Digging deep into the details that form by the yard mulch pricing

Advance_lawn_care

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
AR
I live in central arkansas, I saw posts here in other threads by people in my area charging $80 to a $100 a yard including light prep. Thats was posted early this year so the info is current.

Once I had an idea of what the market would bare I began to run my own numbers. Id like this thread to focus on constants that apply to any region. I'll break it down.

Bed prep: not much to talk about here. Most of us are trying to hit a $1 a minute or whatever number we feel we need to stay in business. This part of the job isnt constant because one contractor my have or use one tool where another may do it different. One soil is rocky and hard and the other is loose. This all falls under train your eye and learn to bid. Not much wisdom to share, kinda falls under school of hard knocks.

Mulching: this can be reviewed to some extent. I will use a 8 cu ft wheel barrow. Ive never done a mulch job before so these numbers are my guesstimates to move the mulch from the trailer to the prepped bed and spread it. Some here may have a dingo or power wheel barrow or other tool to transport faster, however that tool cost money, burns gas and needs maintaince. So despite being quick it comes with its own cost to figure in. Most people buy better tools to raise margins, not work cheaper. Example, I use a 36 inch mower on small yards but charge the same price as guys using a 21 inch...because I can. Then again I care more about hourly profit then volume. Plus I figure most here are using a wheel barrow. I view that as a baseline or constant to meet or beat.

Per wheel barrow as follows. 5 minutes to load, 5 minutes to transport and unload into piles in general area. Raise price accordingly if one needs to travel long distance to bed. 3.5 wheel barrows to a cubic yard equals 35 minutes to a wheel barrow plus 5 minutes to spread 1 cubic yard putting labor per cubic yard at 40 minutes. I charge $1 so $40 in labor per cubic yard.

Mulch: again no need to really discuss I dont think, I want to double my money for this reason. S/P 500 tracks around 9-10% after fees and inflation with no labor, simply investment. For that reason alone I should profit off tying up my funds in product. Figure in truck and biz expenses. Honestly double is a guess based off what I think the market will bare.

So my break down is this:
Whatever the cost of mulch is x2. Lets say $30 for example which is a number I saw alot here.
My labor is $40 per cubic yard no prep.
My total cubic yard price in this example would be $100 a cubic yard which seems close, maybe a little higher than other prices in my area. Not really interested in mulching for less tho if my labor is calculated right. Bed prep is bid with the idea of making $1 a minute and bid accordingly to each job, light prep wont cost much, massively over grown beds will.

My big question revolves around my labor guesstimates on moving the 8 cu ft wheel barrow and unloading it. Does 5 minutes to load 5 minutes to unload and 5 to spread 3.5 wheel barrows sound right to those who have done it?

I know this might seem insignificant but its the same idea how a leaf job doesnt look bad until you get in the middle of it and realize you horribly under bid. Hence I'm closely observing the details.

Thanks for any input.
 
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Mac-s Lawn & Snow

LawnSite Bronze Member
Once you get into some larger jobs, say 14 yards I usually inform the customer its is difficult to estimate the amount needed from Sq. footage. I tell the customer the calculations call for 14 yards but it may take 18 yards to finish. If thats the case then the customer is on the hook to pay for 18 yards installed. It doesn't happen often but when it does its nice to know you are getting paid for work done, otherwise it cuts into your profit margin.
 

kemco

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Memphis TN
^^^ this. We do this same for larger mulch jobs as we do for pine straw. When we get up into the 50 bale range there's no telling if I'm counting right. I would take more time to measure than do the job. So we also give a range. 40 to 50 bales we will start with 40 and then we can see how many we need to finish. Or I've had the customer say they want X number of yards of mulch put down. The contract will state that is what we will put down however an additional amount may be needed to cover all beds as mentioned in the contract. I too have been burned more than once. Live and learn.
 

m_ice

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
IL
I look at an area and decide how long it will take to prep and multiply by hourly labor rate, then how many yards it will take then I multiple by my rate per yard.
Snapshot is included in our mulch price per yard.
 

sjessen

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Knoxville, Tn
^^^ this. We do this same for larger mulch jobs as we do for pine straw. When we get up into the 50 bale range there's no telling if I'm counting right. I would take more time to measure than do the job. So we also give a range. 40 to 50 bales we will start with 40 and then we can see how many we need to finish. Or I've had the customer say they want X number of yards of mulch put down. The contract will state that is what we will put down however an additional amount may be needed to cover all beds as mentioned in the contract. I too have been burned more than once. Live and learn.
The second time the job is done it is much easier to get the correct amount of mulch needed. First time jobs it is best to give them a range.
 
OP
Advance_lawn_care

Advance_lawn_care

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
AR
Turned my bid in. Be my first mulch job if I get it.

My mulch price structure is this.

Cost of Mulch $1.5x
$60 per cubic yard unloaded and spread, no bed prep.
$30-$45 delivery fee
Bed prep varies but cost is additional.

I think this may put me a little high but is what it is. I'm not really interested for any less. Cost will average out to $110 to $150 a cubic yard. Still in range of mid to high side in my area tho.

Thanks for the input.
 

BigJlittleC

Banned
Location
Chicago
How did you come up with the $1 per minute figure? Does that allow for you to make a profit? A profit margin your happy with?


Is sourcing and delivery factored it somehow?

Don't forget sales tax on the mulch if your required to collect on resale.
 

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