Estimating Mulch/rock bed around trees

Discussion in 'Bidding, Estimating and Pricing' started by SupremeLawns, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. SupremeLawns

    SupremeLawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Sup y’all

    Trying to estimate a job for intstalling mulch or stone around 5 trees. They need to be edged out and all that.

    Mulch per yards is about 25.
    Stone per ton is about 65.

    Obviously the stone will cost more but I estimate $75 per yard of mulch installed and if they want stone I estimate $150 per ton installed. Is that to expensive for stone? What about pricing for edging and making the actual bed where the mulch or stone will lay? Hourly rate?

    Any tips or advice is appreciated!
  2. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,969

    I don’t know why this type of question keeps coming up.
    There’s no magic number, formulae or system to figure out how long a job will take.

    How much material?
    Mark it up
    How much time
    Multiply by your hourly rate
    Add together
    And don’t forget delivery
    Rentals if any
    And mobilization

    If/when you’re accomplished/ established you will have data on your standard production rates

    There exists industry standards which “most” people seem to come close to , independently; which is how those numbers become standard.

    But unless you want to spend money on classes, guides and consultants,
    Keep it simple
    Material plus markup
    Time multiplied by hourly rate
    Add em up
    That’s it.
  3. Greencuts518

    Greencuts518 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,904

    I'd rather bid high and pass on job then bid low, lose money and be pissed off. But yes keep it simple like TP said. I just bid on a edging, mulch install. Lady said it was more then she expected would I lower my price. I will hard works not cheap and she's insulting me by haggling in the first place. Call someone else, sorry.
  4. sailfish27

    sailfish27 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 247

    I "shoot" for 100/hr. but I've never actually hit that number, kinda like my golf game. I shoot for even par 72 although I've never come close to scoring that. :laugh:

    Joking aside you won't lose at 50/hr. You will lose if you vastly underestimate your time but you will gain experience. You will also lose if you don't take chances, got to learn by doing.

    Good luck.
  5. Mark Stark

    Mark Stark LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 462

    When you're just starting out, I think it's ok to get a job and break even or even lose a few bucks IF (and ONLY if) you'll learn something that will advance you & your business.

    Make an educated guess on what you need and then go for it. Take note of the time it takes you to do each task. Write it down if necessary. That's how you'll become more proficient in your work AND in the bidding process.

    Good luck!
  6. Mitty87

    Mitty87 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,377

    It sounds like a small job, 40 minutes to edge out around each tree, 3.5 hours - $220. $80 to remove the waste. Throw some fabric down if using gravel, $98. 2 yards of gravel 95' to the backyard, $60 for delivery, $130 for the rock, and 2.75 hours to spread it. $400

    Make it $850 total
  7. BigJlittleC

    BigJlittleC LawnSite Fanatic
    from Chicago
    Messages: 5,113

    How do you know his overhead? At $50/hr here your not making much if anything.

    You need to establish a profitable hourly rate and then use it to establish prices for jobs. In the beginning it's hit or miss till you get a good grip on your times and costs.
  8. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 15,969

  9. sailfish27

    sailfish27 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 247

    Again words have meaning. I said nothing about "making money" simply said you wouldn't lose money. Big difference. The second thing some of you guys got to wrap your brain around is this: If this guy can't price this job that means he hasn't done much of it before. That means, he's most likely very inefficient at it, which translates into added time.

    He could in theory take twice as long as me. So if he bills out the same hourly as me he'll never get the job. As someone who hires quite a few people to do work at my properties, why would I hire a newbie if he going to be the same price as an established guy? Answer: absolutely no reason.

    In my opinion, when starting out it's better to get jobs and learn to work efficiently, even if your not making great money. That being said, I'm in an expensive market I know I could make money at 50/man hr. doing this type of work.
    Green Industry Pro likes this.
  10. Mitty87

    Mitty87 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Unless you have at least a few years of experience you will have a lot of "learning experiences" until you figure out every little thing you need to bill time for. Things you wouldn't think of like tracking mud on a driveway then having to wash it. Or even just time going to buy materials.

    Our first year I figured out pretty close to what I thought I needed to make and that was $50/Canadian per hour. In our second year I adjusted it to $60 or more. It's still not a lot but there are a lot of small companies paying their employees as subcontractors and billing at $40-45/hr, taking a lot of cash off the books. I know because I've worked for them and I talk to them at suppliers. There is a handful of companies here higher and they are the established ones.

    I think a lot of guys just don't believe they are worth what they need to charge or don't think they can justify it with their crappy work/no knowledge. Just because you are a landscaper and some of the tasks you so are menial doesn't mean you don't deserve to make a decent living.

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