Why is everyone so hung up on bulk mulch?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by bicmudpuppy, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. bicmudpuppy

    bicmudpuppy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    I should no better than to ask this, but why bulk? I've seen guys quoting materials at $16-20 / yard for hardwood. I personally like cedar or cypress and the customers are usually very willing to pay the difference. Best prices I have found for either product runs in excess of $22/yard. You have to handle it atleast twice and pay delivery or pick it up in your truck or trailer. How does this math really work? I can buy 2cu' bags all day for $2.50 and it gets cheaper than that when you will take a full pallet at a time. 80 bags per pallet and you don't touch it till you get to the job. No mess in the driveway or significant spillage in the yard with a base cost of say $1.10 per cu' or under $30/yard. The bags spread easier and clean up quicker than wheel barrows or loaders dumping bulk mulch. How do you justify saving less than $10 per yard for the extra clean up.
    We have a retail place here that tries to justify the difference between bags and bulk by staking compacted bags into a bucket to prove that you don't really get 2cu' per bag. Use the 2 and 3 cu' bags and see. If you dump them out the product fluffs right back up to the same volume as the bulk. You cannot dump out seven bags into his half yard bucket and not get a full bucket.

    I just had to ask. I know I'll regret some of the answers, but I see so many outfits hauling bulk mulch and the cost just doesn't add up for me unless your buying a full creeper bed at a time.
  2. procut

    procut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,852

    IMO its easier to handle bulk mulch when you have a large volume. For example, you have a job that requires 15 yards. That would be over 200 bags that all have to be cut open and disposed of. Not to mention empty bags blowing all over the place. Although, if it is a small job, it may be worth it to just get it in bags.
  3. BSDeality

    BSDeality LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,849

    lets see you do a 20 yd job with bags. you'll need a dumpster to get rid of all the bags!. even a 5 yd job is a lot of bags to deal with.

    cleanup? easy, powerbroom, backpack blowers, etc.
  4. A+ Lawncare

    A+ Lawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 503

    how many bags is 1yrd anyways?
    i was thinking about 13bags to equal an yrd?
  5. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    ok, when you quote a job, do u charge per cu. yd, or per bag? LETS SAY U TAKE YOUR MEASUREMENTS, AND THE JOB CALLS FOR 5 yds of mulch. i don't know what that comes out to with bags, but i do know that i've developed a nice relationship with my mulch guy, and when he scoops a "yard" of mulch for me, it is an overflowing, heaping bucket of mulch. it is certainly more than a yd. i can usually do 5 yds of mulch, and only buy 3. if you break it down to bags, any chance there is extra in that bag? if you use less bags than you thought, do u still charge the original estimate? also....buy bulk mulch when it's wet, u get even more.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    A yard is 27 cubic feet (3x3x3) so 9, 3 cubic foot bags, or 13.5 of the 2 foot bags.

    I agree with bobby, you frequent a particular mulch yard, you tend to get that 'liberal scooping'
  7. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    This somewhat sums it up. ^

    Add to that the $10/yd extra cost which on a larger job pays for a day's labor for 1 person,And I'm not sure I see any less handling of materials.........bags still need to be moved around the same as bulk.

    Bobbygedds comments fit as well.........we always get more than we pay for.
  8. Billz

    Billz LawnSite Member
    Messages: 181

    I did a 40 yard install Saturday. The people balked at the price at first and decided they would do it all themselves...They told me that bagged bark at $2.99 per 2 cu ft bags was so much cheaper that they could save $1000 by doing that... So I told them to ask the man at the store how many bags they would need to equal 40 cubic yards...They called me back the next day.lol
  9. hosejockey2002

    hosejockey2002 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,195

    There's pluses and minuses for both bulk and bagged mulch. When I go buy 3 yards in bulk, the loader operator literally buries my pickup in mulch, probably 4-5 yards. I pay about $15/yard. I can get the same stuff bagged for $1.50 a 2 cubic foot bag wholesale. There's 50 bags to a pallet. I can haul one pallet in the bed of my pickup and two on my flatbed trailer, so that works out to 14 yards in a trip. I can get the same 14 yards delivered for less, but it just gets dumped on the ground. I then have to either shovel it into a wheelbarrow or I can use my tractor's loader to move it, depending on access. After it's all moved, there's a big mess to clean up where the pile was. If I use bags, then I have to make a trip to the dump to get rid of all those bags. I think the bottom line is, you have to look at each job individually and determine whether it makes sense to use bags or bulk.
  10. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    i agree that bagged mulch installs a lot quicker. I prefer bagged to bulk.

    BUT this year we bought 2 80 yard loads of bulk for $11.00/ load. It was a lot cheaper for us this way. In the past bag was only about $3.00 more ( $27.00/ yard VS $24.00/yard for bulk) than bulk, so we went bag. but with $10.00/yard for bulk we could not pass it up.

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