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Old 05-25-2012, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
6,473 posts, read 14,351,317 times
Reputation: 6451

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogdad View Post
It's an art as much as a science for a contractor to bid jobs.
I'm sorry BD, but I'm going to disagree. One thing my ex-husband taught me was to think a bit more whenever I'm getting bids. Pulling numbers out of one's tushie is not a great way to estimate anything unless you are planning to burn money.

As a consumer, always think about how hard you had to slave to get the bucks to spend on a project, and pay fair, reasonable prices for work.

1. Estimate the labor.
For example, for plain labor, I would start at $10 per hour. You can start at less, actually because there are people working like slaves for minimum wage, who earn a lot less.

People working under-the-table can earn as little as $4 cash per hour in MD where I live. KNOW a lot of contractors are going to be paying guys under the table, illegal or no. There may be only ONE licensed professional on the job...the low pay goes for US and foreign-born workers.

For skilled labor, such as plumbing, carpentry, electrical, I'd start at $30 per hour. For semi-skilled such as the awesome dudes who put in my fence, I'd start at $20 per hour. You are being GENEROUS here, since most companies put in extra workers at a lot less.

ASK the contractor how many workers are going to be on the job and for how long. You can add an additional worker, in case the contractor is bad at estimating...but you are being generous.

Now CALCULATE the labor costs.



2. Estimate the material costs by looking them up online or at store. Measuring the areas you want worked on can help determine how much material is going to be used.
Realize that the contractor probably gets a DISCOUNT for the material, so you're being generous You can assume about 5 or 10% wastage. Now CALCULATE the material costs.

3. Add Overhead - A business owner has electricity, profit and equipment. You can add 20% to the estimate for these costs. If the contractor is renting equipment, has too much office staff (overpaid girlfriend working in the office LOL) or doesn't have enough customers so has higher overhead, or is living a Gucci lifestyle...LOL IMO that's not your problem and his/her estimate is probably going to be too high.

Now CALCULATE the overhead using reasonable costs.


Add up all the costs and ensure you get estimates that are in the reasonable ballpark.

Continue to get estimates until you get the closest one to the costs you've calculated.

After you've selected a contractor, BARGAIN and see how low you can get the final price. You have already overstimated the work, so it is now up to you to get the optimum deal.

Always pay part up front (the contractor may need money to pay workers, purchase materials etc) and pay the remainder after successful completion. The tasks and payment schedule should be in a written document agreed to and signed by you and the contractor.

If anything in the document looks funny or ambiguous, ask the contractor to update it and agree to the changes together.


Sorry to sound so bossy LOL but you guys are probably used to me. Estimating properly is a simple way to get successful projects completed in a timely manner and for reasonable prices.
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Old 05-25-2012, 01:18 PM
 
4,431 posts, read 5,656,210 times
Reputation: 6527
Quote:
Originally Posted by J&Em View Post
For those with the condescending replies on how to mulch, I don't think NoKudzu needs lessons in how to do mulch.
excuse me but have the courage to talk directly to me as im the only one giving tips on mulching. and since the OP states they have health issues then every little tip and trick imo helps. for all we know he/she is doing it shovel load by shovel load.
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Old 05-25-2012, 01:56 PM
 
25,627 posts, read 31,486,403 times
Reputation: 23139
Quote:
Originally Posted by kinkytoes View Post
I'm sorry BD, but I'm going to disagree. One thing my ex-husband taught me was to think a bit more whenever I'm getting bids. Pulling numbers out of one's tushie is not a great way to estimate anything unless you are planning to burn money.

As a consumer, always think about how hard you had to slave to get the bucks to spend on a project, and pay fair, reasonable prices for work.

1. Estimate the labor.
For example, for plain labor, I would start at $10 per hour. You can start at less, actually because there are people working like slaves for minimum wage, who earn a lot less.

People working under-the-table can earn as little as $4 cash per hour in MD where I live. KNOW a lot of contractors are going to be paying guys under the table, illegal or no. There may be only ONE licensed professional on the job...the low pay goes for US and foreign-born workers.

For skilled labor, such as plumbing, carpentry, electrical, I'd start at $30 per hour. For semi-skilled such as the awesome dudes who put in my fence, I'd start at $20 per hour. You are being GENEROUS here, since most companies put in extra workers at a lot less.

ASK the contractor how many workers are going to be on the job and for how long. You can add an additional worker, in case the contractor is bad at estimating...but you are being generous.

Now CALCULATE the labor costs.



2. Estimate the material costs by looking them up online or at store. Measuring the areas you want worked on can help determine how much material is going to be used.
Realize that the contractor probably gets a DISCOUNT for the material, so you're being generous You can assume about 5 or 10% wastage. Now CALCULATE the material costs.

3. Add Overhead - A business owner has electricity, profit and equipment. You can add 20% to the estimate for these costs. If the contractor is renting equipment, has too much office staff (overpaid girlfriend working in the office LOL) or doesn't have enough customers so has higher overhead, or is living a Gucci lifestyle...LOL IMO that's not your problem and his/her estimate is probably going to be too high.

Now CALCULATE the overhead using reasonable costs.


Add up all the costs and ensure you get estimates that are in the reasonable ballpark.

Continue to get estimates until you get the closest one to the costs you've calculated.

After you've selected a contractor, BARGAIN and see how low you can get the final price. You have already overstimated the work, so it is now up to you to get the optimum deal.

Always pay part up front (the contractor may need money to pay workers, purchase materials etc) and pay the remainder after successful completion. The tasks and payment schedule should be in a written document agreed to and signed by you and the contractor.

If anything in the document looks funny or ambiguous, ask the contractor to update it and agree to the changes together.


Sorry to sound so bossy LOL but you guys are probably used to me. Estimating properly is a simple way to get successful projects completed in a timely manner and for reasonable prices.
You can disagree all you want dosen't make my statement untrue.

I never stated that I pull numbers out of my ass darling.

90% of all bids are math and experience. The other 10% where I make my money is art.

I have several conpendiums on bidding landscape jobs that myself and all of my competitors use for the bidding process. Barring incompetancy it's how you handle the intangibles that will determine if you make or lose money and the contract.
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Old 05-25-2012, 04:03 PM
 
4,249 posts, read 8,350,767 times
Reputation: 5094
Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
I'm always confused about pricing things per job vs per hour. I've been burned both ways with sloppy painting done to finish in a hurry to folks dragging out a job for hourly pay.

So How does anybody come up with a per job rate-- laborer and customer- or do we both come from the same place?
From the point of view of someone who provides service (not landscaping business)- I would rather agreed on a per job price. Once you start breaking down the intricacies of the job for the customer, how many hours each task takes, then multiply it by the rate, plus materials.... Either the eyes glaze over, or the cantankerous instinct to defy rears its head... Pain in the a$$.
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Old 05-25-2012, 04:06 PM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
39,102 posts, read 48,059,764 times
Reputation: 66565
How much is it worth TO YOU? I'm thinking $90., but the alternative is that you do it yourself.
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Old 05-25-2012, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
6,473 posts, read 14,351,317 times
Reputation: 6451
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldogdad View Post
You can disagree all you want dosen't make my statement untrue.

I never stated that I pull numbers out of my ass darling.

90% of all bids are math and experience. The other 10% where I make my money is art.

I have several conpendiums on bidding landscape jobs that myself and all of my competitors use for the bidding process. Barring incompetancy it's how you handle the intangibles that will determine if you make or lose money and the contract.
I think the way the prices are calculated are important from the perspective of the clients, as well. It is important as the person who is paying to do the math, too in order to prevent being ripped taken advantage of.

I think a lot of people are confused about how prices are calculated...but it is one of the things in life, which should be cut and dried. For example, the OP on the current thread, and the woman who the concrete guys tried to rip off in the "shed" thread.

From my point of view, it definitely makes sense to take the mystery out of the pricing for the jobs I pay professionals to do. As a businessman, you can use the method you choose to determine pricing for your services. Pulling numbers out of the a$$ is a time-honored method of estimation in various professions, LOL so don't knock it.

I was trying to be helpful to the consumer, so sorry if I besmirched you w/ my remark.

Unfortunately, for a lot of us who are consumers of certain services, it shouldn't be a mystery where the money is going. And imo it doesn't really have to be.
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Old 05-25-2012, 07:35 PM
 
2,063 posts, read 6,708,945 times
Reputation: 2723
Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
We had a huge 3 cu ft load of hardwood mulch delivered in our sideyard. Guy originally set to spread it cancelled at last minute. then a "landscaper" rings the doorbell wanted work to spread the mulch. He has done work for us before but he is mainly in tree removal and seems to ride around looking for trees to cut down.

<SNIP>

I have all the tools, simple straightforward work I have done myself for years but because of health issues I can't do it anymore.

Do you ever hire anybody to help with garden work? how much do you pay and where do you get your help?
Quote:
Originally Posted by cittic10 View Post
Fair pay... now to me that's a loaded question but because I love your posts so much- they are so funny and cute, I am going to do my best to give you an answer.

<SNIP>

In the future, you might consider using pinestraw if that's available. Usually they'll come out and spread it for a flat fee per bale and you'd probably find it a lot easier to DIY than shoveling mulch if you decided to do that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cav Scout wife View Post
I think they were trying to over charge you.

<SNIP>

I know you said medical problems, but are they bad enough to prevent you from spreading even small amounts where you want it? I know when I was post op and not allowed to carry more than 5lbs for 3 weeks, I still did gardening, I just did it in tiny chunks. Like a scoopful of this and a bucket of that till it was done.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pythonis View Post
excuse me but have the courage to talk directly to me as im the only one giving tips on mulching. and since the OP states they have health issues then every little tip and trick imo helps. for all we know he/she is doing it shovel load by shovel load.
Courage Really? Since your reading comprehension is a bit short I figured I'd make it easy. You weren't the only one to advise on how to mulch and what to mulch with, but if you felt foolish or, perhaps, self important enough to require the attention I just can't help that. To be clear, I quoted the next closest replies to assist you, even removing the stuff that might cause you to miss it and highlighting in color. I didn't wish to make it a specific personal attack like you seem to need because that is actually against the CD rules, but hey, feel free to beat your chest if it makes you feel bigger.

The OP indicated she had been doing this for years but no longer could... posting a picture of a rake was belittling, not helpful, and certainly not funny unless you were going for some juvenile jollies. She didn't say "Help me I am an idiot and have no idea what to do with mulch, instead her question was:
Quote:
Do you ever hire anybody to help with garden work? how much do you pay and where do you get your help?
I sure hope this little old lady's post was *courageous* enough for you.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:30 PM
 
4,431 posts, read 5,656,210 times
Reputation: 6527
Quote:
Originally Posted by J&Em View Post
Courage Really? Since your reading comprehension is a bit short I figured I'd make it easy. You weren't the only one to advise on how to mulch and what to mulch with, but if you felt foolish or, perhaps, self important enough to require the attention I just can't help that. To be clear, I quoted the next closest replies to assist you, even removing the stuff that might cause you to miss it and highlighting in color. I didn't wish to make it a specific personal attack like you seem to need because that is actually against the CD rules, but hey, feel free to beat your chest if it makes you feel bigger.

The OP indicated she had been doing this for years but no longer could... posting a picture of a rake was belittling, not helpful, and certainly not funny unless you were going for some juvenile jollies. She didn't say "Help me I am an idiot and have no idea what to do with mulch, instead her question was: I sure hope this little old lady's post was *courageous* enough for you.
oh get off your high horse. i read all the posts and i didnt see anyone else offering tips and tricks on how to transport mulch to various places more easily. maybe you consider calling various people or begging immigrants to be a trick but i dont.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:34 PM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
6,473 posts, read 14,351,317 times
Reputation: 6451
Quote:
Originally Posted by pythonis View Post
oh get off your high horse
Honestly. I try not to dislike others...but ergh.
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Old 05-26-2012, 05:16 AM
 
Location: Prospect, KY
5,284 posts, read 18,309,532 times
Reputation: 6570
Our subdivision is full of landscaping trucks and crews......I called someone at a company whose truck I had seen around the corner from us - their men spreading mulch.... I was told the charge is $39 an hour per man which seems outrageous to me....we always have spread our mulch ourselves - it takes several days and it looks like we will continue to do so.
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