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Help With Estimate

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by JS Landscaping, Mar 4, 2005.

  1. JS Landscaping

    JS Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    Hey guys, im new to this site. Been lookin around and seems like its full of good info. I was wonderin if you guys could help me with an estimate, just wanna make sure my price is in check. Client wants 10 white pine, 8 foot trees planted along driveway to block sight of new development being put in across the road. I figured out 1200 for the trees, and 800 for labor. Grand total being $2000. He also wanted a price for 12 foot trees, so i figured out 1800 for trees, and 1200 for labor, being that these trees are heavy at that size and need a larger machine to place them. So a grand total of $3000.00. Does this sound reasonable. Thanks guys :)

    James Soutar
  2. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    Step 1

    Be sure that you can put your hands on that many trees of that height

    8-10' White pine are all that are available for me here without a special order.

    10 of those provided and installed would be at 2375.00

    The 12' trees provided and installed would be at 3000.00

  3. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    IMO, that seems very reasonable...of course our costs, profit margins, and everything else would be different.

    I charge the customer 1.5 times my cost for material...in this case the tree. Going off of memory...I believe the white pine in the 8-10' range would cost me around 110 each. So it would cost the customer ~165 each. At ten trees that would cost them 1650 just for the trees. I'd have an expense of the tractor of about 275. I'd throw in 125 bucks for delivery of trees and tractor (of course I don't know the distance...just throwing something out there). I would then have to throw in labor...say 40 min per tree so ~6.5 hours...one laborer (30/hr) and one tractor operator (70/hr)...that's around 100 per hour.

    Looks like I'd be around 2700.

    Of course this is quick, throw it together in 10 minutes numbers. Doesn't include staking trees (if needed), any prep in the area where trees would go, mulch, weed fabric, etc.
  4. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,265

    those prices for the trees seem REALLY REALLY low....if you can get that for that price, good for you. The numbers seem reasonable based on what you are telling me.

    But, you know.....if you charge 1.5 times the price, and the tree dies, you are LOSING money. it will take you so much time to go back, dig the sucker out and buy a new one and plant it.

    All the nurseries i have talked to have told me that the landscapers charge 2.5-3 times what the tree costs.

    I always try to offer the client two options....with and without warranty. just a nother thought.
  5. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    LOL, I do the same thing! Providing two prices. And you are correct, for warranty work I would charge closer to double...to cover the replacement.

    Let's face it, on any type of warranty work you are losing money. Even at 1.5 times the cost I could still purchase three trees with the profit from materials. If more than 3 trees die our of ten...I'm not sure if we should be in this business...One I can see, but more than that...I find hard to believe.
  6. snap12.5

    snap12.5 LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 288

    JS - you should consider two more things. 1.white pines are very susceptible to deer and tip moth (at least in Ohio). 2.white pines over the long run are challenging to grow in a nice shape unless a professional shapes them every other year.

    Tip moth can attack and kill the central leader of white pines and stunt or at least challenge the upward growth of the tree. Around here I see these huge white pines that look like someone just cut the top half of the tree off. It looks terrible.
    Possible solution: Use spruces (blue, blackhill, etc) instead. They are much much more deer resistant and will grow into a nice form over the years without much work. If the central leader is damaged on spruces, the tree is able to recover quickly with another stem without hurting the look of the tree.

    White pines lose their shapes over the years and will get chewed down by the deer in no time. You tree guys out there know what i am talking about.
  7. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    you don't have to be a tree guy to know the damage deer can do. Drive through hunterdon/somerset counties in new jersey after a snowy winter and you'll get nothing but sticks from about 4-5' down!
  8. JS Landscaping

    JS Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 191

    hey thanks guys. I tried to sell my customer something differnt like a blue spruce but he just wants these white pines, he already has 3 of them. The white pines I had at my house were murdered this year, they look like lolly pop trees now, its horrbible, these deer are outa control. :realmad: Looks like im gonna have to rethink my estimate, the more i think about it the more it seems like I am comming in too low, thanks for the help guys, I greatly apreciate it.

    James Soutar
  9. Smithers

    Smithers LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,265

    dont white pines also grow like crazy??? i just heard the other day that the pines grow like 10 ft/year???

    maybe all pines are different?

    good luck, james.
  10. LB1234

    LB1234 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,208

    I'm sure you do this already...if not I STRONGLY suggest it.

    In my contract I have written out that trees will not be replaced b/c of damage/death due to animals. I make sure to point that out before and after they sign. Too many customers insist that they want that type of tree...even after explaining its like ringing the dinner bell.

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