Please help me figure this small job

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Pecker, Sep 20, 2004.

  1. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,454

    Hello all,

    I posted this in the Landscape forum also, but I really need some exposure because I need to get back with this lady very soon.

    Need a little advice regarding what to charge to completely overhaul a small bed. . .I don't do much landscaping but I want to learn and here's a great start (I work solo). Also, I did a search and just haven't found what I'm looking for.

    Here's the deal:
    - Bed measures 2' x 8'. There is nothing in the bed, it obviously died off years ago. It needs probably 3 inches of soil excavated (the soil will be very difficult to break up and its mostly clay) and hauled away (my calculations show that to be 4 cubic feet or about two wheel barrow loads). I will need to put a border around it. I'm thinking of black plastic edging but possibly landscape timbers. I plan on adding about 3 inches of topsoil back in and tilling with native soil. Here's the plants I wanna put in. After talking with the customer and assessing her needs: 5 Dwarf Yaupon Holly bushes @ $3.96 a piece. An 8 foot row of monkey grass in front of it; not sure of the price here, but I'm thinking will cost less than $20 or so. In the front will be a flat of Petunias stretching the 8 foot span which are $10.89 per flat (36 flowers). 4 cubic feet of topsoil will cost around $5, but I'll get some extra so say $8. Then, for a rich dark soil look, I'll top it off with a bag of Landscaper's mix; roughly $3. To sum it up, my materials should cost roughly $65.

    Here's my questions:
    - What's a general rate for labor (ie. for lawn service a lot of folks say $1/minute and I average $.93/minute, to give you an idea of my area)?
    - How long do you guys think it will take one hardworking man to do the actual labor?
    - Should I charge for my truck time going to buy the materials and if so, how much?
    - Finally, please tell me a rough estimate of what you guys would chargefor this job. I know there are things which are unique to every job and if you have questions please ask me.
    Also, I have not told this lady a price yet. Of course, I don't want to price myself out, but I'd rather not work than work for free.

    PS On the plant materials, would it be fairly safe just to double the price of the plant (which would cover shopping time, unit price, and labor) and then add the labor it took to prepare the bed, put in the edging, and shopping time?

    Thanks in advance.
    __________________
     
  2. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,410

    Sounds like a nice little job for a solo guy, congrats. Hope I can help. We charge $35.00 per man hour but I have three or more guys on most jobs. If I were u, I would take into account how wealthy she is & does she deal with landscape companys often. If she does she will be used to paying for the service and u can charge accordingly. If not, I would say something like $100 for my labor + materials. I add stuff like bumping fees and up charge my materials to cover cost of picking it up. If Holleys are$3.96 I would gharge something like $6.96 ea. If u use a truck to haul dirt, charge a $15 hualing fee. Just make sure u do a super job and she will feel the value
     
  3. GardenofWeeden

    GardenofWeeden LawnSite Member
    Posts: 50

    If the plants are wholesale mark them up to 90-100%.

    If they are retail then you have to go about it another way.... You stated $65.00 in materials. It should take you about 2.5 hours to shop this.

    Mileage is at $0.38 for each mile. Bill her from the job site to the stores then back to her house.

    Labor: Average for solo is $18.66 hr. (This is our Team Lead equiv.)
    The actual bed prep should take you 3 hours
    Spread topsoil 1.0
    Planting 1.0
    Clean-Up .5 hours
    Delivery of Material: 2.5 hrs.
    $18.66 * 8 = $149.28
    Mileage (estimating) 20 miles 20*.38 = $7.60

    Materials: Your retail cost $65.00
    Add 10%: 6.50

    Total Guesstimate: $228.38
     
  4. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,454

    PJS,
    Thank you for the excellent advice. I have to watch my pricing for the reasons you mentioned. Also, I see this as an opportunity to prove myself and do a great job so that both her and I can be proud. My figures were pretty much in line with yours: For the materials I'm leaning toward a 50% markup, adding a little for the shopping, and adding a little for the excavation work. Also, on the labor end I'm shooting for $25/hour. Again, thanks for the input.
     

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