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Plant Bid ?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by johnhenry, Nov 20, 2001.

  1. johnhenry

    johnhenry LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    Need help with this estimate. I have a 162 plants, bushes and 4-6 trees combo. The plant list totals about $2,000. then with mulch edging, and dirt oh yes weed fabric brings me to $2600.
    I normal would charge $2600 for labor and running around.
    There really isn't alot of work. Transplanting some existing plants and removal of one small tree. The reason I am asking is that she had this drawn up by a different designer and then planed to install herself. Finding out it alot bigger than she thought for herself to do. Am I low balling this bid. It just reddo-ing the front of the house and picket fence. So this brings the grand total of the job to $5200. I know they can afford it but is this to much labor?????? or not enough??????

    This is a really sweet job for winter :D and possible future lawn account.

    Hope you can help.
  2. jdwilliams1

    jdwilliams1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 97

    is $2000 on plants wholesale or retail?, How much mulch, what is the square footage of the area that you need to put down fabric?
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    This doesn't sound too bad except the plant materials part. Are you going to warranty these plants? For instance, our company warranties plants for 1 year. And we'll replace them no questions asked unless there was blatent damage or very obvious signs they never got watered. But to accomplish this, we have to mark the plants up.

    So we buy our plants wholesale from a local wholesale nursery. My wholesale cost is exactly half of what they retail these plants and trees for on their retail side. So, we mark up each tree or plant about 100%. For instance, if I buy a 30"-36" Japanese Maple for $60, I know they sell for $120 on the retail side, so that's what I charge. That's what they would have to pay anyway. And there's my protection in case this dies and I have to replace it. If nothing dies, we get keep it as added profit.

    On a job this size, I may decide to only mark the plant materials up 50-75%. But it all depends on the situation; what time of year it is, how bad I want the job, how much moneyt they have, if they're getting other bids, etc.

    One thing I'd never do is install a plant for the cost + labor. It's always cost, plus markup, plus labor.

    As for labor, there are many facets to deciding this as well. Are you well known, licensed, bonded, insured for landscape installations? If not, I wouldn't recommend charging as much as those who are. So I'd maybe charge $35 per man hour. That's the going rate around here anyway for landscaping work. And it seems to be pretty profitable.

    If you are kinda well known, and have all the credentials to back ya, then you can demand a higher price. I'd then bid it at $45 per man hour.

    That being said, I wouldn't actually place a bid for "by-the-hour" work. Figure out how long you think it will take you, then add a cushion, and give one firm bid. For instance, 16 hours x $35 is 560. Add maybe $300 as a cushion. That's $860 for labor. This is just a for instance.

    Now you're talking about charging about $2600 for labor. I guess that all depends on how many hours this will take to install and running around time . If you think you're gonna get this done in a day or two, I'd say that's a little exhorbitant. But if it will take you a week (by yourself) then I'd say that's a pretty good price.

    But mark up the plants. If you can't buy them wholesale, you need to start looking for a nursery in your area who will sell wholesale to you. If you are planting correctly, you'll lose very few plants and the markup you'll keep as profit. It makes jobs VERY profitable.
  4. CSRA Landscaping

    CSRA Landscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,232

    ... perceived by the customer is what you want to go for here. I would charge anywhere from $5000 to $6500 and think that it was a fair price. If not that much labor and cake work, $5000-$5500. If a lot of sweating is involved, $6500 (2.5 times materials). If they get a good value and good service, you can count on their business later and possibly a referral! Good luck.
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    One more tip.

    I dunno how new you are to all of this and you may already know this - but always use either planting tabs or planting bags (slow release fertilizer) with every plant. Your success rate will go up dramatically and the plants will thrive for at least the first year.

    This is probably the single best piece of advice anyone every gave me regarding planting. And it changed our success rate dramatically.
  6. johnhenry

    johnhenry LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    2000 is retail price for the plants. Wholesale price is around 1700.
    I need about 3 pickup truckloads of mulch.Which I can get for 30 dollars a load. Fabric is 205 feet in fabric and about 5 foot in width
  7. Lanelle

    Lanelle LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,361

    The relationship of the wholesale price to the retail price that you have quoted is not favorable to making a profit. By the time you pay taxes on this, you are not keeping any money in your pocket. Also, how do you cover overhead? I don't like to invest or 'risk' money without a positive return on my investment and buying plants is an investment in the job.
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    That's only a 15% discount for wholesale. It sounds as if you are buying things from a retail nursery who happens to offer a discount to landscapers. What you need to do is find a wholesale nursery. (i.e. one who doesn't sell to the public at all.) Then you should be able to get those plants for around $1000.00

    Not necessarily this time. But it would pay to find one for future jobs.
  9. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,712

    You are asking a how to, business question, not a how to, landscape question. Job #1 is to identify what you are doing when pricing, business or field work. I think your catching on already.

    For insoght into your dilema, click on the links below. They won't provide instant answers, but long term solutions. Good Luck.

    Charles Vander Kooi

    Jim Huston

    The Cost of Labor
  10. KerryB

    KerryB LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 661

    I buy from a nusery that retails and wholesales. If I buy a shrub that cost $6.25 the nursery sells it retail for $12.50. So you should be paying about $1,000.00 for yours. Time to look for another supplier.

    Jim. what kind of planting bags do you use. Have you tried Roots 1-step?

    Johnhenry, something I learned from these guys on Lawnsite; Offer your customers two prices, one with a warranty and one without. Since I started doing this my customers have gone both ways. Some want the warranty others dont. But they see the value of having the warranty and also they see the savings if they take a chance and choose no warranty. It also covers me if something kicks the bucket, there is no question or argument if a plant dies.

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