Would you take this job?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by hokis, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. F4rm3rj03

    F4rm3rj03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 362

    Bobcat or a compact TLB is what I would recommend.
    I would stay away from Dingos as I think of them as niche equipment. Great for jobs that require equipment in a confined space like a water feature or sidewalk demolition. They too skid like a bobcat so it will scuff the yard at best. Then consider grubbing with a dingo: will it not be fun.

    An option to explore to minimize yard damage is drive the bobcat near the house where your beds will be. Dirt furthest point and work backwards. Your helper will spread dirt for proper shape. Be aware heavy equipment and vibrations could negatively affect the wall at the stairs.

    An alternative to the above is pick few as possible spots in the yard that will be designated turn spots. From each turn spot you will either straight and slight curve to the next spot or straight line to the dump point. This leaves you with less yard repair work.

    Another option is rent an all wheel steer bobcat. The fancy $65,000 ones can lock the rear wheels and steer with front as if it were a tractor. That leaves compaction as the main concern which will be heavily dependent on soil moisture.

    My platinum pick is a compact or subcompact TLB. Versatile, lighter, better on yards, will grub and remove stumps, and more. Yard appears fairly flat so this would be a great TLB learning experience for you. Most are 3-point hitch-able too.
  2. AnotherOkie

    AnotherOkie LawnSite Senior Member
    from Newalla
    Messages: 463

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  3. MasScape

    MasScape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 258

    I have to agree reading these post that this is going to be a learning experience. I price fixed rates for clients but I have the experience to do so. I don't think the OP has that so hourly would be better. Risk with hourly if you can't give the client at least a good idea of how long it will take. They could freak out if it takes a lot longer than they think it should.

    Personally I don't believe from comments he is suited for this job as he does not seem to know exact what to do. First off a client may ask for something but as a professional you should be able to recommend the best ways to do things. First off ripping out all the soil seems VERY extreme. I have done it in extreme cases but most f the time all they need is the beds tilled and amended with compost and topsoil.

    Just remember every job is your reputation, the client tells friends about the job and one friend knows little more about landscaping. He could tell your client that you should of just amended the beds. Even though you were asked by the client to rip out all the soil, all suddenly he is telling people that you didn't know what you were doing and ripped him off. The client also will not tell anyone he asked you to do something stupid. As the landscaper you are the knowledgeable professional. Not to be that jerk but I think you are way over your head on this job. It could turn out OK of course but this could just as easily be a disaster for you for even more reasons
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  4. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,099

    from what Ive read, this isnt the kind of work you do. So, technically, you shouldn't just "up and start" with random advice from the internet.
    That would be like posting the question "how do I rebuild my corvette's engine" and spend money doing what some stranger told you to do...and expecting everything to come out great.

    "I know how to operate a bobcat"
    What does that mean? I can move one around the rental yard?
    IF you don't know what kind of equipment you need and how to price this, you are so incredibly over your head you shouldn't go near a landscape job without mentorship/supervision.

    My suggestion is find a guy who knows what he is doing, refer him the job and then shadow him, or possibly sign on to work for him on the job (helping him/his crew out) and learn the trade.

    That's the best way to jump from planting a few bushes into earthwork/full scale landscaping.
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I agree with the last two posts. I think you're in way over your head and I think most of the advice above (except the last two posts) isn't very good advice. Pricing jobs by the hour is always a bad idea. You should be pricing jobs - by the job. Similarly, pricing ANYTHING with some generic "by the sq. ft.", "by the yard", "by the linear ft.", "by the zone" (as with irrigation systems), or "by the fixture" (as some people do with landscape lighting systems" is always a bad way to bid work. Why? Because every job is different. Access is different. Drive time to and from the jobsite is different. Materials needed are different. One lawn may need to be heavily amended with a lot of new soil another may need only a little. Etc. Every landscaping, paver patio, irrigation, lighting job is totally different from one to another.

    Your best bet is to start doing jobs like this SMALL. Then you'll learn what materials and time was needed for the job. Then take on a little larger one. Then a little larger, and so on. Start small, so you can make mistakes and it won't cost you very much if you screw up on your total bid price. Then, as you learn more, you'll learn to think of everything that is needed for every job. You'll be able to accurately predict exactly what materials you'll need, exactly how many hours it will take, exactly what other factors to consider (drive time, access to the work area, mark-up, etc.) and then you'll be set to take on jobs like this.
  6. Tarheel Lawn

    Tarheel Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I have a bobcat guy we use for stuff like this look around he usually charges us a min of 300 and max of 550 for a day but he is a master of his craft we focus on planting mulching and he runs the machine what I can do on a bobcat in 10 hrs he does in 4 or 5 and I've logged thousands of hours on a skid steer I charge about 75 hr for two guys and my expenses my bobcat guys charge and he also brings his small dump truck if I need it so I would see if I can dump on his 30 acres I tell my customer plain and simple I could rent a bobcat do the dumpsters and rack up a lot of unneeded time or I can bring in my pro and knock it out and save him money I have done it both ways and I find I usually make more money focusing on planting and speed than having my guy watch me play in the machine all day I also find I'm good at figuring time with what i do everyday give me a lawn ill be within 10mins of my projected time 99% of the time ask me how long it will take to grade something with a bobcat ill be within a few hrs but I have been wrong before ask my accountant she'll tell u sometimes it looks like we picked numbers out of the phonebook lol anyway every town has that bobcat and a truck man and if u build a relationship with them it can work both ways he has got me in the door with remodelers and builders some people still ask me how the hell did u get that job and I just laugh while I see him ripping his hair out leaving sunbelt rentals trying to be everything to everyone
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  7. Tarheel Lawn

    Tarheel Lawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 10

    I would rather tell a customer that this isn't my specialty and get a finders fee than take a job I lose money on and have an unhappy customer people don't look at reviews to see the 50 good ones they want to see that one bad review that can ruin a rep
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  8. alexschultz1

    alexschultz1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,588

    You can kill the current lawn and use a power rake to prep the ground for sod. There is NO need to rip up dirt, haul it off, then bring in better dirt when you could fix what you have. You need someone to give you guidance on-site. You can take my advice, bid out the job, start breaking ground, and then realize there are to many boulders and roots to rototill. I have a bad gut feeling about this job. The guy is a builder, right? Builders know how to take advantage of people in your shoes. Just be careful.
  9. SDLandscapes VT

    SDLandscapes VT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 581


    Thank you for the voice of reason--if you don't know, don't start until you do as you effectively ruin the market for legit firms who price work based on what it costs + markup for profit.

    Replacing of soil is almost always a no-no and certainly amending with some unknown topsoil can also be a recipe for disaster. Not knowing what plants will work doesn't instill confidence either

    Equipment issues aside the three things above are bigger concerns--we should all be striving for excellence at being craftsmen in this trade--this is a skilled trade and commands the premium wages, but you have to do your time as an apprentice and learn the trade. Pricing is a key part of this, knowing the " whys, hows, whens, ifs, ands, and buts" is crucial to delivering a project that has long term success and generates a happy customer and profit in your wallet.

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