October 26th, 2011 - Posted by Luke Whittaker
One of the most frequently asked questions is “How Much Do Pavers Cost to Install?”
We must get this question asked at least 5 times a day. Since this is such a popular question, we thought it would be a good idea to address it here in full detail:
For this exercise, lets assume we are working with a 1,000 sqft cracked concrete driveway that is looking to be replaced with beautiful New Interlocking Pavers. (Please Note: All figures discussed in this example are based on Southern California Pricing and will need to be adjusted based on your geographical location)
Now, lets break these 5 components up and dive right in:
When considering the materials needed for a paving stone installation, you would be looking at the following:
- class II road base
- bedding sand
- joint sand
- geotextile fiber
There are various different styles of pavers to choose from which you can read all about in another post, the Top 5 Paver Patio Design Ideas. Lets assume we are talking about a Standard Non-Tumbled Paver, which is going to be your least expensive option.
Typically, the standard stones run anywhere from $1.23/sqft plus tax to $1.50/sqft plus tax, all depending on which manufacturer you choose. You can see a full list of the San Diego and Orange County Manufacturers Here. Keep in mind that you will have to account for waste when ordering the material.
Lets assume we select the least expensive paver and least expensive manufacturer, which means we are looking at $1.23/sqft plus tax for the pavers. For the sake of this exercise lets also assume there is going to be 10% waste.
Now, if we add 10% to 1,000 sqft, we get 1,100 sqft. Lets multiply 1,100 sqft by our paver cost of $1.23/sqft and then by 7.75% to account for taxes. We get $1,457.85 (1,100sqft x $1.23/sqft x 7.75% = $1,457.85) .
To figure out the price/sqft we would divide $1,457.85 by 1,000 sqft and we come up with $1.45/sqft, which takes into consideration for the 10% waste and 7.75% California taxes.
The class II road base and bedding sand can vary depending on your specific location. For this exercise we go with the least expensive route. Using a 1,000sqft, we would be looking at roughly $.52/sqft (including taxes) for these 2 items, which would be around $520.
The next item to consider is the amount of concrete you will need. The concrete is used to reinforce the borders, which is often referred in the paver world as a “concrete bond beam.” The concrete bond beam is going to be needed in all areas where we are abutting up against a soft-scape surface(i.e. grass, dirt, bark, plants, etc.)
For this example, lets say the dimensions of your driveway are 20ft wide by 50ft long (20 sqft x 50sqft = 1,000sqft) and we would need a concrete bond beam to support all sides except the 20ft that abuts up against the garage slab(which is made of concrete).
If we add up the 3 sides, we get 120 feet of concrete for the bond beams. At 6-8 inches deep and 6-8inches wide, we would have roughly $.625/ft or $75 for the concrete bond beam.
Now lets look at the geotextile fiber which is installed underneath the class II road base to inhibit the base from mixing with your native soils(100% recommended). The cost of the fiber is roughly $.15/sqft, which would amount to $150 for a 1,000 sqft driveway.
The last item is regular joint sand which fills the joints of the pavers. At $.04/sqft we would have roughly $40 of joint sand for a 1,000 sqft driveway.
That just about covers the “very basic standard material costs” for a 1,000sqft driveway.
These include dump fees(dirt, concrete, etc.), fueling costs, and delivery fees.
For a 1,000 sqft driveway we would have roughly 5 trips to the dump(3 truck loads of concrete and 2 truck loads of dirt. At approximately $75 for each concrete load and $100 for each dirt load, we would have a total of $425 in dump fees.
Fueling costs are a little too difficult as it all depends on the proximity to the dump and the exact materials that we are hauling away. Lets just pick a safe number for this example and say it costs $275 in fueling fees throughout the course of the project. This shouldn’t be that far off, if at all.
The last item is the cost of delivery which will range from $200-350 per trip, all depending on the manufacturer and distance to the project. Each truck can hold about 1,400 sqft of pavers. For this case we will use $300, so it will cost us $300 to deliver 1,000 sqt of paving stones.
This is the difference maker( or the “X Factor” as Simon would say), as everything else that has been provided is the exact same across the board from one company to the next. You absolutely 100% get what you pay for in the labor department in terms of the long term durability/integrity of your project.
There are installers who have been installing paving stones for 6-12 months and there are installers who been installing pavers for over 25+ years. You might guess that the team with over 25+ years under their belt might cost a little more and you are absolutely right! But boy oh boy, well worth it!!
For a solid crew, who has the experience that you should want for your installation, you would be looking at $2.50-3.00/sqft for the labor. At 1,000 sqft, that would be $2,500-$3,000 in labor.
You can always go cheap here, however, the last thing you want is to be regretting that decision later down the road when your project is falling apart and the company is out of business.
If you are looking to get your installation done right the first time and never have to think about it again, then you will want to pay the extra money to get a Solid Installation Crew to install your project. This is definitely not an area to shave off a few dollars.
Material for 1,000 sqft Driveway (rough estimates)
- Pavers = $1,457.85
- Class II road base and Bedding Sand = $520
- Concrete = $75
- Geotextile fiber = $150
- Joint Sand = $40
- TOTAL = $2,242.85
Operation Costs for 1,000 sqft Driveway (rough estimates)
- Dump Fees = $425
- Delivery Fee = $300
- Fueling Fees = $275
- TOTAL = $1,000
Labor for 1,000 sqft Driveway (4-5 person team, taking 5 days to complete) (rough estimates)
- Outstanding Crew = $3.00/sqft
- Good Crew = $2.50/sqft
- TOTAL (Assuming Outstanding Crew) = $3,000
GRAND TOTAL = $6,242.85
Keep in mind that this figure of $6,242.85, is the cost BEFORE the Paver Company has paid for any of their overhead costs (aka “costs of doing business” and more importantly the costs to remain in business as a legal entity).
AND this is also the cost BEFORE the Paver Company has made a penny in profit.
After-all, making a profit is probably one of the main driving factors to being in business unless the intent is to become a nonprofit. We are not aware of any nonprofit paver companies out there. If you know of any, please let us know.
Listed below are some of the Overhead Costs for a legitimate paver company:
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- General Liability Insurance
- CA Licensing Fees
- Contractors Bond
- Corporation Fees
- CSLB Home Improvement Sales(HIS) License Fees
- Payroll Expenses
- Accounting Fees
- Business Taxes
- Lawyer Fees
- Advertising/Marketing Expenses
- Administrative Staffing Fees
- Auto/Truck Expenses
- Certifications (BBB, ICPI, etc.)
- Office Expenses (B-Cards, Contracts/Diagrams, Yard Signs, Car Magnets, Company Shirts, Company Phones, Website, Hosting Fees, Internet, Computers, Camera, Credit Card Processing System, Office Rent, Yard Expense, Electricity, General Supplies (tape measure, landscaping paint, etc.)
The overhead costs are not limited to what is described above and it is too difficult to attach an “overhead number” to each installation, however, the point is to showcase that there are quite a few costs that do add up when analyzing the anatomy of a paving stone deal, aside from the material and labor costs.
Again, there are a lot of companies out there that Do Not intend on using the best crews, and Do Not intend on operating legally, so they can and will, offer you a much more enticing “cheaper price.”
Once all of the overhead is paid, the materials are all paid, the operating expenses are paid and the labor is paid, then what is left over, if anything, is the company profit.
We will go ahead and just pick a number to work with for the overhead. Lets go with an overhead figure of 10%, which is definitely erring on the LOW side. Marketing, Workers Comp, and Payroll Expenses alone are more than 10%, let alone everything else on the list above. Keep in mind that we have been erring on the low side in this entire exercise.
So if we use 10% for the overhead costs in this example, we would be looking at $624 for the overhead expenses ($6,242.85 x 10% = $624).
Adding the overhead to our previous total, we now have a Rough Cost of $6,866.85 for a 1,000 sqft paver driveway or $6.86/sqft.
Now, anything less than $6.86/sqft, should be “red flagged” immediately ONLY IF you are interested in getting your installation completed right the 1st time, which would include the highest quality materials manufactured in the USA, a highly skilled paver installation team who have been installing for decades(not months), a professional paver designer, a dedicated construction manager supervising your install and a robust company that will be around to assist you in the future should you need help.
Knowing this information, what do you think a Paver Company should make to remain a healthy and happy company? Should they make 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%?
Please note that the money that is left over, which we have labeled “Company Profit Share,” is to pay for the Field Supervisor, the Design Consultant who assisted you with your project, and The Company as a whole, so they can continue to grow and thrive as a robust business:
- At a 10% margin, your price would be = $7,628 (company profit share = $762 )
- At a 20% margin, your price would be = $8,582 (company profit share = $1,716)
- At a 30% margin, your price would be = $9,808 (company profit share = $2,942)
- At a 40% margin, your price would be = $11,443 (company profit share = $4,577)
In this exercise we have been assuming the Least Expensive Scenarios for all the components involved with determining your paver price, with the exception of the crew where we went with a more experienced crew and we know a more experienced crew is always going to cost you more.
We believe this is not the area to skimp on and you should always consider using the most experienced crew possible. This will be money well spent, Guaranteed!
When looking at these prices, you can get a very good idea as to what you might expect your project will cost on the low end.
There are so many factors that can come into play which will raise the price of your project (i.e. accessibility, type of stone you choose, drainage issues, excessive roots, how many sqft you have, whether you want sealer or not, extra features such as steps, walls, mow-strips, etc.)
The key take away of this post is to really shed some light as to what a typical paving stone project might cost. By unveiling the curtain and allowing you to have a sneak peak inside to see how the numbers breakdown, we hope that this provides you with the confidence you need to make the right decision on which contractor to use to install your paver stone project.
As you can see from the breakdown above, the only way a company could possibility offer you a lower price than what we have mapped out for you in this example is if they are:
A.) using a less experienced crew and pay them less than what we have outlined about which is considered industry standard
B.) they are not running a healthy company and neglecting to pay the overhead items listed above which are essential for operating a legal and healthy California Business
C.) they are not paying themselves what they should to remain in business.
The company that falls into any of these 3 criteria listed above will not be in business very long. A business based solely on price is simply not sustainable and often times results in a LOSE-LOSE scenario for all parties involved in the transaction.
We hope this paver installation breakdown helps with your decision making process.
If you are interested in finding out what your paver project will cost, please contact Install-It-Direct today to get your FREE Paver Design and Estimate by clicking on this link or feel free to give us a call at 858-925-3000.
We look forward to answering all your questions and working with you to transform your home!
Luke is the Co-Founder of INSTALL-IT-DIRECT and Estate Weddings and Events .When Luke is not working on EWE or IID, his second passions are in health, education(obsessed with learning) and traveling the world(life is too short to remain idle). His favorite destination to date is Laos. Tuscany, Italy is next on the list for 2013…Follow him on Google+, Twitter, and Linkedin.