Mulch job pricing can be cutthroat!

Estimates to install mulch in beds can vary quite a bit depending on multiple factors. In this discussion, from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we get to hear from a few different business owners in different stages of growth and hear how they price jobs and how to deal with the cutthroat nature of estimating such jobs.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I went to bid a mulch job this morning that required 20 yards of mulch installed with no prep work. It was just a simple overlay.

I get my mulch for $21.00 per yard. I charge an additional $21.00 per yard to do a simple overlay.

I have always charged $45.00 per yard bought and installed, but quoted this job at $42.00 per yard to try to woo the homeowner.

  • 20 yards of mulch at $42.00 per yard= $840.00
  • Time spent on job would of been 5-6 hours with 2 men.
  • Gross would have been $420.00.
  • I would have paid my help $80.00 (Weekend help)
  • Gas cost would of been $20.00.
  • I was looking at a profit of $320.00 (not bad) for a Saturday.

The customer just called me to say I did not get the job because my price was way high. The chump who got the job is doing it for $31.00 per yard (beer money) $10.00 per yard profit!

This business can be real cutthroat! To all new business owners, please don’t drive the price down in this industry. We are in business to make money not work for free!

I was willing to low ball a few bucks and that’s fine…BUT HALF OF WHAT I CHARGE! THAT’S B.S.

I told the customer ‘you get what you pay for’ her reply was ‘it’s just dumping mulch in the flower bed.’ Yep if that’s what your paying for.”

A second lawn care business owner said “before I was doing this full time I agreed to spread 20 yards of mulch for someone. When the truck dumped the mulch, I nearly pooped my pants. That was the most mulch I had seen all at one time, ever! I was one guy with a shovel, rake, and a wheelbarrow, but I got it done.

I can’t remember to be honest how long the job took. I was doing several projects at that time so I was there for a few days, but I think it took me 8 hours one day and I finished it the following day. That also included digging/edging the beds. There were two good sized bed areas. I didn’t think that mountain of mulch was ever going to disappear!

Every client is different. Some see mulch jobs as ‘just dumping some mulch.’ Some see it as an improvement to their home and neighborhood. Some don’t care WHAT it costs so long as THEY don’t have to do it.”

A third shared “I charge 3x’s that price you stated and still get 4 out of 5 jobs I bid on. I also charge $50-$75 delivery. All prep work and clean up is additional.

You guys are getting your mulch for half the price though. Around here it ranges from $30-$45 a yard.

To lower my costs, I registered with all the local nurseries and they all give me 10% off. Though that only amounts to $3-$5 and no tax.”

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.ā€¯

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The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
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