best way to bid large appartment mulch jobs

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Schrock Lawns, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Schrock Lawns

    Schrock Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 944

    As the title says what's the best way to bid them ? And get a guestimate at howmuch? This is for you bigger guys who do allot
  2. T Scapes

    T Scapes LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,225

    im not one of the bigger guys but i am bidding on 7 complexs right now . i already put in 3 bids. 1 of them we had a bid meeting then told us how much mulch they use. The other 2 i was out there for 2 and 3 hours measuring the beds and then added it all up to figure out my yardage. Then i figured out how i want to install it i.e blower or have it delivered load it into a dump and have guys working with wheel borrows and driving the dump around.
  3. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Well, although I'm a bigger guy, I'm not a bigger operation. I have put down a fair amount of mulch in the last 11 seasons doing this and I'm a pretty bright guy, so it's not like my opinion is useless, lol.

    I sketch the property and beds and take measurements by pacing things off. I used to use a measuring wheel but I find it more simple and accurate enough to just pace things. I write my measuresment right on the sketch. If the bed is irregular in width, I eyeball where I think the average width is and pace that off. If it's a circle, I usually just call it square for ease of calculation. If a bed runs along the front and then continues along the sides I break it into 3 beds and I measure and calculate them separately. I then calculate the square footage of each area I've measured (all right on my sketch) and write down the result for each and circle it. I then add up all the circled numbers to get my total square footage.

    To me, the trickiest part is often getting a number to use for the mulch depth. Miscalculating that can make a big difference in how much mulch you'll need and your price. Just because you want a mulch depth of 2 or 3 inches doesn't mean that those numbers will work in your calculation. You have to take into account the plant density too. If you've got a bunch of spreading Junipers in the bed obviously you're not going to bury them under 3 inches of mulch. I usually use a depth of between 0.15 to 0.18 feet in my calculation....the more open the bed the higher the number I'll use. Multiply that by your total square footage, divide by 27 and you have how many total yards you'll need. Multiply by my mulch price per yard (don't forget delivery cost) and I have my material price.

    Then I figure how many hours it will take to prepare the beds. That's another area where it can be tricky to's easy to underestimate that. For this part I'll estimate how long I think it will take and often add 20% as a contingency. Multiply that by labor rate to get the price for prep.

    Then to figure out your producton rate. Mine is generally between 1 and 2 yards/hour on a sustained basis. I'll usually go with 1.5 yard/hour/man. Multiply the number of yards by my hourly labor rate to get my labor price for installing the mulch.

    Double check all calculations...let me repeat that louder....DOUBLE CHECK ALL CALCULATIONS, add it up and there you go.

    Perhaps if the beds are large you can measure your areas from aerial photos rather than on the ground, but I always physically measure them on the ground.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  4. orangemower

    orangemower LawnSite Silver Member
    from pa
    Messages: 2,768

    More good info from the Lawnsite LCO of the month, DarrylG. :D
  5. chachi1984

    chachi1984 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    most guys around me charge 120 a yard install , no paper.
    all depends how much prep work you have to do.

    I did a few big plaza's around 25 yrds, this year but consist of filling gardens with curbs so all I had to do was dump and spread. If you have to spend time edging then thats more time you have to factor in
    I single yard does go that far either.
    heres a calulator that might help
  6. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    Those calculators can be helpful, but do not take into consideration the plants in the beds, so they can result in over estimating the amount of mulch needed. If someone can't do simple math they probably shouldn't be running a business.
  7. Schrock Lawns

    Schrock Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 944

    thanks man, thats problay what ill do as for mulch its enough to buy in bulk in a tractor trailer and have it dumped at my soon to be warehouse, but anyway thanks

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