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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a good client who has asked me to do some planting for them. Most of my work is maintenance and I don't want to underbid the labor.

I need some input for time it takes to plant 6'-8' evergreens. The soil is heavy clay. Did I mention it's the rainy season?

Thanks
 

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Clay soil is tough to dig planting holes in. Since you are asking about time factors, I'll assume you're going to dig with a spade or pointed shovel and maybe a pick to help loosen things up. A 6'-8' evergreen should be in at least a 50 gallon container or a burlap ball of about 2' diameter. You should dig the hole diameter about twice the diameter of the rootball to allow the tree to take root quicker. If you are digging a hole 2' deep and 4' across in clay soil using a spade and pick I would guess about 1-1 1/2 hours per tree. Believe me...digging manually in clay is back breaking and slow.
 

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Keep it simple and consistant. For all plantings, I just triple the cost of the tree. If I pay $100, my customer pays $300. Seems to work great for me. And if there is a problem, I'm sure you'll offer a "good client" a warranty of some kind. Triple cost can give you enough to replace the tree if you have to, still make OK money, and keep your good client happy.
 

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fcl, Does you "triple the cost" apply to planting flower beds? I'm not real good at pricing bed work but may need to in the near future. The reason I'm asking about bed work is because if you are installing a new bed, ya have to break ground, remove dirt, build a border, fill it and then plant, etc. Are you simply refering to replanting in an existing bed? Thanks.
 

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I was given a time sheet when I was in my landscape contracting class at Purdue. It had labor times for all sizes of plant material. At first glance, you thought the numbers were WAY high, but then once you start thinking about it, you realize they are probably in-line with where they should be...

FWIW, IIRC, labor times for a 6 foot evergreen, B&B tree, is about 6 hours...

Don't forget about travel time, pick up and moving around on site too. That's where the additional time comes into play. It may only take 2 guys an hour to plant it by hand, but the other 4 will be used up by them in the truck on the way to the site, plus loading it at the office/nursery....

Don't shoot yourself in the foot.


Dan
 

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******; I sometimes have weird pricing ideas that some people don't agree with but I'll help you the best I can.
I mainly do new lawn/landscape installs so the ground is kinda loose to begin with. I triple cost on all plants. Topsoil, weed fabric, preen, mulch etc. is all seperate. I don't know what equip. you have so I don't know what to tell you for pricing most things. I'll be glad to help you if you wanna tell me what you have to work with.
 

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Just did 5 last month and DennisF hit my time right on the nose at 1 to 1 1/2 hour per tree. You'll probably want to use a tree cart for material that large. I also had about 5 hours in additional time from travel time to and from the nursery, waiting at the nursery, selecting the trees, and delivery to the job site 30 miles from the nursery. My trees were 24" B&B 6-7' Blue Spruce planted in heavy clay as per DennisF instructions except I planted 4"high or dug the hole 20" deep and 48" wide. By the way, I like your signature.
 

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For those of you still working on mulitpliers ("just double/triple the cost of materials"), find the thread titled "sod bid urgent request", and read it!

I have a good explanation there as to why you should be doing thing differently!:)


Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Have you guys heard of NOT doubling the root ball dimensions due to the rain we get up here? I had someone around here tell me that a hole that size is beyond the drip line and collects too much water.
 

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I don't double the root ball size for the hole. I didn't know anyone did until this thread started. I've always added about 6 to 8 inches to the root ball size.
 

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Thanks for the info D Felix. I read the thread and I agree 100% that every job is different. Like I said, I have weird ways of pricing. And like I said, I mainly do new installs so my equip. is there and running anyway. My price per sq.ft. on grass varies a lot. Depending on size, obstacles, type of seed,area I'm in, and customer attitude, just to list a few.
 

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Just remember guys, I'm weird, so don't bash me too bad for this.

I don't give a written warranty on trees. However, I do give an oral/implied warranty on defects in material and workmanship.
My customers see the trees being planted, they are healthy and strong when they get them. If I get a call and there is something wrong with the tree, I find the problem and fix it if it's my fault. If it is not my fault, I explain it to the customer and give them tips on how to correct the problem.
 

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Purdue says

http://news.uns.purdue.edu/html4ever/970418.Dana.treeplant.html

All plant material is guaranteed to be healthy and free of disease at time of instillation. Perennial plantings are guaranteed for a period of one year if the failure was not the result of disease, insect or cultural practices (watering) beyond our control.l
 

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Originally posted by fcl01
For all plantings, I just triple the cost of the tree.
I've got a specialty species thats gonna cost me 850. What will you charge me to plant it?

or.... job we did this fall... 300 - 2" caliper trees ... lets just say that the cost was 150 each ... using your figures thats $450 per. Guess what? Your not getting the job... not even close.
Terrible advice for anyone.
 

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Originally posted by D Felix
FWIW, IIRC, labor times for a 6 foot evergreen, B&B tree, is about 6 hours...

Don't shoot yourself in the foot.

Dan
Thats the best advice in this thread ... I've also done my own time studies and for a job that is poor access(no machine) hand digging, moving the tree in on a tree dolly.. etc. from the time they left the shop(2 men)to the time they got back was not far off that 6 (man) hours.
 

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Terrible advice for anyone huh?
Well, it works for me. I already said that every job varies. I should not of said thats how I do ALL installs. And NO, if there's 300 trees, it will be cheaper. But I'm also buying the trees a lot cheaper too. And how often does a 300 2"cal. plant job come along? Not too often I bet. Most plant packages I've done have included approx. 20 to 30 plants from little 3gal. blue rugs to 1 or 2 larger trees.(2-4" cal.) Most have been residential in nice towns. I havn't had too many jobs slip through my fingers because of my price and I've made good money on installs.
 

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Originally posted by kris
Thats the best advice in this thread ... I've also done my own time studies and for a job that is poor access(no machine) hand digging, moving the tree in on a tree dolly.. etc. from the time they left the shop(2 men)to the time they got back was not far off that 6 (man) hours.
I did a study once also that invovled poor acccess [ no nachine] hand digging etc and my study shows most people don't have enough $$$ to get me to do that kind of work:D

Mac
 

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Originally posted by Popsicle
How do you guys word the warranty? What exclusions are added to cover you? (I.e.: animals, too much/little water, etc.)
We only warranty our installs if we perform the maintenance on them. Too many variables to extend a warranty on 2-3k of nursery stock to someone who thinks just because they have a warranty, they don't have to care for the install, let the stuff die, and get free replacements.I don't think so, I'm not Lowe's or Wal Mart here, you know?Do you think your nurseryman is going to GIVE you 2-3K in replacement stock because he feels sorry for your hard luck story about John Smith's dead plants because he forgot to water them? If we do not get the maint. package, we only offer a 14 day green material warranty.We use a transplant co-polymer gel at time of install to insure our plantings start off on the right foot for at least 3 mos., and give a full care sheet for each specific plant in the install.Non-hackers sign off on the final invoice stating they understand after 14 days, all problems are theirs.Works really well....Gives 'em a kick in the pants to avoid a kick in the wallet...
 
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