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  • Bahia sod estimate

    Across the street from 2 of my current clients a builder is just finishing building a new home. *I introduced myself to him there today, gave him a card & asked him to give me an opportunity to bid the landscape work & / or even the sod job. *He told me to measure it up & he wants to get it sodded in a couple weeks. *the property has a rough grade now but he said the final grade will be completed of course before he calls to have the sod done.

    *I measured it up, I got 6895 sq ft. he wants Bahai (no irrigation system) * My cost is about $100 a pallet, (retail is close the $150) *I figured 17.5 pallets (400 sq ft/pallet), I'll do 19 to account for waste. *This would be my 1st sod job. *So I have some questions.

    1) How long does it take to install a 400 sq ft pallet?
    2) I've read you should rake out the rocks, roll the final grade, install the sod & then roll it again... *Anything else I need to know or that I should do? *Fertilize / pre-fertilize?
    3) Do I need a tiller? *I'm in florida, the soil is pretty sandy.

    Any suggestions on average rates here? *

    Thanks everybody in advance for your responses.




  • #2
    For a proper lawn, you want to put down 4" of new soil. It pisses me off when I go to newly built houses and their lawn is full of weeds and they complain "but my lawn is brand new..." The builders around here throw down cheap crap from the local garbage sod farm without any care for how the lawn will end up and it looks like junk in a year.

    I can't give you much in the way of estimating advice for this, but to do a proper job, you need the new soil. For us, it often means digging up a lot of what's there. We always do the jobs with 3 or 4 guys. The last one I helped with last year was around 4000 sq ft, and we removed quite a bit of dirt to level the area. We worked on it for 4 or 5 days with 4 to 5 people and did all the removal of old junk and addition of new soil with a skid steer. If I remember correctly, we put down 26 yards of soil. The only reason I know how much it cost was because the owner asked me to stop by and pick up a cheque since I live down the street, and they paid a little over $14,000 with the tax on that...so pre-tax it was around $13,200.

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    • #3
      I agree about the good soil. The grass has nothin to grow into. There is a yard that i have to fix because the sod was laid on top of clay. The grass is dead because it had no where to put its roots.

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      • #4
        There are alot of weeds on the job site, I kind of assume when they do the final grade alot of that should be covered up shouldn't it?

        at 4-5 days worth of work it sounds like it may be more than I can handle. I can't take that kind of time off of my mowing schedule.... Maybe I shouldn't bid this at all.

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        • #5
          Ya, that's a big turf job if you don't have the extra help. Adding a bunch of new soil covers up the weeds pretty well...also helps if you're digging some out, it basically gets rid of them all.

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          • #6
            Dave,

            Do you ever finding yourself turning down jobs if the project is too big for you or no?

            How do you figure if the project is outside your zone of what you want and don't want to do?
            - Subscribe to my Lawn Care Marketing Blog Feed and get daily tips sent to you. Free!
            Download your Free trial of Gopher Lawn Care Software.

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            • #7
              Well...I work for a bigger company as an independent contractor, so I don't deal with large installation jobs unless I'm helping the rest of the guys out. I've done some smaller install jobs with just 2 of us on my own though. I never take anything with trees beyond what I can reach from a step ladder, or else if a lawn is too big, I tell them they need to find someone with a rider.

              Other than that, I pretty much do anything. I often run into people who ask me questions beyond what I know, but I just go home and look it up online or in a book.

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              • #8
                Well, add laying sod to the list of things I WON'T BE DOING!
                My cost on the sod for this job would be about $1900 plus about 2 days labor with 3 guys. I would be over $3000 not counting tax on the material. I found out 3 local sod farms have basically choked out all of their competition in this segment by underbidding so bad that no one can possibly afford to do it for their prices. I found out from one builder
                (a current client & different customer than the one I was going to bd this job for) that he never pays more than $1500 for a lawn to be sodded (out area lots are 10,000 sf or better, less the home & driveway) So I called the customer I was to bid the jo for to ask if this had been his experiance as well, he said yep. As a matter of fact he has recieved 3 bids (from the 3 farms) all about $1350 & all withing $40 dollars of each other! Now that's fierce competition right there! My cost on the material is $550 more than their installed price!? WTF?

                That's like somebody underbidding your price on lawn care for less than you can buy the fuel for the mowers to do the job.

                Can you imagine? "Sorry pal, the next guy gave me an estimate of $3.00 a cut or $10 bucks a month....."

                A sod man, I ain't. that's for daaaaaaamn sure.

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