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Subed out mulching jobs? Pricing info inside :p

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Ramairfreak98ss, Jun 3, 2008.

  1. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,210

    I do some sub work for a landscape management company, they may even be on here... in no way do i feel any disrespect towards them as a company since i have grown pretty friendly with most of their owners and managers, but when it it "not" good to take the work?

    They have offered hundreds of yards of mulching work thats all commercial places.

    We take out our 48" bucket loader Simplicity tractor to move the mulch around since most places have parking lots and are far distances. This ends up being MUCH MUCH faster than just a few guys with wheelbarrows trust me.

    When it comes down to the numbers though, either we are not efficient enough or there just isnt enough money to be made?

    Since i do good work for them, am reliable, etc. they had bumped up my rate PER YARD from $25.00 applied to $28.00 which was all they could possibly do since they are capped for how much they get for these jobs.

    Now THEY supply all mulch, so its just a straight labor fee from my company to show up at the place and apply it. I know your all thinking thats easy, drive over in a car with a few guys and go to town...

    But what happens is we get a list of say 10 locations/stores somewhat close together in NJ, they dump 30 or 65 yards of mulch at a location and then its up to me to move it from site to site as per the needs per store. Now most times their paper estimates are close, if they need 13 yards at one store, its pretty close applying by hand at 1" thick normally.

    I've studied my paperwork details.. If 4 of us are at a site, myself included, we can be getting done 2+ yards per man per hour, thats about 8 yards per hour. 8yrds x $28.00 = $224.00 PER HOUR isnt too bad for us..

    Now comes the bad part, figure in as soon as you have to load up our 14' trailer with say between 5-12 yards of mulch to take to another location, if we have to load it more than half full, ~6 yards, we cant get the small loader tractor back into/on top of the trailer so it has to stay at the dump site "we may have already finished this location by now though".

    I then coordinate to haul the mulch to the next location, drive back get the loader and crew and drive back again...chewing up lots of $4.79g/ Diesel.

    I calculated in the last two LONG days and part of tomorrow, my labor hours included, for 4 guys we spent 73hrs in driving time, mulching, hauling, etc. to make almost $1,850 which is only $25.00 per hour.

    I have income theoretically of $100.00 per hour for 4 guys.

    Crew leader $15/hr
    Employee 1 $12/hr
    Employee 2 $11/hr
    Myself $300-Free/hr lol

    $100hr - $38.00 hr for labor NOT including myself

    We chewed through nearly a whole tank of diesel, i will have to fill up by finishing this "$1,850.00" jobs tomorrow sometime at about $170.00
    Lets figure in we use ~$20.00 in three days with the tractor, 5g tank, sips fuel.

    $2.60 per hour average fuel expense

    Diesel F350, 14k Dump trailer, diesel 27hp tractor Wear and tear? Dont want to think about this part really, but we got a beer bottle glass in one trailer tire and it was leaking... couldnt fix it, replaced two tires today for $295.00, ouch.

    $100hr income - $38hr labor - $2.60hr fuel =$59hr Company income

    Now $60 for my company profit give or take per hour is pretty damn low for a 4 man crew wouldn't you agree?

    Lawn Mowing service, 2 man crew normally, rough calculation for the one day weekly, $871, play it safe, 9hr day = 18hrs is $48 PER man hour, not 25

    Hardscaping, i usually dont pay attention but know after our prep work its higher than $50/hr + Block & supply markup

    Irrigation, doesnt take too long, probably a minimum of $50/hr even with 3-5 man crews. + product markup

    Landscaping etc... $50/hr+ product markup

    Mulching residential or commercial for my own jobs... $60-80yard Even at only $60.00 charge per yard and $15-19 per yard depending on type, thats still in the $40+ range to pick up a load, haul to site, apply and weed.

    A 10 yard job can be done easily in ~3hrs with 3 guys at one house and is say $700, at $190 cost for mulch even at $19yard, thats still $56 PER man hour in labor.

    Honestly we work fast, were coordinated well, have everything we need to speed up the job, not just a pitch fork, pile of mulch and an old rusty wheelbarrow.

    At the end of a day, i think wow, we really killed that job today, awesome.

    Then i look over these numbers and feel depressed. Maybe thats why these same places dont entertain our bids when we put them in for this work because were not cheaper than dirt?

    I am not a huge company but i am not a joe smoe with a old pickup and a shovel either. We need to make X amount of dollars per day to be profitable. After all this expense, we made less than $500 for me to be out all day with 3 other employees, take into account now wear and tear and my salary, whatever that is, were not making much. If it takes $100 a day to run the company for expenses, theres not much left for the company or my own paycheck for busing our butts all day long to apply, load, unload, and apply more mulch.
  2. LawnsRUsInc.

    LawnsRUsInc. LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 916

    I think its a ok deal except tell them that you want the proper amount of mulch dropped of at each site and thats what your putting down no more no less dont haul either.
  3. fool32696

    fool32696 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 991

    $28 per yard labor only is a good rate for my area. I'd take all I could get at that money. With that said, I would not be ok with all mulch dumped in bulk at one location. If I had a skid steer at the dump site it wouldn't be a big deal. I have a trailer that will hold 20yds that is perfect for mulch jobs, but wouldn't be of much use in this situation without a loader. All your profit is being eaten up by unnecessary driving, loading, hauling, and unloading. Are they just getting a bulk tractor trailer delivery? Here's how I would handle it if they can't deliver to each site. I would have them dump the load at the biggest job and just leave the loader there. If these jobs involve large parking lots, don't bother with the tractor, just move the truck and trailer closer so the guys can make short (fast) wheelbarrow trips. Have the guys load and dump wheelbarrows (no hand spreading, just guesstimate how far apart to dump piles), this way when you leave to get another load of mulch they can hand spread and not be standing around.
  4. KingMoneyNYC

    KingMoneyNYC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 63

    THANKS great post! I was looking for something like this to compare numbers...btw I think that is still a nice profit .
  5. KingMoneyNYC

    KingMoneyNYC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 63

    as a matter of fact after rereading the post, I think $60 an hour is a great profit...
  6. chesterlawn

    chesterlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 708

    Not only are your profits way to small, look at all the equipment you are using. I know you know, but fuel, wear and tear and maintenence. I would refuse to move any mulch ( from site to site ) at those prices.
  7. chesterlawn

    chesterlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 708

    I'm getting $100 per yard put down. My mulch cost $26 per yard, but all I'm using one truck, rakes shovels and wheelbarrows. I'm thinking of switching to another source for mulch. A mulch and soil place has it for sale $15 per yrd. and it looks pretty good.
  8. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,219

    i think youre missing the point of this thread that sounds like the price of your jobs not ones being subbed out to you
  9. BCSteel

    BCSteel LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 876


    I'm sure that you'll find somewhere to cut corners and put a few bucks in your pocket, you seem to be good at that part.
  10. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Posts: 10,812

    Have them dump the mulch off at each place.Raise your price to 35 an hour.If the parking lots are that big??? place more then one pile.

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