Tell me if I am nuts!

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by newleaflandscape, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. newleaflandscape

    newleaflandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 348

    Heres the scoop. Got a commercial job on a high traffic road. Really want the job strictly because of location. There is 1200 face foot of keystone standard brick going in. Its got the angled fronts so I dont have to worry about cuts on the caps. They are the ones that weigh 78 pounds and are eight inches thick. About 400 face foot of the 1200 is the base coarse, meaning I ll be leveling about 400 face foot worth of brick. Then as I figured there is about 5000 worth of plant material going in. There is also around 35 yards of crushed brick going in. So here is the deal. The five grand is figured in with my planinting price and everything. He is willing to pay for all the materials. The keystone block, the crused stone, the crushed brick, and any extra soil we may need. Also he will pay for the rental of any equipment that we need to rent. The only thing he will not be buying is the plants and edging. He wants me to do the job for fifteen grand. So figuring that five grand for plants, he wants me to lay all the brick and crushed brick for about 10 grand. Am I nuts to take this. So far looking at the figures I think I am. The only problem is that the whole community knows about this building going up and if we get the job, it will have some serious pay off. So I am trying to figure out if I can even break even on this thing. He seems to think this is a great deal, but that is a hell of alot of brick.
  2. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,332

    5 grand of plants at retail or wholesale? What are we talking about, small shrubs / trees /B&B stock, or all 1-5 gallon stock and container trees? I'm thinking somewhere along the line of $ 22K -w/o knowing what the specs are for the plants and bed layouts.Give me a little more info, please..
  3. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    The wall job (same type of Keystone) we did last fall had two walls totaling around 80-90 linear feet. The taller wall was around 50-55 feet, and 7 or 8 courses high, 2 layers of geogrid, with step ups on the base, and step downs on the caps. The other wall was about 30' or so, and was about 3-4 courses high. We did those two walls in basically a week (2 guys), for $8-9k, and the homeowner supplied the skidsteer. Had he not done that, it would have cost another $750-$1k on top of everything else...

    Sounds like you would be nuts for doing it for that price... It's hard to have a pay off in future work if you are no longer in business.

    If the wall really needs to be built, as in its a structural wall and not purely for decoration, then don't let the guy dictate your prices. If need be, tell him what your costs are for the job, and try to point out that you don't work for free...

    As far as setting the base course, have you thought about using a flowable fill concrete base/footer? With as much as you have to set, it may be a huge time saver....

  4. jwholden

    jwholden LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 218

    Run away don't walk!!!:dizzy:

    First, your client should NEVER know the cost of your materials.

    Second, a wall of 1200 face foot is a big wall. How many square feet of wall stone are on a pallet? How much does a pallet weigh? How many pallets are you going to have to install? I bet the wall is looking a little bigger now!!!

    Never price by the square foot. However, if you say $25 a square foot that wall comes to $30,000, and $25 is BELOW what guys charge for walls around here.

    Not trying to be a pain, hope the info helps. :)
  5. newleaflandscape

    newleaflandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 348

    Thats the problem. He is a commercial contractor, thats why he knows the price of materials. As far as plants I figured five grand would be what I would charge to plant the plants with the cost of the plant material. Ya its been a real crapper. He knows his crap is what sucks, and he has a budget that his client gave him for the landscaping, but the walls are unavoidable. I want to walk away but something keeps me thinkin I might still take it if he offers me a little more money.

    D Felix what do you mean by that concrete base.
  6. newleaflandscape

    newleaflandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 348

    I disagree by not charging by the face foot. The way I do it though is I have a set price for the base course per face foot, the blocks stacked per face foot, and caps per face foot.
  7. jwholden

    jwholden LawnSite Member
    from CT
    Messages: 218

    New Leaf,

    That sounds like a great system!!!
  8. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    Are you really in business to do things for "break even" with the hopes of getting more work in the future. Nothing is ever a guarantee. The assumption of "serious payoff" is probably what he's hoping you will think.

    Being he is a contractor and knows the cost of materials, he obviously has an idea of what it takes to do the wall. All he is doing is trying to bend you over. It's not your fault he didn't allow enough in the project to do it right. Now he's trying to chisel you into working for free basically.

    Yes, I'm telling you your nuts to do it. You already said you would only break even. Not to be a jerk, but when you finish the wall. All said and done, your back sore, your hands sore, and who knows what else, I'll have made just as much money as you and I didn't even break a sweat. What is going to happen with the all to common "unforeseen" problems that arise during landscape construction? Who is going to absorb any of those costs?

    I understand the hopes of exposure with the job, but that just isn't good enough reason to only break even. You need to make something. That size of wall and what he's willing to pay, you are a long ways from profit if I understand the scenario your describing. Just let it go if you can't get what you need. Too many people are basically "scared" into doing projects. That's what I think is happening here. :( Pass on it.
  9. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    I won't get into the pricing... you already said you will break even. I would question that statement unless of course you don't have any more work to do. What I mean is ..could your time be spent on another site making money. When your guys go over the bid hours on jobs it isn't just what your paying them thats being lost.
    Is it possible to leave an advertizing sign on the site for the season? I MIGHT consider doing a break even job if it was for advertizing.
    GC are famous for this type of crap.... always price it as it will be your one and only job.
  10. charlies

    charlies LawnSite Senior Member
    from earth
    Messages: 587

    tell the big contractor man to do it himself.

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