Help with bidding on landscaping

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by primetyme1978, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. primetyme1978

    primetyme1978 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 35

    I am a new company and I have done some landscaping jobs already this summer. I charge an hourly rate so my customers do not know what the job is going to cost until it is done, but I keep hearing the same thing from my customers I wish I knew what the job was going to cost before it starts so I know what to expect. Please, if you will, share with me how you guys bid out landscaping jobs. For example do you charge per yard of mulch or rock, and do you charge per bush or tree. Also do charge to take stuff out like rocks or a over grown bush. Please help me!!!!!! Thanks.
  2. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Do you know what kind of man-hours needed for each task ?

    Material costs?


    How are you coming up with your hourly rate now?

    Its been my experience that you usually leave quite a bit of money behind if you are working by the hour.
  3. murray83

    murray83 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 347

    from what i understand "bidding by the job" as you'll hear alot on this site,is basically broken down to man hours,material/equipment cost and mark up.
  4. Drafto

    Drafto LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    It is a painful learning process that you must go through. Some on this site have had the luxury of working for another company to see how things work, time it takes to do tasks, pricing, where to buy materials. But if you are like me and the answers weren't there for the taking you have to get a journal and fill in what you are doing everyday, how long it takes, and what expenses you encurred. Most people only like to lose money once, so keep track of it in great detail. Then, when you are asked to price a job, you can look back in your journal and see what you did wrong the first time and price accordingly. Thats it, no easy answer. Good luck.

  5. cedarcroft

    cedarcroft LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    I recomend figuring out your monthly expenses. that includes EVERYTHING that you spend money on. break that down by the amount of days you work a month. subtract a few for rain days etc. and divide the dollar amount of your expenses by the days you work. ( I use 20 days) thats your overhead for each day. start with that number and add expenses from each job separately and add profit for yourself. if you can hit that number everyday you will never go broke. thats the basic way to figure out how you need to price jobs, now its upi to you to figure out how to break that down over the course of the day/week month etc.
    good luck.
  6. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    I agree from a previous post it can be a painful learning experience. I ve been in bus. 11 years now started out from scratch and i now have a good business. I started out working by the hour and soon learned that i needed to learn how to bid. Not to cut you short most of the time i feel working by the hour is for some one who doesent know what they are doing. I started out this way not knowing what i was doing. For example i started around 1995 with a bobcat doing light ex. and bobcat work. My price at the time was $ 30.00 per hour. I would tell my customer this price per hour, his responce was how long do you think it will take. I didnt want to feel stupid and say i didnt know, but would give example of if i was there all day it would be $ 270.00. The first thing happens when you pull up the guy will look at his watch to note what time you got there. Then you get watched real closey and if your cell phone rings much , or you go to bathroom, or take a break you better be prepared to deduct this time or you will be told about it. ! job i thought i would be all day and bring home 270.00, i did the job in 4 hours and ended up with 120.00. I then started learning to bid and i found out that i could get 300.00 for what i thought would be a 3-4 hour job easier than working by the hour. The homeowner wants to know what it is going to cost and most of the time will pay good money even if your there a short time because they knew what it cost ahead of time. And then they comment glad you got the job done not realizing it would of cost less by the hour.
    Take special note of every job you do of how long it took and material price and remember this for future jobs. I have more than doubled my profits by learing how to bid, it will take some time. Some of the previous posts here was very good and with out me re peating take there advise also.
    Good luck to you!
  7. lawns4less

    lawns4less LawnSite Member
    Messages: 15

    The easiest way I have found to do this is always tell the customer your going to figure the bid and then come and revisit with them on it to ensure all questions are asked and or answered. Then once you figure out what the cost ...for example.....They want 3 new bushes $125 x3= $375
    3.5 yards of mulch $35 x 3.5= $122
    For sake of argument 1 guy x 3 hrs = 3 man hrs x $12 = $36
    Then what you want to pay yourself.............................$50
    Then add in misc. expenses for gas,top soil...ect.. $40
    This ending amount is going to be your expenses, your bid will be complete once you figure what the market in your area allows for mark up. $623 plus your percentage of say 30% is $810. This seems to always work for me.
    (Remember 1 yard of mulch covers approx. 100 sq ft)

Share This Page