HELP!!! how to do mulch

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by stephenslawncare, Jun 29, 2007.

  1. stephenslawncare

    stephenslawncare LawnSite Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 81

    okay a few days ago a customer asked about having mulch put down and i said okay because business is slow during these dry weeks. but the thing is i have never done mulch before. I have a few questions

    1. How much area does a cubic yard of mulch cover (square feet aprox.)

    2. How thick do i spread the mulch (i will be mulching around small trees, some small to medium size bushes, and a flower garden)

    3. Do i charge by the yard installed or mark up the the price on the mulch a bit and charge my hourly rate.

    4. to get mulch delivered, where should i look in the yellow pages under?

    I know these questions are kind of vague but please help me. I am going to have the mulch delivered to the property because i am not old enough for a drivers licence.
  2. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,163

    in the yellow pages, look under landscaping and I'm sure a few of the places will say they sell bulk mulch. However, if you find a yard near you, go there and ask about contractor pricing. This will allow you to do a better markup on the materials.

    Around here, mulch is spread from 2.5 to 3.5 inches thick
    I personally charge per installed yard, that's just how i figure things, that's not how it shows up on the estimate or invoice though as i'll add more money to it if it's going to be a pita job or there is a lot of edging involved.
    hope that helps a little......ohh, and i hope you aren't just spreading mulch, i hope you are prepping for it correctly as well by weeding out the beds, cleaning them out and putting a nice edge on them as well for a professional end result

  3. fiveoboy01

    fiveoboy01 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,988

    Approximately 100 square feet at 3 inches thick. Keep in mind that this is rough and not precise. If you get into larger size jobs, your yardage could be off quite a bit using that formula. There is a calculator on this site - look at the top of the homepage and click on the tab that says Free Tools.

    Are you topdressing over old mulch or bare dirt? 3 inches minimum for topdress and more if it's bare dirt. I haven't done a mulch install on a new dirt bed, so I'm going to GUESS 5 or 6 inches deep. Do NOT pile the mulch up around tree trunks - keep it 2-3 inches away from the bark.

    You can do either, but most prefer to charge by the yard installed. I figure out how many yards I'll need, then multiply times my per-yard price to arrive at the total including the material and labor.

    Try "landscaping" or "lawn". Either will usually have a few companies who just manufacture mulch and sell it. Do not forget to find out what it will cost to have the load delivered, and pass that cost to the customer. Unless you want to eat the delivery charge, which I'm guessing you don't.

    Also remember that if you're charging the customer sales tax, you can buy the mulch tax-free from the supplier. Usually they want your tax-exempt number - in my case here in WI, it's the number on my seller's permit, which happens to be the same number as my EIN.

    If you have more questions, don't hesitate to ask. Mulching is one of my favorite things to do. Fairly easy work, and I sure as heck make a lot more money doing it than I do mowing:)

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