The Price per Square Foot Myth for Paver Installation
OK, so everyone asks, “How much does it cost per square foot to install pavers?” Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. Oh sure, we can do calculations all day long to figure out that last week we installed a 430 sf patio for Mrs. Jones for $6,785.00, and yes, with some quick math, we know that it was installed for $15.78 per square foot. But we also know that we installed a walkway last week for the Smiths, who live next door to Mrs. Jones, and it was closer to $26.00 per square foot? So what gives? Why the difference? And what goes into the pricing for each job?
Here’s the catch… no one prices strictly by the square foot anymore – or at least, no one should be pricing that way. It does not make good business sense. All of the industry leaders say that the best practice is to price out each job individually and to not lump every job into a general price bracket. Here’s why… Every job is different. Simple, right? Let’s take a look.
Mrs. Jones’s patio was in the back yard. It was fairly accessible for our trucks and machinery to get in and move around. The soils had decent drainage and stability. There was nothing there that needed to come out first – other than grass and dirt. The paver Mrs. Jones chose was a traditional 4 by 8 brick shape that she wanted laid in a herringbone pattern.
Next door, the Smiths just had a new driveway installed and the walkway connected it to the front door. We couldn’t drive on the new asphalt, so we came in from the road across the front yard. Oh, and by the way, the septic tank is in the front yard so we couldn’t bring our truck in. Everything had to be moved in or out of the walkway area by skid steer or wheel barrow. The soils here were the same as at the Jones house, and we laid the same paver in a running bond pattern.
So what are the factors that we see as important to each project? The main ones are as follows:
- Project Type - is it a large area where we can be very efficient with our materials and crews or is it a smaller project with a lot of intricate detail?
- Existing Conditions/Structures - is there concrete to remove or just a few a shrubs?
- Soil Conditions - clay soils? well draining sandy soils?
- Excavation Depth - is the project a driveway or a walkway?
- Site Access - can we get in with a truck and machines?
- Site Dump - can we leave excavated materials on site or do we have to haul it away?
- Paver Choice and Pattern - was a basic paver and pattern chosen or is there an upgrade?
Download our 9 Step Paver Installation whitepaper, to see more information on how pavers should be installed in Connecticut and Southern New England. It's a 7 page whitepaper with full color illustrations and photos showing the entire process.