best practice to mulch with flowers in beds

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by gcbailey, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. yardatwork

    yardatwork LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 651

    I just did a 3 yard job similar to what you describe. There were three of us on the job...working non stop...took us three hours...or nine labor hours. That to me was was all filling up wheelbarrows and hand spreading. We would place little piles with pitch forks or dump piles where we could and one employee would just hand spread. I had to adjust my per yard rate for this job cause I wasn't going to make a dime.
  2. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    There will be many who claim to say that they will purchase, deliver, spread and cleanup debris by charging a set amount per cubic foot of mulch. I call them ????

    The hidden agenda is to charge for delivery, a percentage above the mulch cost for mark up, and then for the labor in man or crew hours to install the mulch. " There is no set rate." Then figure in the trouble factor.

    I have seen posts of LCO's claiming to charge 85.00 a yd. installed for mulch. Be it they may have given deductions for bulk jobs, but it is what it is...........Labor intensive.

    It is no wonder people are having to adjust their rates to cover the hidden obstacles such as this job.
    You have to make a living and a profit or you will be just another landscape company doing work for publicity. Either way you lose. Or do you?
  3. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,761

    We don't do a lot of mulch and I may charge wrong, but I've always told people it is $XX/yard for the mulch and $XX/labor. I've had clients get mulch delivered themselves and we do the labor. Doesn't matter to me. I actually sorta prefer if we can keep our hands out of the delivery.
  4. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,746

    Good going as I am not calling out all LCO's. I can't help but read post from the past and the future on these jobs. I understand that someone new needs to know the way to go. This helps keep the integrity of this business from falling into peril from lack of knowledge. If someone lowly bids a large job to make a name for themselves, they have capped the cost for that area. Word gets around wild fire. I am not saying be so expensive you bleed the customer, but charge the going rate for your area.

    For bagged products, largely I will charge XX amount for the bag and then XX amount for installing or applying that bag. For those larger jobs.....that require more than one pallet(44 bags), I will allow for some deductions per bag. Then again, the labor stays the same for the job when wheel barreling or shoulder carrying needed.

    I can't say that my customers will allow for mulch to be piled up on the property of 500,000.00 homes and more. The HOA's won't allow these tactics.
  5. Steiner

    Steiner LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 409

    We use a 5 tine pitch fork for this exact thing.

    1. Load mulch in wheelbarrow, take to beds.

    2. Grab a small load of mulch and hold fork horizontally. Shake back and forth and a nice metered delivery of fine mulch will fall below the fork into the plants. Fork would be about chest height for even distribution. The higher it is the better the distribution and the finer the cast.

    3. Then use a blower or garden hose to wash the excess mulch off the plants stems and leaves and you are done.

    Takes some practice but it works great for us and gives us a light coating in annual/perennial beds.

  6. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801 beat me to it..that is exactly how we do it, and for us, it is by far the easiest way to mulch stuff like that
  7. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Messages: 2,761

    What do you consider a "light coating".... 1"~2"?
  8. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    I can't speak for Chris but we would not normally have 2 " of mulch doing it that way..mostly because the flowers are probably very low to the ground and we wouldn't normally go back and lift the flowers to get mulch under them, that would defeat the purpose to making it easy. Normally it's just to "spruce" up the look of the beds.

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