small paver jobs

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by mkroher, Oct 13, 2004.

  1. mkroher

    mkroher LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 539

    I came to realize there is no money in pavers unless you are doing 100+ sqft. The going rate up here is about $15/sqft. But i've been under cut by people doing $11/sqft.

    I just did a 60 sqft walk, i think I made $5 profit when it was all done :/ I might just turn down small jobs like that, or have a $1500 minimum no matter what.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.. Thanks :)
  2. midtnstone

    midtnstone LawnSite Member
    from mid tn
    Posts: 76

    i haven't figured out how you only made $5 on this job how much are you paying for your pavers my numbers are

    pavers are $1.40-$2.00 sq ft (60sq ft)= $84.00-$120.00
    ton of sand $23.00
    crush an run $20.00
    these numbers are worst case materials cost $163.00
    add fuel plus whatever make cost $200.00
    and if you charge $11.00 that makes $660.00
    profit of $460.00
    if you charge $15.00 that makes $900.00 or a profit of $700.00
    sounds like a pretty good days work to me but if there is something i am missing please let me know i am just wondering where you got your numbers
  3. activelandscaping

    activelandscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 241

    I would recommend three things.

    1) You need your own equipment. If you'r renting equipment, and based on your profit margin I would guess that you are. Don't figure less than the week rental into the job, the price difference just isn't that much.
    2) If there's no money in a small job your looking at try and talk your customer into something extra ( you have a great back yard, have you considered doing a patio ? ), it may sound corny but a lot of people (A) have considered it (B) would be willing to let you talk them into a package price.
    3) Never price match. There are plenty of contractors out there that will low ball a job they wouldn't even consider doing , and wouldn't come back and do at any price, just to trap new competition. Bid as many jobs as you can and let the next guy make 5 bucks.

    Just one other thing, don't do driveways until you have a few walkways under your belt. If a drive isn't done properly you're way beyond pulling a couple of paver's.

    Acute Cut likes this.
  4. bcx400

    bcx400 LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Posts: 77

    We should all get rid of square foot pricing for pavers. There are too many variables with pavers to justify pricing this way. Yesterday, I had a four-man crew spend the entire day making cuts on an 800 square foot patio and walk. If there were not any curves in the walk and patio, the cuts could have been completed by the same crew in one hour.

    Midtnstone- you forgot about labor and overhead in your profit calculation.

    If I am asked to do a 60 sf paver job, I will price the job based on how long it takes to get the materials to the job site, and all travel time to and from my shop. If it is still less than one days worth of work, and I can't fill the rest of the day with another job, than the customer will have to pay for a full day of labor. I have done small paver jobs, that when square feet are calculated, would cost over $20.00 per sf. I try never to quote a square foot price to a customer. If asked, I will give a range price of $14.00 to $25.00 per square foot.
  5. mkroher

    mkroher LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 539

    I used Bolduc pavers. ~$3.50 sqft

    pavers $210
    process $30
    stonedust $10
    compacter rental $40
    asphalt cutter rental $35
    wet saw rental $40
    edging $15
    topsoil $24
    1 employee (2 days) $240

    The job took two days because of all the bullshit driving.
    If i had everything there sitting in one big pile, I could have done it in 1 day.
    Pickup and dropoff pavers (saved $75)

    I dunno, maybe it wasn't $5 profit. It just seemed I spent a lot of my own money for a itty bitty walk. I wouldn't buy my own equipement unless I did pavers everyday. I do more mowing than anything. This is considered a side job. I would like to do more paver work but if i can make 600-800 a day mowing, I don't see why i should. :/

    Thanks for the input guys
  6. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,915

    So technically it's your fault you made less money. You need to be more organized I guess. Or, you need to re-figure your trip time for materials. Yes, square foot pricing isn't always going to work out. It's a good general idea and then you must tweak from there. Set your price and don't worry what others do it for. Let them loose money or they may just have better ways of meeting their price requirements. I wouldn't get too down on paver work. Maybe once you do more you'll see better margins. It's one of our best profit producers.
  7. mkroher

    mkroher LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 539

    I've done quite a few paver jobs. But i don't think i've done enough to be efficient in maximizing profits (like in this case).

    And yes, it is my fault that i bid low. But.. it was a new neighborhood construction, and i was/am hoping to get more paver jobs on that street. When i first showed up to do the bid, all the neighbors came walking over and asked me to come and give them an estimate. So i thought.. 'it doesn't get any better than this'. But apparantly they were all talk and the extra jobs never fell through, and i got stuck doing one 60 sqft walk.

    Perhaps I should use a less expensive paver. Does the customer really care? As long is looks good right?
  8. activelandscaping

    activelandscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 241

    My first paver job I lost over $ 200 on, 12 years ago. That was also the last time I actually " lost money " on a job.

    I'll post a couple of quick words of advice that would have helped me on my first job, and have on every job since.

    1) you can only afford to give your customer 1 of the following: Quality, Service or Price.

    2) Figure out what you need to do the job, not what you see other people using to do a similar job. To do this job you needed the following equipment items, the same ones I first purchased and built my business with: 7" angle grinder ( with a $ 20.00 diamond blade ) splitting chisel, 2 bags ready mix mortar, shovels and brooms, 3 lb hammer, screed rails, bubble level, bricklayers level, wood stakes, couple of nails, line, Plate compactor ( bought used, I had to borrow a couple of bucks from dad at the time ) :eek:

    3) A good contract is essential, don't have time now but if your still interested I can list the what should/shouldn't be included.

    4) you should list, at least, the following when estimating: site conditions, accessibility, waste removal, tree drip line encroachment ( paving area ), slope, rough soil comp.

    5) Stay out of new subdivisions and new development. You are competing against the builders subcontractors, who already have all equip. and materials on site. Look for older communities 20+ that have cracked walkways, patios, things that need to be replaced, then advertise as much as possible.

    5) Job cost should include: Labor, materials, overhead, paver waste 10% on square/rectangle 25% and up on everything else.

    Good luck,
  9. midtnstone

    midtnstone LawnSite Member
    from mid tn
    Posts: 76

    owning your equipment does help alot and if i thought that i wanted to do this very much i would buy as much of the equipment that i could even if it used. that is what i did i bought some of the stuff new but some stuff like my table wet saw i bought used but works great. i dont know about your area but here renting equipment is very expensive which cuts in your profit. i would keep doing this type of work because there is money in it. just learn from your mistakes. the first paver job i ever did was for my dad then i did one for my sister so that i could more about it plus learn about my cost. something else i do on days it is raining call around or start asking where other people buy stuff. i am allways looking for cheaper prices. i dont know about the company that use for pavers but mine are made close to my house so i go there some and buy stuff that is seconds for about 1/2 price no body would ever know but that give me an edge so that i can lower my cost to the customer plus still make good money
  10. mkroher

    mkroher LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 539

    Heh, i think there is money in this.. I just landed a 3000+ sqft paver job, and a 280 sqft wall. At $15/sqft for pavers, and $30/sqft for the wall. Hopefully this job will teach me efficiency.

    OH.. I did have a question about this job, and thought i would throw it at you guys.

    The customer has NO driveway yet (brand new house being built). He wants a paver apron. easy. Then.. he wants an paver inlay near his garage; like a big sqare of pavers, with asphalt in the middle.

    How the heck would i do the inlay? Should I do the pavers first, then have the driveway placed inside the inlay? Or, should they put the driveway in first, then I can cut out the inlay. I'm afraid of cutting out an inlay that large, since the cut would have to be so dead nuts accurate for the pavers to fit nicely. I would much rather do the pavers first, and putting asphalt in the middle.. isn't my problem (hehe).

    Thanks guys.

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