Some hedges may have difficult obstructions such as a greenhouse or wall next to them or maybe the hedge borders a busy road or dangerous bend.
Other aspects to take into consideration is the type of hedge. For example, Pyracantha, Berberis or Hawthorn can be vicious with their long spiky thorns, which may slow down the operator both in a practical and safety sense.
Highly manicured or topiaried hedges are time consuming and demand a greater attention to detail.
Neglected hedges may need to have remedial work carried out before ongoing maintenance is even considered. This may mean pruning back two year or older thicker stems to allow reformation of the shape - only the following year will this softer re-growth be capable of shaping and trimming and even then, don't expect the face or top to be fine in appearance immediately.
If a hedge has been neglected for several years then extensive thinning or cutting back may be needed. In curtain circumstances, specialist tree surgeons should be employed and it is in your interest to ensure that they are adequately experienced and insured to carry out your work.
All of the above will impact on the price being charged - what might look like a fairly simple and quick job, may be influenced by more than one factor.
If you are about to employ a garden contractor then consider getting a fixed price or an estimate - this way you will not have too much of a shock at the end.
On occasions it will not be possible to fix a price and it may be necessary to agree to having the work done on an hourly basis - for the first cut at least.
Even year on year when a hedge has been trimmed by the same gardener, there may be time variations due to extensive growth in warm mild summers.
It is not possible to give a quote per hour or job here. Any good contractor will always come and look at your work before giving a price - quotations per metre over the phone are not to be relied on.
This is what a contractor will be charging you for:
Their time - The cost will vary depending on the type of service you are employing. A one man band who supplies labour only will be starting at between £8-12.00ph.
A contractor who is experienced with working under difficult conditions, carry out risk assessments, deal with traffic and difficult obstacles.
Budget for a minimum of £18.00 per hour (per man) for relatively straightforward hedge work but be prepared for this price to rise significantly should the circumstances dictate - ask the contractor to list any special conditions that he feels has contributed to greater costs.
Waste - this is an increasing problem for contractors to deal with. A contractor must carry a waste carrying license to remove trade waste from your garden.
He will also have to pay for it to be processed. Even if a contractor is burning your waste or even composting it, there is a cost to him and this will be passed on to you.
You may consider using a contractor who has the necessary equipment to chip and shred waste on your premises. There will be a labour and machinery charge but it could be considerably cheaper than removal from site.
If you have a big enough garden then you may want to burn the waste yourself - this could save money.
Machinery - Good hedge cutting machinery costs money. A contractor will have a capital outlay to recoup as well as an ongoing maintenance charge to cover - one way or another, the contractor will charge this back to you the client.
Charges may be broken down as itemised separately (my preferred method) or lumped with the hourly rate.
Contractor insurance costs can vary - the larger the operator the greater the cost so consider this too. A typical insurance cost for a medium sized contractor will be £500-£1,000 per year so even this can add a few £££'s to your bill.
If you you are a contractor or a client and please feel free to add anything by the way of a comment that may help others when making a decision.