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The Price per Square Foot Myth for Paver Installation


Paver Pool Patio, Bahler Brothers Inc, South Windsor, CTOK, 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:

  1. 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?
  2. Existing Conditions/Structures - is there concrete to remove or just a few a shrubs?
  3. Soil Conditions - clay soils? well draining sandy soils?
  4. Excavation Depth - is the project a driveway or a walkway?
  5. Site Access - can we get in with a truck and machines?
  6. Site Dump - can we leave excavated materials on site or do we have to haul it away?
  7. 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.



I really enjoyed visiting your website and blog. It seems that a fair amount of thought was put into it, and I've just read 2 pages so far. Anyway good job, and "you're doin' it right." Do you mind if I use some of your blogs incorporated in my web-site for informative purposes? Obviously due credit shall be given to the author, etc. I'm in the same business but a different country, so I won't be "cutting your grass." I look forward to hearing from you! Cheers lads!
Posted @ Friday, June 15, 2012 1:16 PM by G. Roussel
I couldnt agree more as far as the paver cost per square foot, I get so tired of customers trying to pin me down the the same cost their neighbor got or even trying to pin me down to any particulars, atleast until I have visited the site and noted my access and square footage etc. Every single job is different. I have one this week, its very small at 250 square feet, its in the front yard and can pull my trailer and tools to within 5 feet of my work (SWEET). However, the next guy who needs the same square footage installed in his backyard, down a set of steps on a slope... I'm afraid its easily going to be double what the first guy paid in labor. I've been installing for over 20 years, its refreshing to see an intelligent post as I have seen contractors boasting of rigid or set cost based on square footage, and all I can say to a customer is watch out for the small print!!!! I install for time and materials, PERIOD! After years of trying to find a simple matrix or solution, it comes right down to how many hours I spend in manual labor and how much our materials list is, PERIOD! Time and materials is both fair and the best possible deal, thats my experienced 2 cents worth. 
Posted @ Thursday, March 28, 2013 8:52 PM by Dan Bertucci
i agree with the square footage issue. When someone asks for a price i assume they already understand they have contacted me for good service and eye..experience is what is important in this work..i just tell someone who asks by the sq. ft the material cost..the labaor is usually 3 times the materials, especially if you hold a guarantee! can not just buy a picture and roll it out for every yd..water pipes..conditions etc. are all part of my it part of my entire landscaping project, or do I tiptoe over sod..I can do a better/lesser priced hardscape if I am doing the entire
Posted @ Thursday, May 29, 2014 4:59 PM by lanscape & design
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