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charge hourly with mulch?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by SOS Landscaping, May 20, 2008.

  1. SOS Landscaping

    SOS Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 118

    When you are doing a mulching job or I guess any time of service where you are installing something do you charge for mulch applied and your hourly rate? Say you are $80 applied per yard of mulch, would you charge that 80 and then the say 15-20min hourly charge it cost to spread?
    Im asking because I have a clean up job that will be a two day ordeal plus he wants 6yards and mulch and some new shrubs put in. Not sure if I should be charging him the 2 full days of labor and my cost for services installed if that makes any sense
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I don't just charge them whatever I think it cost after the fact...
    First I quote them the price, then if they agree to it I have to do the job within those parameters.
    And I can quote as high or as low as I want, but whatever price they agree to pay is the final charge as well.

    I could, for instance, quote them US $5,000,000.00 for installing one $2 bag of mulch.
    There is absolutely nothing in the books says I can not do it, so long they agree.
    If they say yes, that is one part of the agreement.

    But what I can NOT do is simply charge them that if we never had an agreement.
    I have to quote them a price upfront, and that price is another part of the agreement.

    The final part of the agreement is the actual work performed, of course.

    So there you have it, an agreement consists of:
    1. The customer calls or asks for a certain type and amount of work to be done.
    2. Your upfront quote for what they asked for, and then they have to agree to this.
    3. It actually gets done, within the price quoted, and not a dime over.

    That's it, there's the deal.
    Once the work is finished you should get paid what they originally agreed to, the upfront quote that is.
  3. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    ditto on what topsites said...
  4. Liendeni

    Liendeni LawnSite Member
    Messages: 218

    Humm? I'm personally not "seasoned" enough yet to do a "spot on" estimate for mulch. I've been charging them by the bag, plus a 20% pick and delivery fee, and then $45 an hour labor for anything that makes me get off the mower. I'm getting a little better now that I have done about 6 mulch jobs - one was nearly 300 bags. I've began to see what 25, 50, and 100 bags actually covers....but still not good enough to give them an upfront toal price. I'm afraid that I would get it wrong and then end up screwing myself.

    Ya, I know this is probaby the wrong way....but how else do you do it if you just arent' experienced enough to estimate a large job?
  5. SOS Landscaping

    SOS Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 118

    how was that anything relevant to what I asked about mulching?? What I asked was that people on lawnsite are saying to charge 75-85 per yard applied of mulch. Now mulch costs between 10-40bux a yard on average so obviously to hit that 75-85 dollar per applied yard we are adding money into it. Does this money only account for delivery and our profit money for buying the mulch and selling it to the customer or are we also building into that price for time it takes to install.
    In lammer terms say your hourly cost is 80 bux per hour of work and you are billing customers $80 per yard of mulch. Now just say youre working slow and that yard takes you an hour to apply would you be chargin $160 for the job or $80 for the job. Is that better?
  6. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,993

    I would seperate everything.

    1) Hours worked for just the cleanup.
    2) Amount of mulch installed.
    3) Cost of shrubs.

    For example, if it was me.

    1) 12 hours ( just a random #) for cleanup / $720.00 because I charge $60.00 per hour
    2) 6 yards of mulch installed / $480.00 / $80.00 per cubic yard installed
    3) Cost of shrubs X 2 for install

    As far as the mulch question is concerned. I charge by the cubic yard installed NOT how long it takes me to install it.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    I think a lot of guys are referring to the cost of the mulch AND the labor when they say "$xxx per yard" but really there's no right or wrong way to price it.

    The best way for me, like the last post said, is to break it all down. On any mulch job I have at least....bed edging, bed cleanup, mulch installation and of course the material costs.

    Since every job is different, it's hard to come up with a formula and just say it's $80 per yard or whatever.
  8. SOS Landscaping

    SOS Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 118

    thats what I needed to hear, thanks! clean up is one hourly charge, and the application of services is basically built into the price. thanks guys
  9. Stillwater

    Stillwater LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,889

    This is really all you need.......
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    As a rule that figure accounts for everything.

    And dang it, now I have to figure it all out again.

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