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How to price installing mulch

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by LCME, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. LCME

    LCME LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    I got my first job to install mulch for an weekly mowing customer. After measuring all the beds that will require mulch. The total area is 1306 SQ FT. Mulch depth will be 1". I will be hiring 2 other workers to help install mulch. How would you write up this estimate and how much would you charge. Thanks in advance. LCME
  2. Ken Kesey

    Ken Kesey LawnSite Member
    from Here
    Messages: 114

    You'll need a little less than 8 yards.


    Materials: 8 Cubic Yards of Mulch @ $X.XX = $X.XX

    Labor: X amount of hours billed @ $X.XX =$X.XX

    Total Estimate $X.XX

    I would charge roughly $750.00 if there was not many weeds or edging to contend with.
  3. gartj

    gartj LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    Depending on the type of mulch you may need more than an inch for proper coverage. Around here we generally do 2 - 3 in. Pretty much the coverages apply as:
    1" = 300 sq/ft
    2" = 150 sq/ft
    3" = 75 sq/ft

    So at 2" you would need @ 9 yards to cover 1306 sq/ft with a little left for touch up. Depending on what your mulch prices are in your area and type of mulch the customer wants, add your markup, out here generally 25% and your hourly rate, ours is $60 an hour. Do yourself a favor and do it yourself. Its not that hard and 9 yards should take 1 person @ 3 hrs.
  4. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    1300sf @ 1 inch will require a little more than 4 yards... so get 5. Without bed prep it should take one person about 3.5 hours to install.

    Personally I would install 2 inches at this time of year if you are looking to protect perennials for the winter. If that is the case.. a little more than 8 yards (get 9) would be needed. Should take around 7 hours.

    Without bed prep or edging... I would quote $75 per yard installed. Don't itemize your estimate/bill.
  5. LCME

    LCME LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    No edging to install. There is not a lot of Prep needed. But, there are a few areas to clean-up, sticks, pull weeds, spray roundup, etc.

    The customer is selling the house soon. The owners just want the beds to look fresh. So, that is why I thought 1" would be enough.

    Great advise here. Thanks again, LCME
  6. gvandora

    gvandora LawnSite Member
    Messages: 143

    My calculations also tell are showing about 4 yards. I would go with five if you haven't spread before, because you might end up putting it on thicker then you want.

    3 man/hours to cleanup the bed
    5 yards x 1 man/hour per yard = 5 man/hours
    1 man/hour for final cleanup.

    That comes to nine man/hours for me.

    Nine hours x 40 per hour = 360 labor
    5 yards x 38 per yard = 190 materials
    Disposal fees = 50

    Total job price = $600

    Keep in mind you need to know your labor rates and necessary overhead contribution. Plus materials cost and again, necessary overhead contribution.
  7. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    600.00 is way out of the ballpark, it's only 4 ydsundefined

    65.00 a yrd installed shoud cover that light amount of prep work.

    65.00 a yrd installed includes the mulch$260.00
    65.00 Hauling
    325.00 total job.
    Once they see it and decide to add more mulch it's an additional 65.00 a yrd.
    There is not a killing on every job,this one is pretty basic.

    Good Luck
  8. Ken Kesey

    Ken Kesey LawnSite Member
    from Here
    Messages: 114

    This is a pretty wide range of estimates for 1300 sq'. of mulch. You really do need 2" to make it look nice and do the job.

    My math is L x W x 0.17(2") / 27 = 8.1851851851851...

    Using 1 man hour per yard is not a good way to figure time for mulch as different properties have different obstacles like the length of haul to the bed from the truck, are there a lot of perennials or none at all, type of mulch, ect.

    You could bid two jobs next to each other, 1 man hour per yard and the other by what you know your production level to be and come up losing money because the 1 man hour per yard was much more time consuming due to variations.

    "Its not that hard and 9 yards should take 1 person @ 3 hrs."

    I doubt that.

    With billing starting at time of departure and ending at time of arrival to your shop, in between that spreading nine yards and clean up by yourself will take far more than 3 hours!

    Your billing time will be different than others here so only you know your numbers on the labor.

    So now you have a chance to double your mulch profits by telling the homeowner that 1” will only dust the beds but 2” will do the job justice.

    You now know the math to calculate the desired mulch thickness.

    You know how much per hour it costs you to be in business, right?

    If so then you know how much to charge for labor to cover your costs.

    Are you giving these people an estimate or bid?

    What is your price?
  9. LCME

    LCME LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    I'm giving them an estimate. My price after reading the replies above will be:

    4 yards mulch installed at 1" thick= $300-325
    8 yards mulch installed at 2" thick= $600-650

    Additional mulch if required after above completed will be $65-75 per yard.

    Price includes material, labor, prep, clean-up, delivery, etc.

    Is this estimate reasonable?
  10. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    That looks good but we told you 5 or 9 yards would be necessary/better... and there really shouldn't be a range in price. Have some confidence and give a firm price.

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