What to charge for retaining wall, patio, walkways?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by alpine692003, Sep 15, 2004.

  1. alpine692003

    alpine692003 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,502

    How do you guys charge for doing retaining walls, patios, walkways?

    Lets say 100 sq foot patio.. How much would you guys charge?

    Do you charge by the sq ft? If so, does that include material, prepwork and installation?
  2. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    We charge by the square foot. That price MAY vary due to choice of materials and design, property access, etc..
  3. alpine692003

    alpine692003 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,502

    Yah, I think that's a safer bet by charging by the sq foot then guessing by how many housr it takes to do the job..

    Uhm.. What about charging 2.5 - 3 times the materials?

    Ie) Materials, tool rental cost $400 .. charge them 400 x 2.5 or 400 x 3 = your total cost for the job inc. materials, etc.. ;) ;)
  4. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    I don't think you can accurately shoot someone a price for a patio based soley on square foot pricing...

    A 100 square foot patio is MUCH different than a 1000 square foot patio. Squared or rounded edges make a HUGE difference. Circle patterns throw another wrinkle into it.

    Using a multiplier like the 2.5-3x the materials cost will get you no where, quickly.... For instance, if you had a 100 square foot patio (not including gravel and sand here...):
    Holland stone will run ~$2.50/square foot = $250 in materials = $750 job

    A tumbled paver will run ~$6/square foot = $600 in materials = $1800 job for the SAME amount of work....?

    Now, what happens if you catch that Holland stone on sale, say for $2/foot? You just lost $150 on that job....

    You are better off knowing what your production rates are, then going from there. What happens if you need to excavate by hand because there is no access?

    Multipliers can be a good starting point if you have NO experience, but anyone with more than a year under their belt should be doing it a different way......

  5. blafleur

    blafleur LawnSite Member
    Messages: 229

    What Dan said, there are also an untold number of variables- site access, prep work, etc.

    I have come up with some square footage prices for some things I do more of, and just add for variables. Works for me, but never just a flat price for any type of installation.

  6. GreenMonster

    GreenMonster LawnSite Silver Member
    from NH
    Messages: 2,702

    Yeah, as usual, Dan is right. :rolleyes: :D

    A square footage labor rate is fine as a starting point, but be sure to add in the variables like everyone else is saying.

    A big variable can be the number of cuts needed for the pattern. Say a herringbone pattern, or a pattern with lots of curves equates to lots of cutting.

    I'm not sure about 2.5 or 3x for equipment rental either. ;)

    Dan, $6/sf for tumbled? We're about the same for holland, but we can get a nice tumbled around here for < $4.00 sf.
  7. alpine692003

    alpine692003 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,502

    Ah, thanks guys.. I'm getting your points.. But one thing,

    Once you get to the big patio jobs, how can you price them accordingly?

    I mean a 500 sq foot job? or even bigger, 1000sq feet?

    You charge by the hour and just guess? I mean if you were to guess, you'll lose out BIG TIME...
  8. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    I just checked one suppliers rate sheet, Holland pavers run ~$2.48/sf, higher end stuff goes anywhere from ~$5-7.50. The numbers I used were just examples, but somewhat accurate....

    On the patio jobs I've priced, I generally think of them in terms of days. I.e.- it'll take 2 days to lay the field, 3 days to make all of the cuts for the soldier course... Or, if it was a straight patio with no curves, it might take 3 days total...

    There's not much call for pavers around here, so I haven't gotten to check my figures yet.:( Should know more on one job in particular by the end of the day today though.:) This last patio, I figured "xx" square feet per hour, based on another estimate that I had done...

    Ideally, do one (or more) as a T&M job if you can, to get a feel for how long things take. Or, do one at your house...

  9. alpine692003

    alpine692003 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,502

    LOL, I like the idea of doing one at my house...
  10. treedoc1

    treedoc1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    We do about 75% stone and paver work and have the associated machines to help out. The cost of the material is the smallest part of the equation and confuses the clients.
    We charge $22 a square foot for the horizontal surfaces. This includes standard excavation for a normal 6" base, stone dust, material and labor. Material can be flagstone, irregular flagstone, pavers regular or tumbled, circles or not. Mortared joints require a concrete pad and the time and energy necessary versus a stone dust bed is the same so we make no differentiation.

    Extra problems are charged according to the site. Raised patios require a retaining wall and are priced at $35 a face foot. Fill is priced at $75 ton installed.

    We find that the quote on a standard installation quickly weeds out price shoppers and gives the interested client a number to budget on prior to our arriving to quote the job. It makes it easy to talk about the extras necessary for their specific project.

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