What is the best way to estimate for mulching?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by personallawn, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. personallawn

    personallawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 11

    I want to be able to give an estimate for a yearly lawn service contract(mowing, trimming) and also give them an estimate on how much it would be if they would like mulching? I just had a few important questions about mulching, time spent mulching, and estimating. Where are the best places for a lawn care service to get mulch from at a good price? How much time does it take to lay down a certain amount of mulch and how do I know on average how much to charge them? I know it all depends on how much mulch I need, but I just wanted to know how much everyone else out there is charging for mulching? Thanks

  2. Dodge Truck

    Dodge Truck LawnSite Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 86

    charge by the yard, delivered and installed, edging and cleanup is extra. Contact local suppliers and they should be able to give you lower prices or even wholesale if you buy enough, doesn't sound like your case though...
    you can get anywhere from 65-125 per yard
  3. TomberLawn

    TomberLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,299

    A few guys have told me to charge 3 times whatever it costs me. So, $600 of mulch would be billed at $1800. I have really low overhead since I work by myself and my dad lets me use his tractor, so I don't go quite that high, but I do try to make at least double plus expenses like fuel, time getting the tractor ready, and things like that. For instance, that $600 for mulch plus $600 for putting it out, plus about $25 for fuel and $50-75 for the time it takes to load and haul the tractor. So for that, you're looking at about $1300. If you're costs are higher, you may want to shoot for $1500-1800 for the same job. The numbers I used were for 25 yds at a Golden Corral restaurant I did last May. For residential, your price will probably be a lot less.
  4. Daves Propert Maintenance

    Daves Propert Maintenance LawnSite Member
    from USA
    Messages: 83

    If you haven't done it before, it can be really backbreaking, I would reccomend at least tripling your cost of the mulch if that works out for you, depending on whether the supplier delivers or if you bring it in. If the mulch costs me $30 a yard, I charge $90 to install if circumstances are normal.
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    You really have to do more than a few before it falls in place.

    The rule of 3 is very basic, it's something to fall back on, it can mess you up but you can't go but so wrong either.

    Because it all depends, around here if I were to rake spread shredded fiber and charge 55 a c.y. the customers would have a cow, thou my cost is ~$18. On the other hand if I hand spread designer mulch then it's cheaper at $80-85 a c.y. and my cost is ~$24...
    That would be because I get at least twice the coverage from hand spreading, it is back busting thou omg hand spreading LOL, good thing I get dang near $60 a cubic yard for that... My favorite is still rake spreading, but the money's in hand spreading.

    It takes practice, I'd start with some basic mulch and rake spreads, I've done more than a fair share of those.

    So first you'll want to find a steady supplier, get their costs and what they have.

    Now here's some bare basic stupid rules:
    - a 4 inch cover any idiot can do (no offense), it is very thick and one cubic yard covers about the area a car would take up.
    - a 2 inch cover is far trickier but you get twice the coverage, two cars per cubic yard (I'll get to this).
    - a 1 inch cover can only be done by hand, but we're talking almost 400 square feet for one cubic yard.

    Why cars?
    To estimate, I mentally park cars in the areas to be mulched, count the cars, do the math, there ya go.
    Later on you can count by the barrow, that works also, a full yard I still find tough at times.

    Also I'm figuring most cars measure 6x15 = 90 square feet.
    Thus 4 inches thick = 90 sq.ft. per c.y.,
    2 in. = 180 sg/ft/c.y.
    1 in = 360+ sq/ft/c.y.

    But do it by the car method, it works good.
    First job I would try for 2- 4 inches, let them know it's going to be kinda thick.
    Get a decent mulch but don't bother with super expensive, just not the cheapest, something nice.
    Go from there.
  6. loom-gen

    loom-gen LawnSite Member
    Messages: 150

    cool method topsites dude.
  7. TomberLawn

    TomberLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,299

    I like that, topsites. I measured out the beds and figured 200 sq. ft. per yard. There is a lot more mulch in parking lot landscape beds than it looks like. I was at the right place at the right time to get my mulch delivered because it took a bigger dump truck than they usually have available at my supplier.

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