Plant installs..60% of retail value?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by GarPA, Oct 27, 2003.

  1. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    In our neck of the woods many of us try to use the general guideline of charging 60% of the plant's normal retail price, to install it.

    Obviously this formula does not work if its an unusual, expensive specimen and nor does it work for large , inexpensive plants.

    Been awhile since we chewed on this topic and I have a big install coming up where I'm installing many, many inexpensive plants(not my design)...ie barberries, burning bush, arbs...yuck yuck yuck...so would you care to share your formulas? thanks
     
  2. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,369

    no formula....at the end of the day net profit per job and cash flow are the only figures I care about. Formulas dont pay the bills .... cash does.
     
  3. brentsawyer

    brentsawyer LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 663

    Around here all the local nurseries charge 50% retail for installation. As we all know this can sometimes vary by as much as 75% between high and low price nurseries. Usually if I'm planting barberry, holly or that small container stuff like 3gallon, local nurseries sell those for around $30 and my wholesaler sells for $14.75 or right around there for alot of common 3 gallon plants which I sell for $40-45. On maples and ash trees 1.75" that are around my cost $100 I will sell for $225-250 even though I put one in today for $200 that I didn't want to do but the customer is really nice and her yard looks real great and talks to alot of her neighbors. Usually 98-99% of those trees live and I can plant one around 45 min start to finish, can't remember the last maple or ash I had to replace. Larger trees the multiple goes up since survivability decreases horrendously. Now on the expensive specimans it is a real good idea to know the survivability rate of the plant or tree first and factor this in your pricing. A good one is the little Japanese Maples that have become all to common, usually I'll back a little off of these but never below 2x my cost, it is just too easy to make $150 off those trees and they rarely ever die, just look around and see what it would cost the customer to plant or buy themselves and price what you think is fair but be sure that if the plant does die you are covered. On the cheap trees I guess those would be pears and sycamore, I only plant those for builders who don't want to pay for a better tree, I would never plant one in a homeowners lawn, regardless, if it is at least 1.75" I will make at least $100. Its just that it would cost the customer close to what that for them to do it by paying retail and factoring in a decent figure for time picking up and planting. Hope this helps.
     
  4. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Posts: 4,205

    I'm thinking in the neighborhood of 80-100% of retail for the kinds of plantings you suggested. Or a flat rate for the job. Are you supplying the plant material or are they? If they are then 100% if you are then towards 80%.With a discount that I'm sure you would get supplying the plants you are right back at the 100% mark.JMO.
     
  5. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    dvm...yes I'm supplying the crappy plants ...much of this stuff is between 15 to 20 dollars my cost per plant. Its a new bldg so all the ground has just been filled in.....= very ez digging/planting.

    we dont have all the plants yet finalized but approximately 100, 3 gal plants and 15, 6 ft firs...now those we'll be around 2x my cost for planting.

    Brent...appreciate your points of info on this...I'm always open to new ideas/approaches to bidding/estimating. I know my productiivty numbers for each sized container but I'm always getting calls from people who just bought a larger specimen and want a "rough idea" how much it will cost to plant it. So without seeing the plant, I use my half baked formula of 60% of retail price....but as I said, on some plants that formula does not work too well. More times than not, the customer alreay has picked up or at least picked out their tree/plant. In these situations I offer no warranty as I cant build enough profit into install price to cover possible re-planting. Frankly I prefer it this way. I charge them an hour of labor to pick up their plant(s) If staking is needed, an extra .25 hours of labor is charged per tree in addition to the cost of the staking material.
     
  6. ZX12R

    ZX12R LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 787

    I think it depends on the type of client along with the kind of plant and also,the quantity. I just got the go ahead for a planting tonight.Its very easy and straight forward.It calls for four 6'-7' Norway Spruce planted with 2 stakes on each side of the plant. Also,thirty 6'-7' Spartan Juniper are to be planted on 5' centers. Peat moss and additional soil will be added to all plants. My cost will be $3300.00. I gave him an estimate for $8914.60 including tax. We agreed on a final price of $8150.00 including tax. Net profit is $4200.00. This job is at most a day and a half with 2 men ......no machinery. I wish i could do one every week :-(
     
  7. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    If you are planting tha tmany 3 gal plants then go rent an auger for a half day and get a 10" bit for it. We used one for an install of 100 3 gal plants last weekend and planted them all in less than 30 minutes (2 people). ITs worth every penny of the rental cost.
     
  8. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Posts: 1,578

    % don't work ... you can add a % for replacement ( you know what shrubs do well in your area and what ones have a higher percentage of loss) ..use production rates for planting.

    Ps... Iv'e always found this type of thread interesting. We just finished a tree planting job.... 285 2" caliper trees in various locations (biggest stretch was 50 trees) gauranteed for 2 years... how would you percentage guys have bid it?
     
  9. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Posts: 2,585

    Kris ...a job that big is so far out of my league I wouldn't even know where to begin on pricing it. wow
     
  10. newleaflandscape

    newleaflandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 348

    This is what I do. Figure out how many shrubs you can plant in an hour divide that by your hourly rate and that is you planting price. Then I add 2% for replacing. Because generally I replace about 2% of our plants. Then I add 15% markup on the plants. Because I buy them wholesale and you gtta make some money. Then I charge another 2 dollars to pay for fertilizer tablets and delivery. This has worked for me to perfect. Sounds like your trying to take something thats really easy and make it hard. I can never imagine running my business by charging to install something by percentages. That just stupid business. Dont mean to offend you but it is.
     

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