mineral soil covered by useless compacted 1" layer and somehow get the seed to germinate and set root b4 the heat/drought comes... The most likely scenario is lots of weeds struggling to gain access into the compacted ground...

    What kind of soil is it???
     
  4. LandFakers

    LandFakers LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Posts: 6,229

    I did a similar size lawn last year for 7.5k, but im getting soil for 20/ton, and I had no skid rental to do. That price isnt way out there, has the homeowner given you a ballpark of what they wanna spend? Alot of customers do that to me alot, it helps out when coming up with a quote
     
  5. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,070

    One inch soil-mix will not do much. Nearly impossible to spread to get it one-inch deep over the whole yard. Do not attempt to substitute "topsoil" covering for attaining good seed to soil contact. Axe is right. Do a soil test. Add starter fert and lime as needed. Slit seed in two directions.
    "Hardy Seed"? Sounds like another word for low-quality contractor mix. It probably contains too much annual rye. Get the customer to upgrade to a top-quality seed. Increase the seeding rate to 10 pounds per thousand--since this is a spring seeding and conditions are not the best. Remember there is hardly any point in including bluegrass in the mix as it comes up too slow--especially without irrigation.
    Is it irrigated? If not arrange a temporary timer and hoses system. Take cash on the spot and do not guarantee anything.
     
  6. yardatwork

    yardatwork LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 645

    Thanks for the replies! As for the soil. This new housing development was built on previous farm land. So the soil is better than the average Western Pennsylvania clayish soil or sand stone ridden soil. The seed I'm using is a highly recommended and highly ask for seed in our are. Hardy Mix is a mixture of three seeds...drought tolerant, shade seed, and a basic seed. This works best in our area based on the every changing weather conditions. Other than "Penn State" grass, which is the best grass for ideal conditions, Hardy Mix is the next best. I'm just concerned with my price. If I was hand shoveling all the soil and wheeling it into location. etc...the price would seem fair. But the skid is going to speed the process up greatly and I'm having a hard time justifying the price. But...if my price is in the range of others...then there is no reason to not charge that. I try to stay away from these types of job...but my name was thrown in on a referral and I worked with this homeowner way back in college while doing my internship...so she knows me and I just couldn't say no. I mainly do maint...mowing, shrub trimming, mulch, edging, fall clean up, minor hardscape...50/50 commercial/residential.
     
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,080

    If you ADD the cost of operating the skidster at $100/hr, from the time it leaves the shed, plus the skilled operator that spreads a 1" layer being a skilled individual worthy of a $75/hr minimum... I wouldn't worry too much for the silliness of over charging somebody who requests that it be done on Farm Land in the first place...

    I would give a separate quote for slit-seeding only... plan on the light leveling of the existing grade being done by hand for $50/hr instead of $175/hr...
    One thing that professionals do is,,, give the clientale several INTELLIGENT options... :)
     
  8. maynardGkeynes

    maynardGkeynes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 409

    I don't get why you think you need all that top soil and amendments if it is good soil to begin with. Grass grows on farms too, if I recall. This just sounds to me like a minor grading and slit seed job. BTW, what specific varieties are in the "Hardy Mix." It reminds me of Gallo Hearty Burgundy, which was neither Burgundy nor particularly Hearty :) -- name means nothing.
     
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,070

    Drought tolerant, shade seed and general seed. Are you saying it contains no annual rye? What is the percent of each variety? Since generic red fescue (shade seed) is cheap, and not so good in the sun--I would use it only in the shade, and apply it on top of your regular "Hardy Mix". And since it is so slow bluegrass will not likey sprout in the spring. Bluegrass is best as sod.
     
  10. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,659

    We ALWAYS Start Total renovations or new installs with a soil test, from there we use it as a guideline for what we will do next, once we have the results of the test back we devise a plan and go over it with the customer, soil test are cheap redoing a lawn is not! Most of our renovations run in the 6K area.
     

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