Average Labor for Sod Install

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by M & MD Lawn, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. snlmllc

    snlmllc LawnSite Member
    Male, from Savannah, GA
    Messages: 12

    I've done quite a few sod installs and i normally charge around 100.00-150.00 over the cost of the sod my price.but then there is the ground prep and soil additives if the soil is in bad shape.that is all figured in at a different price, plus most of the sod jobs i've done i also try to include an irrigation system ( since most people don't like to water properly ) which is a good point of sale to add to the yard. I also give breaks to the elderly and of course military or retired military. most of the grass i install is St. Augustine, simply for the look and the feel of it, but then again i'm in south GA
  2. M & MD Lawn

    M & MD Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 518

    so does that mean you charge 100-150 a pallet or total? hope this doesnt sound stupid
  3. snlmllc

    snlmllc LawnSite Member
    Male, from Savannah, GA
    Messages: 12

    100-150 per pallet,but it depends on how many pallets i'm installing
  4. jvanvliet

    jvanvliet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,944

    I just bid to install one pallet... one Floritam pallet delivered $170.00 (expensive but only this guy is local, I usually pay $85 per pallet & $35 delivery no matter how many pallets). Labor charge is $300.00, I'll usually charge $150 per pallet, minimum 2 pallets. If a lot of ground prep is required, clearing existing ground cover, adding dirt, leveling, grading, etc. The price goes up. I hold the homeowner or property manager responsible for watering & include this clause in my contract;

    "P&C shall not be responsible for soil or airborne diseases, nematodes, fungi, mold, insect infestation, drought, irrigation failure, or any other condition not specifically addressed in this agreement."
  5. polerpoker

    polerpoker LawnSite Member
    Messages: 102

    I till with a dingo and soil cultivator to a depth of 4"-5" hand rake and roll sod with starter fert. for $1 a square foot. I did a 15,000 sqft job for $15,000. Myself and one other guy tilled and raked it on a thursday from noon till 5. The sod was delivered on friday at 8am I had 3 guys four including me and we were done at noon, right before it started raining.

    I always charge $1 a square foot, if that is to much for the customer than they cant afford me.

    Also, we have job contracts that explain that there is no warranty on sod installed. on the other hand I have only had one lawn die, and it was because the lady went on vacation and didnt water.... reseeded it this fall and it looks great again, I could have sold her another sod job but felt bad, it was a honest mistake.

    the only thing we guarantee is that if you dont water it it will die.

    leave topsites alone man, hes off a bit on this one but he is trying to help you out, if you listen to what hes saying, it that you need to let the customer know exactly what to expect you dont have to tell em its your first but explain what your going to do and draw up a contract to cover your ass!
  6. castle555

    castle555 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    You are getting a lot of great advice here, and one respondent advised you to be careful about it being your first sod job -we all start somewhere, and I know what he means -it not that simple and depending on weather -turf can go wrong on you -or the customer -so contract it. Remember- alittle knowledge can be dangerous!:hammerhead:

    A commercial sod company in the central valley in California has install crews available that I have used on my bigger jobs.
    They charge a min. $200.00 for 1000sf, $300.00 min. above that number, and $ .10/sf over 1000sf, and use $.15/sf for back yard install. This seems to be a pretty competitive formula. They use a 5 man crew usually. Their delivery cost is free over 1000sf and they go about 50 miles.
    A pallet is about 600sf and rolls can be 72" or 48" in length -guess which one is a 'mother' to labor with.
    You can cost the sod job this way also for 3500sf x .36/sf plus tax, then add the labor cost by square foot(or whatever the sf cost for the sod is, or your total prep for labor and soil amend, etc.)
    multiply your total material costs by .65 as this type of work is generally worth about 65% the cost of your materials. ($2079 + tax 103.00 = $2182)
    ref; RL Means Landscape Estimating

    Other pertinent information:
    location of sod install -back yard or front yard -delivery and transport point -could make a difference in price and labor. easy access or long walk back?
    What kind of Turf -Cool Season? Warn Season?
    What supplier and blend of sod are you going to use? 90/10, 95/5, etc. all bluegrass?
    Ground prep with good 50/50 planting soil and compost is needed -roll and rake it right! then wet it and roll and rake it again.
    Excellent irrigation system needed with 4" pop-up sprays minimum and good MPR nozzles.
  7. sunray

    sunray LawnSite Member
    Messages: 218

    We double the price of the sod and add to that if other difficulties are involved.
    Such as difficult access,difficult customer,no sprinkler system.
    putting the sod down is straight forward, but what happens when you leave is anyone's guess but you can bet if it goes south it will be blamed on you.
    have enough built in to your price to cover whatever comes up, doing the job right is just not enough to cover yourself.
    Don't worry about getting every job the ones you miss are looking out for their own self interest and could careless about you and your company.
    Don't get me wrong everyone wants a deal but good customers understand you get what you pay for most of the time.
  8. RodneyK

    RodneyK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 784

  9. WGLandscapeMaintenance

    WGLandscapeMaintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,549

    I like that rate!!!!
  10. M & MD Lawn

    M & MD Lawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 518

    Ok guys, the guy has changed his mind he wants me to do seed now, says the sod is too expensive. So for the seed, I've never planted seed on a mass scale like this meaning i've only fixed you know patches in yards or multiple patches and seeded too make the lawn more full. I haven't done it from scratch with a whole lawn so my question is do I seed this job the same way I would do a large patch or is their another appropriate way. I know some of the basics are roughing up the surface (tilling), applying seed, maybe rake over it and then apply more seed, WATER!!, then about 2 weeks later or so a starter fertilizer. Thats about all i know.

    Thanks in advance guys!!!!!!, Help is really appreciated

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