Why Bagged Mulch is a Better Investment

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by PlantscapeSolutions, Sep 18, 2010.

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  1. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,012

    I'm still surprised at all the little guys I see running around with trailers loaded past capacity with bulk mulch. Most large companies have bean counters who realized long ago that bulk is not the way to go most of the time.

    You can get bagged mulch for only about $10 more a yard here in central Texas and other areas are pretty similar. If you do the math on your labor expenses you will easily see that bagged mulch will save you money and not kill your workers. Bulk mulch here is about $18 per yard and bagged runs about $28.

    It is a whole lot easier to use move mulch around a jobsite when it's neatly packaged for you. You should cover the gap in increased material cost by your savings in labor costs. Plus if you have any left over mulch you get to sell it to someone else. You have to use up bulk mulch because it's not cost effective to bring it back to your shop. I usually end up with hundreds of leftover bags of mulch a year that end up getting sold a second time.

    My small company uses 5,000 - 8,000 bags a year and we have mulching down to a science. We mulch a lot of yards that require 300 bags. I have a custom made 21' triple axle gooseneck (4' solid sides) with a split ramp and two side doors for side loading the front of the trailer with a forklift. The trailer will hold 390 bags loaded. This puts the trailer weight at about 23,500 lbs. You need a dually with airbags on the axle to pull this kind of a load.

    Every property is different but you can usually do 14-18 bags (630 lbs - 810 lbs) per man hour on a big job. This bags per man hour number includes unloading the mulch, moving it where it needs to go and doing any bed prep along the edges of the bed. We use a 1500 lb capacity dolley and Brentwood wheel barrows with dual front tires at the jobsites.
  2. grassman177

    grassman177 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,795

    i have argued this point for years on here, no one will listen
  3. Tennesseepowerstroke

    Tennesseepowerstroke LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 366

    And what size dually has a tow rating of 23,500 pounds?
  4. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

  5. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    A 2 cu ft bag of brown mulch here is around $3.60 This is both at homecenters and landscape supplies. If you went to large orders (many pallets) you might get it down to $3.30. You need 13.5 bags for a cubic yard. At $.3.60 that's $48.60. I can get a bulk yard of brown for $23. That's more then a $25/yard difference, more then double the price. That's regular mulch. When you get into cedar and hemlock there is even more of a difference.

    Its one of the main selling points we have for customers who want material delivered. Even with our delivery fee its cheaper then them loading bags into the back of their BMW.
    As far as spreading, we slide some mulch off the back of a truck to a wheelbarrow and wheel it to a spot, dump and return, having another guy spread. I would rather do that then have guys, bend over pick up bags, carry them to a spot, bend over to cut them open and empty them. Plus think of all the plastic waste you are generating.
  6. clydebusa

    clydebusa Inactive
    Messages: 1,660

    I agree with what your saying, but will add that smaller jobs we use bags and use the wheel barrow to carry the bags so this reduces the bending over.
  7. kilgoja

    kilgoja LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 944

    i don't agree with this as the bagged mulch is the same as the other mulch lol

    anyways i can see where a really big job that it would be better to get a truck load or trailer load of mulch because it's cheaper but i have a property where the flower beds aren't that big and they live on a slope and they have steps going down the side of the yard....so there is noway to load a wheel barrel and roll it around to the side of the house or around back...so using bags works alot better in a situation like this or on smaller jobs

    oh and bagged mulch at walmart around here is almost $4 a bag....i found it at marvin's for $3 a bag...so walmart isn't always the cheapest lol
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2010
  8. RussellB

    RussellB LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 8,739

    John Deere has bagged mulch for $2.57/bag if you purchase a pallet (80 bags) or $2.80/bag for lesser amounts. Works great for me and like someone said, I can store/sell the extra bags. I have never had an issue with bagged mulch but great thread.
  9. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    Bagged has its place and we have used it too. We had a small job at a house with no access even for a small mower. This is why they were creating a bed. They had been bringing the mower through the house. We brought all the plant material and bagged mulch through. Much easier and cleaner then wheelbarrowing bulk.
  10. Sammy

    Sammy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,734

    If you had it down to a science, you would not have hundreds of left over bags.
    Stop over charging your customers.....They may catch on about you screwing them.
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