How much to charge for planting a tree?

muddydogsApril 21, 2006

What would you charge to plant a 100 lb B&B tree that costs $80? A 10 lb tree that costs $35?

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Many factors determine our pricing. If the location was 50 miles away and it was only one tree the price would be higher then 10 miles away and 20 trees. Sorry to be so vague but your pricing, location and cost of living are different then mine. We're in the Midwest. We doing a new job next week that has about 15 trees and shrubs. Most 2 and 3 gallon with the possibility of 2 trees in 5 gallon (she is still thinking if she wants to spend the extra for the larger trees).
We are charging $25.00 per item. Seems fair to me and the customer. BTW they are about 17 miles from the nursery.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 12:16PM
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I'd agree that pricing will be somewhat dependent on conditions and distance traveled. And if you are a nursery owner, which I believe you are, you need to be cognizant of the fact that you are losing the services of an employee/sales person during the period of time they are offsite, as well as the fact that you are paying their wages during this period. Of course, this may already have been considered if you have a dedicated delivery/planting person.

With both the nurseries that I have been associated with, planting was not a service we offered and even deliveries had a fee associated with them, pro-rated as to distance away from the nursery. We simply could not afford to have a staff member away from the nursery for the amount of time involved in planting assorted delivered trees and shrubs. Only you can determine the proper economics of your specific situation, but there is a cost involved to you for offering both these services in terms of lost manhours away from the nursery as well as transportation costs and with the cost of fuel these days, that could be significant. You could make it up by raising the cost of your plants or by charging a fee for such services but you will need to account for it financially in some manner.

We offer a referral list of known and experienced landscape contractors who can do the planting for customers. In the Puget Sound area, where I believe you are located, landscape labor (which would cover planting) is generally billed at a minimum of $35 per hour. You could certainly use this a guideline for your rates, factoring in other issues like travel time and transportation costs. Obviously, digging a planting hole and planting a larger tree or shrub will involve more effort and time than a smaller plant. Other issues to consider are any gurantees you might offer on the plant and evaluation of the skill and experience of the person involved doing the planting and how likely you would have to act on the guarantee should the planting not take.

Sorry, but it is not a very cut and dried issue :-)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 2:15PM
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lnscapr(z7 VA)

In my neck of the woods, contractors routinely charge 3 times the wholesale cost to install. (tree, shrub or perennial) This includes a 1 yr guarantee. So a $100 wholesale tree costs the homeowner $300 delivered and installed.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 8:43PM
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There is a notion known as the 'economy of scale' which means that planting one lone tree is more expensive than planting several. If you have to plant only one you start from the other end, that is you work out the time it would take and add the price of the tree and your mark up. While you are there planting another twelve would not mean that you multiply the first price by twelve. A contract to plant one tree with a wholesale value of $35 would not be a viable business proposition. Using lnscpr's formula the overall cost to the client would be $105.00 and remember that you have also offered a guarantee. So, if you are trying to work out a formula so that when someone calls you can give a price off the top forget it, ask anyone who has carried a $1000 tree through a basement or removed a 30 year old maple over the roof.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 5:40PM
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plantman314(z5-6 StL, MO)

I charge 55% of the retail cost of the tree. Granted I rarely install jobs smaller than $3000. So if I do plant a single tree I add Clean-up, Watering & Delivery charges to cover the cost of a three-man crew & 2-ton truck.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 11:16PM
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I charge an average of $1.00 per gallon for plants or trees. Trees over 35 gallon usually takes 2 people so you have to charge more, I usually double the cost if over 35. I don't like anything over 35 but If the client wants BIG, then I will talk them into the biggest sizes one can buy. There's alot of people here where I live that, money is no object. Of course always plant more than one tree, but if other work was done and one spot requires a tree then go for it.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 1:15PM
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