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Sod Help

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by StBalor, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 798

    This will be my 1st big sod job. The area to be covered is 80' x 60' = 4800sq'
    I rounded it up to 5000.
    i would need to bring in enough topsoil for a 3" depth. here is my material list.
    Topsoil - 12 ton delivered - 500.00
    sod - 9 pallets delivered - 1225.25
    Bobcat rental/driver - 800.00 a day why a driver? friend of mines bobcat that's what he charges.

    Wht would you guys charge for this? is there a standard price per sq foot for this type of work? think of anything else i may need?
    also, 3 people, how long do you think this will take, i am thinking 8 hours. Is this do able in that time?
  2. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 798

    Also, would you let them know you had to rent a bobcat or would you just include that in the labor costs?
  3. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,210

    Why are you having topsoil delivered by weight? I've never heard of topsoil being sold by weight. Its usually sold by the cubic yard. At 3" deep I'm calculating 45 yards. I'm not sure what topsoil weights but at 24k# and 45 yards that's only 500#'s per yard. Which topsoil I would think is closer to 1200-1500#'s per yard...but again I'm just guessing.

    What square footage is on your pallets. Were I get it from its 500sqft of sod per pallet. That means I would need 10 pallets just to cover the area without any cuts or anything. I would add 10-20% of sod (or sq ft) to my bid to calcuate for cuts, waste, damage pieces etc. I'd be getting 12 pallets. Did you account for cuts or are you just figuring I need 5ksqft thats what I'm going to order? If so, that could be a big mistake.

    Also, for that many pallets I would make sure your skid steer has pallet forks and has the capability to lift those pallets from the height of a flatbed and transport it to the worksite....preferrably next to the laying area. Unless of course you are getting rolls and having a sod roller do that work. But, I've never used one so I can't given any advice in that area.

    As far as 800/day for the bobcat thats not a bad price at all. Actually, I think that is very fair. I would guess only needed the bobcat for one day. Move all the topsoil and transport the pallets. As far as done in one day...yes if the material was their when you started first thing in the morning. So have the materials deilvered before the job starts.

    45 yards of topsoil placed and raked out in 2-3 hours with steer and two men. Assuming one man on the steer and two raking with landscape rakes. I like to figure one man-hour per pallet of sod installed by hand. So 9 pallets (I'll assume this is correct) is about 9 man-hrs or 4.5 hrs w/ two people no breaks. Another hour to roll it out (you do need a sod roller of some kind). It probablly can get done in one long day.

    I'd still plan for two days though. So skid for one day 1,000, topsoil (which I don't think is correct) 750, another 1850, and then 32 man-hrs at 55 per hr or 1400 for labor. Grand total with a crapload of assumptions....5350

    how's I do?

    Enough I have to get back to work and get my own estimates done.
  4. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 798

    Thanks for the help. I too figured it out to about 45 yards of topsoil. The thing is i know a place i can get it by the ton cheaper than by the yard. So i looked for a conversion chart for topsoil that would change yards to tons. I did not think it was correct cause the same chart is also used for mulch which is lighter.
    Anyone else have any ideas how to convert 45 yards of topsoil to tons?

    Also i called the sod distubutor and told them i needed 4800 sq' of sod, but wanted to round it up to 5,000 sq'. They told me 9 pallets. I'll call back and ask them how many sq' on a pallet. Also, very minimal cutting involved. It's a perfect rectangal 80' x 60' figured i would start with a whole peice and next row would start with a half peice. I'll have to rent a roller, thanks for bringing that to my attention.
  5. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 798

    just called the sod distibutor, they told me 600 sq' per pallet. This makes it 5400 sq' for 9 pallets. I need 4800, this should be good, yes?

    LB1234, thanks for your input. it really helped before i made a mistake on the topsoil. You were right, not enough topsoil.
  6. TFmike

    TFmike LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    our clay loam will vary between 1500# and 1800# to the yard, less if right off the screen more if rained on and seatled. I would have my area preped before getting the sod there, we do new installs all the time, I would prep one day get sod another about 17 man hours to lay the sod, prep should be quick depends on the skid loader operater. ass a side note unless we were going over beach sand I would cut top soil to 2" and spread a little peat moss between sod and top soil, peat holds water more even than sod or top.
  7. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 798

    Hey TFmike & LB1234, the area i am gonna be doing is kind of sandy. the grass that is there is ok but has very large spots between the grass. no weeds at all. when i say lage spots inbetween i mean area is roughly 40% covered with grass but spaced out. I was thinking i could cut this grass very short then just put the topsoil over the exsisting grass then sod. Or should i have the grass scraped off with the bobcat? Now if it had a lot of grass and weeds i would definetly scrape the yard, but here i am thinking i can just cut short and cover. sorry for so many questions, just wanna do this right.
  8. TFmike

    TFmike LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    round up comes to mind, the quality of the top soil is determined by organic matter and water holding capacity. Make sure the grade is good,slope and smooth, get lots of water on the sod. I have but not often done peat moss over a sandy soil, this homeowner had there own well and figured water was free. That lawn takes more water a my guess would be the roots are shallow. It was done for curb appeal on a house for sale. 4 or 5 years later and sold twice lawn looks great.
  9. TFmike

    TFmike LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    btw make sure soil is not fluff but not compacted
  10. RAlmaroad

    RAlmaroad LawnSite Silver Member
    from SC
    Posts: 2,194

    Conversion from yards to tons can't be done. A yard of rocks (Sold by the ton) is not the same weight as say a yard of top soil. For a reference point. A bag of topsoil (About 2.5 cubic feet) weight 40lb as sold at Lowes. So if you do the math 27cubic feet (1 cubic yard)= 11 cubic feet X 40lb = 440 X 45 = 19,800 (roughly 20K divide by 2,000 (1 ton) = 10 ton. These are only guesstimates but should get you close. You could just go get a cubic foot of dirt and weigh it; then do your math.
    Now on another note--Doesn't Maryland have good soil? Why topsoil unless pure clay? We use a 4' PTO driven cultivator/rototiller which would take care of that small space in about 2 hours and doing away with the topsoil or adding a few bags. Have you thought about seeding instead of sodding? Just wondering and throwing out some options . Unless client wants instant yard. Seems like to get a decent profit margin, this small spot is so labor intensive that you'll be cutting it close to get the job and make any profit; assuming your cost is about 5K and you'll be charging $7500.

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