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.
The second most popular question we get is how much does Artificial Grass Cost to install?; therefore, we have also written an entire post answering that question.
For this exercise, let’s assume we are working with a 1,000-square-foot cracked concrete driveway that you would like to replace 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.)
Ready…..okay, here we go…
There are 5 main costs:
- Materials (i.e. Pavers, Geotextile Fiber, Class II Road Base, Bedding Sand, Joint Sand, Concrete)
- Operation Fees (i.e Dump Fees, Fueling Fees, Delivery Fees, Porta Potty, Pallet Fee, Clean Up Fee, etc.)
- Company Overhead (i.e Workers Comp, Gen. Liability Insurance, Advertising, Gen. Office Expenses, etc.)
- Company Profit
Now, let’s break these five components up and dive right in:
When considering the materials needed for a paver 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. Let’s 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 $1.35 per square foot plus tax to $1.75 per square foot 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.
Let’s assume we select the least expensive paver and least expensive manufacturer, which means we are looking at $1.35 per square foot plus tax for the pavers. For the sake of this exercise, let’s also assume there is going to be 10% waste.
Quick Number Crunching…
Now, if we add 10% to 1,000 square feet, we get 1,100 square feet. Let’s multiply 1,100 square feet by our paver cost of $1.35 per square foot, and then by 8% to account for taxes. We get $1,603.80 (1,100sqft x $1.35/sqft x 8% = $1,603.80) .
To figure out the price per square foot, we would divide $1,603.80 by 1,000 square feet and we come up with $1.60 per square foot, which takes into consideration for the 10% waste and 8% for the California sales taxes.
The class II road base and bedding sand can vary depending on your specific location. For this exercise we will go with the least expensive route. Using 1,000 square feet, we would be looking at roughly $.52 per square foot (including taxes) for these two 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 a soft-scape surface, such as grass, dirt, bark or plants.
For this example, let’s say the dimensions of your driveway are 20 feet wide by 50 feet long (20 sqft x 50sqft = 1,000sqft), and we would need a concrete bond beam to support all sides except the 20 that that abuts the garage slab, which is made of concrete.
If we add up the three sides, we get 120 feet of concrete for the bond beams. At 6-8 inches deep and 6-8 inches wide, we would have roughly $.625 for foot or $75 for the concrete bond beam.
Now let’s 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 $.20 per square foot, which would amount to $200 for a 1,000-square-foot driveway.
The last item is regular joint sand, which fills the joints of the pavers. At $.05 per square foot, we would have roughly $50 of joint sand for a 1,000-square-foot driveway.
That just about covers the very basic, standard material costs for a 1,000-square-foot driveway.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the Operational Costs…
Operational costs include dump fees (dirt, concrete, etc.), fueling costs, delivery fees, porta potty on site, pallet fee, and a clean up fee.
For a 1,000-square-foot driveway, we would have roughly five trips to the dump (three truckloads of concrete and two truckloads 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 to determine accurately, as it all depends on the proximity to the dump and the exact materials that we are hauling away. Let’s just pick a safe number for this example and say it costs $275 in fueling fees throughout the course of the project. This should not be that far off, if at all.
The next item is the cost of delivery, which will range from $285 to $365 per trip, all depending on the manufacturer and distance to the project. Each truck can hold about 1,400 square feet of pavers. For this case, we will use $325, so it will cost us $325 to deliver 1,000 square feet of paving stones.
For a 1000-square-foot job, we would order a porta potty (portable bathroom) to be on-site for the crew to use throughout the project, which costs $110.
In terms of pallets, each manufacturer will charge the installation company a pallet fee which comes to $.05 per square foot or $50 for a 1000-square-foot project.
The last item is the cleanup fee, which is the cost that the company incurs to have all the leftover material and pallets picked up from the installation site. This fee will range depending on the manufacturer used and the distance the truck driver must drive to pick up the materials. The fee can range from $140 to $325. In this example, we will use the absolute cheapest clean up fee of $140.
Up next is the Labor Cost…
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 and integrity of your project.
There are installers who have been installing paving stones for six to 12 months, and there are installers who have been installing pavers for more than 25 years. You might guess that the team with more than 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 $3.45 to $4.00 per square foot for the labor. At 1,000 square feet, that would be $3,450 to $4,000 in labor.
You can always go cheap here; however, the last thing you want is to regret that decision later down the road when your project is falling apart and the company is out of business or ignoring your repair phone calls.
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.
Moving on…let’s tally up what we have so far:
Material for 1,000-square-foot Driveway (rough estimates)
- Pavers = $1,603.80
- Class II road base and Bedding Sand = $520
- Concrete = $75
- Geotextile fiber = $200
- Joint Sand = $50
- TOTAL = $2,448.80
Operation Costs for 1,000-square-foot Driveway (rough estimates)
- Dump Fees = $425
- Delivery Fee = $325
- Fueling Fees = $275
- Porta Potty = $110
- Pallet Fee = $50
- Cleanup Fee = $140
- TOTAL = $1,325
Labor for 1,000-square-foot Driveway (four to five person team, taking five days to complete) (rough estimates)
- Outstanding Crew = $4.00 per square foot
- Good Crew = $3.45 per square foot
- TOTAL (Assuming Outstanding Crew) = $4,000
GRAND TOTAL = $7,773.80
Keep in mind that this figure of $7,773.80, 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.
Moving right along to the Overhead Costs:
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 — like 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.
Let’s keep rolling with this example
We will go ahead and just pick a number to work with for the overhead. Let’s 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.
- The other thing to note is that INSTALL-IT-DIRECT gets special pricing, which is less than distributor + contractor pricing and less than any other paver company gets their paver materials. The reason for this is because we are the largest paver installer in all of Southern California, installing the highest volume and, therefore, receiving volume pricing based on our production. So, with that said, the prices we are mentioning in this example are going to be the lowest possible prices on the market and, if you are using another installer, you will need to account for this and increase the prices accordingly.
Moving right along…
So if we use 10% for the overhead costs in this example, we would be looking at $777 for the overhead expenses ($7,773.80 x 10% = $777).
Adding the overhead to our previous total, we now have a rough cost of $8,550.80 for a 1,000-square-foot paver driveway or $8.55 per square foot.
Now, anything less than $8.55 per square foot should be red flagged immediately ONLY IF you are interested in getting your installation completed right the first 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. Oh yeah, and what if you have a repair that needs to be addressed during the warranty of your installation? You see…the company needs to ensure they have properly set aside a repair contingency fund for each project so that when a repair call or email comes into the office, they are prepared and ready to get your repair scheduled and — most importantly — fixed to your complete satisfaction. If a company is operating on fumes, which a lot of paver companies are these days, you can assume your repair call will not be a top priority whatsoever as they will have to take the money from another job to pay the crew to go out and fix the repair. This will turn into a dangerous snowball effect, which will eventually end in the company’s demise. Let’s hope this does not happen to you.
With that said, here are some figures to chew on:
- At a 10% margin, your price would be = $9,500.88 (company profit share = $950.09 )
- At a 20% margin, your price would be = $10,688.50 (company profit share = $2,137.70)
- At a 30% margin, your price would be = $12,215.42 (company profit share = $3,664.63)
- At a 40% margin, your price would be = $14,251.33 (company profit share = $5,700.53)
What price do you think is fair?
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.
Low End? What do you mean?
There are many factors that can come into play, which will raise the price of your project (i.e. the accessibility of your install in terms of whether it is in the front yard – backyard – upstairs – downstairs or even through your house, to the type of stone you choose, whether you have drainage issues, excessive roots, how many square feet you have, whether you want sealer or not, extra features such as steps, walls, mow-strips, etc.). There is a lot that goes into estimating an installation, and each job is unique and completely custom.
The Bottom Line:
The key takeaway of this post is to really shed some light as to what a typical paving stone project might cost. By pulling back 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.) 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.) not paying themselves what they should to remain in business.
The company that falls into any of these three 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!