Mulch pricing

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Turf Technologies, Apr 4, 2004.

  1. Turf Technologies

    Turf Technologies LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 587

    How do you price out mulch? I put down 85 bags for a customer, first time doing bags.
  2. culand

    culand LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    I don't buy the bags. It cheaper to buy by the cubic yard.
    Less cleanup and removable. This way if the beds are smaller you can add a little more for looks. The price down here for Ceder Mulch a bag, is $3.49 a 0.5cy. At 85 bags cost is $297.00+-.
    We get CM for $10.00 cy,Wholesale, and sell it for $ 36.50 cy. Now you have to see that We are from Texas and the (nursery) is just down the street and buying plants and different mulch's from them, prices we get a better price then a retail store [ Home depot, Lowe's and Etc.] .

    Landscape and Lawn Care
    Were Beauty is Texas Style
  3. Charlie Sierra

    Charlie Sierra LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

    I'm just going into year two but have been playing with the numbers and it seems that $100.00 to $125.00 a yard installed is about right when thinking about jobs.

    I arrived at this figure by evaluating the time and materials involved. It seems, at least for me, that it takes 2-3 man hours to install a yard of mulch. That includes running time to pick up the mulch, price of mulch, tear out, edging, Preen, fert when/where neccessary, pruning, hand spreading 2 inches, etc., the proverbial whole nine yards. This assumes a minimum of $30.00 a man hour, BTW.

    Obviously, there are scale economies at work so the numbers change as the jobs get bigger but that $100.00 to $125.00 a yard figure seems to work for bread and butter residential jobs, say 6-10 yards.

    Other thoughts:

    Stay away from the bags; bulk mulch is the way to go, if for no other reason that on a pallet of bagged mulch you may find bags from two or more batches and the color and texture do not always match.

    Always consider delivery whenever feasible; running time has killed more than one business.

    If the beds are more than 40 yards from the truck, add one guy and wheelbarrow to the crew. If there are any hills or steps on the job, add one guy, at least. Some mulch jobs on intricate properties eat labor so plan accordingly.
  4. Turf Technologies

    Turf Technologies LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 587

    I was going to by it by the yard, but since I was alone the bags seemed easier to me.This was my first time using bags.. But lesson learned I guess. How should I charge using bags? Also, whats the correct pricing for mulch by the yard?I was told take the amount paid and add $15 to each yard.
  5. charlies

    charlies LawnSite Senior Member
    from earth
    Messages: 587

    100-125 is way too much. but if you can sell it more power to you.

    we recently experimented with $90 a yard, the market didn't 'bear it', as they say, too well. many people around here charge 55-75 per yard, not including the mulch. have the mulch delivered, work the delivery price into the estimate, usually around $25. if you do this, you remove that consideration from your expenses when figuring out your cost per yard.

    2-3 labor hours to install a yard of mulch is way too much. 1.5 at the most, and that is being very meticulous.

    putting preen and fertilizers down is not part of mulching, and isn't part of your standard price per yard.
  6. grasswhacker

    grasswhacker LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,873

    First of all it comes down to what type of mulch you use. Some mulch such as pine bark are not usually found in bulk. PB is all i will use, so I have the mulch delivered (time saver) based on what i estimate I'll use during the year based on previous year. I calculate the cost per bag (usually 3cf) and add .50-.75 per bag, then charge the hourly rate that I normally do for jobs. If you use better mulches you can sell the premium quality and look, plus stay out of direct competition with lowballers that sell the hardwood junk.
  7. Del9175

    Del9175 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 352

    Bagged mulch is the most common way to spread mulch in my part of FL. Its not to much more than buying bulk, and in my opinion it spreads much faster than bulk. I know from experience because I spread plenty of it when I lived in MI.

    As far as pricing, I usually add about a $1 or so to the cost of each bag, and then charge my hourly rate for spreading. I would think you could spread 85 bags in less than three hours without to much trouble.
  8. grassredneck

    grassredneck LawnSite Member
    Messages: 150

    I usually charge double what the mulch cost me and I definitely add a few extra yds to any est involving pine bark because the coverage is so poor, I'm bidding on a job tomorrow at $312, 6yds at $52. I've also found that I can get dn a yd of mulch in under 1.5hrs easily once it's delivered and that probably is a good figure to stick with since we have to consider the time taken to get to the site. I'd like to know if you guy's think I'm charging too much or too little
  9. LawnScapers of Dayton

    LawnScapers of Dayton LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Dayton, OH
    Messages: 2,572

    I did 2 yards of hardwood mulch today in 1 hour 20 minutes. But that is just this job.....others take more time

    ......just me and my wheelbarrow....I charge $65 to install including material..... Bed edging, cleanout, etc is billed separately...

  10. GarPA

    GarPA LawnSite Silver Member
    from PA
    Messages: 2,585

    we always have the mulch delivered even if its only a couple yards. Have found that it takes way too much time to pick it up and deliver it plus clean out the truck. Our mulch supplier charges no delivery fee because we buy so much from him all season.

    Occasionally we use bagged mulch for a yard or less or where access to the area to be mulched is difficult (steep slopes etc)

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