How to Price/Estimate Mulching Jobs – Why You Shouldn’t Avoid These

Landscape owners are often scared to get their mulching done by professionals. This happens mainly because most people do not know how to price mulching jobs.

If you want to install a new bed, roughly it may cost you $90-$100 per yard. For older beds that need refurbishing, it takes up to 85$. Although, the expenses may vary as per the type of mulch you use. If you want to add a fresh batch of colorful ingredients, the prices may go a little higher, $20-$30per yard.

Mulching helps to protect your soil and enhance its beauty. As a landscape owner, you must have a clear idea about the pricing of mulching jobs and all about the pros and cons of mulching. Please read the entire article to know more.

How To Price/Estimate Mulch Jobs

There are a hundred different videos and articles on the internet stating so many different formulas, for determining the prices of mulching jobs. But here, we will talk about the simplest and easiest formula that will help you for sure, and save a lot of your time.

Experts have handed out hundreds of formulas in the past years. No single formula is considered to be solely the ideal one. It entirely depends on your convenience and ease of use.

Mulching isn’t an easy task. It takes hours of hard work and you have got to value the hardship. In some areas of the United States, mulching jobs have galloping prices. Whereas, in states like Michigan, it is mostly in the affordable range.

To determine the charges for your mulching job, you need to bear in mind a few things –

  • The cost of your materials
  • How many yards of land need to be mulched?
  • Labor charges
  • Delivery charges (if any)
  • Additional expenses e.g. cost of tools, equipment, etc.

A fair share of your money will be spent on buying mulching materials. Labor charges can vary but it shouldn’t be a burden in most cases.

Labor charges

The cost of installation is actually the product of the ‘number of yards’ and ‘the cost per yard.’ So, the final formula for the pricing of your mulching job stands at-

Cost of installation per yard x Number of yards to be mulched + Labour charges + Delivery charges + Additional charges/Overhead fees

For example, you are to mulch a 2-yard land with 1 worker, who charges $25 per hour; the cost per yard is say, $75, and the deliveries and other stuff cost you about $50. So your total cost would be = $75 x 2 + 25 + 50, that is, 225$.

How To Calculate The Price for Mulching Jobs

If you are a beginner at this, let’s discuss first why you need mulching. Mulches are like layers of clothing that protect your soil bed. You need to have well-yielding soil free from all kinds of dust, debris, dirt, weeds, etc. to grow good crops. This is the sole purpose of mulching.

Adding a layer of organic or inorganic substances to your soil bed can really help you to protect your soil bed from these offenders. Furthermore, bright colorful ingredients like cypress, cocoa bean dust, etc. can add to the beauty of your landscape. So yeah, let’s go mulching!

Now, the most important part of mulching is to know how to charge for these mulching jobs. There is an old conventional formula that most people recommend for pricing. The formula is –

Total cost = The cost price of all materials x 2.3

Suppose you are using shredded leaves and straws for a three-yard land costing you about $110. So your estimated price for the mulching as per this formula would be, $250-$280. But this formula has its own drawbacks. As this formula doesn’t include all elements individually so it can’t always ensure the correct estimate.

Then again, it all depends on the cost of the materials you use and whatever formula you want to follow. Have a look at the following price ranges for a two-yard land.

There are some other ways to calculate the prices. Some prefer to charge per hour, while some use the conventional yard formula.

What To Charge Per Hour To Spread Mulch

No two workers will work at the same speed, that’s a given. But you can make a rough estimate, considering how many bags a laborer can spread in an hour. Usually, it takes 5 minutes to lay down 1 bag of dried mulches for any ordinary laborer. So in one hour, he can lay down two yards of mulch approximately.

Using the traditional black hardwood mulch saves both time and money. Laying down inorganic mulches can be expensive. It all comes down to the average prices of mulch in your state. For a standard three-yard land, you can employ one guy to get the installation done. A single worker could complete the task within 3 hours.

Any ordinary worker will demand 20-30$ per hour, for installing new beds on a small scale three-yard land. Increase the number of workers to get your job done faster. But then again, don’t forget to weigh your pros and cons. If one worker comes in handy and costs you less, better get it done with just one guy rather than many.

Suppose, you have an 8-yard land and you employed just one laborer. Generally, it would take him 4 hours to complete the installation. If he takes 25$ per hour, your labor charge stands at $25 x 4 = a hundred bucks!

Average Cost To Install Mulch Per Yard

Most of our calculations are in square feet because our measuring tapes are calibrated either in meters or in feet. To know the dimensions of your land in yards, there is an easy formula – (Length x Width)/150. Using this method at first convert your square feet of land into yards of land.

Now let’s get down to the main business. In most places, people prefer to make it two inches thick. Roughly, most customers offer $75 to $100, a yard. Although, in some states, it is as low as $30 to $50 per cubic yard. Besides, $35 is not really a good sum of money compared to the amount of hardship mulching requires.

This average cost per yard is just the installation charge. You need to add the rest of the elements as discussed above to get the complete estimate.

Estimated Material Cost for Mulching Jobs

Choose your favorite materials at first. Traditionally, organic mulch has always been the first choice of customers all over the world. Inorganic ones are better. They give an astounding look and last longer but they are a wee bit expensive.

Organic Mulch

Here, you can choose from a wide range of choices. There are Shredded leaves, Wood dust, Hay, Straws, Bark mulch, Tea tree, Hemlock, Dried hardwood, Cedar, Redwood, Pine needles, Grass clippings, Newspaper, Cocoa etc.

Organic Mulch MaterialsPrice per yard
Shredded leaves$20 -$30
Straw$30 -$40
Bark$45 -$60
Cocoa$95 -$100
Cedar$105 – $110

Inorganic Mulch

They are hard, durable, provide stronger and better protection than organic ones. You do not have to worry about refilling them frequently and they do not disintegrate so easily. There are Gravel, Black plastic, Landscape fabric, Glass, Rubber etc.

Inorganic Mulch MaterialsPrice per yard
Stones, Gravels$30 – $60
Black plastic$260 – $310
Rubber$210 – $410
Glass$1500 -$3500

Estimated Labour Cost

Labor charges are by far the most neglected part of mulching jobs. Many homeowners refuse to pay for labor charges. But you should acknowledge the labor for his hard work and pay him his due fees.

In almost all cases, labor charges are dealt with at rates per hour. In the United States, although this may vary, labor charges can range from 15 to 30$ per hour on average. Hence, it can be as high as $800 or as low as $80, depending on the number of yards to be mulched.

Overhead Fees

The overhead fees are not that significant compared to the cost of other elements. Overhead fees can include – delivery charges, maintenance cost, cost of tools used, weeding (if done), grooming, mowing, pest control if required, or any kind of collateral jobs.

It depends on the customer whether he is willing to go for any collateral tasks. The overhead fees will add up with the estimated sum total.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How Do You Calculate Mulching Jobs?

I think it’s quite clear by now how to calculate your pricing for mulching jobs. Better to use the conventional yard formula; it’s simple and easy to use. Or you can charge per hour.

Is it Cheaper To Buy Mulch In Bags or In Bulk?

It’s always cheaper to buy in bulk. The bagged ones are very costly and with the added taxes, doing a yard may cost you bags worth 50$. Choose as per the size of your landscape. If you buy in bulk, you can use only the amount you need and then sell the remaining; hence zero wastage!

How Much Does A Bag of Mulch Cover?

This depends on the thickness of your mulching. Generally, most people prefer two inches thickness. So, a single bag can cover about 10 to 12 square feet.


Mulching is in the friend in need, that your soil bed needs indeed! Mulching your soil bed will protect it from all hazards and all the bad days. Even if it snows you don’t have to worry about your soil getting ruined, mulching will save the day! So do not overlook the importance of mulching.

We hope this article benefitted you to get your answers. It should be clear by now – how to estimate mulching jobs, how much do the mulching materials cost, how to estimate labor charges, and so on. Thank you for holding your patience and for reading the entire article. Happy mulching!