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  • Please help, what do i do?

    so I gave an estimate for 500 dollars + supplies, when it was all said and done the labor totaled 33 hours x25.00 to come too 825.00 + 400 in supplies, I feel bad my estimate was so off, I stressed that it was just an estimate when I gave it to them cause I had no idea how long 7 yards of bark would take . Should I bill them for the 33 hours? meet them in the middle, charge them full amount? offer them 10% off? what are your thoughts? thanks

  • #2
    I'm sorry you underbid and I hope this becomes a learning lesson for you.

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    • #3
      Not sure what else was included but 7 yards shouldnt take 33 hours. Even by yourself it shouldnt of took more then 10 hours.

      I cant speak for everyone but as far as I know people charge a flat fee per yard. 7 yards x's their per yard rate = _____

      If you gave them a estimate and not a quote you can bill them the full amount. I only do quotes and if I'm off its up to the customer to give me more.

      I did have a customer ask if their bill was lower since we finished a pressure washing, bed clean up and 15 yards of mulch in 4 hours but then the next day we did 20 yards in 4 hours and was tipped $300. So everyone is different!

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      • #4
        we had 3 people work 6 hours the first day , and 5 the next day. we had to take about 4 yards of old bark to the dump, then lay 7 new yards and landscaping fabric, those 33 hours weren't no slacking hours. I don't have no fancy dump trailer though to make the dump runs fast, but im not even charging them for time to the dump. just time while we were there busting our *** shoveling ****.( there was a lot of weeding and clearing out the beds before could lay the fabric out.) and also sprayed there driveway with weed and grass killer and treated it with granular form. The prepping for the fabric is what took so long
        Last edited by tk4454; 04-09-2013, 09:36 PM.

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        • #5
          we had 3 people work 6 hours the first day , and 5 the next day. we had to take about 4 yards of old bark to the dump, then lay 7 new yards and landscaping fabric, those 33 hours weren't no slacking hours. I don't have no fancy dump trailer though to make the dump runs fast, but im not even charging them for time to the dump. just time while we were there busting our *** shoveling ****.( there was a lot of weeding and clearing out the beds before could lay the fabric out.) and also sprayed there driveway with weed and grass killer and treated it with granular form. The prepping for the fabric is what took so long
          Prepping does take time so does removal of old mulch.

          The price you gave barely covered the install, let alone the removal and prep work. Looks like you underbid every aspect of the job.

          This is another reason to have a higher hourly wage. So when the job takes twice as long you still make out.

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          • #6
            What you need to do is find out how long it takes you to lay a yard of mulch. Then find out how much you want for every yard you lay. Around here mulch is $22 to $28 per yard. Companies charge 75-95 to install. That doesn't include removing old mulch or weeds, that's EXTRA. I don't give bids by the hour. I give a flat rate depending on the time I believe it will take.b

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            • #7
              so I gave an estimate for 500 dollars + supplies, when it was all said and done the labor totaled 33 hours x25.00 to come too 825.00 + 400 in supplies
              How many man hours were you originally estimating the job to take? What part of the job do you feel took more time than you originally planned?
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              • #8
                Ok, is there anyone that lives in the Midwest, that could help me out with coming up with a mulch per yard charge, plus installation, removal, etc. related? I've read some of these posts, and mulching is something I will be offering customers, and I definitely don't want to underbid, so I'd like some help on what you should be charging considering I am not familiar with this area at all, I was considering an hourly rate, but from what I've read that might not be a good idea.

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                • #9
                  I understand:

                  hours x hourly rate = labor cost
                  yards x price per yard = materials cost
                  disposal fee = dumping cost
                  total price of job $$$

                  But I'm wanting to know what you should charge to install, like as an example should I charge $28.00 per yard plus $95.00 for installation, for a total price of $123.00 per yard??? This probably makes me look stupid, but I'm a newbie and I want to make sure I have this understood, so please bear with my newbie-stupidness lol

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                  • #10
                    How long is it taking you to install one yard of mulch?
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                    • #11
                      My rule of thumb is take the price of supplies and multiply them by 1.33-2.00 that will cover any mistakes made with labor cost then I add my labor which is 10-20 per man hour ( depends on job ) and even that to most people on here is low balling

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                      • #12
                        Mulch is calculated by the area it wil cover. A true yard of much covers a flat 100 sq ft 2 inches.

                        I price my jobs as follows

                        Prices include materials and labor.


                        Already mulched, no need for removal is 85 per yard

                        Lights weeds, no need for old mulch removal 115 per yard.

                        Medium and heavy weeds in beds i spray roundup and kill weeds where i am sure i wont harm plants and wait 2 weeks and pull all weeds even the dead ones, for this i get $140 per yard.

                        I price haul offs this way, i take the same prices above but i charge 85 per yard for disposal. So if im laying 10 yards in lights weeds, i have 115 per yard. But if im laying 10 yds im also hauling 10 yards off so i charge 85 per yard laid for removal. So i would charge 850 to remove plus 1150 to weed and install.weeding is always done before removing mulch.

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                        • #13
                          When I give an estimate like that, I'll give them a range, usually $100.00 difference. That wouldn't help you much in this case but you have gained the experience and you'll know better next time.

                          I think you just have to bite the bullet on this one. Yes it sucks but your image and reputation is worth more to you than trying to recoup your mistake by demanding it from the customer.

                          Be honest with the customer, let them know you missed the estimate big time. Maybe they will give you a little more to help you out. Experience is the best teacher, you wont make that mistake to many more times, we all have been there to some degree. lol
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                          • #14
                            clearing weeds, removing old bark, and laying fabric along with dump runs is what takes so much time. laying mulch on top of the old can be done easy and fast I know. I wasn't even thinking about the dump runs when I gave the bid, I need a new estimate work sheet then the one I currently use so I don't forget things like that

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                            • #15
                              so I gave an estimate for 500 dollars + supplies, when it was all said and done the labor totaled 33 hours x25.00 to come too 825.00 + 400 in supplies, I feel bad my estimate was so off, I stressed that it was just an estimate when I gave it to them cause I had no idea how long 7 yards of bark would take . Should I bill them for the 33 hours? meet them in the middle, charge them full amount? offer them 10% off? what are your thoughts? thanks
                              It sounds like your SOL. You can stress as much as you want its an estimate, but the customer only hears the total $$$$$$. They may even think an estimate is a final price and it won't be any higher. Trying to bill them for more may give you a bad review. Maybe take them out for drinks, after they had quite a few ask them for more money????

                              In the future, carry a notebook with you. When you do your estimates, write down everything they want done and how long it will take you. Like this:

                              Weeding- 3 hours
                              Edging- 1 hour
                              Raking yard- 2 hours

                              This way when you get everything written down, you can calculate the hours. Do the same for materials.

                              Mulch- $90 a yard, customer needs 3 yards
                              Round Up- bottle cost $X amount, so I'll charge $Y
                              Trash Bags for weeds- A bag of 50 cost be $8, I'll charge the customer $1.50
                              Dump Fee- $40

                              It's simple and easy. You'll have everything written down infront of you, so you can go over it 100 times and make sure you didn't forget anything. Then give them the final price and hope for the best!

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