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Whats the cheapest youve ever installed mulch for?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by Ramairfreak98ss, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    We handle sites as small as a yard, i know it takes more driving time than mulching time, and other sites as big as 50 yards. These are stores around NJ and PA and DE in April of each year, our busiest month.

    A company had us quote some properties, and after finding out all of the properties werent anywhere around us, all counties farther away, i worked out pricing per location between $60-70 per yard.

    The company supposedly is supposed to already have the beds weeded and plants trimmed prior, but sounds like they just got the contract and would have to do them sometime in march before we get there. I want the work for march not april, because we have enough other work in april.

    They call me back and ask if i can bill them $35/yrd total across the board :/

    The cheapest i pay to have a truck delivered in NJ is about $19 a yard if ordering bulk, yet since 90% of these sites are not close to our location at all, ALL mulch will have to be bought/pickedup/delivered to each site from a nursery or mulch dealer in their own area. Last year we did similar work and paid between $22-32 a yard, avg though is probably $25-27.

    I cant imagine if we had to pay $27 a yard after tax OR MORE and then apply it for $5-8 a yard lol. Come to think of it, i dont know any large massive or joe smoe illegal business that could do it this cheap.

    Some places are 1 yard and i could send a ford ranger to do the work, and others are almost 50, i'd like to have 3-4 guys on a crew at least and our litlte tractor to help drive the mulch all over since nothing is close to where we can park in driveways and parking lots with the trucks and trailers.

    What are they smoking now? They must just assume someone will bite their crap bait because the economy is bad and just deal with making $50 a day profit for a 4 man crew mulching 10hrs a day.

    Worst part is we've done other work for them in the past so although things went smoothly in the past and prices were on par with landscape standards, this is just getting ridiculous now.
  2. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,366

    I would need to know an exact yardage, and a mile radius of the jobs. If it were brown mulch and a large yardage, I could definitely make a ton of money off that. IMO your paying WAY too much for your mulch.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009
  3. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    how so? If your from NY, could you come into my area of NJ, and pickup mulch for less? I actual go north from our location to get mulch cheaper. There are dozens of closer places but all much more money. Almost everywhere is $20-$32 a yard, some even more!

    How can you make a ton of money off $35 a yard applied? Even if it was a 20 yard site, you would mulch that for $700? thats two dump trailers or two f550 landscape body loads you'd need.

    Keep in mind, most of these places are not nearly 20, some are but most are 10 or under. The 1-5 yard ones are almost not worth it at much more per yard.
  4. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    and keep in mind, no one will give you any discounts...

    Youll be in 20 different towns, 20 different mulch dealers large and small, and wont be back to the same one twice most likely.
  5. Drew Gemma

    Drew Gemma LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,508

    Here is my formula x= cost of mulch per yard

    x + 35(labor per yard) + 5 (per yard for delivery) = total


    mulch cost 20 a yard plus 35 for labor plus 5 for delivery equals 60 a yard

    That is only cost to purchase deliver and spread mulch!

    Everything else is extra( weeding, edging)
  6. paponte

    paponte LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,366

    1. I never said I would come by you and do the job.
    2. 20yds is less than a load for alot of other companies.
    3. Yes, I would do 20yds for $700, based on our daily capabilities.

    Wasn't knocking you, and I don't know your particular area. That just sounds like a hell of alot of money per yard for brown mulch. If you buy in bulk you should be able to get a much better deal than that. Also as I stated, I would need to know a job radius. 20 towns sounds a little crazy to be traveling IMO.
  7. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Price is irrelevant without knowing the product. Locally we can get mulch for $12 for recycled pallet/stump mulch or just over $80 for more exotics with everything in between. Why anyone would drive 3 towns over to install 1 yard and not charge for their drive time is beyond me. Ramair I think you know better, the answer is as usual time + material. in this case a lot more time than material. I remember the thread from last year, how did that work out for you. This sounds similar. You may consider the idea if you need the work, but dont pay these people for the job. Not only is it an injustice to yourself, but every other legit company out there.
  8. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    Well honestly, some of the subbed work we did last year, still have not been paid for. I should be paid soon hopefully though. The parent company that subed to them that then subbed to me, left them to dry for a ton of money... in turn they didnt have any money to pay me :/

    I worked doing basically the same thing, with more pay, for another company of course and it worked out fine.

    Although we drove to a bunch of different areas, i want to say on average, any one location mulched was $65-70 a yard.

    The sites i was mentioning in this post, were the same type of properties, but WAY farther away. In turn, i raised my price a little to compensate for driving tolls etc. Still i would make less with milage costs, drive time, etc than i did last year with similar jobs. When they call me back to ask if i can do all of the proposed $70/yrd work for $35, they must be on crack.

    I couldnt come down to 35 a yard in my own town unless it was 400 yards at one site and no hauling :/

    Hamilton township in NJ has a site with "free" mulch. Sure i could technically get it for free if i was a resident of that county, mercer county. I used to be years back, and honestly that mulch sucked, it was just everything under the sun ground up. I wouldnt use it for any commercial work or residential work.

    Plus, you had to load it by hand. We'd go over with a helper and hand shovel into the truck... god im glad those days are gone.

    Im not sure if they'd allow us to take a small loader in there to load up trailers or not, again, if i was still a resident. All other local counties, if they do have a mulch yard similar to this they charge for it, and its at least $19 a yard, more than a couple other major yards in central/south jersey.

    I agree too, i dont think any of us should be mulching for anything $50 or less per yard. Im sure under the perfect circumstances we could still profit a little less per yard than that, but why? Why handle that work load and then make peanuts at the end?

    All i have to say is that it was a shock to receive a list for 1400 yards of mulch at over 100 locations between 30-120 miles away from us, be asked to complete them within 30 days, issue a quote PER site broken down and then be emailed back to find out if we can do it for $35 total.

    $102k bid just went down to $47k :( I won't do any work for them now.

    And then after quoting all locations, they told me that each sub can only take 20 sites. Even the closest 20 are hardly work for us. If we were to do them in march or mid-late May, id have no problem taking the bulk work. But dont ask me to start on April 1st and finish by April 30th and THEN ask for $35 per yard, i dont want any of this work for april since we are plenty busy then.

    I hate having to have extra employees, and extra crews for ONLY one month because your so busy and then hardly work for even your normal crew a month or two later. We end up losing our good employees just due to a week or two lack of work.
  9. prizeprop

    prizeprop LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 822

    Yea, I would think you would definately need to shop for a better price on standard root mulch, if not for this job ,but to increase profit on better paying jobs.I know in central Jersey you can get it for between $8-$16 a yard and its good stuff. IF YOU HAVE A BIG ENOUGH STORAGE LOT/SHOP, maybe think about having a couple hundred yards trucked to you at a better price.
  10. HenryB

    HenryB LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,848

    If your going to spread mulch for $35 a yard it's charity and your not helping the poor at that price so stay home and rent a good movie. Your loosing money.

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