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Online Lawn Care Estimator - Help me bid this job
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Digging myself into a hole(s) - Time and Price?


Online Lawn Care Estimator - Help me bid this job

If you need help coming up with a bid for a lawn care, landscaping, tree cutting or irrigation job, post the specifics here and pictures of the job site. If you are looking to learn about bidding, review the jobs posted here.
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  #1  
Old 07-27-2010, 10:30 PM
Hedgemaster Hedgemaster is offline
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Default Digging myself into a hole(s) - Time and Price?

Hi, I just had a call today from someone interested in having me plant "shrubs".

• 15-20 (4'-5' tall) arborvitae/juniper plants to go along property line
• Pick up plants at the nursery (hope they all fit in one trip - short bed w/cap and cargo carrier on back)
• Dig holes/plant

I haven't spoken to the client yet, I can only go on what was left in the message. (info above)

They are located within 30 min of my house.
I'm a beginner at all of this. Well, I've been digging/planting my own (plants in general - no experience with this type) for years, but the whole "lawn care" for a living is completely new. I actually just picked up my first gas hedge trimmer this evening for two jobs I need to do - electric and cordless have always been sufficient for my own use.

I don't know what type of soil I'll be digging in, and it will be done with a shovel, and pick if need be. This will be just me, no help.

Would 20 minutes per planting be anywhere in the ballpark? If I have an idea of how long it may take to put those suckers in the ground, I can give them an hourly rate. (unless you experts think a flat rate is better)

I'm not the type to do a job fast just to get done - I like to do it right. I'll also need to find out if there is a place on the property to dump the excess dirt that is left over after digging.

Any other tips for planting that type of shrub would be appreciated as well. At my own home, I usually mix native soil with peat moss, potting mix, or whatever happens to be handy to throw in around the roots. If that is not necessary - great! It will take long enough just digging the holes.

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Hedgemaster; 07-27-2010 at 10:34 PM. Reason: typo
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  #2  
Old 07-27-2010, 10:49 PM
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I am just getting started as well. This is my first year in the lawn care business. However, I have had a lot of experience planting. Where I live, the soil is clay. It's very hard to break loose as it sticks together. Even if you water it it sticks. Breaks a little easier but then you have a mess! For my area though it takes me about 5-10 minutes to get the hole dug. I dig it about 1 and a half the depth of the pot. I also dig it about two of the pots wide. This allows for good root formation and expansion. Before I plant the plant, I put a little miracle grow or similar into the hole. Though it's not necessary, I have found it helps. After putting in the miracle grow I fill the hole up with a little bit of water. Then i put the plant in there. I try to loosen the root ball up a bit to allow the roots to become un-pot bound. Over all it takes no more than 15 min per plant
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Old 07-27-2010, 10:57 PM
JP Landscaping JP Landscaping is offline
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Default try this.

20 minutes is a good number to go by. remember you will have left over soil. what will you do with it? if you haul it away, you can charge for that as well. If you are spreading it somewhere else on the property, will you need a wheelbarrow. that will take extra time.

you could charge a flat rate, like $10 per plant and a disposal fee for any extra dirt if the customer wants it taken out and disposed of.

what we tend to do is charge at least double of what the plant costs. This way if the plant dies we can replace it and all we would lose is the time. If you charge less and the plant dies, you may end up losing more than time. think about some of that stuff when you go to see the job.
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Old 07-27-2010, 11:12 PM
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Thanks for the tips, guys. As a noob, it really is appreciated.

I realize that prices will likely vary considerably depending on location, but as someone hopping into this in order to put food on the table using ordinary homeowner's tools to do the job (for now), any bit of info is helpful.

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Old 07-28-2010, 12:28 AM
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its been a while since ive planted anything, but even when i worked with a landscaping company, we always took some of the extra dirt and formed a ring around the tree at the drip line or at the hole edge kind of looking like we made a small pond dam around the tree, to hold in some water when it rains/ gets watered, also the dirt u use to fill in the hole, and that extra up there on top usually will compact down over time and be right., you dont want to have to come back out and add more dirt! plus like i say the ring retains some water, to help it establish.

I hope this helps you some.
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:25 PM
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I made an appointment to go look at the property tomorrow in the early evening.

The digging doesn't concern me (well, unless it turns out to be rocky) as much as the delivery of the plants and the leftover dirt.

They didn't say what nursery they were buying from, but there are two within about 2-3 miles of their house. I can't see fitting all 20 in one trip, so I may need to do it in two.
see pic of truck post #17 here: http://www.gopherforum.com/showthrea...t=12282&page=2



The extra dirt is my biggest concern. The home is in a new housing development, so I doubt there's a "back corner" where they dump things.
I know from planting in my own yard that there's always a LOT of dirt left over. 20 holes worth is worrying me.

Last edited by Hedgemaster; 07-28-2010 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:37 PM
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Keep us posted on how it turns out tomorrow. Also, if they already ordered the plants from a nursery, could they simply have them delivered to the job site for you?
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
Keep us posted on how it turns out tomorrow. Also, if they already ordered the plants from a nursery, could they simply have them delivered to the job site for you?

Do you know how effing stupid I feel right about now?


LOL! Thanks! I was so worried about all the other aspects, I neglected to consider THAT! I'll check into a delivery cost when I know where they are getting them. (not purchased yet as far as I know)
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:45 PM
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That dirt.. if you were able to make the trip without your handy dandy no wheel trailer, you should be able to just wheel the dirt to your truck and shovel it in the back bed. presuming it isnt full of stuff like most of our trucks are,..

or take the trailer off at the site then put it back on if u have to have your trailer with you (lol i still chuckle when i talk about your trailer)
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnMoore View Post
That dirt.. if you were able to make the trip without your handy dandy no wheel trailer, you should be able to just wheel the dirt to your truck and shovel it in the back bed. presuming it isnt full of stuff like most of our trucks are,..

or take the trailer off at the site then put it back on if u have to have your trailer with you (lol i still chuckle when i talk about your trailer)
LOL! I should have my wife read that. She'd laugh her a$$ off! You see, before I started doing odd jobs, nothing much ever saw the bed of my truck. I used to wax the inside of the bed. I currently have carpet padding and beige colored carpet back there! (much easier on the knees due to the cap) I have huge sheets of cardboard over the carpet to keep the dirt off. If I need to move dirt, I'll get a huge tarp and line the bed.

Man, I really need to ditch that glorified shelf and get a real trailer!

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