I have been noticing from my stats that an increasing number of people coming to Landscape Juice are wanting to know the going rate for a Gardener or Landscape Gardener.
In 2004, my company charged a basic rate of £18.00 per hour plus VAT. To this we added some variable starting prices.
For example, we could not justify sending a van and two men to a property for just one hour of work work so in cases such as these, two men working on a job for an hour, would have been charged at £50.00 plus VAT (£25.00 x 2) instead of the £36.00. This made up any losses due to extra travelling and lost time and of course fuel.
Even though £50.00 seems a great deal of money, running a garden maintenance fleet is an extremely challenging occupation and our feelings were (even in 2004) that the hourly rate for skilled labour should be at least £30.00-40.00.
What troubles me greatly is that a householder seems happy to accept a plumber or electrician's price of £60-120.00 per hour but would never give a thought of paying more than £10.00 for their gardener - it was a constant challenge to educate clients.
Market forces keep a gardeners pay down - by this I mean that a general lack of understanding by businesses about how to charge themselves out.
Undercutting by less than qualified businesses and black market labour meant there was always a good 'deal' out there for a client. In turn this meant we had to compete hard to win work - a situation that should never really occur but it was, and remains, a common problem.
There is not a set of national guidelines for gardening or landscaping charges.
I realise that there are so many circumstances and conditions that might make a difference to charge out rates.
Horticulture is an extremely skilled profession and there are also so many different talented and capable people working in the horticulture industry right down to the odd-jobber (and I am not knocking the odd jobber as that is how I started) sweeping patios and cutting grass for £7.00ph.
The documents will help contractors to work out what they need to charge and also - this is important to help bridge the gap - to educate potential customers about how prices are worked out.