Topsoil and mulch, when is it better to pickup versus have it delivered?

Decisions, decisions. Every day you operate your lawn care business you are going to have to make decisions that hopefully will benefit your company. You will have to weigh both sides of an equation to figure out which path will help you come out ahead. That is the case when it comes to picking up mulch / topsoil from a supplier or having it delivered. Here is a great discussion on the topic from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum that may help you figure out which decision would be better for you.

One lawn care business owner wrote “I am curious what other landscapers do when you need top soil/mulch at a job site. Do you have it delivered or do you pick it up? If you pick it up do you try and have more than one property to do in the area?

If you do pick it up, what type of trailer are you using? I have a trailer with sides and a dump, but I need to get a cover made as the laws here are any product being transported has to be covered and they watch this like a hawk.”

A second lawn care business owner said “I believe this is a two fold question, if it were a new lawn I would personally have it delivered. If it is just refreshing a bed or fixing low areas of a lawn it would seem better to get the product yourself. I think the advantage to getting it yourself is less clean up mess, ie transport from the trailer to the bed or lawn rather than having to clean a driveway where the product may have been dumped.”

A third added “There are several factors that determine whether we pick up or get mulch / topsoil delivery.

First, delivery is always best. The question is, is it affordable. If you can get it delivered, this obviously saves you a lot of gas, drive time, labor, etc. So obviously this is the most desirable.

Around here, if you are just getting a few yards, it’s much less expensive to just pick it up yourself. Hardly anyone will deliver anything less than 1 unit (7.5 yards) of product. I do have one company who will do small deliveries for us without charging an arm and a leg. So if they are available, I’ll use them every time. But otherwise, we usually pick up anything 3 yards or less.

Some supply yards will deliver small loads without much delivery fee if the delivery address is REALLY close to their yard. I have to talk them into it. But sometimes they’ll do it.

For anything 4 yards or more, we always just have it delivered. Our dual axle trailer could probably haul 4 or 5 yards, depending on the product. But it’s just too much work and too much strain on our pickup and trailer. Not to mention, it starts to become more affordable.

We don’t have a dump on our trucks or trailers. Wish we did. One of my employees owns a nice dual axle dump trailer. So when needed, I rent it from him for the day. But those things are dang expensive around here. $5,000 or more. It’s not worth it to me. Especially since I can just get it delivered for a $25 or $50 fee.”

A fourth said “if I only need 3-4 yards or less, I will pick it up myself. But anything more than that I have delivered. I buy my mulch from the co-op store in town. They are about $12 cheaper per yard and delivery is only $25. I have a job coming up next week that I am having 12 yards delivered. $263 for mulch and delivery! Not bad if you ask me!”

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