Please help 1'st patio bid

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by radracer, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. radracer

    radracer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    Thanks for reading. A good customer of mine wants me to do a brick patio in her yard in a basket weave pattern. The area is 28'-6" X 10'-6" I have come up with a total of 1,376 4"x8" brick pavers but I plan on buying 1,400 just in case. I have never laid a patio like this but I have read about it and I think that this would be a good learning experience for me. Here are the material costs that I have come up with.

    Bricks .68 each = $952.00 plus tax
    Delivery $65.00
    Sand $35.00
    Footers $50.00

    Total $1,102.00 = $1,180.00 with tax

    I will be doing the job by myself. The patio will be in the back yard so I will have to wheel barrow the bricks back there about 75'. I don't think that it will take longer than 24 hours to do but I am not 100% and I dont have a clue as to what I should charge for labor. Do you charge by the square foot, by the hour or what? Please help all replies are appreciated.

  2. JS Landscaping

    JS Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 192

    We usually charge by the sq. ft. for basic paver instalations. Depending on the paver our prices range from $10 to 15$ per sq. ft. Granted this is basic pavers, not with inlays or designs, which are additional expenses factored into the estimate. When you say $50.00 for footers, do you mean your base material? We usually run 6" of Item 4 compacted in 3" lifts and rougly 1.5" of quarry dust. Did you figure in the cost of excavation in your labor estimate. Also be sure to figure in the cost of any extra materials, or machinery that needs to be rented such as a Brick saw and plate compactor, joint sand, paver sealer if nessesary, edge restraint, ect... There are many hidden costs that can come up and before you know it your profit is disapearing.
    With your square footage of the patio at roughly 300 sq. ft. I would estimate this prodject out to be 3,000.00 plus tax, charging $10 a square foot being that bricks are the cheapest paver material I believe. Any special pattern the bricks are to be laid in? If you take your time and measure twice cut once you will find that hardscapes can become very profitable. Making sure your base is level and compacted properly is key, and is the most time consuming. Once you get laying pavers, it goes rather quickly. IF ya have any other ?'s feel free to ask....good luck!:waving:

  3. radracer

    radracer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    Thanks for the quick reply. When I said footers I meant edge restraint. The book tha I read said to just put 1" leveling sand. Is this not a propper method? You are right there are a few things that I left out but it still seems profitable. The pattern would be a basket weave pattern. Thanks again for the reply.

  4. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,794

    Harold, your going to want to excavate out at least 6" of the native soil and bring in some sort of crushed aggeragete as the base, 1/2" or 1/4" or something.

    Spread it out, screed it off and compact it in 3 inch lifts, for a small patio like that you could use a hand compactor, though renting a whacker (Usually around $50 a day) would sure make it easier.

    Your last 1" should be sand or stone dust to set your final grade. Don't forget to give it a slight bit of fall to one side for drainage.
  5. JS Landscaping

    JS Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 192

    What kind of edge restraint are you using? What we use up here runs about a dollar a foot for flex edging. The patio will definatly need to be laid on item 4 or a coarse aggregate and compacted in 3" lifts or within no time it will heave and sink. What book said it only needs 1" of bedding sand?!? Usually you set the pavers in bedding sand or crusher dust 1" thick ontop of your compacted base. To add a nice touch to the patio run a soldier corse around the border, and/or run your basket weave pattern on a 45 degree angle to create a nice effect, but it invovles a bit more cutting. All depends on your clients wants/needs for this prodject. I think an estimate of 3000 is very reasonable, and will leave you with a nice profit and cushion incase of increased time or any other obsticles you may run into........good luck:waving:

  6. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    that is a really big project to be your first one.....

    the total price should be at about $15K or more.
  7. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Messages: 2,702

    Wow. You can get 15k for a 300 s.f. holland patio???? I'm loading up and heading your way!

    Pretty good advise here. Rent yourself a plate compacter and cut-off saw, possibly a skid or compact tractor for a day to do the excavation

    1. Excavate native soil, 9-10"
    2. compact sub-base, and lay down fabric before installing base.
    3. Install and compact 3/4" crushed gravel w/fines. compact in 2-3" lifts
    4. Install 1" of concrete sand for paver bedding -- use 1" electric conduit to screed off. Don't use stonedust for your bedding.
    5. lay pavers in basket weave. I would also do a soldier course as earlier mentioned. Good size patio would look good with a sailor course too.
    6. Install edging (into gravel, not sand)
    7. Compact pavers to set into sand. cover the pavers with landscape fabric to prevent chipping the hollands.
    8. Install stabilizing sand -- read the directions -- don't get it wet until it is ALL of the surface of the pavers!
    9. Post pics on lawnsite

    Make sure you get the right spikes for your edging. If you go to home depot and get galvy spikes, the diameter is too big. You need to get the spiral spikes from the same supplier as your edging. I like the flexible black plastic vs. aluminum.

    For your pitch, 1/8"-1/4"/ft should be fine.
  8. radracer

    radracer LawnSite Member
    Messages: 53

    Thanks to everyone for your replies and advice. I have learned a lot.
    JS landscaping.. It was one of those Home Depot books that recomended only 1" of sand. I will have to find another source for my educational material I guess. Again thanks for the pointers I will put them to good use.

  9. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,627

    One of the worst thing you CAN do is unit pricing, aka "square foot pricing".

    All our jobs are priced based on materials and estimated time.

    Lets back up here, first. Rad said he needs 1376 pavers. Ok, take that number and add 10% to that quantity to compensate for the 'waste factor'. Its a lot easier to have left overs than it is to spend drive time going to the supplier for 15 more pavers.

    Also, no need to excavate 9-10" deep, and 6" is too shallow, assuming its a perfectly level grade. Do exactly eight inches and you'll be perfect. (5" for crusher run base, 1" for bedding sand, 2 3/8" for thickness of pavers) Do not use electric conduit for screeding. It BOWS!!! Use a ridgid pipe. We use 1" od steel. We do not want divits, bird baths or unintentional swails in our pavements. It should be perfectly level and consistant.

    Back to pricing.

    Since it sounds as if this is your first job, you will probably not make much profit. You'll have to do MANY jobs to get through the learning curve.

    Especially being that u have to wheel-barr the materials, you need to estimate how long it will take you tp perform each task.

    With paverwork, even a simple patio, there are a ton of variables. Look, here we are talking about a small patio and it requires all wheel barrowing! There is always something. Whether its access, staging, burial of roof down spouts / sump pump lines, and so on.

    Each individual jobs needs the following accounted for:

    -Equipment load time at yard/shop
    -Equipment unload time at job site
    -Travel time to and from, per employee, per day
    -Each and Every particle of material
    -Time for removing and re-installing the owners section of fence
    -Time for laying out the patio with marking paint
    -Time for excavating. if the job has a walk out basement...that means they have a hill going to the front. If its fall or spring...that will will be a greasy muddy, mess. that hill will eat time.
    -Time for installing aggragate base. Can the aggregate be brought in on a tandem, or is access and staging so tight that you must bring it in on your truck and hovel it off?
    -Time for laying pavers and cutting
    -Time for regrading/seeding
    -Time for daily clean up. Usually takes one man about an hr to clean the trash and shovel soil/mud off the street.
    -Time loading and unloading equipment when job is complete.

    The landscape and hardscape industry IS ALL ABOUT TIME TIME TIME. We are SELLING TIME! If there are any Vanderkoi seminars in your area, I highly urge everyone to attend :)

    Sure many of these tasks are routine and do not vary much from job to job. But as a thorough and conscienous business person, you really need to itemize the estimated production hrs of each task when calculating job cost.
    And this way, if you encounter a problem, you can see exactly where you fell short on your estimating and then you'll know where to improve on, whether its in the job costing sector or field production.

    Many veretan guys may know their averages. But it took them many years and many jobs to gather this intelligence. So for people that are new...its best to price a job based on estimated materials and production hrs. heck, I been doing hardscapes for 9 years and thats the only way we do it!
  10. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Messages: 2,702

    EMT won't. Good point though, it should be metal & rigid.

    Many good points DVS about the little things that add hours to the job once it's all said and done.

    I still say 9-10" excavation. 6" base + 1" sand + 2 3/8" paver = 8 3/8". Round that up to 9" and you're in good shape. IMO, a little more is better than a little less.

    Harold, although the Home Depot library may not be the best place for instructional books, are you sure it's not saying 1" of sand on top of the compacted agg base?

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