Charging on Mulch Jobs?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Trinity Lawn Care LLC, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. Trinity Lawn Care  LLC

    Trinity Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 946

    Hi All,

    I have noticed that many have different methods of pricing out jobs. I noticed that some price the job out: mulch + hourly rate and others will price it out: mulch + $ per yd to install. With the second method how do you take into consideration prep. Some beds take a considerable amount more work to prep than others. Do you use and hourly rate for that, do you increase the $ per yard. Example: I saw someone say that they charge $40 a yard to install. I did the math for a job a did this year and if had used that formula I would have been in the hole couple hundred bucks. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks...
  2. RyanD

    RyanD LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178

    When somebody says they charge x amount to do something, you could lose money charging the same. It is all about costs and the time it will take you to do it. Maybe for some, the green house with the mulch is right next door to their house, others may have to drive 45 minutes just to go pick up the mulch. Figure out how long it will take you to do the job (going to get mulch, delivering it, preping beds if any, installation, cleanup, etc. Multiply this by what you want to make an hour. Next add what it will cost you to do this service (truck payment, truck&liability insurance, gasoline, advertising, machine replacement fund, this list could go on and on). These two combined would be your bid. (PM me if you would like to know exactly what expenses I figure in.) As far as charging a certain amount per yard, I guess it would work if all jobs were going to be the same distance from the shop/house and you had to wheel the mulch the same distance from the trailer each job. Otherwise just bid per job, that way you always take into account every factor.
  3. uspw

    uspw LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69

    For God's sake man, $40/yd!!!We usually charge $75/yd to cover basic prepping of beds, and installation. The cost of the material is included in the per yard charge. If the size of the job, or the intensity of the prep work goes up, we may go up to $80/yard, but generally it is $75
  4. Trinity Lawn Care  LLC

    Trinity Lawn Care LLC LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 946

    Thanks for the advice. I was working it up based on mulch + man hourly rate. I knew that there had to be a better way to guestimate time i.e. 1yard = $$$ installed. Taking into consideration x amount of prep etc.

    thanks again
  5. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,406

    Rob, you are best to establish all your costs, overhead, labor and profit to estimate your work. Saying that, you also have to understand what the market will bear. As the gentleman from Mass suggested, he is pricing what his market can and will pay. Where we are located, we have areas that can and will afford such numbers, but most areas can not. That's not to say you should drop your price, but you may, to stay competitive in certain areas. The most important thing you must remember is to cover all your costs, obvious and hidden and include your desired profit percentage in your estimating/billing. If you would like more insight into the South Jersey area, I would be happy to assist you. I work with quite a few landscapers and installers throughout the state.

  6. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    if you do a search , someone posted an excell sheet on there that calculates many different shaped beds at three inches deep for mulch....pretty cool....
  7. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,420

    I price my mulch by the yard, installed, this includes me picking it up. I think you will find different regions of the country pay different prices for mulch and thus charge differently. There are very few things that I have seen that is priced the same in one place as in another.

    Here is a excel soil estimator spreadsheet that I use, I downloaded it from another member here, would also be pretty easy to make one if you are familiar at all with excel. I don't know if this is what Daveintoledo was refering to but here it is. I should say here is the zipped file containing the excel sheet.

    Attached Files:

  8. procut

    procut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,852

    Exact same thing here.
  9. maui8

    maui8 LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Messages: 33

    is it a bad idea to keep your garage stocked with bags of mulch?

    that way it can save you trips to the store?

    i would charge mulch + man hr + mulch delivery. id try my best to estimate how long it would take as soon as i step foot on clients property. im sure an excel spreadsheet would help. hmmm
  10. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,420

    Best thing to do is find a supplier where you can buy it in large bulk. This will save you a ton of money vs. buying by the bag, thereby increasing your profit. I get twice ground hardwood for $10 per yard, Cedar for $20 per yard, Wood Pulp at $8 per yard. You will never find those prices by the bag.

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