Please Help on Estimating Mulch Job!!!

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by pollak1322, Jul 16, 2012.

  1. pollak1322

    pollak1322 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    So heres the deal, one of my customers has a huge bed that basically wraps around one full side of his property thats about 300'x30' or roughly 9,000 square feet and the entire thing is on a pretty steep hill. When the house was built 2 years ago it had the preventative weed fabric put down as well as mulch and various plants here and there, 2 years later it hasnt been touched. Weeds and prickers everywhere to the point that some of the actual plantings are getting killed off.

    Last year before using my services the owner asked for an estimate from his old landscaper and the guy threw out a $6,000 estimate most likely because it wasn't worth his time and the owner obviously didn't bite. I am able to get unlimited wood chips from the old tree company I used to work for and the owner wants chips, so thats not an issue and the weeding will just have to be done. This is the biggest mulch job I have ever taken on and I'm just really not sure what a proper estimate would be for all the weeding and clearing then spreading the chips. I'd assume the fact that its on a huge and relatively inaccessible hill would need to be taken into account but again not really sure. I normally work alone but for this I think I would hire at least 2 other bodies to expedite my time spent.

    If anyone could at least get me on the right track for a proper estimate I would really appreciate it! If anymore information is needed please don't hesitate to ask! Thank you
  2. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    I did an estimate based on your information and came up with $6651.00
    I calculated 75 yards of mulch,weeding,edging , and hauling debris.

    The chips do not lay down smooth and flat.If this bed is in the sun
    I think it would take less than 2 weeks before you see the weeds pop up.
    You should get a contract to keep it sprayed.

    There is a reason the first bidder bid the $6000.
    He was in the ball park. The customer knows this and will be the first to throw a stone when the wood chip bed fails.
    This looks like a job that you bid low to get it then regret it once you have started it.

    Good Luck !
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2012
  3. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    You need a fine shred mulch so it locks together.

    I agree with the prices given if you are going to remove and replace the mulch.

    On the other hand you can spray the bed, turn the mulch, clean the debris, put down a pre-em ( water it in well) and then apply a thin layer of new mulch then you can shave some cost.

    A picture of the "relatively inaccessible hill" would be of great help.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Make a point to the client that the weed fabric must go... the worst application of that stuff is on a hillside, because it is one more surface that keeps water moving downhill rather than soaking in... that is probably your biggest culprit in killing off some of the plantings...
    Basically I agree with the fella that said, you'll likely regret taking this job at all, becuz in my estimation it should be done in sections, so that one takes the time to do it correctly and get paid for each section... haste makes waste...
  5. pollak1322

    pollak1322 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    I think from what I'm hearing, this job is a little too far out of my league at this point. The customer only wanted wood chips to help save on cost and we discussed pulling out all of the weed cloth but again that would require more time and $$ on his end. As far as the weeds go, I'm a 19 year old sophomore in college so I dont have any of the proper know how or equipment to spray a bed like that. I know he turned down an estimate of that size from his original landscaper so I'm almost positive he wouldnt accept it coming from a kid. I think I may just have to throw the towel in on this one...
  6. pollak1322

    pollak1322 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    So I was finally able to go over and get a picture of the bed. It runs from where you can see in the foreground, all the way back along the edge of the property to a little past the swing set in the background. He wants it all weeded, after that its pretty much up to me as to what gets planted in there or not, any suggestions for what I should do?

  7. MatthewG

    MatthewG LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    At 19, Id really really want the job - mainly for the money. But, wow your gonna need a crew to weed that and unless you have a mulch blower, your still gonna need the crew to spread that mulch.

    Id pass. Many many times I passed at jobs that were too much for me, the homeowners always seem to respect my decision, just explain why to them
  8. pollak1322

    pollak1322 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    I really do want the job but I dont have the equipment or man power to complete it unfortunately, I think my time would be better spent doing a bunch of smaller jobs...maybe someday I'll get to that level...
  9. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    It is do able for sure. I have seen and worked on bigger hills. The client just need the right check book. :cool2:

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