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Mulch Pricing in Richmond

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by greenacresva, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. greenacresva

    greenacresva LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Hey guys,

    I just want to know what other people in the Richmond, VA area are charging for mulching per cubic yard. I'm using the dyed brown hardwood and quote at $55 per yard for mulch, delivery, and installed and I keep hearing that my price is too high. Now I don't want to low ball the price and hurt the entire industry, but I do have to stay in business. Thanks for the feedback.
  2. david shumaker

    david shumaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 721

    I think the going rate around here is $60.00 - $70.00 a cubic yard. If the customer needs 7 cubic yards or more, I have Pete Rose Company deliver the mulch to the customers house and charge for the cost of mulch plus labor per hour. I don't like to mess with picking up mulch.

    If it's just a little mulch, I just buy it by the bag from Lowes.
  3. greenacresva

    greenacresva LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks for the info. I've got a dump trailer that can hold 8-10 yrds. Like I said, people tell me all the time that $55 is too high compared to other quotes they've gotten. I get that response across the board with services besides mulching. Aerating and seeding, full service lawn care, etc. But I check with others in the biz and hear from them that I'm competitive or cheap.
  4. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    Every area is different so its hard to say as I am in NY. I still price things by materials + Labor + profit. Not per yard, but thats me. Be weary of customers telling you that you are too high. Anyone can say anything they want. Ask for the written quote so you can "price match" if you want. I've had a few tell me "well I just had this other guy told me $xxx.xx" Remember people search for the best deal however they can even if its bending the truth a little. I don't blame them everyone wants the best deal. It just has to be worth it for you.
  5. greenacresva

    greenacresva LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks for the advise MD.
  6. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    Totally different area, but up here we are averaging $70/yd installed.
  7. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    No problem. I had similar questions and just by searching and reading through the forums that is what I came up with. Hourly + materials(25-50%markup) + profit just seems to work out better in the end for me. Per yard may work for others. I've seen people charge all different rates but maybe it is a different service (see below). Again I learned a lot here on lawnsite so credit is due to some of the great members on this site. Questions to ask:

    1.) Are you just laying the mulch?

    2.) Are you weeding all the beds and how bad are they?

    3.) Are you edging the beds (new edge or redifine)?

    4.) What is your mulch cost?

    5.) Picked up or delivered?

    6.) Trimming any plants?

    7.) Location of property?

    To me the best answer is to estimate all my time for each of these and then add in the rest. I feel I'd be guessing at an hourly rate by doing it per yard. One job you make $45/hr the next $95/hr? What if $45/hr just covers all your costs of running your business and not profit or you salary? I made plenty of mistakes along the way and got burned. I'm still learning too and trying to be more profitable.

    Opinions welcome.
  8. Barefoot James

    Barefoot James LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    I think customer confusion and miss information is the reality of these low ball prices you have to compete with.

    Example - the cheapest bagged mulch - like when they do their blow out specials at the local gas/c-store stations is say $2 for 1.5 cubic feet (earlyin spring they start at 3 for $12 then 3 for $10 the 3 for $9 then $2 a bag BTW)
    So a yard has 27 cu ft = $36 for a yard (at the cheapest price and trust me this stuff is crap mulch) - you charge JUST $55 to pick it up deliver it, tear open every bag and spread??? All for $19 wow! That would take 1 man at least what - 3 hours if not more - so are you happy with $6.33 an hour.

    The Bulk method - say is the cheapest I have seen for hardwood (and I promise you it is not all hardwood but probably about 50% compost mix and hardwood - which BTW is great stuff for the beds), anyways $16 bucks a yard. Lets say this method takes 2 hours to go have them dump it in your bed drive to home and fill wheelbarrow and spread - hours total - Ok that's $39/2hrs $19.5 per hour @ $55 a yard plus you still have the truck, gas, ins, taxes, trailer and tools to pay for???

    So the other guys who are cheaper are doing?..... what are they doing?..... the above math is fact so their trick is?..... bingo we have a winner. They use bulk for sure and the $35 per yard price is for really a half yard so it's really $70 and they make $54 or $27 an hour. As a home owner you see a pile of mulch you don't know how much:confused: is on that trailer. A 8 ft bed PU hold about 2 yards - they show up @ $35 per yard to spread and charge for 4 $140. Thy just are basically liars!

    Or they are just really stupid and work for about $6 and hour which is below minimum wage - don't pay any taxes and their trailer has two barely turning wheels on a 4 wheel trailer and you can see their holes in their socks thru the hole in the rust covered doors :laugh:

    Solution - communication with customer.
    Ask the customer how they have bought mulch in the past? How many bags? Price it by the job. Ask them how deep it needs to be. Fluff up exisiting mulch to complement the mulch you add. Stick with whatever color they already have. Compare apples to apples. Not apples to lies.
  9. OrganicsMaine

    OrganicsMaine LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    As always Barefoot, well said.
  10. MDLawn

    MDLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    Well said Barefoot! Very true about not knowing the amount they are getting. I have seen plenty of jobs like this where the mulch barely covers the ground it was spread on!

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