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Hardscape Estimate Range

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by mbella, Mar 13, 2005.

  1. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    I met with a homeowner today to sumbmit a proposal for a hardscape project. I submitted the estimate and explained everything in detail. The homeowner looked at me and smiled. He went on to explain that he couldn't believe the range of prices on the estimates. My estimate came in at $25,000.00. The other four: $14,400, $18,000, $48,000, and $60,000.

    At our initial meeting, the homeowner provided me with a detailed drawing of exactly what he wanted. All I had to do was shoot the elevations in order to determine steps, finished patio elevation and wall elevations (it's a raised patio with perimiter gravity walls). So, we were all bidding on the same thing.

    It took me a week to finish the estimate. The homeowner told me the guy that came in at $60,000 gave him the price the next day. I told him I could have given him that price over the phone.

    BTW, my close rate is only about 25% - 30%.

    Do you guys see ranges like this?
  2. bigviclbi

    bigviclbi LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 900

    $14,400 and $60,000...There's little bit of difference there. Mbella do you usually call back if you don't hear yes on an estimate and ask what they got for it? Also remember when you asked me about shoddy work. I went to a job the other day and this guy flew the coup 3/4 of the way done, never put a base down just sand. Told the lady I couldn't do anything, but I'd at least put the rest of the pavers down and concrete the sides for her for $700.00. She was hesitant to spend anymore $ but I don't really want to work on it anyway.
  3. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    No, I don't usually call back. This guy offered the information. I was blown away.
  4. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    Does she expect somebody else to do it for free?
  5. bigviclbi

    bigviclbi LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 900

    I was giving her a good price just to keep a couple guys busy and it looked like she needed more work done in the future. She was hemming and hawing and I just started walking away, "I have another appointment call me if you're interested." The guy that did this job had NO IDEA what he was doing, I feel bad but....On a different subject, do you use cutoff saws or table saws or both? I have 14" cutoffs and there's an ad for a 10" target table saw one year old for $600.00. Alot of new equipment, must be going out of business.
  6. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    I use both. When we can cut in place we do. If we are cutting a tight radius, we score the pavers with the cut off and cut full depth with the table saw.
  7. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    Where do you begin with finding out what's going on there? I wish I knew the specifics of each company involved as that's quite a difference in pricing. We do see some differences within our competitors pricing, sometimes up to 50% less than us. Depending on the job sometimes lowest price always gets the work. W/ some of our more intelligent, high end clients and contractors who know our repuation they will typically throw a bid that low out. It can be hard, as we all know each LCO is different as far as their overhead, their suppliers, their subs, etc, etc.
    We bid a job once that included retaining/freestanding fieldstone walls, patios, walkways, all the site work, complete plantings, multiple hot tubs w/ waterfalls coming into them, the whole works. It was a smaller site and designed by an L.A. everything was spec'd out for you. There were atleast 3 of us who bid it and the L.A. kept saying "you've got the job don't worry, you're the only guys who can get this done in time for us." One LCO looked at the job and told them there was no way he had the skill or the power to pull the job off. We had submitted a price of a little under $400,000, if my memory serves me correctly. The final guy came in with a couple years experience (who thought an Acer platanoides 'Crimson King' was actually Acer rubrum----sorry had to throw that in, he's just such an idiot) and a price of like $140,000. Well, he got the job. :angry:
    The job had to be done before winter which was like 2 maybe 3 months away. So a few weeks later another masonry contractor shows up and starts on the walls. We thought the other guy didn't even make it to the beginning, but he had actually subbed all the work out because he couldn't handle it. To try to make this story short, a year and a half later he finished the job. He did nothing according to the original plan (of course to make it cheaper for him), he himself hit the gas main, went through 2 stone masons, and 3 excavation contractors. Now 3 years later the job is still not 100% and they got what they paid for. I've since had conversations with both stone masons (one who just got paid) and one of the excavation guys and none of them will ever do work with this guy again.
    OOOOPS, where did that come from. Sorry mbella, been home sick for 3 days and haven't complained for a while I guess??? Bidding jobs can be frustrating to say the least and sometimes it gets you angry when the job is done and the homeowner did not even get what was designed. It seems when you lose a job to $$$ the client never compares apples to apples.
    Have a nice day!
    Oh and good luck with that bid? It's hard to even tell if the homeowner is B.S.ing you
  8. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    The homeowner actually showed me a copy of the low bid. It was so low that he knew it was bogus. Honestly, I think we are going to get the job. I was just stunned at the range.
  9. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    Testing also................
  10. cgland

    cgland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,929

    I often see ranges very much like that one. We typically are in the middle to middle-high of the range, which is where I want to be. We try to sell value not price. I often find myself wondering how people come up with some of their numbers. ;) We have come across some bids that are triple ours and I think, what are these guys using as base material? Gold nuggets! Anyway, I guess its the nature of the beast.


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