Thanks for replying, you have made me feel alot better at what we are doing.
We are not bothered about the hard work, we were just concerned that we were working intelligently. Yes I do have power tools to assist when necessary and we do planting/re-planting and pruchase plants, bark etc on behalf of customers and we are always watered with tea & coffee whilst we work.
We are currently charging £140 plus £5 to remove waste for local jobs and £10 for jobs further afield to cover petrol as well.
As for the aches & pains I guess if you start hard graft at 47 it will take a while for the body to adjust to manual labour, if it ever does at our age.
Regarding your aches & pains, I had a knee op & my partner has a problem with her back, to alleviate the pain, we don't do hand weeding /kneeling jobs for more than 4 hours a day. We do something different the rest of the day.
We always BUT always use kneeling mats and I often put one under the hand when working alongside hard paths.
It makes a big difference.
Good luck with your business
in the beginning you will pick up alot of the scrag end of jobs that many have left, or the customer has not accepted their quote. It also sounds to me that you are too cheap. Firstly, consider if the garden has been left for a year without being tended to, and should have had say an hour a week for 40 weeks at least of the year. Now think about how much you are charging for quickly doing what should have been done in a years work. Secondly. £5 for waste, you may as well give them £5 and leave it there. Tip fees should be about £25 PLUS, per ton or anything there up to. So, how can it be viable for £5 for waste? You will also need to have a waste carriers licence to dispose at council, and private sites. Think how much a skip is, and if you had enough waste to fill a skip, you should charge for a skip, plus the time to dispose, if the client doesnt like that, then leave the disposal out of the quote, they will soon change their mind when they see what they have to deal with. Dont ever throw the disposal of the wast in with the price as a little add on. It is expensive to dispose of waste properly, and is a service of very high value to the customer, what else would they do with a skips worth of green waste taken from their garden if you didnt take it away.
It is often very hard to quote for elderly as they seem to think no further than gardeners doing it for the love, for a bit of money, and fail to see that a business in this day and age charges much higher, and it isnt just about an hourly wage. You are a business, and you must charge for Wage, Tax & NHI, Overheads, Insurances, PPE kit, plant and servicing, fuel and oil, and Profit. Think of what you do as providing a home service, not just a bit of weeding for a little bit of money.
The best book that I have ever come accross if 'How to start a gardening bussiness' by Paul Power. It covers all the things you will come accross, and hase case studies where he has beeen through all the early pitfalls himself.