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Digging myself into a hole(s) - Time and Price?

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  • #16
    Maybe I'll pass on this one. This went from a "simple" back breaking, hole-digging job, to a much more complicated mess. There's no room to work properly, and I can't really remove the dirt. I was thinking of just spreading it out along the length since they want to cover the whole area with mulch.

    That leads to more issues. It's not as simple as just throwing down mulch. There's the "grass/weed block issue" that I still don't know the answer to, and then the grass/dirt will need to dug up at least along the edge of both fences in order to keep the mulch from spilling over into the lawns on either side. Heck, if it were MY place, I'd probably install edging as well to keep the grass from the lawns from creeping into that area.

    I don't know. "Welcome to lawn care" I guess.

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    • #17
      Maybe I'll pass on this one. This went from a "simple" back breaking, hole-digging job, to a much more complicated mess. There's no room to work properly, and I can't really remove the dirt. I was thinking of just spreading it out along the length since they want to cover the whole area with mulch.
      Why not just bid high and if you get it, congratulations and if you don't, no loss!
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      • #18
        Steve is right as well, dont cut it short on yourself.

        But with the dirt issue, if you dig out the sod, theres a place to spread the dirt.

        Now again, this could be the job that pays for you a TRAILER!!! it very well could be

        So im now thinking that removing the sod would be the ideal thing to do. besides you dont want a higher mulch pile than you do grass, if so when it rains the yards will be mulched.

        So im thinking maybe you get a friend/helper.. Maybe your friend has a truck thats not pristine in the back, a 1/2 ton or bigger the better. I would say its going to take atleast 8 hours but could be 12 hours to remove and haul off that sod. so well say 12 hours, so thats 420.00 at 35 an hour. Nice grass price lol.. seems to fit.

        Install your trees, yes i would stake them like said above, that puts you at 30 mins per tree. Stake them after all is competed, tie them off to the fence i would say, and tell them you will come back and take the ties off after a couple of months for no extra charge.

        As for your mulch if you have atleast 2 foot to work with, after there all planted, i would use a tarp, put about 2 bags worth in the tarp keep it channeled so its not all spread out, double up the tarp at one end and drag it down the side.

        So your at 420 for removal of sod, if you have no where to trash it at, you need to find someowhere. maybe that lot needs some new grass you were talking about.

        Maybe add 50 bucks to give your helper for gas, after you payed him that is, if you can pay him 10 an hour then you will make 25 an hour, its still not too bad. Jack the price a little if you think you need to.

        So your at 475 for removing sod, now add your 10 hours for planting, thats another 350, and hmm isnt there something else to add? oh spreading mulch maybe 100 bucks! Dont forget to tie them off, dont slip knot the tree so you dont choke it.

        Lets try 475+350+100 = 925 oh and 35 more for laying cutting the screen

        960.00

        If it takes you 2 days, thats 480 per day minus the 150 you give your helper witha trailer/truck for the first day.. maybe he will hlep you the second day for just 50-60 since its easier work, and you should have it knocked out in 2 full days.

        So 760 for you, thats 380 per day!

        This is my figuering.. maybe you can be happy with making 250 per day, but what if it runs into you having to come back out by yourself for a few hours to finish up? You will have to think about that, if you want to knock my estimate down, thats all up to you!

        So 960.00 +/- sound anything like what you would do it for?

        It sound to me, to be a little high from homeowner point of view, but if you explain to them you have to cut all the sod out and dispoze of it, and the tightness of the job maybe they will understand, if not. like steve said, owell.

        Or you can tell them, without removing the sod they might not be happy with the end result and down the road it will only cost more to fix it

        and you can always shave some off my estimate. ( Wow i talk alot, i like to do that, i hope i helped ya.)

        Edit/ oh yea if you are only planting 15 trees, you would want to knock about 80-90 off the price..
        (352)682-3094 Suwannee River, Florida 32680

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        • #19
          try this

          I think you need to take a deep breath and calm down. it's not a complicated job. this is what I would do.

          1. Rent a trailer from Home depot. Here they cost like $20-$25 for 24 hours. This is if you need one for hauling the mulch or if you want to haul the dirt away.

          2. Spray all the area with round off to kill off the grass.

          3. when they deliver the trees have them place them placed next to where they will be planted so you don't have to do all the hauling.

          4. Dig a small edge along the neighbor's fence to keep the mulch from sliding onto the property. Use a flat spade shovel to do this. Just stick it into the ground about 3 inches and kick the dirt out. It's pretty simple and quick.

          5. Start at the far end and dig the hole, spread the dirt, lay the weed block and cut a hole where you dug it, plant the tree, steak it, and spread the mulch. (Spread the excess dirt on the property along the homeowner's side of the fence to make another type of edge to keep excess water from the homeowner's lawn from washing the mulch down to the neighbor's since it is down hill. Any excess dirt just spread evenly over the dead grass.)

          you don't need to lay fabric to block weeds in this situation. we don't lay that down unless we are putting down rock. The mulch will take care of the grass from growing. If they see a few weeds popping up, they can be sprayed. it's cheaper to buy spray then to have fabric laid along that whole area. Also it's less work for you and less they have to pay. If I were you I would explain that to them. then you can skip that process.

          for this job I would charge $20 per tree to plant. Also 1 hour for spraying the round up and the cost of the round up. 3-4 hours for spreading the mulch. 1.5 hours to dig the edge along the neighbor's fence. If they want the fabric laid down I would charge another 2 hours plus the cost of the fabric.

          I would charge around $550-$650 for labor for this job depending on if they want the fabric laid down or not. This would take me and helper about 1 day. So If I charged $650 and paid my helper $80 then I would make $570 in a day. not bad for a day's work.

          But, lets say that sounds high in your area so maybe you want to make $200 for the day and 80 for your helper. you could charge $300. It just depends on how much you want to make. Here, $600 for that job is normal.

          Now if you really want to know what normal price for planting those tree is. Go to the nursery and ask them how much they charge to plant one of those, or 15 of those. Around here, Earl may charges $100+ for a small tree. Then you will know how much you can charge and still be less than having the nursery plant them.

          I hope this helped
          Last edited by JP Landscaping; 07-31-2010, 10:46 AM.

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          • #20
            Thanks for taking the time to explain everything the way you did guys.

            I'll have to talk to them about the added work of digging/staking/mulching.

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            • #21
              These guys explained it well. If i was to bid that job I would be around $1,000 as well. And since you are near me and told you my normal rates before. And I based my numbers off another landscaping company in my area. This job is easier than you think and you need to bid it. I try to never lowball jobs likes this because lets face it you want to make money on the job and not kill yourself doing the job for a low price. Oh and watch spraying chemicals pretty sure you need a license for that. Even if it is roundup or whatever. I never get involved with chemicals. Anyways JP explained it very well on how to do the job. If they ask for weed block lay it down. It isn't expensive. Draw up a formal quote for them and put it in black and white and explain everything in detail. It will help them understand everything that is involved in the job. Hope it helps. And good luck.

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              • #22
                This is really an easy job to do. First off, I wouldnt take the dirt anywhere. When you dig the hole youre going to use most of it as backfill. The rest is used for a water ring. So as someone else posted, just Round up the grass thats there(be careful not to overspray into neighbors lawn). When its dead, take a push mower in and scalp it. If it has bermuda you may have to do a couple treatments and it may come back anyway. Once grass is dead, set up plant material to get spacing right, then start diggin! I would personally quote into it a little extra soil conditioner as well. Finish planting with water rings and mulch or needle it....done.

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                • #23
                  UPDATE:

                  I didn't get the job. The husband is going to try and do it himself.

                  The price I quoted? $500


                  I politely thanked them for considering me and reminded them to keep me in mind - that I am very good at trimming/shaping hedges/shrubs and other "less pricey" jobs. (not in those exact words though)


                  Thanks again for all the advice/tips. I do appreciate it!

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                  • #24
                    It will be interesting to see if they ultimately call you back to help fix what the husband did on his own.
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                    • #25
                      Planting Plant Chrage per hole HELP

                      How do you know what to charge to plant roses, shrubs, etc.? I go and buy them and plant for the customer and just charge 10.00 extra. I do not tac on anything for the plant. Seems like Im doing this wrong.

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                      • #26
                        When I used to work for someone he would pay us $2/hour extra when working with pyramidal arborvitae. I saw this thread pop up and just remembered that. I hate arborvitae.
                        Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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                        • #27
                          How do you know what to charge to plant roses, shrubs, etc.? I go and buy them and plant for the customer and just charge 10.00 extra. I do not tac on anything for the plant. Seems like Im doing this wrong.


                          Wait... if the shrub costs $30, you drive to the nursery, load it, drive it to the client's location, unload it, dig a hole, place it in ground, back fill, water... all for $10?


                          This does not compute.

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                          • #28
                            I know you didnt get this job ,and its a few years ago anyway ,but if you needed to get rid of the sod ,my cutter would cut the entire area between the fences in under 20 minutes ,and my small post hole auger with an 8" bit could do all the holes required in under 10 minutes assuming reasonable ground ,probably under 5 minutes in nice sandy soil .I never used that auger with a larger bit ,but imagine it would not take much longer .

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