Pavers and Retaining walls

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by MJK, Sep 20, 2006.

  1. MJK

    MJK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    I know how to build them (been doing it as a forman for 8 years) but my problem is how to bid on them? I have a few side jobs to do and was wondering if you just do labor plus materials? Then add disposol for tear out? My boss won't show me in fear of me leaving. If you could point me twards a good book, or seminar that would be awsome. Thanks ahead of time.

  2. orionkf

    orionkf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 122

    Since you have 8 years of experience, it should be easy, since you know production times (assuming similar equipment), and can hopefully figure out materials needed, but you may have to call around for prices on materials if you don't know them already.

    Figure out how much it will cost you to do the job and break even. (Labor{is anyone going to be helping that you will have to pay?}, materials + delivery, rentals, gas, disposal fees, everything) I'm guessing you don't have OH since it's a side job. Figure out how long it's going to take you. Then, figure out how much you want to make in that time. It should be more than you would make at your regular job.

    Remember, jobs come with risks. Hopefully you could string a few of these together, and save up enough to go out on your own with insurance and everything. Good Luck!
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    So are you licensed, bonded, and insured? Or is this something you're doing illegally?

    I can't tell you how to bid a job without factoring in all of the costs of doing business. I suppose if you're not going to bother to have liability insurance, a bond, worker's comp., report the income on your taxes, pay for company imaging, uniforms, company cell phones / radios, business phone, shop, local business license, an office, an accountant, work vehicles, equipment, etc. Then you can just charge for your time and labor and expenses, sure.

    But if you are going to start a legitimate business, with most or all of the above items in place, then the bidding becomes much more complex. Because you have to pay for all that stuff somehow.

    If you aren't going to bother with all the stuff of a legitimate business then the problem is you are basically a low-baller. You're doing work for a huge discount because you don't have all the overhead of a legitimate business. To me, that would weigh on my head. I know it bugs me - knowing I spend all this money every year paying for all these different insurances, a bond, several licensing fees, permit fees, equipment purchases, vehicle purchases, company imaging, office space, business phone, company cell phones / radios, etc. etc. etc. and then I see some unlicensed yahoo doing a job around the corner for 1/2 the price of what I would have had to charge - simply because he's doing it all illegally and not having to pay all the overhead that we are paying. So being that guy - that would bother me. And doing jobs on the side without my bosses blessing would bother me too. Perhaps that doesn't bother you.

    Then again, perhaps I am making too many assumptions. Perhaps you've started your own legitimate business and are paying for all these things. If that's the case, I apologize for assuming otherwise.
  4. Cahsking

    Cahsking LawnSite Member
    Messages: 111

    First off.. Congrats on pursuing your own thing. It takes a pair to do that!! Second, like the last two post, to be on the "safe" side get insurance. Its not that much actually if your not doing snow removal. But if you for your own reasons care not to or just don't want to, thats on you. None of my business!! Ok lets get down to the meat on this...."I" (meaning me) do it this way: Know my measurements, plan to have 10% more materials than needed, then price the materials down to the block ( often retailers will help you out if you know the needed measurements), price delivery, ensure I have the right equipment and set up. I try to make a step by step plan, this way I remember little things like pins (versa-lok), and to call before I dig!!! I plan how to build things like steps, and where lighting will go. Im saying all this planing because it factors into the actual bid on labor. All in All I do materials, delivery ( if I deliver it is 200% on the price), then Labor. I would strongly advise that you request an up front payment. Maybe to cover all materials, and then collect labor when finished. But never guarantee a price on labor. Hope this helps, and good luck!!
  5. MJK

    MJK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    Yes i do have my own company and insurance. What does it mean to get bonded? Also when you say Cahsking that you don't put a guarantee on a price on labor what do you mean by this? Thanks a ton for all your help. This means so much to me. I do great work and want to make the most money possible. I will post pics before and after.
  6. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    if you know how to do it then you know how much time and materials it will take.

    come up with what it will cost you to do the job and then add a fudge factor then your profit.
  7. MJK

    MJK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    A fudge factor should be what, a couple extra hours?
  8. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,420

    Usually an overall %, at least thats my method. A couple of extra manhours really doesn't amount to beans when you begin a project and happen upon the "Ooops! didn't see that coming" factor.
  9. MJK

    MJK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    What does it mean to get Bonded?
  10. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    being bonded is having an insurance company assure that the job will be completed correctly. if youscrew it up, they will step in and fix whatever problems occur and finish the job.

    as for a fudge factor, usually 15% on labor with us

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