Let's have a discussion about mulch/pinestraw installations

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by exmarkking, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. exmarkking

    exmarkking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,012

    went back thru quickly and when you figure in all costs I made around 41 dollars
    Posted via Mobile Device
  2. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,741

    that's not very good.

    i did a small mulch job this spring where i used 5 bags of mulch. bags were about $3.50 each. where do you guys buy bags for $2.50? the bags i got were 3cf bags though. i dunno if you were buying 2cf or 3cf bags?

    anyways so roughly $17.50 to buy the bags. took about 10-15min to put it down and spread it out. i charged $45 so $27.50 profit. if i bought the bags at $2.50 like you that would increase my profit to $32.50.

    picking up the bags was on the way to the yard so no extra mileage or expense was used for that. no extra bed prep or edging or anything was done.

    let's say you were doing that same 5 bag job.

    you are charging $3.50 more per bag over the price you buy the bags at ($2.50) so for 5 bags that would be only $17.50 total profit minus whatever you pay the helper.

    you need to charge more. charge maybe $8-$10 per bag.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  3. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,741

    i don't do it the way you do it. if you buy a bag at $2.50 i would charge $3 a bag and then charge my hourly rate of $50 per hr on top of that. smaller jobs i charge a minimum of $25 labor or it's not even worth doing. even if it takes 10min.

    it's like mowing you need a minimum price for mulch jobs too. i would estimate working solo doing 20-25 bags per hr just to be on the safe side.

    you may can do more but it's best to price things conservatively just in case you run into something that takes a little more time.

    20 x $3 a bag = $60 + $50 per hr labor = $110 per hr total for mulch job.
    25 x $3 a bag = $75 + $50 per hr labor = $125 per hr total for mulch job.

    so for an hr mulch job using bags solo i would charge in the $125 range for bags, labor, and all.

    using bulk mulch i would still charge in the $100-$125 range per hr.

    that comes out to $5-$6.25 a bag which is about what you charge but i'm still making $50 profit per hr.

    you are paying a helper so that must be what is eating up your profit margin.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
  4. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,741

    sorry the thing keeps timing out on me before i can edit everything. :laugh:

    you have to charge more per hr to cover your expense of paying a helper. a job that takes me 1 hr is gonna take you and a helper half as long but you still need to be charging the same price i charge for that job.

    say it takes me 1 hr and i charge $125. it will take you and a helper 30min but you still need to be charging $125 to cover your extra expense of paying a helper.

    i hope this makes sense i'm starting to even confuse myself. :laugh:
  5. HDLLandscaping

    HDLLandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    I price by the yard, and include labor, materials, edging and weeding in the price. I wont give out my price, but I know I am in the middle of our areas pricing and I do make a good profit on jobs, especially that I can spread over a yard on my own. My secret is bigger wheel barrows. haha.
  6. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,741

    i don't even use wheel barrows. or at least i haven't had to yet. i just back the truck right up to the flower bed and shovel it out into the bed if using bulk mulch.
  7. HDLLandscaping

    HDLLandscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    Depends on where the bed is, I just did a house for my father and the back yard cant be accessed by truck, so used a wheel barrow. I wish everything was easy to get to, then I could make alot more.
  8. CreativeLawncareSolutions

    CreativeLawncareSolutions LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,017

    Some of you have managed to over complicate this all to hell. Well done!
  9. JimMarshall

    JimMarshall LawnSite Senior Member
    from NW PA
    Messages: 316

    13.5 bags to a yard.
  10. macgyver_GA

    macgyver_GA LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 826


    As someone who is local to you and understands our market, I agree with you. A lot of people on here forget that not every market is the same. Exmarkking and I are usually dealing with small subdivision lots that are less than 1/2 acre, usually a 1/4 acre on average. I think it's just one of those necessary evils to maintain a happy customer. I only do mulch and pine straw for my regular maintenance customers. I personally think it's much faster on the small jobs to use bagged mulch.

    Pine straw is much faster than mulch. I was at my local Home Depot buying some stuff the other day and noticed their price on pine straw this year is $5 PER BALE!!! Holy crap! I haven't done any pine straw jobs yet this year, the last few I did were in the fall and it was about $3.50 per bale plus tax. Any idea why the price went up so much?

Share This Page