Tilling Estimate Trouble

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GSMOSS, Apr 4, 2007.


    GSMOSS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    I have a customer that wants me to till an area for her to plant flowers. The total length is 176 linear feet and I have to rent a 36 inch tiller. I was thinking of charging $88.00 plus the cost of the tiller;is this a good price?
    Yeah this is the exact same question that is on the landscaping forum.
  2. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,368

    A couple hours work....one hour to get/return the unit and one hour to till. Tillers are normally a little smaller than 3 feet wide but nevertheless not a bad estimate.

    GSMOSS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    Thank You Ed2hess. Much Appreciated Information.
  4. rockandroller

    rockandroller LawnSite Member
    Messages: 121

    I think you are too low...I would shoot for $150-$200. That's just me. Rental + gas and p/u + labor (min 2 hrs.)

    GSMOSS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    If the cost of the rental is $69.00 and the labor cost is $88.00 then the total would be $157.00. The next thing that I have to do is price out the rental for this equipment. Thank you rockandroller for you help;figuring the cost of fuel along with pickup and return of the machine, i will probably make it $165.00
  6. Big Bad Bob

    Big Bad Bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 5
    Messages: 1,074

    first question: has it been tilled before?
    second question: what type of soil is it?
    third question: is it flat land or on a hill?
    fourth question: is the plot she wants 176' x 36"?

    all of these questions make a big difference when i bid a tilling job. of course it costs more if the ground is gooey clay or very rocky than if it is good midwest loam. of course it costs more if you have to till uphill or at a slant. of course it costs more if she wants it 10' x 176'. of course it costs more if you have to make 3 passes to get the correct penetration and aeration as opposed to 1.
    if #1 is yes, #2 is loamy, #3 is flat land and #4 is 176' x 36" then go for around $75.00 profit. increase your rate based on any unfavorable conditions. #1 no, add $75.00. #2 clay or rocky, add $25.00. #3, on a hill or slant, add $25.00. and #4, add $25.00 for each pass on each row.
    this is the formula that works for me. my customers are happy because they know they get a quality job and the land is then easy for them to work, and i am happy because i make money on what can be back breaking work.
    none of this advice is set in stone for you. you have to adjust for each area and after a while you can look at the site, turn a couple of spade fulls and determine what it will take to give a quality job.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Make SURE you call Miss Utility before you till !!!
    Do NOT take the customer's word for 'there are no power lines etc here'

    Once the stuff is marked, you should be ok.
  8. Big Bad Bob

    Big Bad Bob LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 5
    Messages: 1,074

    great point. some lines are buried just inches below the ground. the utilities will insist they aren't, but i have cut more than one cable tv and telephone line with a tiller, even after a utility locate. if you have a locate, it's on the utility. cut a line without a locate and it could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
    a colleague cut a telephone line and it cost him $2500 because they had to replace the whole line instead of splicing it.:angry: :cry:

    GSMOSS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 65

    Thanks guys, I almost forgot Miss Utility.

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