estimate for small job

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by LawnMowerMan2003, Oct 6, 2003.

  1. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    I could use some advice on a small job because I have no idea how long it is going to take or what I should charge:

    A customer wants to replace 2 small palm trees that are in small beds (aproximately 3 X 3 each) filled with rocks. I reccomended replacing the rocks with mulch to keep the grass out because apparently the spaces in between the rocks are too large and this causes a real problem with grass coming up around the tree. In fact, the customer said he killed one of the palms because he was trying to get rid of the grass around it and sprayed roundup on it.

    I have heard that I need to have 3 inches of mulch to keep the grass and weeds from coming up again, so my estimate will be based on enough mulch to cover at least 18 square feet, 3 inches thick. The customer wants 2 "Sago Palms", 5 gallon size. Is this enough infomation for a rough estimate?
  2. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    Plan on a wrestling match to get those roots out. I'd say no less than $40 per palm to remove. That's gonna be some hard work.
  3. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    Hmmmmmm. I've never had to dig out a tree before, but they're only a couple of feet tall. Do they have alot of roots still? Would I add more for removing the rocks and throwing in the mulch? Probably sounds dumb, but it doesn't seem like it would take too long.
  4. kels

    kels LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 280

    mulch will not keep grass and weeds from coming up again, even at 3", it will help but will not prevent.
  5. SuperShovel

    SuperShovel LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    Since you already told the customer mulch, go with it. But actually I would think rocks with weed screen underneath are much easier to maintain as far as weeds and grass. Mulch will turn into soil and weed screen is pointless to use with it. So weeds and grass will grow in it. 3-4" will help prevent and will have to be redone every so often as the mulch deteriorates.

    The question is how does the grass get in there? Preen to prevent seeds. Dig a trenched edge around it to stop grass from spreading into it. Or use plastic, metal or stone edging around the bed.

    Without a barrier of some sort, grass will grow into a bed no matter how much mulch. 3-4" of mulch is a good number.

    Good luck!

    It's quite a small job, you quote what you are happy with making depending on your overhead and the value of your time.

    I would have to charge probably around $ 300 plus 2.5 times the cost of the new palm trees.
  6. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    I hate to put the mulch in if its not a complete solution to the weed problem, as I thought. The beds already have metal edging around them, so I would assume that's not the problem.

    $300 sounds like more than the customer would be willing to pay, but I am curious how many hours of work this estimate is based on? If I knew aproixmately how long this would take I could give an estimate based on the hourly rates I normally charge. Thanks for the advice so far; the last thing I want to do is do all that work and still have a weed problem.
  7. SuperShovel

    SuperShovel LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    I don't know anything about palm trees, I'm up in Michigan freezing my .... off.

    I was guessing about 2hrs to get materials and deliver them, 2 hours to tear out and move or load up, and about 2 hours to finish installation and clean up. So about 6 hours? That was my guess. And I was guessing the existing trees weren't very big.

    Charge for an 8hr day. Whatever you need for a full days work, charge that. That would be quite a fair price for your customer and you will make what you need for the day.

    One reason grass would grow in rocks I would guess is dirt having gotten in the rocks or if there was no weed screen under the rocks. Weed screen underneath rocks with an edging around it of some kind is the best preventative for grass I know of. Nothings perfect though.

    Mulch works decently, especially if it is 3-4"thick and has an edging of some sort. But clean rocks with weed screen underneath will grow far less weeds than a mulch bed. Trust me, I've done more weeding than I want to remember. :)

    Good luck man

    hey can your goat eat the palm trees up so you don't have to pull them out?
  8. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    It sure doesn't seem like an 8 hour job by looking at it, but that's why I asked. One guy already sad the trees would be difficult to get out. I assume they are 5 gallon trees, because that's what the customer wants to replace them with, and they don't look like they have grown much, but who knows how much the roots are established.

    I actually lost this customer before over the whole grass thing because he wanted me to take care of it and I wasn't sure how to do it, at least cost efficiently. His wife got tired of waiting for me and hired another company, who was supposed to do some landscaping (I'm not sure how this would have helped with the grass in the rocks) for them, but then the customer called me back because they never got around to doing the landscaping. He eventually sterilized the rocks in he back, which is what I offered to do for $40 or so, and this seems to have worked. But this isn't an option in the front since he has plants, so roundup was my first thought, but that's how the customer killed at least one of his palms, because the weeds were too close to the palm to apply roundup.

    So this led me to suggest the mulch, but I will go back and tell the customer that a weed screen might be better after all, give him an estimate, and report on how things go.
  9. SuperShovel

    SuperShovel LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    Its funny how those little jobs eat up your time and you never know what Mr. Murphy will throw at you that will cost you more time.

    You can apply round up with a cotton ball and gloves. This way there is no overspray damage. The areas are so small that that would be practical. Just dab it onto the weeds.
  10. LawnMowerMan2003

    LawnMowerMan2003 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 768

    I learn something new every day.:D

Share This Page