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My company offers a maintenance service to the private and commercial customer and our prices are on average between £12.50 and £15 per hour. Although new customers are to be charged £15 per hour from now.
This does include taking away a reasonable amount of waste but anything over say half a builder's bag of cuttings, this is then charged extra.
The reason why my charges are this is due to petrol and insurance costs, amongst other costs like maintenance of machinery and waste disposal.
Some people are charging £20 per hour for the likes of Steyning in West Sussex and more in the more well off areas around here.
I know of one gardener charging a lady £300 for a days work to prune and tidy, cut back etc. for 4 visits a year.

I would say your figures are right Phil. The problem is with the UK mentality of cheap, cheaper & cheapest AKA dumb, dumber & dumbest.

Unless a client has horticultural knowledge they have no idea about the level of knowledge & expertise that someone has acquired and the fact that they will apply best practice.

Most people just want someone to cut back, weed and mow...they really don't appreciate that by their lazy mental approach and cheapskate attitude that they are not only getting a second rate service but that the end product will also be second rate.

Most maintenance people can't even identify 5 weeds let alone 50...

I know of gardeners around here, in Surrey, who charge as little as £7 an hour, but then I tend to find out about them when I go into gardens and repair the damage they've done.

I like to think (or boast?) that I'm of the middle kind of gardener you're talking about - I provide a very individual service, I'm pretty experienced, know one plant from another (and have generally got first-hand experience of growing most of them), have my qualifications and am acquiring some more soon, and generally know what I'm on about.

For some reason people seem a bit shy about telling others what they're paid, but I have no such scruples: my day rate is £150, which works out around £18 an hour, though I still have some "little" gardens (i.e. two or three hours once a week) which I've been doing for a while, where I only charge about £15.

I've heard of gardeners around here charging £22 an hour, but never met one. Most (good ones) seem to be around the £15 an hour mark.

This is great feedback, thank you Stuart, Richard and TCG on here and Stuart on LJN http://landscapejuice.ning.com/forum/topic/show?id=2074886%3ATopic%3A61.

Stuart M - removing waste is always an issue and I remember the headaches it caused.

It is essential to pass on any handling costs to the client. However, where possible, I would always recommend a client composting (or burning natural waste) within their garden.

£12.50 seems a little low to me - there is one piece of advice a friend gave to me when helping me with my business strategy and marketing many moons ago.

He said that you should not be embarrassed about making a profit.

Remember, any discounts sliced off the top, ultimately come off the bottom line.

Richard,

I agree - customers who are looking for the cheapest price will ultimately get a cheap job and it could work against them in the long term.

TCG - thank you for your honesty. The only way a consumer of gardening services is going to get a handle on prices is by knowing what people charge.

I have started off a discussion on The Landscape Juice Network where I hope, together with this post, we can build up a profile of the charges any potential client can expect (and of course, what might be to high)

one other thing... I've always nursed a yen to go work for the RHS or the National Trust - learn at the feet of the experts, etc etc. Sadly, the pay is utterly appalling - they're currently advertising a gardener's job for £14,900, which works out at about £7.80 on a 35-hour week.

I know you're supposed to work in these places for the love and privilege of it - but love and privilege don't pay the mortgage or feed the kids. I simply can't afford to work there. And they're supposed to have the best gardens in the country!

It sfunny I have been told by some prospective clients that they expect topay no more than £6 an hour!.. In the Ipswich area we do seem to have a problem with some members of certain EU states!!! that are ofering services for between £6 - £8 an hour. I do not even bother with people talking like that now.. you know your own worth, I do a few jobs cheap for some old dears on low pensions, but its not work thats essential to my earnings.. I do it out of respect for the people I guess. I know of an interior designer who works in london, he makes over 300% profit on evrything he does, because he can. Do not lower your charges to match prices? walk away and find someone else..

appolguise for some of the spellings above!.. just realised that batteries on wirless keyboard are running out!. :)

I have a gardening business in the North of Leicester and charge between 12.50 and 15.00ph, although like one of the other comments, I am charging any new customers the 15.00 rate. My daily rate is no where near as much as Richard Boyds @ 150.00, I usually charge around 90.00. It's difficult to know what to charge unless I ring up for gardeners myself and see what they are charging!
As for rubbish disposal, customers tend to forget that it is no easy task disposing of garden waste, for those that do not have compost heaps. It is impossible to dispose of waste at a local tip if one uses a van or pick-up and the cost of a licence would probably put most of us out of business!
I therefore do charge extra for waste, usually about an hours rate, which is nothing when you think to hire a skip is around 100.00!
When you think the cost of fuel driving to the garden and fuel in lawnmowers, hedge trimmers etc time taken disposing the rubbish there's not a lot left out of 15.00ph! I can't believe anyone charging any less than this could be surviving without making a loss.
Maybe I should put my prices up!

TGG

That is why I would encourage anyone who is starting a business to asses their costs, add their profit/extra needs divide it by the number of hours that they expect to work in the year and compute an hourly rate that way.

If you are finding that the hourly rate exceeds the market average for your type of business then you have not choice but to cut costs or work longer hours.

The other alternative is extra training so that you can lift your rates in accordance with your qualifications and experience.

Waste removal is tricky. We always charged for waste because it is an expense to you - even if that meant shredding it or burning it at your yard.

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to comment because I feel this is really valuable information for anyone who intends to employ a gardener or a gardener who is looking for an indication of what the 'market' as a whole charges.

hi, this blog is great. i have had my own maintenance business with a friend of mine for almost 2 years now. we live on the isle of man, where conditions are a little different from the uk, but not that much. i have worked in a gardening company (ie. 3 men and a van not big contractors) for about 8 years before i went solo. i was being paid between £7 and £9 an hour as a semi skilled labourer...altho by the time i hit £9 i was almost up there with the boss. my own business was charging £12 an hour per man on the job and i have just tentatively put my rate up to £15 per hour...£14 if the places are regulars ie 1-2 days a week and almost all year round. this is definately worth it as it tells your customer that you value their custom ( you have to tell them you would usually charge £15 obviously). i would rather work at this slightly cheaper rate with regulars as my own personal work method favours regular work rather than higher rated (£18-20/hr hit and run jobs...winter can wipe you out if you dont have the work there.
big companies i know over here charge an average of £18/hr...and that's just for labourers with a forman in charge. but they can do a job very quickly with more man power and usually bigger equipment. so i have found the size of your business and equipment is also something to consider when looking at what your rate should be and this often needs explaining to clients.
wicked!!

Hi, Great blog show. I have been running gardening business since beginning Feb 2008. All customers to date have been by wom (word of mouth)through my parish community. I charge for all gardening work £15ph min. However, thinking of charging £18ph for non regulars. I do have some regular customers at 12ph... these were my first customers! I have quoted for one off gardening task (4/5 hours) but this can be tricky. Should I be charging differently depending on work involvede.g. grass cutting/strimming, hedge cutting etc?
I'm interested to know from bloggers best way to market my businss... I'll start a new blog.

Some more great additions to the debate here.
I don't think I need to add anything because Neil's and GOE posts speak volumes.

Thanks again

Phil

Great Blog. I'm struggling with pricing in London. Provide a 'better' service and am fed up with monthly payers paying late. I think I need to eliminate monthly options. Does everyone get paid on the day? Also struggling with rewarding regulars and charging demanding one timers. Passionate about my job, but the admin and driving are taking their toll...

HI All
Great topic!!
I live in Leeds and have been working in horticulture for almost twenty years now.
Fully qualified in amenity and decorative horticulture, With a good practical knowledge of most areas of gardening/landscaping both domestic and commercial i am confident to charge my clients following rates.

Day Rate: £20.00 ph domestic (£160.00 per day)
£25.00 - £37.50 ph commercial (£200.00 - £300.00 per day)

Labour Rate: Sub Contract £10.00 - £12.50 ph

Special low rates for Council Tenants/Oap's

£15.00 ph or £100.00 per 8 hour Day per man

I also charge an extra 20% of Ph rate or day rate to remove waste. (Waste is then deposited at our local organic growers recycling centre or local alotments)

I hope this info is of use.

i thinking of starting up and not sure what course to do.and how much to charge people and how much does insurance cost.i can cut grass,trim headges and i can turf lawn and i have also put up fence panels any help would be great i live in aylesbury

Duane

Thanks for your input - it is really a great help to anyone in a garden business.

Your rates do not seem un reasonable to me but I would do is scrap the sub contractors rate.

Your rate is your rate and anyone needing your labour (especially if you have a specialist skill) will have to add a margin over and above what they pay you or treat you as a straight cost with no margin to get the job done.

If you do feel the need to reduce costs then max 20% IMO. After all, any main contractor employing your services does not carry your overhead cost so 10-20% on top of your charges is pure profit.

Join our Landscape Network to discuss it further http://landscapejuice.ning.com/

Hi Darren

Why not join our Landscape Network where I am sure there are some good pros who can help you out.

http://landscapejuice.ning.com/

Hi

This is a great blog - very useful. I've had my own part time lawn mowing service since March this year in the South Wales area. I have a few regular customers and my main form of advertising is by word of mouth. I work in an office full time and do this in evenings and weekends. I charge £15 - £20 p/h for regular jobs. I really enjoy the work and it gives me a break from the office! In my area the council have provided green waste recycling bins so I don't need to worry about geting rid of the waste! Thanks for the advice all.

Interesting blogg, I have been running garden business for six years in cornwall and my average rate is £12.50 an hour grass cutting works out at £20.00 an hour to allow for travelling between lots of 30- 60 min jobs .
a transit load of waste costs me £50.00 per load with out including time to load.i wish i could just take it to tip for free like so many jobbers do -Swines!!!

how much would you charge for gardens

James, thank you for joining the Landscape Juice Network and I hope you find it of great use.

Mccarthy - your £12.50 hourly rate seems very low to me and I would be charging a minimum of £15.00 for the service you are providing.

Neil - Your is a difficult question to answer - please be a bit more specific.

The comments people have placed are very interesting and i would agree that 14\15 p/h would be about right. I started off at around 10 p/h but have increased my rate as i have become more experienced. It also depends on how hard working you are as i know gardeners who charge 16 p/h and don't do any off the hard work like digging. You have to also take into account petrol and travelling time between jobs.

Mark

You make a valid point - hourly charge is one thing but value for money is another.

Different people work at different speeds and can have very different rates of productivity.

Hi

Firstly may I congratulate you Phil for a wonderful website and blog, its nice to know that we're not alone out there!

I started my gardening business two weeks ago and I am in the process of building the 'regulars' into my weekly programme. At present I have more adhoc work which as one of the previous bloggers points out, doesn't really cut it for the winter months (excuse the pun!) As is the norm it seems, I started out charging my first customers £10ph but having previously entered my own requirements into your very handy spreadsheet hourly rate calculator, knew that this would have to increase to make it a profitable and worthwhile business. I am now quoting as a minimum £12.50ph according to the customers wealth status and ability to afford me. Usually, I'll charge £12.50 if there is no travel or waste removal involved.

I am not horticulturally qualified but I am experienced having built 4 of my own gardens from nothing. I believe that if you do the job properly, punctually and professionally then you should not feel embarrassed to ask for £15ph.

As a point aside, how's all this rain affecting everyone?

Kind regards

Phil

I've been reading the posts with real interest tonight and find it very alarming how much 'gardeners' are (or not) prepared to charge.

If lets say you are registered as self employed with your own business, van, mobile phone, correctly insured ie public liabilty and if doing landscape work the correct indemnity insurance, paying for advertising, clothing yourself, keeping your tools ie mower etc in proper working order, visiting the council refuse site and paying for disposal, paying your internet connection for research and those jobs that come through on email. The list goes on and on for real expenses for a gardening firm, some of which often get forgotten to be associated with your business.

OK, so that's your expenses. Then work out 'bad weather days' days you just can't work, then what about bank holidays and your own personnal holiday (s). Then there is the client cancelled jobs. It all adds up.

If you are charging anything less than an absolute minimum of £15 per hour then you are undermining the horticulture profession as a whole, in reality after expenses you are taking home what a cleaner charges cash in hand and lets remember a cleaner has not been to college and studied to hoover a floor!!

I charge £250 a day, I do not work for anything less than a day, my diary is booked till 2009 and if a prospective client is questionable about my price I simply point them to a sub £15 company. What do you want to been seen as? A reputable company or one that picks up cheap jobs????????? and I must rant about this topic that has been mentioned. Why discount for regular clients or OAPS??? you should be doing the same job for every client and be being paid the same. in my expierience both of the above will drop you like a tonne of bricks if circumstances change so once again you are selling yourself short.

I welcome any feedback.

Scott


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