Labor to plant 21 five gallon leyland cypress

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by stephen424, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. BrunoT

    BrunoT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 741


    You'd think actually having planted a few at some point in one's life would be a prerequisite to doing it for a living. Because doing that one would soon realize that soil varies, access to the planting spot varies, proximity to utility lines and plumbing can be an issue, drive time from supplier to property varies, etc, etc, etc.
  2. BrunoT

    BrunoT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    Bad news for landscapers when the nursery had a sale on Azaelas this spring, $1.88 each for 1 gal.
  3. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,320

    C'mon man. Five ft. forsythia ---wholesale price of plant $25---so you would charge $25 labor? Five ft. Japanese Maple--wholesale price of plant $125 -- so you would charge $125 labor for the same size plant as the forsythia?

    Price of the plant has nothing to do with the labor to plant it.
  4. Lugnut

    Lugnut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 551

    i wouldn't but for someone who doesn't know what to charge can get an rough idea this way...if plants have to be transported farther, harder digging, etc. would increase this. Obviously someone who is buying discounted shrubs should realize this as well. In this case when planting 21 trees they have to be around $100 each, so $2100 in labor would work for me in this scenario. My crew and I would have this done in a day.
  5. Lugnut

    Lugnut LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 551

    Yes the price of the plant should be reflected in planting price. Regardless of what your labor price is to dig a hole and put a plant in, you should charge more for more expensive plants due to higher risk in the event of having to replace one. If you plant 50 spirea and 2 need to be replaced, your out $60 materials cost. Same container sized Japanese maples, you're going to be out over $200 in replacement plant material costs. Granted there are many installs where nothing needs replacing, but there is always the possibility.
  6. sgallaher

    sgallaher LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 265

    I don't know why your confused what to charge. Figure out your cost, then figure out what you want to make per plant ( I always sell for double my cost), then figure out how much time and charge your regular per hour rate. Let's say they cost $25/ea. 21 plants x $25 = $525. I would charge about $1,100 for plants and about $250 for planting. I also guarantee my plants for 1 year against disease and death from improper planting.
  7. LizzieLandscapes

    LizzieLandscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    Hope you plant them at least 6'to 10' back away from the fence and 6' on center apart.

    Now for pricing.
    First of all you, need to figure out how much it is going to cost YOU to do the job. This is called overhead. Overhead includes things like gas, a percentage of wear and tear on your vehicle, ect.
    Then you add in your windshield time (the time it will take you to drive to the jobsite and back. Windshield time is usually less than your normal hourly rate, so charge a percentage of that, some charge their full hourly rate.

    You should always check out the jobsite ahead of time, shove your spade deep into the soil in which you will be planting... in a few places to test the soil conditions. Is it rocky, clay, loam, sandy? Will the soil need to be amended with compost?
    (personal I always amend the soil, it cannot hurt the plant, if done properly, feeding the soil is always a benefit to the plant...I don't care what the so-called experts recommend, I consider myself an expert in these areas as well)

    Does the area have hardpan under the topsoil? Will it drain properly? Dig a small hole about 2' down and fill with water, if it drains by the next day then it has good drainage, if water is still sitting in the hole
    (your client can call you the next day and tell you if it has drained or not)
    then you will have to take actions to improve the drainage situation. Is there a hosebib available and a hose close enough to water those tree's in once planted? (I always carry 2-100' hosed and my watering wand with me)

    Also, check ease of access. For example. Will you have to haul those 21, 7 gal trees from your truck parked on the street into the back yard and across a field to plant them or can you drive right up next to the fence dropping off the trees close to where they will be planted?

    This jobsite soil evaluation is necessary and within the scope of the OP's original question because in order to not screw yourself over, you need to take into account the planting situation before you give your client an estimate or a solid price to do the work.

    Jobsite analysis + Overhead costs + Windshield time + Your mark-up on the RETAIL price of the trees 25%? 50%? 100%? I think marking up a plant 100% is unreasonable, but that is my opinion)]
    + how much money you want to make on this job.
    Be reasonable here or you will price yourself right out of a job.
    Consider the planting conditions when you do thi's
    ( if easy charge accordingly, if difficult charge accordingly).
    Charging by the hour on this kind of job does not usually pay very well.

    NOTE: Taking a 7 gallon pot and digging a hole in your back yard then noting how much time it takes you and charging by that time...has to be thee most ridiculous advice on figuring out what to charge for planting, that I have ever heard of. It's absurd. There is much more involved in planting a tree than that
    End NOTE

    So there you have it.
    Job analysis + Overhead costs + Windshield time + retail price of the plants + % of mark-up on plants + Labor for planting including any extra effort it is going to take you in order to do it. = your estimated price to the client.

    It may sound complicated and sometimes it is, but once you get experience under your belt doing it, it's like reall easy to estimate any job and you won'r lose money if you follow the rules above.
  8. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,320

    You're five weeks late.
  9. Patriot Services

    Patriot Services LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,508

    Yep. Trees are now too deep, too shallow, leaning, dying, check cashed, money spent, phone disconnected, in a different town, opened another business.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,320

    :laugh::laugh: Good one, Patriot. :laugh::laugh:

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