A new lawn care business owner shared with us his job description and bid price for a mulch job he was called to do. The price he shared with us, on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, differed quite a bit from other landscapers who shared with us what they would charge. I think it is interesting to see how the bid price was broken down and how the prices differed. This should help you compare and contrast how you would bid such a mulch job.
He wrote “I started my lawn care business a few months ago and I am submitting my first mulching bid. The area to be mulched is about 2,850 square feet, with some bushes spread out within the area. I am trying to figure out how long this will take to complete this job. There is also a little bit of clean up required. I’m guessing 3 hours for that, and I will have to dig a little trench about 4 inches or so deep around some of the perimeter (120 feet) which I am just estimating at an hour to perform. At 3″ thick, I am estimating the amount of mulch required to perform this job would be about 30 yards.
To dig the perimeter I’m figuring on using a narrow shovel, maybe 6 inches wide. There isn’t too much to dig through as it is just sand. I’m putting in the bid tomorrow.
Here is a picture representing about 1/2 of the job. The other half will be a little easier to do, as there is old mulch there, and not much to do besides lay some more down on top.
Here is how I broke down my mulch job bid:
380 - 2 cu. ft. bags of red mulch - $2.50 per bag = $950
Delivery Charge =$75
Labor = $600
The Home Depot right across the street is selling red mulch for $2.09 plus tax. However, I am getting the 28 yards of mulch delivered to the site by another company for a total of $650. I will charge $1025 for mulch and delivery, so I make $375 on the mulch, and then I figured 20 hrs of labor @ $30/hr. I will pay two people $8 an hour, along with myself. Plus I have to buy a narrow shovel.
Total expenses should be…$650 (mulch) + $104 (13 hours paid labor) + $30 shovel
$1625 - $784 = $841 profit. Not bad for a day’s work if it all goes like that.”
A second landscaper suggested “that bid sounds reasonable, if you and the workers can complete that job in 6.5 hours. However it sounds a bit low if your using wheel barrows to move the mulch. Depending on distance of your mulch pile to the beds. I might estimate this job closer to 30 man hours in total to complete. It seems like you built in a nice profit on the mulch, so even if it takes a day and a half, that $700 profit ain’t bad.
I personally would probably charge $1,100 to $1,200 for labor using wheelbarrows to spread the mulch. If you are using a front end loader then you would probably be able to charge less. Don’t forget to add a delivery fee, the price of the mulch, and the disposal fee for the debris.
I had a similar job last year that required 30 yards of mulch around a line of trees. I charged $2,200 (mine was the lower bid) including digging that edge, cleaning some debris, delivering the mulch and spreading it. It worked out alright and I learned how to better estimate my time because of it.”