Let's talk bidding!

John Deere

LawnSite Member
Alright, cut me a brake, I know this ? has been beaten to death, but it's my turn to ask it.
First, to all of you landscapers: How do YOU bid landscape projects. Here is what I do and then I want to here your procedure.
If it is a job where the plans are already made by the l.s. architect then I take all of the plants, shrubs and trees and add them up. Then I figure up how long (hours) it will take to plant them. I know this just from experience. Once I know how long it will take to plant them I figure my hourly rate charge. For exmaple: If I had 10 large overstory trees that had 2" calipers I figure about 30 minutes per tree. That includes digging the hole with my tree auger, getting the tree to the sight and dropping it in the hole, take the top of the burlap off, watering it in and providing mulch for it. So basically I have 5 hours in labor on 10 trees. I generally charge $35 - $40 per man hr. for labor. So lets say I just charged $200 for install on 10 trees. Then I charge $20.00 per tree ring for arbor edge tree rings and mulch. Sometimes they may not want the tree rings. Anyway, how off am I on the labor for install of trees. I also do this for shrubs and any other plants. I just figure my bids for labor on man hours. I ALWAYS charge for all of my materials separately. I don't figure my materials into my labor charge. So now that you took the time to read my babble could you guys please give me some of your estimating procedures! THANKS TO ALL WHO REPLY!!!
As a fellow afficianado of the green paint, here is what I have done in the past for trees. Since I do not have a tree auger, I have to dig the hole by hand, yes, what a pain. Especially in heavy wet clay. But, for large trees, I double the price of the tree for the tree, installation, and a layer of mulch. No tree ring. I also charge a flat fee for pickup and delivery of the tree from the nursery. My nurseries are all more than an hour away, one way. Usually people get more than one tree or I consolidate a trip and split the delivery charge amongst my customers. I do not plant enough trees yet to justify the $1500 expense for a 36" tree auger. I have 9",12" & 18" augers but the trees I buy have a 24" root ball. The pricing works out well overall. You have ones you make great money on and others that you break even. Let me know if this helps.



LawnSite Senior Member
Flint, Michigan
An auger is the only way to install a quantity of 2" trees. To rent a skid loader and 36" auger here usually runs about $250.00. We did eleven 2.5" trees a couple of weeks ago and had the holes dug in just over an hour. We get between 2.5 and 2.85 times the cost of the trees. That includes a 1 year warranty.