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Question about landscape install

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Lawnut101, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    I have a customer who wants me to rip out 12 Yews, 1 dogwood, and a few other medium sized shrubs. Ten of the Yews are smaller, about 3ft high, and 2 of them are big, probably about 6ft tall or a little more. We could possibly rip them out with the truck since they are in the front yard, but I'd rather dig them out. I figure the yews will take about 4-6 man hours to dig out. The other plants won't take as long, but we have a little more cleanup to do, raking out sticks and leaves from the lava rock in the bed. So I figure it could take us another 4 man hours for that. And then he wants us to chop up and remove a childrens jungle jim in the back. That shouldn't take more than an hour or so. So total time I figure to this point would be about 11 or so man hours. Now he is also going to want this stuff taken away and dumped. This place is about 20 mins each way from the dump. Probably going to have about 4 or 5 dump charges. So I was going to just bid this job figuring 2 guys there for a full day, or 3 for a little less than that. Now I have my costs figured out, and I charge about $40/hr for this type of stuff. So if I figure 16 total hrs X $40/hr= $640 to rip out and dispose of all this stuff. Does this sound fair, or am I too high? Do I need to add a little more for the truck wear and tear? I won't have to pay a laborer to drive and dump the stuff, I can do that, but I do have to pay them almost an hour to ride over there with me. I want to bid it high, and charge less if it takes less time. We did another job for this guy last year, and I underbid some of it. So I'm still learning. Also he wants us to plant 5 Arborvitae, not sure what type yet and a few other plants.. I was planning on getting them wholesale and charging 2x what the plants cost me. Or I could go 2.5 or 3x. Am I close with these numbers or way off?

  2. MJM landscaping

    MJM landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 156

    Well 16 man hours(2 days labor, 2 guys) is $640.00 You need to add the time to dispose of the debris, or did you already figure that? Also the dump fees, sometimes, depending on what you are disposing of, are higher than you would expect. I dont know what your area will support but I think your $40.00 per man hour is low. I charged last year $55.00 per man hour. I will probably go up this year. One thing I learned is not reveal what your man hour rate unless absolutety necessary. People get scared quick at the price. If you have to give them an hourly time approximate always go high. You mentioned the last job you did for the customer was too low. Does the customer realize this? Do they know they got a deal? If so they might be expecting a deal.

    As far as the plantings I always give the customer an option of warranty or not. If you are gonna charge 2.5 or 3x the plant material, you better be able to warranty the plants for at least 12 months.
  3. Okiebug003

    Okiebug003 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 243

    You said that it will take 11 hrs to rip this stuff out, and then 2 guys a full day at the dump and drive time. I may be wrong but the day at dump would be atleast 14 hrs. When you add that to the 11 hrs you already have that makes 25 hrs not 16. So if you figure 25 hrs @ $40 per (which is lower than what I would charge) you have $1000. Add in you dump fee's also. Hope this helps, also I never tell customers what I charge per hour.
  4. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    I think you miss understood me. I meant total hours when I said man hours. My bad. So including trips to the dump I'm expecting it will take a total of 16 hours. See what I mean now? If not I can re explain. Well, my hourly expenses for this type of work are around $12-15/hr. So I'm making out ok if I charge $40/man hour. I could raise it a little, but I would really like this job. I can always go higher for a new customer. I appreciate the help.
  5. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    I did figure that in there. But now I see I should just tell them and additional $150 or so to haul all that stuff away. It doesn't cost me anything to dump the stuff. So that's a plus. So total cost for digging out, cleaning up, and hauling away would be $790. I just don't know if he's going to go for that or not. We will see. But I think I'm giving him a fair price. Do you guys think I'm figuring my time right?

    Thanks for the help thus far.

  6. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Do it for $750.00

    Go rent a mini-skid and skip the laborers. It would take much less time and your profit will be about the same or more.

    Are these your regular employees or just extra help. If they are regular employees then I could understand you needing one extra guy there, but two would be over-kill.

    Just keep in mind, the customer will see you with three guys out there and ask what is taking so long. Do it by yourself or with one person, and your company will look better.
  7. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    Won't that wreck the persons grass? Or do you mean something like a Toro Dingo or something? If so that may be a good idea.
  8. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    I suppose alot of it depends on where you work. A few years ago I removed 4 yews and filled the holes with compost for $600--and that was on par with the other estimates the client had gotten.
  9. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    It will some, but it's much better than ripping them out by hand. Besides you'll probably hit one or two that won't come out very easily. It's also better than trying to rip them out with a truck, or a big skid steer.

    Yes, something similar to a dingo.
  10. Lawnut101

    Lawnut101 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,260

    Ok. I will definitely have to keep this in mind. But me and one of my workers have a pretty good system down for digging out bushes. I'm going to go back and look at the job in the next month here. I will try and post some pics of what we will be doing.

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