Need help with bid!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by jnm4, Apr 22, 2004.

  1. jnm4

    jnm4 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    I just left a customer that requested I "refresh" their beds with large pine bark nuggets, and edge all the beds. I spent about 15 minutes taking measurements, etc.

    Here's the specs:
    All beds (approx. 20, various shapes & sizes) = 2000ft sq.
    I'd like to fill beds to 2-3inch depth
    Large pine bark nugget (approx) $19 cubic yd
    Home Depot rental for bed edger $70/day

    Here's were I need help. I'm a solo operation with no experience using a bed edger, but I think with anything if I assume 4 hrs. it will probably take closer to 8hr.
    1) Am I right in assuming I'll need about 16 cubic yds of mulch?
    2) How long should I expect to spend on the job?
    3) Will I need any additional tools besides this edger, wheel barrel, and a strong back?
    4) Should I just give them a bid of $xxxx for "y" service? or should I detail the specifics of the bid?

    I'm leaning towards $750......honestly am I even in the right ball park? I don't want to leave money on the table, or the flip side I'd hate to run them away. I guess the good news is they approached me. I provide weekly service to their next door neighbor.

    I'd really like to hear what you guys think. Especially and lessons learned...or bits of advice to make sure I leave those beds in tip top shape!!!!

  2. GrazerZ

    GrazerZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 670

    First of all youll need about 20 yards of mulch for 3" coverage.And second of all we would do this job for $1200.00 for mulching. And extra for extinsive edging,like if the grass has grown into the beds quit a bit. For edging we use a stick edger and then go back with a flat end spade to clean out the grass to leave a sharpe edge. As far as how long it will take you...can't say witout seeing the job. We have some accounts that require very little edging for 20 yards and then others that it seems like it goes on forever. also, my price for the above includes the mulch.
  3. jnm4

    jnm4 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23


    How would you handle creating a new bed? The client wants to join three smaller beds into one. What's your thought(s) on renting a bed edger?

    I own a stick edger, but I'm not sure how well it will create the sharp look I'm after.

    Does the $1200 include delivery of the mulch?

    If you mind can you tell me what hourly rate your applying to your estimate? I'm leaning towards $25-$30/hr...

    I appreciate your response....

  4. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    Forget the bed edger and up your price,you're giving it away.
  5. GrazerZ

    GrazerZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 670

    We use the stick edger to define the new beds. I use it to sort of draw in the ground. I use a new blade set low and make a few passes. If the area to remove the sod is large,consider applying your rental money to a sod cutter. If the areas are smaller, use a flat end spade thats nice and sharp. Removing sod is one of my least fovorite things to do especially if its well rooted. Yo don't need to rent a bed edger though. $70 will get you 2 labor hours. I know guys who do all bed edging with just shovels also, just takes a littl longer.
    I figure all workers out at $35.00 per hour per man. And yes the $1200.00 does include delivering the mulch, we deliver it with us when we go to the job. If you are having someone else deliver it, remember that once they drop it off you will have to shovel it into wheelbarrows rather than slide it off a truck or load it with a tractor. This may effect how much you charge. Since your new though, I recommend that you get the job at a resonable rate as mentioned and learn your way through some of it. Doing a few jobs is the best way to figure what your productivity rates will be.
  6. all degree

    all degree LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 344

    16 yds of muclh is a lot of mulch. I would be at half that amount of mulch
  7. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    Half that much?
    2 inches thick on 2000sq.ft. is 12.3 yards.
    3 inches thick is 18.5 yards.

    It ain't a lot of mulch.
  8. DJL

    DJL LawnSite Member
    Messages: 237

    The first thing I would do is drop any idea of a bed edger. Provided you are only "cleaning" up the edges then there are three basic tools you need. A flat spade shovel (if that's what the technical term is, a flat shovel, and a hoe. Go along the edge of the bed with the flat spade shovel taking away as much or as little as it takes to give it a nice edge. Next, take the flat shovel and scoop out the grass/vegetation you just cut up. Now, take the hoe and scrap the side wall you just created to give yourself a nice edge for your mulch to sit against.

    Second, the previous writer is correct you are looking at 19 yards to cover 2k ft2 with 3" of mulch. Now, assuming YOUR price to buy the mulch is $19/yd, I'd charge the client a minimum of 30/yd. Right off the bat you are looking at $570 to cover the cost of the material. Now, I would gestimate 2 yds, per hour, per man. That would give you ~10 man-hours. Apply your appropriate hourly rate. I'd figure another 2 hours for your edging. The thing to consider here would be what do you do with the material once it is removed. Are you hauling it away or does the homeowner have somewhere for you to put it. I would say between 12-15 hundred for the job. IMO
  9. jnm4

    jnm4 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    dvmcmrhp52, grazer, all degree, DJl....
    Thank you so much for all the advice. Since my original post I talked to my unofficial mentor here in NC, and he said the exact thing that all of you mentioned that @ 750 was too low...and that i was several hundred off... more like $1200.....

    As its worked out ... I give my bid tomorrow I have time to adjust my proposal numbers.

    Here's a question for each of you....when you give a proposal that asks for that type of money do you go into details about the numbers? or just tell the client I will perform service"x" for "$" 's. Curious how much should I try to sell the service/product before we get to numbers?

    Back to my favorite question the bed edger... I'l try to explain the situation a little clearly... Majority if not all the beds were never established properly to begin. The owner basically layed the mulch in the beds w./o creating that nice professional edge. the edge of the bed is where the grass has grown right up to the circle of mulch.

    so based on this would you create a new edge w./ the rented bed edger or use the flat spade shovel?


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