I do some sub work for a landscape management company, they may even be on here... in no way do i feel any disrespect towards them as a company since i have grown pretty friendly with most of their owners and managers, but when it it "not" good to take the work? They have offered hundreds of yards of mulching work thats all commercial places. We take out our 48" bucket loader Simplicity tractor to move the mulch around since most places have parking lots and are far distances. This ends up being MUCH MUCH faster than just a few guys with wheelbarrows trust me. When it comes down to the numbers though, either we are not efficient enough or there just isnt enough money to be made? Since i do good work for them, am reliable, etc. they had bumped up my rate PER YARD from $25.00 applied to $28.00 which was all they could possibly do since they are capped for how much they get for these jobs. Now THEY supply all mulch, so its just a straight labor fee from my company to show up at the place and apply it. I know your all thinking thats easy, drive over in a car with a few guys and go to town... But what happens is we get a list of say 10 locations/stores somewhat close together in NJ, they dump 30 or 65 yards of mulch at a location and then its up to me to move it from site to site as per the needs per store. Now most times their paper estimates are close, if they need 13 yards at one store, its pretty close applying by hand at 1" thick normally. I've studied my paperwork details.. If 4 of us are at a site, myself included, we can be getting done 2+ yards per man per hour, thats about 8 yards per hour. 8yrds x $28.00 = $224.00 PER HOUR isnt too bad for us.. Now comes the bad part, figure in as soon as you have to load up our 14' trailer with say between 5-12 yards of mulch to take to another location, if we have to load it more than half full, ~6 yards, we cant get the small loader tractor back into/on top of the trailer so it has to stay at the dump site "we may have already finished this location by now though". I then coordinate to haul the mulch to the next location, drive back get the loader and crew and drive back again...chewing up lots of $4.79g/ Diesel. I calculated in the last two LONG days and part of tomorrow, my labor hours included, for 4 guys we spent 73hrs in driving time, mulching, hauling, etc. to make almost $1,850 which is only $25.00 per hour. I have income theoretically of $100.00 per hour for 4 guys. Crew leader $15/hr Employee 1 $12/hr Employee 2 $11/hr Myself $300-Free/hr lol $100hr - $38.00 hr for labor NOT including myself We chewed through nearly a whole tank of diesel, i will have to fill up by finishing this "$1,850.00" jobs tomorrow sometime at about $170.00 Lets figure in we use ~$20.00 in three days with the tractor, 5g tank, sips fuel. $2.60 per hour average fuel expense Diesel F350, 14k Dump trailer, diesel 27hp tractor Wear and tear? Dont want to think about this part really, but we got a beer bottle glass in one trailer tire and it was leaking... couldnt fix it, replaced two tires today for $295.00, ouch. $100hr income - $38hr labor - $2.60hr fuel =$59hr Company income Now $60 for my company profit give or take per hour is pretty damn low for a 4 man crew wouldn't you agree? Lawn Mowing service, 2 man crew normally, rough calculation for the one day weekly, $871, play it safe, 9hr day = 18hrs is $48 PER man hour, not 25 Hardscaping, i usually dont pay attention but know after our prep work its higher than $50/hr + Block & supply markup Irrigation, doesnt take too long, probably a minimum of $50/hr even with 3-5 man crews. + product markup Landscaping etc... $50/hr+ product markup Mulching residential or commercial for my own jobs... $60-80yard Even at only $60.00 charge per yard and $15-19 per yard depending on type, thats still in the $40+ range to pick up a load, haul to site, apply and weed. A 10 yard job can be done easily in ~3hrs with 3 guys at one house and is say $700, at $190 cost for mulch even at $19yard, thats still $56 PER man hour in labor. Honestly we work fast, were coordinated well, have everything we need to speed up the job, not just a pitch fork, pile of mulch and an old rusty wheelbarrow. At the end of a day, i think wow, we really killed that job today, awesome. Then i look over these numbers and feel depressed. Maybe thats why these same places dont entertain our bids when we put them in for this work because were not cheaper than dirt? I am not a huge company but i am not a joe smoe with a old pickup and a shovel either. We need to make X amount of dollars per day to be profitable. After all this expense, we made less than $500 for me to be out all day with 3 other employees, take into account now wear and tear and my salary, whatever that is, were not making much. If it takes $100 a day to run the company for expenses, theres not much left for the company or my own paycheck for busing our butts all day long to apply, load, unload, and apply more mulch.