Whilst we have the momentum, I thought I would try and compile the data as it comes in, in the form of a spreadsheet, that can be used by business and consumers alike for the determination of charge out rates for the horticulture trades.
I have set up a Google spreadsheet that is viewable by everyone. The aim is to build a framework and industry type of standard that anyone who has an interest in the UK landscaping of gardening scene can make a judgement before setting their charge out rates.
Hopefully, we can start to compile a demographic that will impact on charges. For example, if you are starting a business, how do set your charges?
First of all, you work out what it costs you to live, pay for your mortgage and all of the running costs. You then add all of your vehicle costs and then of course your other business costs such as insurances, clothing, rent rates (if you have separate premises) and then you divide this by the number of chargeable hours you expect to deliver in a year. Take into account the weather and how much time you would like off.
At the end of it, you will either have a sum that is below, at or above a national average (market force). You then have to take into consideration what that market force will do to your productivity.
For example, if you set your hourly rate at £30.00ph (plus Vat because you would then be registered because of the threshold), can you expect to sell your projected hours over a year and could you compete, locally, with a business that is half that rate?
The 'market force' will determine that you are indeed overpriced and probably have to bring down your cost to the average for your locality.
However, some gardeners will have several more years experience and perhaps some special skills that they can offer a client which means that they can charge more (to a point). Again, the success of this higher charge depends on your particular skill set and how big the market is for your skill or experience.
An example of this is perhaps a gardener who is an expert in growing dahlias and has twenty years of experience at it.
A client, who is a Dahlia lover gets to hear about this gardeners skill and asks him if he would create an area especially for dahlias and is prepared to pay a premium for the service.
That gardeners skill of dahlia growing may well be uncalled for with his next client who just requires a cross the board maintenance service so that premium cannot be applied.
I hope you are finding this useful - Go to the form and add your details. Remember, the final document is viewable to everyone so only participate if you are happy for some of your details to be shown.
The key to all of this is a transparency and understanding of gardening and landscaping charges throughout the UK.
In my view, this is what a company demands from their association that represents their interests and something I am sure, if you asked business owners, that it centric to getting their business right.
The problem is, and this was a problem for me (even when I was relatively well established) was it felt embarrassing to ask for help in this area.
Rest assured, you are gardeners and landscapers with a specific skill set and there is no reason that you should be a razor sharp accountant too. I bet Alan Sugar or Richard Branson could not prune a rose or understand soil structure.