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How much to charge for new bed installs

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  • #16
    Here is how you get your price
    Layout and design 3 hours
    remove sod, edge, add soil amendments 8 hours
    Install weed cloth and mulch 5 hours
    Install plants 4 hours

    total Time 20 hours

    Material
    layout material 50
    top soil, and amendments 100
    Weed cloth 50
    Mulch 150
    Plants say 250
    total material 600

    Total Estimate 1200

    When they see what it takes in time and material, and how har the work is they will gladly pay you 1000 to 1100
    I lot of those numbers are off, but I do agree with you. Showing someone how you got to the destination is better than just spitting out a price.

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    • #17
      Landscaping work can be very difficult. To get the customer to understand the reason the prices are so high for this type of work you must explain to them exactly what the price of materials and labor are for the job. Once you break down the materials you must also let them know that the labor our hourly rate also covers your gas, labor, and other unseen exspenses they usually seem to ease on the price and either say yes or the "we will think about it" saying, which leads to many jobs. The same applies for lawn maintenance.

      Thanks!

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      • #18
        you could use a sod cutter and then try to resell it if you can keep it alive.

        A tiller would work but would keep the grass,weeds and seeds in the soil.

        I would bring a skid. Dig the whole layer off. Grass is persistent though. I ripped up my gardens this way twice this winter and theres grass there again. I was going about 6-10 inches deep. So keep that in mind.

        You have to remember whenever you disturb the soil it will sprout weeds. Your going to need to spray it.

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        • #19
          New bed charge or # of plants

          Hi. When pricing a job should I give a price just for making a new bed and then plant purchase and planting charge separate? I have a commercial account that needs 3 raised beds that fit about 83 plants. There is about 6 different types of plants. 249 1gallon container plants to plant. Does anyone have a way to calculate this job. Do you call it bulk planting ? 35- 5' Leland trees also planted and staked. Anyone out there has an easy way I can figure out a price and if it should be 1 lump sum for all or separate? Thank you so very much.

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          • #20
            You can give a description of what the job will involve and then a price for the entire job. If they request a break down of each item, you can then break it down for them.

            Are you getting a discount from a local supplier for all that material? You should be able to do that to allow yourself some more profit.
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            • #21
              It seems like everyone doubles the price of what they purchased the plant or tree for and that covers labor and soil and it seemed to be right when I calculated all factors so I think I found my formula for pricing trees and plants lol that is one stressful thing I can put aside.... NOW what about BB ball or potted ? I have a price for potted tree that is $30 cheaper then the BB ball. Is there a machine that digs holes to make it go faster since I have 35-5' privacy trees to plant?

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              • #22
                Is there a machine that digs holes to make it go faster since I have 35-5' privacy trees to plant?
                Could you use a backhoe? Or maybe even a large post hole digger with a 12" wide drill?

                I don't know how tight the area is you are working in, but maybe something like this?

                <iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/eN38K9DLXdk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

                Maybe visit the local equipment rental center to see which piece of equipment would work best?
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                • #23
                  I'm still searching for a nursery that has the cheapest prices but still good quality plants etc... I can't believe how hard it is to estimate when it comes to a big job like this. Very frustrating. Do you make a list of all materials that is needed and price that or do I price per job ?? I wouldn't even know where to begin with the per job pricing since this is a new built 8 condo complex so it's for me to install the landscaping. 4" soil all over and 12" for beds then planting and now they want sod. Omg did anyone feel so stressed the first big job estimate they gave. or is it just me ? Thinking about how I need to put it all into a work plan and have a step by step guide on how we will start what to start first and do it in a decent amount of time. Does anyone have a sample work sheet they would like to share ? I would be grateful if I had somewhat of an idea. I do have an idea but it has not clicked in my head yet to where I feel good that it will be a smooth job with problems here and there but keep it under control. Also before I click send for estimate it's scary thinking what if I didn't price enough. Am I the only one who has become a scatter brain doing this ?

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                  • #24
                    Do you make a list of all materials that is needed and price that or do I price per job ?
                    You may find that if you try and break it down per item and give a price to install each, you are going to see the customer start becoming very nit picky about your price versus if you just say this is what we are going to do and it's going to cost this.

                    There are a whole bunch of free lawn care templates on the forum here.

                    Am I the only one who has become a scatter brain doing this ?
                    This is a normal reaction when you take on a job that is outside your comfort zone.

                    The downside to doing this though is there is a big tendency to underbid the job in order to get it. There is also a tendency to underbid the job because you underestimate the amount of time it will take.

                    It is better to take on jobs you can comfortably bid on than it is to work for free or even pay to work on because the job is so underbid.

                    It is ok to pass on a job if you aren't comfortable bidding it.
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                    • #25
                      Discount

                      I have estimates from a couple of suppliers. The bill is over $5,000 and I still got taxed and charged for delivery. Should I negotiate that with them ? I'm trying to make a plan worksheet with all materials needed and other costs. Does anyone want to share how they break their projects down ? I would be very thankful.

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                      • #26
                        have estimates from a couple of suppliers. The bill is over $5,000 and I still got taxed and charged for delivery. Should I negotiate that with them ?
                        Are you getting wholesale prices on that? As we saw from another post on wholesale pricing.

                        If the nursery propagates their own stock, the prices are easily 30-40% below retail.
                        If anyone else can jump in and offer their suggestion on how to present the estimate, please do.
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                        • #27
                          I try not to piece an estimate out. A lot of times, the pricing only works if i do the whole job. If I piece it out, then the customer feels like it is an a la carte menu and they pick and choose, and then say they will do the rest themselves or find someone else to do that stuff.

                          So lets say that you were going to rent a Dingo with a bucket and Auger. Use the bucket to scrape the grass and do a little bit of grading. Then use the Auger to dig all of your holes for the plants. If the customer decides they will have someone else cut the grass out and they just want you to install the plants, now you have to cover the rental of the Dingo in with the line item of putting in the plants, rather than being able to spread it across both lines. You would either have to tell the customer that you have to charge them more for that task (good luck, they will think you are doing out of spite since they took 1/2 the job away) or you will have to eat 1/2 the rental cost in your profit.

                          So when I write an estimate, each project goes in 1 line on the form. If they have 2 unrealted projects, then I would put it into 2 lines (maybe doing this bed and then also trimming their trees) So it might say:

                          1. Remove grass from 40'x5' area along side of house. Haul off grass and rock that is uncovered. Apply compost at a depth of 2" and rototil into dirt. Install 35 trees to be purchased and delivered by "Name of Your Company". Apply a layer of hardwood mulch at a depth of 2" into flower bed. Price: $6,000
                          2. Uplimb all trees to a height of approximately 5' and trim out deadwood. Remove all debris produced by trimming trees and dispose of. Price: $400

                          And honestly, I know you are trying to learn how to estimate a project like this, but keep in mind that you are not getting paid to take hours to figure it out. Once you get comfortable with jobs like this, get them a price and let them decide. If they want you to break it down or "spread the work over the next 3 months", move on, don't waste your time.

                          The last option that I did when I was getting started is just to be honest with them. Just tell them you don't know how long it will take and there are unknowns involved. What if you start digging and find that the home builder decided to dump his excess gravel and concrete there? Just tell them that it would have to be a Time and Material job. You charge $x/hour and they just pay for the materials. Just remember to factor in things like taxes, insurance, delivery (rather you go pick it up or pay for delivery), rental equipment, dump fees, etc. To put them at ease, I will also offer for them to set a cap on my labor. So let's say you need to charge $50/hour for this work (this does not include plants, rentals, delivery, dump fees; but it does include your labor, taxes, insurance, and other overhead costs). Tell the customer that when you hit $1000 of labor, you will stop and give them a report as to what has been accomplished, what is left, and an estimate of the time it will take to finish. By this point, you know the pace your work for the job and should be able to give them an idea of how much longer. Just be realistic and shoot high when negotiating your cap with them. If they cap you at $500 and at $500 you are only 1/4 of the way through, they are going to get mad. Keep in mind too that you would then be on their clock and had better work hard, or they will think you are riding the clock to cheat them. If they price is set, they don't care if you take a creak every 2 hours or never, but they sure do when they pay by the hour.

                          I actually had a customer who was quoted $1500 to rip out 12 shrubs and a tree, and replace with 12 shrubs and tree. I told them I didn't know how long it would take and needed to do it by the hour. Ended up being $550 to get it done (they sourced the plants, as they would have with the other guy as well). They were happy they saved money and I was happy, because I was charging them $50/hour.

                          Good luck

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                          • #28
                            Getting to the point where you are able to bid this way, did you have any disaster bids in the past that you felt you were really reaching for at the time? If so, how did you handle them?
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