First commercial job

Crazyplantchic

LawnSite Member
Location
Columbia, SC
Hello all, I am Kimberly and I have been doing my own yards for several years but just started doing yards for other people last year. I do custom beds, not lawn care. I always have a difficult time coming up with prices. When I do a bed for someone it's from the ground up. I generally build the bed, fill the bed and plant the bed with plants I grow myself. I never gave a thought to just how much goes into it until I did it for someone else for money. Last week I had the chance to bid on a small commercial job and I am very curious about how far off or right on my proposal was.. The job is as follows: fill the ends of an oblong shaped pre-existing bed with annuals. This bed is at the entrance of a neighborhood. Each end is 96 square feet, and ready to plant. Using a plant calculator grid, I figured up the number of plants I would need. I used Lowe's prices as a standard and added 30%. I gave myself 2 days to do it, and charged $40 an hour. I wasn't sure how to figure up my profit margin so I added these 2 numbers and added 10 percent. Those numbers are as follows:
Plants: retail plus 30%= $1,092.00
Hourly wage: $640.00
Profit margin: $175.00
Total rounded down: $ 1,700.00

This job would be so easy compared to what I normally do that I keep second guessing myself. Not hearing anything back for several days also has me wondering if my bid was crazy high. I am in Columbia, South Carolina. Attached you will find the bed ends in question. I'm very grateful for any advice you will offer. Thanks so much!
 

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cool breeze

LawnSite Senior Member
It actually seems low but it depends upon the number of annuals, the pot size of the annual (4.5 or 6.0”), the type of annual (common or premium) and the spacing. You also need to include the price for fertilizer and mulch.
If you can give us the specifics we can give you an accurate number.
 
OP
Crazyplantchic

Crazyplantchic

LawnSite Member
Location
Columbia, SC
Outstanding! Thank you, plants are as follows:

8 1 qt Purple fountain grass
24 4.5 coneflower
24 4.5 mums
32 4.5 ornamental cabbage and kale
5 flats (36) pansies

I factored in a 10 lb bag of fertilizer and 20 2 cubic ft bags of mulch, sorry I forgot to mention those two things. As far as spacing, I used the plant calculator grid for that to get my numbers of the plants I needed. I know my hourly wage is low but the number was getting so high I knew I could do it and make enough to justify the price if my price would secure the job if that makes sense. The man that is subbing out the job is pretty cheap so I didn't want to give him a heart attack, LOL
 

Freaky Fido

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Northeast USA
I don't see any glaring errors. You added a markup on materials and budgeted in profit, which "newbies" often don't account for, so two thumbs up on that. I suggest that you get a deposit of 1/2 the total or your materials cost before even thinking about scheduling the job. Once it's installed the property owner owns the materials, whether you get paid or not.
 

cool breeze

LawnSite Senior Member
Outstanding! Thank you, plants are as follows:

8 1 qt Purple fountain grass
24 4.5 coneflower
24 4.5 mums
32 4.5 ornamental cabbage and kale
5 flats (36) pansies

I factored in a 10 lb bag of fertilizer and 20 2 cubic ft bags of mulch, sorry I forgot to mention those two things. As far as spacing, I used the plant calculator grid for that to get my numbers of the plants I needed. I know my hourly wage is low but the number was getting so high I knew I could do it and make enough to justify the price if my price would secure the job if that makes sense. The man that is subbing out the job is pretty cheap so I didn't want to give him a heart attack, LOL

So based on the above, my price would be $2,080.00. The big difference is that I buy directly from the grower so my material cost is substantially less, thus my profit will be substantially higher.
If there are no local growers down there, try to set up a wholesale account at the local nursery if you plan on doing a lot of these installs.
 
OP
Crazyplantchic

Crazyplantchic

LawnSite Member
Location
Columbia, SC
I'm actually the grower for most plants, what I don't grow I have a connection at the farmers market. I've read on here when pricing a job to charge retail price plus 25-30%. So I used the prices at Lowe's as a standard. And normally my hourly rate would be $65, I just went lower because it's such an easy job. I REALLY appreciate you taking the time out to address my question babe. Have a great day!
 

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