Mulching quote/advice


LawnSite Member
Madison, AL
Just starting this year and got a call from someone that found me on the internet (which was good because I was still on my free trial). She wants me to clean up beds, remove the old dirt and mulch lay about 2" of soil and 2"ish of black mulch. Totaled about 4 yards of each with me not disposing the old waste just putting it in a pile. I quoted her $720 delivered, installed and gave myself about 5-6 hours to do the job. I don't have a crew and this isn't a main source of income but just wanted to see how I did quoting the job and see if I am reasonable, low or high. I don't want to be a low baller I want to keep the integrity and luxury of having a grounds crew. I'm chaulking this up as a learning experience and see what I can take from this. I calculated about $310 in material. Thanks for the advice.


LawnSite Silver Member
West Bend WI
Do you have a skid steer? Because digging that much dirt by hand, well, it will take a while...

PK Mows

LawnSite Member
Memphis Tn
I'm curious about why she wants you to remove the dirt? Are these raised beds? I mean removing the top 2" of soil and replacing it with garden mix or whatever really isn't going to do much good. You could probably save her some money and increase your profit by just doing a soil amendment if needed. What we do is take a soil sample and send it to a lab where they will give you a report on NPK levels, trace elements, and pH. It's I think $32 or so.

Adjust the soil to suit what you're growing, be it seasonal colors, veggies, shrubbery. If the test comes back low in organic matter, add manure or something. A few hundred earth worms every couple hundred square feet work wonders. I just don't see why anyone would have you remove 2" of soil. For a small seasonal color bed I will remove the soil to about 8" and replace with my own blend, but anything bigger than say 100sf, I'd just amend.

As for your material cost, I pay $10 a yard for double-hammered hardwood mulch and $10 a yard for garden mix for small quantities we pick up. So if you only need 4 yards of each, your material cost would be quite high for me. Your labor rate would be something only you should be the judge of.

And congratulations on coming into the business and understanding there are a lot of things to learn. Myself, I've been in it for all but a few years, since I first started working on a mowing crew almost 32 years ago, and there's still soooo much to learn. Good luck with it all!


LawnSite Fanatic
No one cal tell you how much to charge. only you knwo your cost.

My operating cost are right at 700.00 PER DAY.....

what this means is.

EVERY DAY. untill we make 700.00 were loosing money.

you being the professional, it's your JOB TO ADVISE THE CUSTOMER.


you are in total control, if a person wants soil removed, there is a reason. and I'm sure they gave it to you.
that's ok. BUT. also remember being solo. this is VERY HARD WORK. will you be laying in the bed for the next 2 to 4 days from being sore ?
And how much money would you be loosing if you were JSUT MOWING ?

YOU DONT HAVE TO TAKE ALL JOBS that come your way