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A couple general questions..!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by cessnasovereign, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. cessnasovereign

    cessnasovereign LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 292

    Alright.. First, I have some people wanting pine needles laid out. How do ya'll charge? I was thinking for things like pine needles and bags of mulch, that I charge them by the bag or bail. So if she needs about 15 bails of pine needles, and I can buy them for $3.50 a piece, I'd charge her $5.00 a bail, so that's $1.50 labor per bail. And bark mulch, say it's $8 a bag, I'd charge $12 a bag, $4 labor. Is that how ya'll do it? If so, what are your prices?

    And secondly, on average how much is sod? And how exactly do you lay it down? I'm not planning on doing this yet, but I've had people ask, and I just don't know anything about it.. ?

  2. cessnasovereign

    cessnasovereign LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 292

    Cool.. Kinda nevermind on the sod part, I just looked it up.. I'm thinking about doing that to my front yard. We have a large oak tree that has killed most of the grass. I think one weekend I'll kill off the rest of the grass, till, level and lay some sod! What kind of roller do I use for this and how much for it? I might also want to install a sprinkler system..
  3. sooner74

    sooner74 LawnSite Member
    from UT
    Messages: 76

    You can get a roller at your local rental store. I rented one for a weekend for $12. Fill it up with water and you have a roller. I did this on my own lawn and worked great. Do a search for mulch prices on here. A lot of LCOs are getting $50 and up for a cubic yard
  4. Brendan Smith

    Brendan Smith LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    what i do for pinestraw (which i'm sick of for the year, have already put out about 600 bales) is buy it for 3.85/bale (a little pricey but the supplier always has super clean, fresh product), charge customer 6.00/bale for delivery and material markup, then 2.00/bale to spread. i always try to sell hedge trimming (non-flowering only this time of year) prior to spreading the straw which equals more labor $$, plus reduced clean up as you can spread the straw over whatever clippings are left behind after cleanup. it also gives the beds a nice, tight, finished look. material markup helps you offset fuel expense for delivery. don't feel bad about it, the mower you just bought for $7000 probably cost the dealer $3500-$4000. the milk you bought for $4 cost the grocery store $2, etc. good luck
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    No sir, products aren't just randomly marked up for no reason whatsoever, it doesn't work like that. Furthermore, if you plan on doing any marking up, you'll first need a retail license, and second you're really not supposed to go beyond MSRP, or fair market value.

    When you registered your business, what kind of business did you register, was it service, or retail? If your answer is both, then you need wholesale suppliers because you're not supposed to purchase street-value items for resale because it's not fair to charge customers more than the retail price - The store you're buying from is already selling at retail, to mark the product up further is called gouging.

    As for me, I charge 30 dollars for delivery, there exists no markup, my business is a service business and service only. Hence, the customer pays what I pay, plus the labor and time and fuel to pick it up (the service). Then, they pay for the labor for me to do with the materials whatever it is they want done.

    The one thing about running a business is we must do our utmost to remain fair, hope this helps.
  6. Brendan Smith

    Brendan Smith LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    my "regular job" is in service and retail, having been in this area for better than 10 years at management level, i assure you that retail prices are typically 85-100% above cost. i understand your concern, but i buy my materials at wholesale level and pay sales tax on them. the difference between what i pay and what the customer pays is for delivery (50 mile round trip). labor charges, obviously, are for spreading it. my customers are also advised that if they want to purchase direct and arrange for delivery that is an option as well, but i can't guarantee the quality of the straw as i can when i am inspecting each bale as i load it. most people don't want the hassle of dealing with the straw guy and instead elect to let me handle it. but for the ones who have the time to arrange it and don't care if there is moss/sticks/cones, etc in it, then i'll still spread it. it is a decision that they make on cost vs convenience.since i'm not collecting a markup on the materials, just charging the difference for delivery, there's not an issue, i suppose i should have been more clear in my original post.
  7. lawnsplus

    lawnsplus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    We charge $55.00 per yard for mulch installation. This includes the mulch and the delivery and the install... Plain and simple.

    If the person wants cheap colored mulch I make more money but that covers the cost of cleaning the truck, and tools, as well as the extreme care needed when transporting Red mulch to a bed and not getting it in the grass. (looks like crapola)

    We do not buy bags of mulch.. (too expensive) We buy in bulk, small jobs we use the pickups, short bed holds 2 yards comfortably. Big jobs we have it delivered and lay out tarps for the driver to dump on makes for easier cleanup. Problem here is that delivery cuts into the profit margin dramatically. pickup for premium double grind bark mulch is $27.00 / yard delivery is at $35.00 per yard.

    We spend enough time here in the north trying to get rid of pine needles, I cant understand why you would want to put them back. LOL

    H3ll I pay $15.00 per yard to get rid of them...

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,534

    I am under $3.00 per bale on needles. Start making some phone calls to find lower prices.
    Depending on the distance from the truck we get about 10 to 15 bales per hour out and spread neat with edges tucked. Also add the time to get them. So at 1.50 per bale you could be making around $10- 15 per hour. After overhead you may be losing money to work hard.
    Re do your math. Start charging for you work, Don't work for free!- If you were in NYC I could care less about your price but you are close enough to affect my area.
    Think about how much better it will be to actually make money while working yourself to death.
  9. Rdizzle79

    Rdizzle79 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    We charge $49 for a bail of pine straw. The $49 includes labor
  10. drainedpatience

    drainedpatience LawnSite Member
    Messages: 42

    I am currently paying $3 to $3.20 per bale, depending on how many I get, and I get no less than $7 per bale delivered and spread. Most of our accounts are in and around the area you are in, so you can raise you prices some, and also try and find a new supplier. To me, spreading pine needles sucks, so if customers want this service, they are going to pay.

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