2 big mulch jobs

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by mrbray101, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. mrbray101

    mrbray101 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    I just got two mulch jobs that are pretty large for me by myself. One is 15 yards and the other is 32 yards. I think I can do the 15 yards by myself in one day if I get started really early. If I am using just a wheelbarrow and snow shovels, rakes, etc how long would it take apporximately per yard. Ive never done any jobs like this, mostly 4-8 yards at a time. Would I be better off renting some sort of equipment like a dingo? Any advice from the pros is appreciated.

    Also, I priced the 15 yards at 900. If I applied my 60/yard for 32 yards it would be 1920. Does that sound like too much or should I give a discount like 55 or 50 a yard for that much. Thanks for any help.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    Hard to say without looking at the jobsite...

    Did you give them a price of $1920 and thinking of lowering it, that what you mean?
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    First off, you'll need to figure how FAR you need to carry the mulch as this makes up one of the biggest time factors but I will tell you from experience that renting a dingo is slower and you'll make a lot less money and it will take you longer and more rigmarole.

    The reason is because the dingo's bucket holds about as much as a wheelbarrow holds, but even at top speed the dingo crawls compared to me walking the barrow... Now I use a 10-tine pitchfork and it takes me mere seconds to load a barrow (5 or 6 fork loads and it's full) and once I get walking I can run circles around the dingo. Even dumping and turning around, a barrow is at least twice as fast as the dingo, especially if you have to watch the turf so you don't tear it up then it really takes forever. Once the barrow is empty, I usually walk just short of breaking stride, or around 4mph <- Way faster than the dingo.

    As for pricing, I get $5 / cu.yard for delivery and $25 / cu.yard for spreading while the cost of mulch for me is 12.60 / cu.yard, I charge $45 a yard but...
    The mulch goes in my 6x12 trailer and once I get to the property I take the truck and the trailer over most anyone's turf in order to get as close to the beds as I possibly can. I am very careful and to this day have only spun a tire once or twice and even then I left a very small mark, most often I leave no marks at all but you have to know how to drive on turf because one solid tire spin and that's bad news. I mean, if it's at all possible, I am one mad turf-driver because I love pulling the stuff up right next to the bed.... Get that bed done, then relocate truck + trailer for the next one:

    Via this method, I can do at least 2 cu.yards an hour and I've finished 5 yards in slightly over 2 hours before but you got to hump it. On that note, physically I don't care to do more than 10 cubic yards / day, 5 in the am and 5 in the pm (my trailer holds at most 5) is enough for me. If I'm done early sometimes I go home and load up the mower and go cut some grass for a couple hours, I just can't deal with more than 10 yards / day.

    Now if you have to walk it, I don't know what to tell you except this consumes time (minutes / barrow). In my case, I average 6 barrows / cu.yard so if it takes me one minute longer to walk on a 5 cu.yard deal, that's 30 minutes longer it takes... I usually eat this but anymore than that is really pushing things and I usually charge extra. Distance-wise, 100-150 feet is not much of a deal, but 400-600 feet starts to drag.

    It's all I can think of for now...
  4. The landscaper

    The landscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    You may want to look at subbing somebody in there for that 32 yards. Have someone blow it in for you so you're not there all day.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    NO that is wrong here are some more tips:

    I use a single-wheel 6.cu.foot barrow because I can handle this bad boy with the gonzales speed, the larger 2-wheel barrows hardly hold more (8 cu.feet) and get so heavy it takes me twice as long, I can make 2 trips with the lighter model in the same time.

    When I load the barrow with mulch, I load it up to the edge but NO hump! I have found this is very important for speed because:
    - The barrow is just heavy enough where it doesn't kill me to PUSH it fast.
    - If I hit a bump, it almost never spills mulch over the sides >> If I load it as full as I can get it, every time I hit the lightest ding in the ground mulch spills >> Preventing mulch spills in the first place is best, it takes less time to clean up afterwards, be neat, be precise.

    Below is a pic, notice:
    - The fullness of the barrow has a light hump but it is FAR from over flowing.
    - The trailer up against the curb with the gate on the turf prevents curb-jumping.
    - The tarp underneath catches spill (afterwards, grab up tarp and it's clean, go dump it in some mulch bed).
    - The mulch bed in the back (small one) close to the trailer.

    No I didn't turf-drive this one, it was too much bs and the beds were close enough thou I have turf-driven this very yard before when I had to get the mulch in the back.

    P.s.: Here's a pic of what a 10-tine pitchfork looks like: (and it's over-priced but you will spend at least 50.00). Either way, it's a baddie.

    The other pic:
  6. Olylawnboy

    Olylawnboy LawnSite Senior Member
    from Oly Wa
    Messages: 311

    Great posts topsites, you explained things well. I pretty much do things the same way.
    BTW what kind of mulch is that? It would be cool to have something of that color around here, though, some of the chunks seem rather large.
  7. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,940

    I don't do much mulching, but use a wheelbarrow for many other uses. Many years ago, on a whim, I built a removable plywood insert for the 6 cu ft wheelbarrow (like the one shown in the picture). It extends the sides another 5-6 inches, and the rear another 8-9 inches. Three cu yds of material fits in 12-13 wheelbarrow loads. This has the advantage of fewer trips, but without the weight and cumbersome nature of a 2 wheeled version. The weight is still managable for me to handle.

    Also, I discovered a silage fork several years ago. Yes, it cost me $55 or $60, but has saved huge time. I use it primarily for loading, but also I often fork-off the wheelbarrow for more exacting placement. Perhaps a grain scoop would work as well for loading off a hard surface, but the silage fork will work for a hard surface, or not. It is heavy, but will move material the quickest for me. I don't have a dump truck or dump trailer, so am hauling with a 3 cu ft capacity trailer I usually use for debris.

    I also use a 4 and 5-tined pitchfork for off-loading or other handling, but far less than the silagel fork.
  8. mrbray101

    mrbray101 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    Thanks for the advice. Sounds like you have done yourt fair share of mulching. I think I will try and tackle the jobs by hand. If I charge 1920 and it takes me 2.5 days I will still be happy. I guess Ill probably just get one of my friends to help with the spreading and it should go by fast. Thanks again for the advice.
  9. mrbray101

    mrbray101 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    I meant to ask, what about renting some sort of small tractor with loader, would something like this be worth looking into or a waste like the dingo? Theres a tractor store that rents them down the road from where i am and will drop it off on site and pick it up. I dont know if this would be something wise to rent for 32 yards or not.
  10. Budget

    Budget LawnSite Senior Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 368

    I converted a pull behind trailer for a tractor that holds 9 cft. If the terrain allows you can use that. We just used it last Thursday at a ten yard job nice and flat. Just busted butt loading and dumping the mulch in piles all over the beds and then i started to spread it out while the helper was loading and unloading. The whole job took us about 5 hours and that was with the clean up weeding and all. Prced this at 80 a yard, plus the clean up and weeding.

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