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How to price a sod job in the Orlando Area

Discussion in 'Florida Lawn Care Forum' started by gtwelsh, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. gtwelsh

    gtwelsh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    I have been working in the landscape industry for a while now, and have now started my own company. I have never dealt with the billing/bidding portion of the industry until now. What is a reasonable rate to charge for sod removal/preparation/ and installation per square foot? I am looking at a 3,000 square foot yard. I was thinking about bidding $0.35 per square foot for labor (including chemical removal of old sod, preparation of area, and installation of new sod), and then an additional $720 total for the cost of the Bahia sod (8 Bahia pallets & includes tax & delivery charge). Please let me know your thoughts and any advice you have.
  2. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638

    If I have this correct.

    You plan on charging a total of $258.75 a pallet for Bahia.

    That is based off of the 0.35 Per Sq * 3000 = $1350
    Then add in the labor of $720
    You new total is = $2070 for installation of 8 pallets $2070/8= $258.75

    For that price considering you are not doing any actual removal. It you should turn a profit.
    Now with that said I am not a big fan of not removing the old sod and just laying it over.
    Seeing that you are in Apopka - I got a feeling that is higher than the going rate for that area.

    If I was you I would inform the client that you were going to do just that....essentially a layover. And inform them that for closer to $350 a pallet you could do the job correctly and come in - remove the old sod/soil and ensure a quality sod installation. But seeing the turf of choice for install - I am doubting this is a option?
  3. gtwelsh

    gtwelsh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    No I was thinking .35c a sq ft. to kill pre-existing sod, remove the old sod and soil, prep the area, and install new sod. Which 0.35 x 3000 = $1,050 for labor + $675 for sod (I have already priced the sod), which is a total of $1,725 for the entire job. I was thinking I was bidding low, but wasn't sure.

    I would not want to throw new sod over old either; did it once at the old company I worked for, and it never looked good in my opinion.
  4. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638


    I think you are a little low then. If you are removing you local landfill that accepts sod is a pretty good distance from you. Your trip time per load has to be 45 minutes in just travel time one way. Then add in removal time from the trailer....and cost for removal at the land fill. I would if you have a 14 to 16 foot trailer you have three trips at $30-$35 for landfill fees each trip.
    Assuming you are using a sod cutter..... that is roughly $100 a day if you buy the insurance to protect yourself in case damage is done to the sod cutter.

    So in this short conversation we have figured you are going to have at least $90 in landfill cost. 4.5 hours in trips to and from the landfill. and a $100 cost associated with a sod cutter.....

    You turn....does this sound like a fair price to you? I know what the market is like in your area......but does it make sense to do things at no to little profit just because some other smuck is willing too? I would rethink your pricing...what do you think? What are you thinking your profit will be.....how many hours are you thinking you will be on the job?
  5. gtwelsh

    gtwelsh LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Well I am trying to pick this account up for maintenance full-time after the sod install, trying to think long term, but maybe this is a bad way to look at it. Also, my old boss wants to help me out - he has a sod cutter and said I can use it for $50. He didn't want to talk about labor prices he bids to his customers, which I understand, but said he would help with equimpent if he could. I was thinking 0.50c - 0.60c a sq ft would be more on par with everyone else, but wasn't sure. Plus, I have a place to dump the old sod for free.

    So I have $50 for the cutter, maybe $75 for fuel on the high side, and another $25 for roundup. So I am at $150; 1050 - 150 = 900. Then the only cost left is just my time to do the work. So if I work 3 days for $900, that sounds good to me. I am giving myself 2 days to remove and prep, and 1 day to install new sod.

    I just dont want to cheat myself or look like a low baller, fly by night guy. I am fully licensed and insured, and want to make a career out of this.

    Thanks for all your help!
  6. Here is some advice....

    NEVER, I repeat, NEVER give a low price on any kind of job to pick up another. The customer will expect cheap prices in the long run and you will be known as the cheap guy. I did this before and it turned out bad....good learning experience, but I will never do it again.
  7. unkownfl

    unkownfl LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,837

    Unless you have a Sod cutter its around 120 to rent one for the day and you will need it for the day. More like 40 bucks for round-up. Fully Licensed??? What license do you have? You can use the dump on golden gem off ponkan. You will need to rent a dump trailer unless you have a big trailler 8 pallets of sod is a hell of a lot of dirt/sod. 2 pallets fill up my 8ft bed on my 1 ton done right. I could do 8 pallets of Bahia for around $1400. Good luck on finding Bahia right now that your customer is going to be happy with.
  8. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,638


    Do not take our critic as a bad thing - look at the number of post from each of us that has given you feed back. We are just trying to guide you in the right direction.

    Both Unknown and Diamond bring up some good points.

    1. What kind of future work can you expect from a Bahia lawn?
    2. What kikd of Bahia can you find right now in our area that is worth installing? True it will green like hell in about a month...but how do you know what you are getting right now?
  9. PDLM21

    PDLM21 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    325-375 soil prep
    275 kill/till
    Not a fan of sod cutters/I prefer rear tine tillers
    Don't buy A NAME BRAND called ROUNDUP, buy GLYPHOSATE from others!
    Get some land; forget dump fees.

    Bahia is still brown this time of year?
  10. rob7233

    rob7233 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    "Give me your best price cause I know a lot of people who need work done/ own a number of businesses/ know so and so/ help you sign up everyone on the block, Etc etc, etc." The same thing with: "I was paying my last guy..." So, you lowball it hoping/figuring getting more work from them.

    By doing that, you just set the low priced standard for yourself. Loss of credibility from the client. You were tested and lost. You got the account, now only to watch other companies get called to do all the other work you counted on getting, to make this account work for you.

    Remember, you don't know anything about this client. You have no history.
    How demanding or picky are they? Do they always try to get you lower than the quoted amount? Do they always pay on time? Does the account give you any grief - toys, hoses, doggy doo etc. You can go on.

    Or you can tell them something like this.
    "I give the best discounts to my long term clients in good standing. The ones that (pay on time) and frequently do a lot of business with me." :clapping:
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011

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