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Fall Bulb Pricing.

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by White Gardens, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    I'm planning on doing about 400 tulip bulbs for a customer. How much do you think I should charge per bulb, that's including installation.

    If I charge for the bulbs, then just labor, I might be selling myself short. I plan on using a corded drill and auger to make it go faster, so I would like to just charge a flat fee.

  2. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Nobody does Tulip Bulbs, Maybe I'll be a trendsetter on this one.
  3. Tyler7692

    Tyler7692 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,086

    Just go hourly
  4. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    That is what I was thinking, but if can plant 400 bulbs in 1.5 hours, then that's cheap to me.

    STRINGALATION LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 777

    like any thing else first find out what it cost you then figure how much you need\want to make. depending on the the type, quality and location of your bulbs you probably paid under 100 bucks. 2. you do know squirrels love bulbs so think about some sort of failsafe incase you do not get a big turnout. for example bulbs in MY OPINION DO NOT LIKE CLAY. i found in stays to moist so a good soil amendment is warranted. like they say " a 50 cent pplant in a 5.00 hole" 3. when you say using a auger says to me the groung wont be tilled first. in a open space i till the area and planting goes faster. so in all that being said i would do half the price of the bulbs plus 60. but i do not know all your variables. me i almost always want to amend soil if needed but hey goood luck
  6. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    These estimates always kill me. :laugh: So 400 bulbs divided by 90 minutes is 4.4 bulbs per minute. Now I wont deny if the bed is already well prepped and has been amended that there will be stretches where you could plant 4 bulbs per minute.

    I can promise that there is no way from start to finish you will
    • Unload your tools
    • Get the bulbs and tools to the planting bed
    • Dig the hole (even with a drill auger)
    • Drop in a pinch of Bone meal
    • Place the bulb pointed in the right direction at the right depth in the hole
    • Bury the bulb
    • Water them in
    • Pick up your tools and be in your rig and driving away in 90 minutes.

    Just wont happen. You could spend 90 minutes just picking out 400 quality tulip bulbs. Sorry

    I charge T & M to prep the bed and I add all the bone meal and other amendments at that time so the bed is loos and fluffy ready to go. Then I charge per bulb and use a more traditional mark up formula. Get a % for the bulb, then a reasonable labor rate to plant, then a small % for warranty. If I have to hand pick the bulbs out of a bulk bin I build that time into the formula too. You will end up with a unit price per bulb.

    For Example only!

    • Bulb cost 1.00 use a 1.55 margin... so 1.64 for the bulb
    • 1.3 bulbs per minute = 78 bulbs per hour
    • 45 per hour labor rate divided by the 78 bulbs gives me .58 per bulb for labor
    • Now I am at 2.22 per bulb planted
    • Add 15% for warranty is another .33
    • For a grand total of 2.55 per bulb
    These are imaginary numbers, we don't use Tulips here so I have never bought one. But I do tons of Runuclus, Freesias, Anenome's and a few Paperwhites and Daffodils.

    That is your jumping off point. Then just track your time to see that you are getting the profit you want and adjust the unit price as needed next time. Within 2-3 times you should have a good solid unit price.

    This is an excellent formula to calculate unit prices for most plantings.
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    That's what I was looking for. Thanks for the tips.

    I've done 50-100 bulbs in 1/2 an hour before, so I'm going off that number.

    Now that you guys mention it, it could take up to 2.5 hours to do the job.

    Here's the variables---

    Old Farm property, 150 years old. The soil is extremely good, loose ect. the beds have been maintained by me for the past 6 months. This is probably the easiest bulb instalation that I'll ever do.

    Beds haven't been tilled, many perennials in the beds, and a layer of hardwood mulch. I think my auger should eat right through the soil, and I feel no amendments need to be made going by how good everything else has grown, and the fact that horses roamed the property 30 years ago.

    Thank god there is no squirrels to speak of. I've had many a problems with bulbs/squirrels in some urban settings.

    Thanks for the Breakdown AZ, I'm feeling that somewhere around $2.25 a bulb is going to work. I feel the Job is worth somewhere around 800- 1000.

    Ultimately it will be a learning experience in the matter of mass quantity that I'm going to do. In the end I'll just see how long it takes and go from there.

    Thanks for the replies.
  8. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Unless you know you have sufficient Phosphorus I would highly suggest you add some. Those horses undoubtedly threw lots of N but your bulbs are going to want some P to bloom profusely. Plus it is a good selling point and dose'nt cost too much more. Bone meal is the organic form of P. Just a thought.
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Thought I'd pull this thread one more time.

    I did 250 tulip bulbs in a little under 1.5 hours. That included getting all the stuff out such as drop cords, drill, auger, hoe, etc...

    What did I charge in the end. $1.75 a bulb.

    Total price- $437.50

    My cost for supplies- $150.00.

    Profit- $287.50

    What do you guys think, good price, or did I just rip someone off.
  10. syzer

    syzer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,272

    Well you surely didn't profit 287.50. Out of that comes over head recover and other expenses. Did you pay for your time to buy the bulbs, your truck, your truck on the job, your insurances, your fuel, any other direct or indirect costs to that job?

    Bulbs are easy to plant, unless we are planting them in a heavily ground covered area, we excavate the entire area, place in 1000's of bulbs right side up and sift the dirt over top. Tapes very little time. Two guys can plant 1000 bulbs in a man hour. Just did it the other day, I think I snapped some pics. I will see if I can find and post.

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