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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For those who haven't read my intro, I'm very new to landscaping and we have been growing at a decent pace. I just got a call yesterday to spread gravel. I know I should give more detail, but I don't have much else to go off of. I am set up to meet a customer tomorrow to see exactly what she needs.

I just went and took a little tour of the gravel supplier store in town to get a feel for what kind of material is out there and sizes and all that. Does anyone have any ideas on what else I should start educating myself in or any good reads on landscape rocks before I go in? I'll be back with more details, but am going to go in tomorrow and take pics and measure then do another half day of research before I give a price.

Right now I ...
Have an idea of differant uses of sizes (clean vs minus) and it's uses
When to use fabric
Differant examples of tonnage and coverage
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Also, I did about a half hour of researching and could only find 2 times people mentioned how long it took to spread 1 ton of gravel by hand and a wheelbarrow. I have 2.1 hours per ton and 1 hour per ton. Can anyone else chime in on how long it might take with a trailer full of gravel fairly close by?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I can tell you the following...
With a 10 cubic foot wheelbarrow (that's a large bucket 2-wheeler, not powered).
I can spread two cubic yards of mulch in an hour, keep in mind it's a lot lighter than rock.
For simplicity's sake I have always calculated rock and dirt to come out to 1 yard = 1 ton and done.
That may not be exact but it works for me.
So then...
Gravel generally takes longer because I can only fill the barrow about half way due to the weight.
And thus...
Personally speaking I would price it at 2 yards/tons per hour if I needed the work and 1 per hour if I wanted to be fair to myself, somewhere in between if you need to adjust that.

It's back breaking work, last time I hired a guy to spread 8 cubic yards of gravel on my driveway and to my surprise he got it done in about 4 hours. The pile of gravel was already on top of the driveway, it just needed to be spread.
Tools used: Shovel, 2-wheel 10 cu.ft. barrow, and a landscaper's rake.
I paid him $200 at the time, I personally think I paid too much but it's what we agreed on before he started so that's how it went down. So I think around $40 a cubic yard just for spreading is likely a good price today, but a lot depends how far it needs to go (as well if the surface goes up or down hills, this affects how easy/ hard the job will be).

This is merely opinion based on experience.
Thank you so much for this reply. Is this time from rock dumped out in the driveway and wheelbarrows to the backyard or something like that?

I ended up getting my bid at 15 tones at 150 bucks per ton to spread. It will be dumped probably 75-125 feet from where it needs to be. I know a big boy who I'm gonna pay 175 to help me for a day and try to do it all in one day
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey guys, we just finished this job today. I tried to get the owners(house flippers) to lay down landscape fabric and spray pre emergent, but they declined, and although I would like to do this as best as possible, it is their choice and they just wanted some ding dings to spread Rock.

I also don't like to have customers buy materials, but they insisted and we agreed to get a foot in the door with these flippers, who have quite a bit of work. I ended up using Google maps to calculate the square footage and used the equation from the rock supplier to estimate tonnage. Another reason to buy own materials other than up charging, is that we were feeling like maybe they ordered a little more than we guestimated. All in all it was a good learning experience and it turned out nice. For those who might need to calculate how long it takes, me and my helper spread 15 tons from the driveway to the yard and it took us a total of 16 man hours to be completely done with hauling, and spreading so 1 hour per ton(somewhere in between busting ass and a normal place) plus 1 hour of cleanup. Next time I would charge 1.25 hours per ton and take it easy. We are absolutely beat, and only did 4 hours per day.

Wheelbarrow with two wheels, and big plastic shovel(protect the driveway on last scoops) saved my ass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Here's some before and after pics. I also charged for grading(did by hand with a pick on high spots) and to remove the old backing board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
We spread gravel often. We charge by the ton. We don't recommend fabric. They break down over time, and weeds start to grow through it. It's a pain the treat the weeds from broken fabric. This is the template message we send to clients.


"On the gravel alone. It depends on the area, the rule of thumb is one ton covers 100-150 sq ft space.

Generally speaking the gravel per ton cost ranges from $XX per ton and UP. The labor cost to spread is $XX/ton for the backyard, $XX/ton for the front yard plus gravel delivery and handling fee. 
Please see below rocks spreading work reference:
http://instagr.am/p/BcP_7qdF1jh/ https://www.instagram.com/p/BZzQ6iNlPWr/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BYjbKGuFyjf/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BXufT3flPGL/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BUlTktRliXy/
Thanks for that! Especially on the fabric part. I wasn't sure what is happening out in the real world I mean it's only supposed to last for 7(?) years or so anyway.

Another thing is that we had a hard time getting the rock to look ultra flat, but I figured that would happen with time. I spent about 2 or 3 hours just trying to make it look as good as possible.

If it matters to anyone, I didn't have any reference point so I did 15 tons at 65 bucks per ton to spread. My dad was in town and for some reason volunteered to help, so I'm thinking his mind might be starting to go but he saved my ass and I did ok on profit. One man hour per ton is expecting alot out of the human body with th distance we had to go 2200 sqr foot area, maybe 50 feet farthest point away from the pile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
There are several factors that go into the price of spreading gravel. First, you have the gravel cost itself, plus tax, plus delivery. Next you have to charge for your labor based on how technical the property is. A property that needs to have gravel moved 100', one wheelbarrow at a time on a slope, and then carefully spread amongst dozens of tightly trimmed topiaries is going to be waaaay more than moving it 20' to a wide open area that's flat.
When I do a gravel job, it's a custom quote every time. Knowing your labor production threshold rate for a given task is key in a project like this. I would tell you to start with a base labor rate of $100.00/ton for an easy one-hour spread, and go up from there. You might have the first ton done in 45 minutes, but that 9TH ton might take 75 minutes due to fatigue. I also find it easier to move a ton, spread it, move a ton, spread it in order to work/rest all muscle groups. I even do a 2-minute stretch session between individual tons just because of how well it keeps my muscles fresh and reduces the chance of injury. Slow and steady wins the race when spreading gravel.
It was also like being a truck in a tractor pull when we had to push over freshly poured gravel to add more to the back. I literally had to sprint through it to make it all the way to the back for a spot I missed.
 
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