Question about per square foot charge.

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by MJK, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. MJK

    MJK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    When you guys say you do pavers for lets say 12 dollars per square foot, how did you come up with that price? What did you take into consideraton to come up with that number? The same for retaining walls? I can do the stuff really well know, but i need to know how i should set my prices. Thanks a ton for the help.

  2. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,260

    Its been talked about over and over.

    After a few years installing pavers, i have a decent idea about how long it will take me to do x amount of sq ft in ideal conditions. That is the sq ft # i start my estimate at. I add extra $ depending on excavation, pattern, difficulty of cuts, curvs/stright/ access, pita customer, etc. Know 2 jobs come in at the same price.

    However, this is only my 2nd year in business and i tend to screw up alot of bids still. Even if you screw up bidding, always stay the course and do the job like you were making a million bucks on it! Some how i make a killing on walls, but eat my shorts on pavers!

  3. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    I do not do pavers but a ton of retaining walls. I do not charge per sq. foot. I have my own formula for they can be all different. Im buiding now 4 walls on a property that if it was a different location it would be a lot mre money. This reason is 1 wall we dug out prob. 100 ton of earth, and several truck loads of cross ties. But the job was out in farm country we just carried the ties and the dirt 40' and dumped over a hill on the guys 40 acre property. Now imagine the truking bill on the dirt and the landfill fees on the ties to get rid off if the job would of been in a different location. Figure that in to sq.foot price and ill do hand springs. I basicly could figure sq. for just the wall for quick refernence to put home owner in the ball park to see if he is really going to spend that kind of money. I looked at ajob few months ago that i knew it would be ariund 5000, i asked the home owner if 5 was in his budget. He said no way he thought it would be around 1,500.00 and could not spend any more. Then it was not worth my time to estimate any more. Have all of your variables figured out before you even consider pricing by the sq' foot.
  4. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,580

    Use mt screen name in the search feature, and you'll find some expert expertise.
  5. PerfiCut L&L

    PerfiCut L&L LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 458

    As mentioned above, too many things need to be considered in order to charge "per sq ft". What we did was time/job costing in detail.

    Took a simple patio job, and kept track of the time for each phase listed below.

    1. Measuring and staking project
    2. Excavation
    3. Sub base installation with compaction
    4. Sand base installation / leveling
    5. Pavers installed (total sq foot)
    6. Pavers cut / lenear foor

    I take these times and relate them to how much (sq foot) we can accomplish per hour. The key is not to race it. Just do it, and do it right.

    I use these numbers for estimating future jobs. In addition, keep in mind any diffiuclty or additional labor factors needed. Can use use a cat to unload base, or doea it have to be hand moved from front to rear. That sort of thing.

    Once you have these numbers, you can plug in your materials cost, deliver, and disposal fees, equipment fees, and any other related costs. Then compare that to what you need to make to make a profit.

    No two jobs are exactly the same. But if you have a starting point you can use that in relationship the projected job.

    Good luck.
  6. MJK

    MJK LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    Wow, that was great advice, it really means alot to me to see you guys helping each other out. It shows that there are really some great people in this world after all. One last question, How do you put a price per hour for your Bob cat?
  7. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    Location.location, and location. In my area the going rate is 50-55 per hour. You will find on this forum some guys are getting 75.00, all depending on your area's going price. One trick you might consider is, if only a bobcat can fit in the area depending on how good of operater you are sometimes you can name your price. I use a bobcat for everything, new yard installs,srw, etc. I have to watch naming a hour price due to guys are running dozers in our area for just a little more on the hour than my bobcat, If you were a homeowner having a new yard install who would you hire? Bobcat for 55.00/ hr. or dozer for 60.00 hour. Try and learn to bid excavating work for your bobcat than disclosing a hour rate for a bobcat you will make more money. When i am called for excavating estimate and i see i can handle it with my bobcat i dont tell them i will be running a bobcat. I give a price for the job and go do it. Yes there are a lot of helpful people on this forum with some great advise, i enjoy and have learned from other opinions,
  8. PerfiCut L&L

    PerfiCut L&L LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 458

    I wish we had a bobcat to price (maybe next year):dancing:

    For now, we rent them as needed, and I simply charge the rental rate plus 20% for my time to pick up, drop off, and refuel. I also add the labor per hour for the operator. Works well, but I wish that money was coming to me to pay for my own skid steer.

  9. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,366

    Depending on which machine we send out, we get between $60-$75hr 4hr minimum. Thats with 3 basic attachments (4in1, forks, rake), more attachments and the price goes up. :)
  10. RKIND13

    RKIND13 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hey Guys,
    what I should charge this guy to do brick pavors? He has four pallets of pavors and the slag sand but im not sure what to chage him. i would have to rent everything to do the job though tool wise. Im not sure what the sq ft is yet i still havent bid the job and would like to know what im doint when i do. this is my first paver job. what about a per hour rate? Thank you guys.

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