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bidding a sod job

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Jason, May 9, 2000.

  1. Jason

    Jason LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    I'm bidding on a sod job. 1810 sq/ft total, of that 1250 ft of old turf will have to be removed, the remaining 590 ft has no existing turf. I'm figuring for 6 inches of topsoil over the whole thing for leveling and grading. Don't know if my math is right or not but I come up with 70 yards of topsoil for this job. Sounds kind of high to me.<p>I can get the sod for .18 cents delivered which figures out to be $325.80. Starter fert should be under $20. So without the topsoil I'm looking at around $350.<p>I don't need 6&quot; of topsoil everywhere, just in some places. I thought I'd get a full 6&quot; coverage to be on the safe side.<p>Guess what I am asking is what is everybody out there paying for a yard of topsoil delivered and if maybe I should cut my projected soil needs down by 1/2 or so, and order more as needed.
  2. Starling Lawn

    Starling Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    jason,your estimate is high.check old posts under the search for figuring mulch coverage.the priciple is the same.hope this helps ,dave<br>ps.top soil runs about 30.00 yd in n.e. fla

    FIREMAN LawnSite Senior Member
    from n.j.
    Messages: 318

    my personal opinion is that your estimate is pretty far out there...besides 6&quot; is too much topsoil as it will probably not compact evenly without help and you will end up with drainage issues and the possibility of insect trouble as well...cut it down to three inches at the most...topsoil here in north jersey is about 18 a yard...delivery is about 75 for up to 8 yards....more for a bigger truck....good luck
  4. kermit

    kermit LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    Stick with six inches if the customer can afford it. Three inches is not enough! The only reson to skimp on the topsoil is if your customer can't afford to do it right,explain to them that they'll thank you come a drought and their roots are good and deep and resist drought and insects.
  5. Jason

    Jason LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    Thanks for all the help.<p>I did a search and found the formula I needed for the amount of topsoil I need. <p>Here's what I come up with for my bid:<p>Rototill $65<br>Topsoil $550<br>Sod $325<br>Fert $30<br>Tractor $150<br>Labor $700<br>Fudge Factor $200<p>Total $2020<p>Wondering how this sounds? This is my first sod bid.
  6. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    Just wondering, If I added 6&quot; of topsoil to most yards here the top of the foundation would be below the top of the sod and would cause water problems. <br>Next how can you tell how much topsoil is needed, unless you dug up the yard to find none or less than 6&quot;? <br>Figure proper grading and removal of substandard soil into your bid. <br>Just adding 6&quot; of topsoil might just get you in trouble.<p>----------<br>paul<br>
  7. Jason

    Jason LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 256

    Paul,<p>Thanks for the advice. You brought up some very good points. I didn't plan on spreading 6&quot; over the entire ground. In one area there was never any work done on the ground after the house was built. Water runs toward the house now. In that particular area I will have to build up to about 8&quot; to get the proper grade so water will run away from the house. Other areas will need no additional topsoil. It just varies so much in this yard. There is just subsoil in one area, so i'll have to till it and incorporate topsoil. I just figured the 6&quot; would give me enough soil to do what I need to do. Some areas will only need 1&quot; others like I mentioned will need 8&quot;.<p>Don't think I'm going to get the bid anyway. I called the lady tonight to give a rough estimate, just to let her know what ballpark we're in. She was shocked. :) Stammering,&quot;I never had any idea it would be so much&quot;. I tried to explain the scope of the work to her, without giving away my cost of material etc.. But doesn't look like I'll get it. Oh well.
  8. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    Jason you will find people bidding as low as $600 for that job and others bidding higher than you it depends on how much work they have and thier overhead.<br>Good luck on the next one<p>----------<br>paul<br>
  9. Starling Lawn

    Starling Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 170

    jason,just another hint.when i operate equipment such as a tractor or bobcat,i always double the rental fee for operator costs.this covers your ass if you have to bring in a sub contracyor.if not,more money in your pocket.better luck in the future....<br>dave
  10. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    Jason,<p>I buy screened topsoil 10-19 a yard depending on quality and quantity. Bluegrass sod is .21 a sq ft picked up at the farm, 2-500 ft pallets will fit in my pickup. It must be ordered the day before since they only cut what is ordered for that day, and it should be laid the same day.<p>My opinion, you really only need to slope from the house out 6-10 feet, make a slight drainage swale. Even if you averaged 4 inches over the whole area, thats 20 yards. Using this assumption, renting a skidsteer for the day, material cost 830(380 sod, 250 soil, 200 rental) Ill take 1000 for my labor (2 day job incl travel to pick up 2 loads of sod and the skidsteer) 110 tax = 1940, heck round it to 2000. <p>Your bid seems fair. I do have some concerns as to how you got there though. Shouldnt need a tiller if you have the tractor and are spreading soil. A ten dollar bag of fert covers 10,000 feet so you have plenty left over. And a fudge factor may help you lose a lucrative job in the future. The little numbers add up to big numbers which may make the difference if you are bidding against others. Try to foresee any problems, or put a &quot;wriggle clause&quot; in the contract for unforseens, i.e., hidden mine shaft, rock ledge, etc.<p>I havent seen the job and dont know your experience so this is based on assumptions, and my skill level. I also dont warrant sod jobs and tell the customer up front. I only guarantee quality materials(you can see the sod is deep green, not yellow when laid) its up to the customer to thoroughly water. And you might want to include the first mowing so the customer doesnt tear up 20 feet of sod which hasnt rooted yet.<p>Bill

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