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top soil estimate

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  • top soil estimate

    need help on an estimate for a top soil job. area is 40ft x 50ft. screened top soil is 20.00 a ton. any ideas on what to charge for labor??

  • #2
    A lot of people say to charge double your materials cost. I just bill by the bill whatever you want to earn.


    • #3
      this may be a bit too late for your bid but I cannot see bidding double your materials. $20 a ton? Any idea what that mesures to? I know around here a cubic yard of top soil is about 25 for a contractor. It runs about 50 bucks to deliver it 9 miles if I don't pick it up myself. I recently bid on a property that came to 1806 sq feet. I figured I would need 13 cubic yards. I want to say thats about 5.5 tons of topsoil. Came to something like 425 after delivery. I could see charging double that but I also had to remove sod and haul it away, pay for disposal etc etc. I figured lets double the materials because we all like to profit.
      20 man hours at 65 an hour because thats some back breaking work to remove sod then spread the top soil.
      The I figured 300 to remove the sod from the site and dispose of it.
      Turned down a 2400 bid. May have been a bit high. I'll try $1.00/sq foot next time.

      What did you end up coming up with? Was the bid accepted?


      • #4
        As a topsoil supplier I found most customers wanted to do the job themselves, just needed materials. Larger jobs requiring a tractor rather than shovel and rake we bid between $65-$125 hour. Always bid or estimate portal to portal. Meaning your time to get there and back from your place of business.

        Almost without exception if we delivered topsoil or mulch on a street and dumped in the front yard, shortly after that we'd get calls from neighbors. Drivers were instructed to leave at least two business cards with the invoice. Short loads of 1 to 3 yards we always ran out in our pick-up dumps. They were on the road constantly during planting season.

        Some people don't know how to calculate cubic yards required for their job. The simple formula is:
        square feet x inches of thickness needed x .0033 = cubic yards

        Using Art's example of 40' X 50' = 2000 sq.ft.
        Assume a 2" depth topdressing we get the following equation:
        2000 X 2 X 0.0033= 13.2 cubic yards.

        The formula gets really simple for 1" depth. Just multiply the square footage by 0.0033. In his case it would look like this:
        2000 X 0.0033= 6.6 yards

        If you're in the business of topsoil & mulch you can create a cheat sheet based on depth. You just plug in the square footage. This is handy for your secretary to use when the customer doesn't know how much they need.

        1": SF X .0033
        2": SF X .0066
        3": SF X .0099
        4": SF X .0132
        ....and so on....


        • #5
          I am still a little confused on bidding for top soil...

          basicly the guy wants his yard top soiled and seeded....
          I haven't seen the property yet or even talked to the customer but I'd like to be prepared to bid it on the spot the day I see him...

          I got this job from a friend in the tree biz... customer asked for someone and he is seeing him this week and is passing my card on...

          also... I'm not sure how anyone feels about useing contracts on a job like this? is it a good idea or is it a don't bother feeling.?

          appriciate all the help



          • #6
            Hi Rob,

            I was hoping others would jump on here. Could you possibly ask where you get your topsoil from wholesale and ask them what kind of mark up you should implement?

            Let us know what you find out.

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            • #7
              I'm thinking what Ill most likely do is just bill it hourly.. the unfortunat thing is I honestly have never done this bofore - atleast not such a large scale... so as far as time seems... not exactly sure how long it will take...

              but I think if I check out the size go check out how much it'll cost for materials and then think it through I can hopefully come up with something decent.. or atleast find a way to make money (not loose it)

              my main concern in business is looseing money... I'll take any job as long as I am makeing some kind of money ( a dollar or 50 dollars...) witch ever... when the negative comes in it startes takeing out of my pocket and thats not good for any business!

              I'll let you know how I do ... the guy I spoke with reguarding the job wit working on getting customer information for me....



              • #8
                Keep us posted as to what you find.

                Maybe you could even call up a few local lcos in your area and see if they could give you a bid over the phone for such a project?
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