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Charging for laying turf

Hi guys and girls. Another how much to charge thread. 

I have a turfing job this weekend about 70²M in total. The top few inches have already been scraped off and I have a rotavator hired for the morning to prepare the soil. Then topsoil to go down level, turf etc but I don't really know how long it's going to take me as I haven't done anything of this size before. 

My other half will be able to give me some help and the soìl and turf will be delivered to the back of the house.

How long will it roughly take and much should I charge for the job?

Any tips for doing the job would be greatly appreciated as well


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  • Its going to be very difficult for anyone to be able to give an idea of how much to charge.............  they don't know how much you've paid for the materials and hire charges for the rotovator.... how much time you've spent already......... how fast you're going to work and what is the site like for working on.... are you  going to hit problems rotovating the ground?   . I'd just reckon on how much I want to make on the job and add that onto the "expenses" and hope for the  best!   Next time, you'll have a better idea of the time involved with a job like this.    

    • PRO

      Great reply Graham . 

      I would also factor in seperately any return visits to monitor the turfs progress , any watering which may be required and i like to do the first cut before signing the job off and handing over to the customer unless of course they want you to maintain the lawn regularly .

    • PRO

      Yes I'm only thinking along the lines of what I should charge for my time. The materials have already been accounted for

      • PRO

        Have you worked out your internal 'charging rate' ?

        What you need to earn, what you need to expand & the business survive, what profit you want to make ?

        Unless you have this you will struggle. 

        Go look for the 'Hourly Rate' worksheet, available free on LJN in footer of the Home page


  • I have laid thousands of square metres of turf over the past 35 years, although I haven’t done any for about two years. I have done my fair share and now only do it if I am approached by a client.

    Up to about four years ago I was buying turf for £1.75 per metre [collected] I was charging £14 per metre to prepare, level and supply and lay the turf. Now I can’t get turf for less than £2.50 per metre [collected], so it would have to be £15 p/m. You can usually include all material costs in this.

    Most of my turfing in recent years was at a council run cemetery. So it was a case if building up the ground level to where it needed to be with screened top soil. No rotovating needed. The top soil method is much easier than rotovating. Of course, the top soil method only really works if the ground level needs, or can, be built up.

    The critical point is that at the point of actually laying the turf, the ground should be level, smooth and most importantly, very firm. You should be able to walk on the prepared soil and not leave any indentations.

    I used to level then run over every inch with the four wheel drive Stiga [minus the out front deck]. This was easier than the ‘heel’ method. Then I would re-level and go over again with the Stiga to compact again. Repeat this three or four times and the ground is both level and firm. Tickle up with the rake and then lay the turf.

    The best method for laying turf is the scaffolding plank method. See below.

    You should not be walking on the newly laid turf. Tell the client to keep off it for at least three weeks and that it's almost impossible to over water, but very easy to under water the new turf.






  • PRO

    Re: Charging; a sheet of A4 or a simple Excel spreadsheet with all tasks / costs etc broken down and listed is THE starting place, then methodically work thru.

    Re: Time; your costs and productivity rates is something unique to you, as is knowing the 'lie of the land'.

    This is a ficticious example knocked up in minutes in Excel ( once you get a template it becomes easy to refine and use )


    • PRO

      Thanks Gary & Vic some good advice and pointers there

  • We primarily treat lawns and will renovate existing lawns but dont re-turf them, however we do deal with many landscapers in our normal day to day life who do. We refer many clients to them when renovation isnt an option and any enquiries we get we pass on. In our experience the average cost they are charging is currently £18-£20 per sq metre (fully laid). This does not normally include the price of skips which will be circa £300 each. So my totally unqualified but fairly reliably calculated estimate for a 70m2 lawn would be between £1260 & £1400 plus any skips needed.  Even if some preparitry work has already been done you need to factor in the unknown so would still charge the same metre rate. Renovation and returfing is blinking hard work so make sure you're well remunerated for your efforts. 

    • PRO

      Thanks Tom. Does that price include the materials or just labour?

      • Hi James,


        That price would normally be inclusive of materials, however sometimes you need to factor in additional materials, for example if you were adding a lot of soil to level a slope or raise a sunken area. Soil is around £50 per ton/dumpy, so this may be an addition to calculate into your costs, as would be the hire of additional equipment such as turf lifters to remove an existing lawn etc

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