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Cost to plant 6-8 foot trees

Discussion in 'Bidding, Estimating and Pricing' started by Go_Green_2019, Jun 19, 2020.

  1. Matthews Lawn Care

    Matthews Lawn Care LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,238

    Why locate? For one it’s free and secondly it covers your a$$. Are you wanting to plant that tree on top of an electric line? No. You think that axe or shovel won’t penetrate a cable line, it sure will. Not locating is what all the guys who work for straight cash do.

    To stake or not to stake depends on your situation/environment. We don’t leave them staked for years. Typically pull them around 3-4 months once the roots have established well enough. On that note, I have a customer who just had an evergreen fall over last week. Not one we planted, it had been there since the house was built 10+ years ago. It’s about 4’ diameter, maybe 8’ tall. It’s in the flower bed around their house. When I say fell over, I mean fell over, pulled the soil up, roots intact, tree still alive - happened after a thunder storm. I also have a customer who has several Blue Cedar Atlas’s leaning pretty good. They’ve been there for about 5 years and we didn’t plant those. Guess what, we have to go stake/tie those next week. Maybe you don’t have to stake/tie trees but around here you will unless you want to keep replacing them when they fall over.

    We don’t always have excess soil to haul away but a lot of times we do. Lots of rocks and heavy clay soil here.

    The tree farm is about 45 minutes one way, for us. So yeah, we typically purchase/pick them up prior to plant day. We like to have our materials at the shop prior to the scheduled start date. Use down time/rain days to pick up whatever we don’t have delivered. I don’t really like running around frantically trying to secure all the materials needed the day of the install. Get everything a few days prior to the start date and have it loaded ready to go the night before the start date. If you like running around on start dates, do your thing but it’s not for me.
    Crazy 4 grass likes this.
  2. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 846

    I'd always go around 3x my wholesale rate for install, warranty, and plant cost to customer. Works well for most shrubs, add more for perennials, less for larger trees, and add drive time to and from as well as a delivery fee for material, id always use what it would cost for the nursery to deliver + 20%. Add a small amount for soil amending if needed.

    For a 1.5-2" bnb I think I was at 2-3 mh per tree.

    Never staked trees. The moving back and forth releases hormones that help it root in. Even trees like honey locust that are really tall in a 10# pot, no staking unless they tip, which hasn't ever happened to me
    zlandman and Mac-s Lawn & Snow like this.
  3. JNyz

    JNyz LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,091

    Mac above is correct. 3-4 times material costs is the way to go. Remember we are in business to make money not give good deals. Don’t forget to add in $125.00/yard of mulch.

    When planting trees, if you want to save many hours in labor, try renting a stump grinder. It makes life easier. It will open up a 36” hole in under a minute.

    If you have a friend who owns one, pay him a $100.00 to open up a few holes and you will never go back to hand digging. Try it, you will like it.
    zlandman likes this.
  4. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,596

    So rip off your buddy with the stump grinder so you can make more money?

    What if one can make money at 50% over cost plus labor?

    What if one can make money at 100% over cost plus labor?

    What if the market doesn't allow a 300-400% markup?

    What if I own a Dingo with a 30" auger and dig my own holes? Should I still pay my buddy $100 to dig holes for me?

    What if there are utilities and you can't use equipment to dig?

    You're making a lot of assumptions based on your numbers and your business. And being presumptuous telling everyone else what they should charge based on your numbers and business.

    Have you ever heard the saying: pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered?
    Cam15 and JLSLLC like this.
  5. Youngandfree

    Youngandfree LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Messages: 219

    Somebody seems triggered today. Obviously if someone has all of these things in place, then the suggestion doesn't apply to you does it.
  6. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,596

    Lol...me triggered. I'm guessing you haven't been here long.

    I am curious how pointing out facts and asking pointed questions is considered being "triggered". It's usually the other way around.
    Cam15 likes this.
  7. Youngandfree

    Youngandfree LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Messages: 219

    You jumped all over the guy's suggestion. You are making assumptions that paying a guy with the stump grinder $100 is ripping him off. Your assumptions aren't any better than the ones you claim he made. The facts you pointed out are ones you made up and weren't even mentioned by the guy.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
  8. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,596

    It might be, it might not be. Do you know?

    I didn't claim he made anything, I stated he made them.

    The facts are based on questions that will come up based on his scenario. He also brought up things that were not asked by the OP.

    Should I ignore facts that will help the OP? Should I let him go into an estimate based on items that might not be realistic in his market?

    For that matter, what if his actual cost to do the job is 5x wholesale and he uses this guy's recommendations and loses money? Is this site not about helping people? Do we just ignore bad or incomplete advice because it wasn't brought up by the OP? I'm a firm believer in teaching a man to fish as opposed to giving a man to fish. Providing someone with as much information as possible whether it was brought up or not is doing just that and is the farthest thing from being "triggered". If anyone was triggered, it was you because I brought up valid questions and concerns. No one should be scared of that.
  9. Youngandfree

    Youngandfree LawnSite Member
    from VA
    Messages: 219

    But you attacked the guy that suggested an easy way tonhave large holes dug and went on a tangent in the process. You the man

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