Pricing Spreading Stone (ex. River Rock)

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by mcw615, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    I have not done enough jobs with spreading stone/river rock etc to get an average time to complete a yard/ton or whatever. I have figured mulch at $50 a yard labor.

    A condominium unit we are contracted has asked for a quote to take up all mulch, (takes 30 yards at roughly 1"-1x annually) then replace with the standard flagstone river rock (each rock is about the size of a handful)

    I don't think they really know the cost of the rock alone is expensive let alone how heavy it is and how much labor it will take - but in case for some very odd reason they decide to go through with it, I don't want to short myself.

    Does anyone have a set price for price of a yard of river rock? I can estimate how much in materials but again no set price for labor like I do mulch to make things easy....Thanks for all input!

    STRINGALATION LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 777

    i'm usually $110.00 per yard on just about every type of aggregate unless it is expensive like "kenlite". most of my cost are around 25.00 but location and logistics are critical . wheel barreling all the way to the back yard can add up in labor. oohhh i'm on the river so that stuff is 20.00 a ton ... cha-ching yes mam ten yards no problem.
  3. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,568

    I do a lot of river rock mulch every year. Upwards of 2,000 yards easy. It's very popular here. Figure for a depth of 3", river rock doesn't wash away easily and 3" is plenty.

    You'll want 2 things to do this efficiently. First a Bobcat MT55, secondly a micro mini excavator.

    This stuff will flat wear you out. Spend the money and rent the equipment. Scoop a bucketful with the MT55, run it over to the mini, and use the mini to spread it out. It's much less backbreaking than using a shovel. Don't even try to rake it. A rake ain't gonna do squat with river rock mulch.

    A micro mini excavator like this will easily fit through a backyard gate, won't damage the turf, and will save you loads of time. Typically they cost less than $100 for 8 hours of rental.

  4. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    The traveling of hauling the stone is going to be the biggest problem. Below is a picture of the unit - I would most likely want to get the stone delivered so I am not running 100 trips up to the supply yard, and it would have to be dumped in the back parking lot. So when I am working around front it would be a good 300'-500' feet of traveling to the pile then another 500' back to the dump spot. I am just trying to think of how to do this the most efficient way. They need their bid by today :/
  5. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,568

    When you dump in the parking lot make sure you put a tarp down and have the truck dump on that. Otherwise you'll get white marks all over the pavement.

    I already told you the most efficient way to do it. This crap is heavy and will wear guys out. Using the equipment we can lay down near 3 yards an hour.
  6. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    I did 10 yards of this stuff in August with a flat shovel and a wheelbarrow - I couldn't get a good time to keep track of because the gravel was dumped at the BOTTOM of the driveway and you had to pull the wheelbarrow up a steep driveway about 20 feet then go across a steep hill to dump in a bed... the BIGGEST PIMA and it about killed me especially in the 90-95 degree heat.

    So you are saying 3 yards per hr with equipment and how many guys is that? & what exactly would you charge per yard just labor? it costs $60/yard for the materials just fyi
  7. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    and I was just thinking get a mini skid the ex. would seem to be a problem with working with lots of sidewalks and around plants etc.
  8. Hanau

    Hanau LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,568

    2 guys. One on the MT55, one in the mini-ex. Plus me standing around, smoking and making sure it's done right.

    I try to figure our time at $100+ per hour to do the mulch. It's not real skilled, we own the machines, and we're usually doing more skilled/profitable work on the property anyway.

    If all we're doing is mulch I try to make $150/hour on the job.

    A micro mini ex will weigh the same as the MT55. It's not going to tear up the sidewalk. These are the tiny machines. You can carry a micro mini and an MT55 on a 16 foot trailer with room to spare. The mini ex is what speeds up the time. Spreading it by hand with a shovel is tiring.

    We own a 17D, which is a bigger mini ex than the picture. The one in the picture weighs maybe 1500lbs.
  9. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    I think for labor I am going to bid $3200 for 30 yards. Again there is a lot of hauling time from pile to dump spot. The cost of materials is $2,200. I HIGHLY doubt they have to money to do this - I am only contracted right now to mow the property bi-weekly until April then I already have a 2 year contract with them for complete maintenance and mulching. They did not listen last year around this time that the price to do the property is about $500 a month and they just procrastinated and never raised their dues because they didn't take things seriously and they tried to get other bids from same top equivalent maintenance companies and all the same price so I offered to mow bi-weekly all year for $175 a month if they sign a 2 year agreement after the $175 month for $486.54. They did but all year they have had no money to do anything as they said, they have lots of people behind on their monthly dues. The shrubs are so overgrown. They can't raise dues until January unless they take out a loan to do this. Plus figure have to remove all the mulch that is their, which isn't much because it hasn't been done in 2 years
  10. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    One thing I want to add to this discussion.

    Besides the mini ex, I would maybe go with a mini skid and muck truck of some sort. Generally (depending on the situation) old mulch comes out really easy. If you've got a mini tiller you can just pile it up with that and use a mini skid to load your trucks to haul it away. Then use the mini skid to scoop up the rock and move it to where you need to spread it.

    Also, with what I've found with rock beds, that you just can't throw and go. Once you pull the old mulch you might want to correct any bad spots in the grade, and if there is no edging, that will be a good time to install that also. Fabric is must also. A good barrier between the rock and soil will make life much easier on you if for some reason you need to come back 5 years later and make changes to the landscape.

    Ultimately with those aspects, I've never come out to a set price per ton of rock. Too many variables involved that you won't find until the old mulch is tore up. So estimate accordingly for Murphy's Law.

    Here is a pic of a small job I did this summer. Old rock removed, grade fixed, fabric, edging, and plants installed.

Share This Page