hi eveyone i currently work for a landscape company and have been for 10 years , but now is the time i want to start up my own garden maintenance & landscape buisness , i have always been paid salary , so i dont really know what to start my prices at per hr or set wage for say genral grass cut and border weed / tidy up ? can any of you kind people give me some info :)
hi aiden ,good luck in your new venture.i started my garden maintenance buisness about 6 years ago,didnt know were at the time to get any advice on charges etc so set out charging £10 an hour,sooon discovered that it was the wrong move ,as with travelling from job to job found on somedays only working 6 hours/£60.! i was never short of work as you can get through quite a lot of work in 1 hour/and for £10 customers were very happy.gradually through time and experience started to charge per job,so for example for an hourly rate i could mow average size front and back lawns and a bit of a border tidy up for £10! now for the same job i give a price of on average £20 ,still not loosing out on price and for the same job i get £20,which i still think is good value for cutting 2 lawns,edging and borders,still not making a fortune but have built up a good customer base,and most important i enjoy my job.
Some good points made here, but I still prefer the cost per job way of working personally.
I think, while a decent hourly price may be swallowed in certain areas it won't be accepted in others. The other advantage is that you can take a break when you want without upsetting the customer.
If I take on a private maintenance job I give a fixed monthly cost and make it clear to the client some visits will be longer than others, based on time of year etc. I've never had a problem.
I started out charging an hourly rate but I think it has its limitations. You will undoubtedly make mistakes pricing jobs in the early days (most likely under priced) but in the long-term I think it's definitely the way to go.
Geoffrey King said:
Good luck with your new venture.
It never ceases to amaze me how much angst is generated by such standard questions.
Our 'Landscape' professions vary so much, from part-time to full time, from drive laying to design, how can anyone dictate what is right and what is wrong.
It would be clear to anyone that expected earnings will vary with expertise, but also substantially with geographical & economical wealth location, whether you operate as a solo trader, as a couple (eg husband & wife), or 3/4/5 team or a larger business. There are just so many variables, including what your cost of living is.
I often read on here, how pay by the hour is always wrong, and it is much better to charge a fixed rate for a tightly specified job/quote. That though is not always easy to define. Often those that advocate, a fixed rate, often also only do a small range of tasks e.g. mowing, hedge cutting, etc where they can employ efficient machinery to 'speed' up the process.
When a garden has multiple tasks, when it is never finished, charging by the hour, would seem the only option. You may get the customer to pay by fixed amount each month, and your time may vary slightly to accommodate different seasonal tasks. But that is hard to establish from the outset, you need to create confidence & trust.
We charge by the hour but also have a minimum charge that varies with the size of the garden, the type of gardening required and how much machinery we use.
These are all complex judgements to make, so my advice, is to read the various threads on the subject, use Phil's very useful tools, suss out your local rivals and decide on, 'what sits well with you'.