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Price for planting trees?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Lawn-Scapes, May 20, 2001.

  1. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,810

    Hi all...

    I've been in the lawn business for almost 10 years now. I've never done much landscaping... just some occasional planting for lawn customers. I've never known what the going rate is for planting. Now that I've found this wonderful site maybe I can get some help and charge accordingly.

    So... I planted two trees, a Snow Fountain Cherry and a Yoshino Cherry this morning. The trees cost me $157.50. At another nursery I went to, they wanted $137 for the Yoshino alone. I'm figuring I can charge around $140 per tree plus pick up, delivery and install. This would be around $120. $400 total... Sound about right? Charge a little extra to guarantee the trees for a year?

    Is there an easy way to calculate landscaping prices?

  2. KindGardener

    KindGardener LawnSite Member
    Posts: 186

    Sounds fair to me - and like a great value for your client.
    I'd make sure they know what the trees retail for, so they know what a good deal you gave them.
  3. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073


    When offering guarantees on such small jobs, be SURE to include that in price.

    These are the jobs that seem to catch up with me later on, or at least use to.

    When planting single/two trees, price for customer is usually rather high when a guaratee is also offered. As I have found, the law of probability seems to ALWAYS work against you on single tree plantings. What I mean is, you may plant 10k in material the week before and have maybe 2 shrubs die during the 1 year guarantee period, while you plant 1 tree and it dies 2 days after you are finished.

    On small jobs, your profit margin is so much smaller than the larger ones. If a few shrubs on a big job die, that can be easily coverered. IF a few shrubs die on a small job, suddenly you have just done the job for nothing.

    If you are going to gurarantee a tree, I try to be in the range of 3, even 3.5-4 times the retail price. Once you have one die and have to go back and spend all that time replacing it, you will see the risk here. Not to mention the headaches involved with the customer calling you every day to tell you the tree is dying, the trip that may be needed to inspect the tree that is dying, etc. etc. etc....

    I've actually started not guaranteeing my work on small jobs like this. It keeps the price lower for the customer and keeps me from losing my shirt if something happens. I usually work a deal where, if the tree does die, I will replace it for the cost of the tree, and not charge my fee for time and installation. That way, you still make a few dollars between the retail/wholesale price when replacing and do not have the worries of paying completely for the tree. Of course, the best thing is to not have the tree die to begin with.

    By offering a gurantee on such a small job,you almost have to assume the tree is going to die and need to be replaced.

  4. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,810

    Thanks for the replies Will & Steve...

    $400 seems fair to me... No guarantee
  5. AndrewLawn

    AndrewLawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    What I'd do on that,is a charge half the price of what the trees cost you to buy them,plus the cost of the trees themselves,and a little extra for hauling the trees and what not......$400 sounds about right though.
  6. alfabetsoop

    alfabetsoop LawnSite Member
    Posts: 22

    As a residential customer, I thought I'd chime in. I hade a local nursery plan a design for me. I agreed to buy all of the material from him, so the plan was free. He subcontracted the installation which included 90% new beds, the rest was single specimen plantings. The total, including mulch and fert, was $12,000. I paid $8,000 for the plants (I have a detailed invoice), and $4,000 for installation. They were in and out in a day and a half.
  7. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,073


    welcome alphabetsoop.

    The price you got seems very fair, if not a great deal to say the least.

    As for the other contractors, this is the competition that is hard to compete against. Not sure of what you got for the 8000, but the nurserys bill for the plants was probably around 3000-4000 I'd bet. this is a privelidge that a typical, smaller outfit does not have, as we buy from the nursery whereas they buy direct from the growers or grow themselves.

    If , as a smalller contractor, you could afford to buy bulk and have plants sitting in storage all year, I could see running a deal like that, but you need a lot of volume. No way in heaven I could charge a price like that and still give a warranty, especially if a few $1000 specimans were included. Too much risk for me for only a 4k profit as the installer.

    As for a 'free' plan, I've always loved this term.

    Very unlikely. What 'free' plan means is that they factored it into another part of the job, this time, into the sale price of the plants you bought. For a job of that size, I'd figure at least $200-300, maybe more, for the time and effort of coming up with a plan. If they are truly giving it away for free, then something is wrong......or they like to work for free!

  8. General Grounds

    General Grounds LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 902

    :blob3: i use the 2.5 method. i take the price of the tree.157.50 x 2.5 $393.75, and i usually would round up to 395. This price includes planting, and warranty for 1 year, if the customer does there part, i dont warr. for lack of water or deer damage. hope i helped,tony
  9. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,810

    After rereading my post I'm not sure if everyone understood. I said "The trees cost me $157.50" That's what I paid for both trees... Not an each price. Was that understood?
  10. General Grounds

    General Grounds LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 902

    TSG, all understood, regardless, to pick up, plant and warranty, you should 2.5-3x's the cost of any planted material. you should be paid for your time,if they dont like tough %^$#@!!!.:confused:

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