Lawn renovation call. Sod or seed?

Your phone rings, and the potential customer asks you to bid on a lawn renovation. You have never done one and you work alone, so what should you do? That is the question one member of the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum was asked. A little insight from some of the guys that have been there, give a better understanding at what such a job involves.

One lawn care business owner asked “I got a call from a potential customer that needs a lawn renovation basically. She doesn’t know whether she wants seed or sod, so she wants quotes for both. The yard is about 7,400 sq. ft. that is real patchy and weedy. So I’m thinking about actually giving her 3 quotes. One for sod, one for power seeding, and one for tilling and power seeding. My only problem is I don’t know how long it will take.

If I put down sod, I am thinking it will take me about (3-4) 8 hour days, after tilling and laying the sod, and putting out the water timers, and so on.

Just over seeding/power seeding, I know it will probably be about a day.

For tilling/power seeding, after I clean up all the debris from tilling, I am thinking it will take me about 2.5 days.

I have thought about just marking up the seed product by 25 percent, then doubling my materials, but I would like to see where I would come out as far as time goes, and compare the two.

The thing is that she is holding me responsible for doing everything, and if the lawn dies, then I am responsible for replacing it. Including the watering too, she doesn’t live there. This is where this potential job threw up a red flag for me. Is this a realistic expectation? I don’t have this kind of capital to a have such a policy, to replace that kind of material.

I was planning on doing this alone but I might be able to find some help, I was thinking about putting an ad on craigslist. I really don’t have a big network of people I can call upon. I read somewhere, that it take 3 guys 1 hour to lay a pallet of sod. Is this close? I really want this job, but if the customer is too far out with their expectations, then I don’t know if I really want the headache. My gut feeling says there is something not right here.

So I called back and told her that I would not do sod however, I would still renovate her lawn by seeding, because she had said that was another option. That was on Tuesday, and I haven’t heard back.”

A second lawn care business owner responded “you will be there at least 15 days by yourself doing this job. You are talking about tilling a yard, then raking to remove all debris, dumping at least one time, and leveling the ground. They sell the grass by the pallet here, $160.00 for top notch grass. You would need about 12 to 15 pallets, plus delivery which generally would be about $130.00. You will need two of those. Then laying the sod, piece it together, that a lot of grass for person and after roll the grass to remove any air.

You are going to be sore for 2 days after you finish with this job.

Most of the guys I see doing this kind of work just throw the sod on the top of the soil. They barely will compact or roll the lawn. I also see a lot of rough sod jobs where they don’t put the edges of the sod together, like a carpenter would do with the carpeting, so air doesn’t get under need the dirt and sod, and cause it to die.

If you want to this right, don’t be like other guys. I really hate when I see guys just throwing sod around and being careless in the way they lay it. Most of the time a big percentage of the grass will die like that, especially around the sides of the house they do this a lot in new subdivisions. Stay away from this bad habit, let them do it, so you can repair their crap work, but when you plant grass you want to do it nice and professional.

If I were you I would charge somewhere between $7,000 to $12,000 to have a healthy profit margin and leave room to come back and water the yard by hand for at least 3x per week for 3 weeks. You need to price the job high enough where you can replace sections of the lawn if you have dead spots. If you do the job right though, you should not have any.”

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€¯

If you need help estimating lawn care or snow plowing jobs, get these lawn care and snow plowing estimation calculators.

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