my residential bid...opinions?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by rywnygc, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. rywnygc

    rywnygc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 523

    I have focused mostly on mowing prior to this year, though I have plenty of landscape experience with companies that I have worked for. I am taking on some landscape jobs now.

    Company background: 2 man crew, a third if needed. Licensed and insured.
    No debt! One truck and trailer.

    I did an estimate today on a spring cleanup. There are 6 beds. A total of 10.5 cubic yards of mulch is needed for 1700 sq ft. at a depth of 2 inches. There is already existing mulch. I will be raking off the top layer only. There are about 15 shrubs (boxwoods) to trim up. Property has easy access all around for wheelbarrows. The beds need very little edging.

    I estimated 4-5 hours for mulch, 1 hour for trimming and 1 hour for clean up at the end, so 7 hours. I charged 35 a yard for the mulch (plus tax) and 420 for labor (7 hours) for a grand total of 819.66.

    I think that we will finish in under 7 hours, probably about 5 as this is a very clean existing landscape.

    What do you think? I feel this is a good estimate and bid, but I wanted to get some feedback from the guys who have done a lot of clean up bidding.

    If you need more info, please ask. Thanks in advance for any feedback!
  2. bigkid

    bigkid LawnSite Member
    from Gap pa
    Messages: 48

    seems low but you know the market there better than me. I would be around 750 just for the mulch installed and that doesn't include any bed prep, edging, or shrub trimming.
  3. rywnygc

    rywnygc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 523

    Thanks for the reply bigkid, this is what I'm looking for. I believe my bid was fair, and I'll make profit on it, but I would like to make sure that I am in line with others. I don't want to be lowballing. I dont care if I'm higher than others, but I don't want to be pitching low prices and screwing others. I mark mulch up $10.00 per cubic yd (to the retail price) and then just charge my labor rate. I know some mark up material 300%, but I don't feel that is fair. I won't budge on my labor rate though. My customers can by the materials for what I charge, but they are paying for me to do it.

    Sound right?
  4. vencops

    vencops LawnSite Bronze Member
    from NC
    Messages: 1,537

    On paper, it looks great. But, I have no idea if you're making money @ $60/hr....or, if it takes $100/hr for you to turn a profit. Heck, you could be making money @ $20/hr..

    Hard for anyone here to know.
  5. bigkid

    bigkid LawnSite Member
    from Gap pa
    Messages: 48

    Well the important thing is that your making money. I think you will find that most guys don't charge for the mulch and then try to guess how long it will take to put it down. Instead they charge a price per yard that covers the mulch, delivery and installation. I try to keep my price per yard around 75, but that number changes depending on the size of the job, how far i have to move the mulch to get it to the beds, and how much stuff i have to work around in the beds. I then charge edging by the foot and bed prep and cleanup is by the hour. Things like edging are tough to charge by the hour because if you go in their with equipment and knock out several hundred feet in an hour you are shorting yourself if you just charge for an hour of labor. You paid for the equipment to make the operation more efficient and easier for you, but don't forget that you still need to charge accordingly to cover that expense. We all know what we need to make to cover our expenses but if you want your business to thrive you need to cover more than the expenses you have now, but also the expenses that you will have in the future like new equipment and unexpected repairs. If 45 an hour covers your expenses now and puts some money in your pocket then charge 50 an hour and put that other 5 an hour aside.
  6. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Hi. When you say you're "raking off the top layer of mulch" are you actually removing it?
    Can you just smooth out any big bumps and leave the old mulch in place?.
    It just gets covered up. In fact are you doing the hedges first?
    You can leave clippings on top of the old mulch. It will help the shrubs.
    That would put time in your pocket.
    I'm sure the job would still look fantastic.

    Note: decomposing bark mulch depletes nitrogen in the garden.
  7. silverado212

    silverado212 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 373

    I have found it better to just figure a per yard price.
    Example: XX per yard that covers mulch, delivery, bed prep and labor
    With your price I would be around $800 just for mulch plus labor for trimming.
  8. scraper1

    scraper1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    As long as you make $50 to $60 a man hr. in labor you be o.k. Removing existing mulch can be time consuming. Have to charge to dispose of it also. Good for shrubs to remove especially if it's a dyed mulch. Doesn't break down and creates a barrier for rainfall / irrigation. Try to talk them into cultivating it and using a natural mulch or sweet peat.
  9. Ole' Hickory

    Ole' Hickory LawnSite Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 29

    Sorry if i'm too late for the post, I think your'e pretty OK with it. $60 bucks for 2 guys is not bad if this is your 1st go around. The mulch seems low, I'm sure you'll get the same action if you sell @ $40.
    The edging is where you could get scrubbed. Are ALL 6 beds cleanly edged or do 2 need to be re-cut? Edging (especially wet this early in spring) can be a pain in the back - 1 hour is a crunch.
    5 hours sounds right for 2 guys @ 10.5yds (should go 11 yds) but hit it hard and do it in 4 hours. Make your money there!! If you guys finish in 3.5 hours, then bump knuckles and tell your buddy that "you just kicked the tar out of that job!" You didn't add a dump fee, are you leaving all that debris on site? Could have gotten another $20 there.
    Fuel isn't cheap, but @ $60/hr theres no need to get too greedy.
    Now, you just gave a 7 hour estimate on some hard work, I'm sure you are not going to another jobsite after this one. My advice, tell the customer that you are charge him for one day (8 hours). Its a full days work, for anyone without 6 guys on a crew -including him and his family, and he doesn't want to do it.
    And make sure you really get those edges right too. THAT is what is going to sell your mulch service. Anyone can put down the chips!

    Watch it with the boxwoods, Make sure that you know how and what you're trimming on those bushes this early. How big are they and is the owner under the impression that you are "shaping" them too?

    Kinda long-winded, sorry
  10. rywnygc

    rywnygc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 523

    Thanks to everyone for the replies.

    This job is going to be done at the end of Apr. All beds are nice and clean. No re-cutting. From what I'm reading, most go for about 75 a yard for spreading mulch. At 75 a yard, thats 787.50. So at that price and another 2 hours of labor for trimming and clean up, that would be 907.50. So from what I see, I'm not that low at 819.66.

    Had this been a job with a lot of prep, edging, digging etc... I would have made it a 2 day job and charged much more. Like I said before though. Its pretty clean. Probably the cleanest property that I've ever taken over. Normally when I take over, its a crap hole. Good for b4 and after pics though.

    This job is also leading to this customer's in-laws clean-up and a maintenace account for the in-laws as well.

Share This Page