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pricing questions

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by jlisnock, Apr 29, 2006.

  1. jlisnock

    jlisnock LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    How should I price this?


    I am brand new in the business of charging for the work. Although I am not new in the business of doing the work.
    I am building two beds, roughly 500 sq. ft. total, and mulching.
    I am also thatching, laying topsoil, and seeding a lawn area of 1000sq.ft.
    That's just the back yard. Cut it in half for the front.
    One crew member plus myself. How should I start my calculations of the estimate?

    Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    wow ...

    Ok so you're building beds, will you be surrounding these with timbers?

    As for thatching I can not help you because I aerate thou if the prices are comparable, but... a thousand square feet?
    Are you sure because that's an awful small area...
    Go to http://www.zillow.com and type in the customer's address and zip code, now that will not give you the turf area but it will give you the total land they own... Now if most of it is woods or whatever then ok, but if most is turf...
    Anyway, let me know if zillow re-guides your size estimate, it just sounds awful small...
  3. jlisnock

    jlisnock LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    good catch, thanks
    it is 10,000 sq.ft.

    Also no timber edging
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Ok let's try again then:

    Assuming dethatching and core aeration are about the same, I would do 10k square feet for 40 dollars aerated since you're doing other stuff as well.
    Seed, I'd recommend 50 pounds so 100 dollars.
    Add a bag of starter fertilizer and 2-3 maybe 4 bags of lime, 60 bucks so lets say 200 for all that blablabla. I dare say dethatching is more work because you have to clean up afterwards, add another 40.

    Then the two beds, ok you need 2 cubic yards of mulch and on this you need to find out the price of mulch in your area. In my case I can get it as cheap as 12.60 a cube but premium is 18 and designer mulch is 20 a cube and in other parts of the country it is more. Anyway, get the price of this mulch then add 25 for delivery and add 50 for spreading, so price of mulch + 75. Way I figure mulch is always 25 a cube to spread and I try to get 25 for delivery thou sometimes I give a break, in this case you don't want to because I've included nothing else covering your cost of picking stuff up.

    While you're doing the job, get the mulch, the dethatcher, the seed and fert and lime and all that in ONE trip - With a 6x12 trailer it is no problem but even a 5x10 should fit it all if it's a bit tight, it will save you money because there's not much built in for making more than a trip.

    On that note, 2 cubes will spread THIN and I mean THIN ! If you've never spread mulch before, 3 cubes would be safer but that adds another 25 in labor plus cost of another yard of mulch, and if it all fits on the trailer now...

    How are you building the beds? (CALL MISS UTILITY BEFORE YOU DIG - It's the Law!) Personally, I'd use a tiller and after it's all softened up, a landscaper's rake would straighten it all out and you can plant stuff real nice and easy, but... 500 square feet tilled up (don't tell me it's 5,000 lol) I'd do that for around 40-60 dollars, maybe 80 (if I can get the tiller on the trailer with all the rest of the stuff, 40-60). If you're not tilling (using a shovel?) well it takes longer, maybe 80 dollars since your friend is there, it shouldn't be so bad.

    In my case, assume premium mulch so 18 x 2 = 35 + 25 + 50 = 110 + 240 + 60 = 400-440 dollars.
    That's on the cheap side, you really need to get prices of seed and fert and stuff, then add labor figures and you'll likely be closer to 500 and in that case, 475 would sound better than 500 but don't be surprised if it comes to 520 or 540... dunno, kinda depends..

    This isn't exact, just some guide, hope it helps.
    p.s.: i know the math isn't exact, this is how I usually estimate :)
    And it has to be done all in one visit or it's not worth 400, mistakes aside lol.

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