Concrete Curbing

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by ToroMaster, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. ToroMaster

    ToroMaster LawnSite Member
    from Neenah
    Messages: 53

    I wanted to get a feel for the parts of this country that know about concrete edging for landscapes. Its huge in my area and want to know if anyone installs this product. It has great profit potential.
  2. General Landscaping

    General Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 801

    I bought a used KK setup... Have'nt really put any serious miles on it yet.
    I'm going to push for sales when mowing drops to EOW.

    Is there something in particular you want to know?
  3. Mr. Vern

    Mr. Vern LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 632

    We bought a setup to use on our installs and it paid for itself in 3 months. That was the quickest ROI I have ever experienced. Like I said it was intended to be for use on jobs we were doing the entire install, but everytime we do a job it results in 10-20 leads for another one. Especially if it is in the front yard. We have gotten a reputation for being the guys who do the "custom" curbing because we almost insist on only doing stamped and textured jobs - we hate to do the "standard gray" stuff. We have been doing an awful lot of the brick finished stuff. We experimented on my yard until we got the finish to look like real brick. Now, people have trouble believing that it's not real. A lot of people will go up and touch it to see.
    I personally hate pouring curb, but I have a couple of guys that would do only that if I would let them. You can gross an average of $1300-$1400/day here if you work it right. Your materials cost would be a couple hundred and then labor is a couple hundred and the rest is gross profit. It's a pretty good deal if your market can support it. I would dedicate a full time crew to it if I could find the right kind of lead. I hate to waste the talent of a good foreman on just doing curbing because they can do so much more in other areas, but if the right guy comes along that can handle towing the trailer, leading the crew and solving the minor issues that come up, I will probably push it harder. We currently do virtually no advertising and can keep it as busy as we want to.
    Does that answer any of your questions?
  4. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,219

    theres a frnachise around here borderscapes and ive seen 2 lcos running them here dont know what money they bring in
  5. hosejockey2002

    hosejockey2002 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    I've seen concrete curbing installed in several yards around here, and while it looks good for a while, after a few years it starts to settle and crack. I think a lot of guys just sod cut and pour the curb right on the dirt without any base prep.
  6. dcgreenspro

    dcgreenspro LawnSite Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 688

    A good friend of mine has the whole set-up from tygar. He went down top the school for two weeks, i think. Initial cost is a bit high but you will pay everything off quicker than a mowing setup. The bed curbing hasn't taken off yet around here like it has on the west coast but he is doing very well working here and there.
  7. Mr. Vern

    Mr. Vern LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 632

    We have found 3 main causes for cracked curbing. It's either poured in a place where roots eventually push it up, it's been run over by something heavy like a car, or it was poured improperly. Many customers insist on tight curves near a young tree. If you inform them that the tree will get larger and it will not look as good and it will likely crack if the ground heaves they will usually have you make the proper adjustments. Curbing is a decorative product and not structural - if you drive over it; it will crack - just like most any other border material. As far as installing it incorrectly, the most common mistake is pouring it too dry, it takes a little time to learn how to slump it correctly. you can also screw up by pouring it over improperly prepped soil. Being that it is not structural you do not need base rock or anything of that magnitude, but you do need to be sure that the ground is not freshly disturbed without re-compacting or that you remove all grass and plant materials because they will breakdown and create gaps that will cause cracking.
    I resisted using it on any of our jobs because I saw so much of it that was cracked and heaving. Then I took the time to do some research and found that like any other product - there is a right way and a wrong way to install it. When done properly it really makes a landscape pop, and you can make a decent buck doing it.
  8. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    It seems to be an unaccepted aesthetic in the New England Region.
  9. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    My mother in law has it in a large landscape and it's held up okay. I've seen quite few other yards with it too.

    The one area where it really looks bad quick, is around trees. It gets heaved too quickly.
  10. Mr. Vern

    Mr. Vern LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 632

    That's where the difference between someone who knows what they are doing and one who doesn't comes in. You have to know what the roots on a tree are likely to do, does it produce a lot of surface roots for instance. A lot of guys go out and buy a machine and don't know anything about landscaping so they make some easy to avoid mistakes that make the whole product get a bad name.

    As for the comment about not being accepted aesthetically, that's a very important question to get answered. If the market does not exist where you are, you will have to spend a lot of effort to develop the market. My parents were visiting from New York last summer and saw some of our curbing and fell in love with it. They had never seen it before, but they want to know if I can bring home the machine next time I'm there and do their lawn. Sometimes all it takes is exposing people to it and it is a hit. Some places may never like it.
    If your thinking of getting into the business, PM me and I will be glad to share some do's and don'ts that we have learned as well as answer any questions you might have.

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