How to Do Landscape Gardening
What do Landscape Gardeners Charge?
When it comes to Landscape Gardening it can be difficult to know how much a landscape gardener will charge for their services. In this article we set out to explore just how much a landscape gardener will charge and just what they do for their fee.
By exploring how they come to their final job estimate we will also be establishing just what they do for the money they charge.
How Much Does Landscape Gardening Cost Per Square Foot?
Before we explore just how a landscape gardener arrives at their charging, we can look at the average costs a square foot of landscape gardening costs. It has been estimated that depending on location and the nature of the work being carried out landscape gardening will cost somewhere between $5 to $35 per square foot.
The national average for a 1200 sq. foot yard is $13,200. This is a figure that uses a low estimate of $1320 for a basic sod install and rises to over $29,000 for a complete overhaul including features like paths and ponds.
To arrive at the total cost of the job the landscape gardener will use the following steps to calculate the job cost and what the client is charged.
Talk to the Customer
Each landscape gardening job is different, the first step a landscape gardener takes when working out how much to charge is to talk to the client.
To work how much to charge a landscape gardener must find out exactly what end-result the client is expecting. To establish this the landscape gardener begins by talking to the client and asking lots of questions.
To accurately assess the job the gardener will also measure the garden and estimate the material costs and the costs of any extra labor that may be involved. Some of the factors a landscape gardener will consider when talking to the client are: –
- Current State of the Yard
- Clients Desired Design
- Features required (Like a pond or a pathway or a patio etc.)
- Any land restructuring
- Existing features or items like tree and tree roots that require removing
- Any soil to be added or removed
- Types of materials and plants required
- Estimate of how long the task will take
- Quality of the existing soil
Every business has overheads that must be factored into the cost of each job, landscape gardening is no different. For each job a landscape gardener undertakes, a percentage of the price a customer pays for their service has been allocated to cover these costs.
In the landscape gardening industry, most gardeners will allocate 20% of their total sales to go towards overheads.
This percentage is set aside to cover overheads like tools, property overheads, van costs, gas, insurances, phones and utility costs and any other overheads associated with their business.
To incorporate these costs accurately into their costings a landscape gardener will calculate their average weekly overheads and divide by the number of hours they work each week.
Once a landscape gardener has a complete brief of what their client is requesting then they can estimate the material cost of the job. Based on the measurements taken and what the client is expecting, a complete costing of the materials required to complete the job can be calculated.
This is an estimate of the hours the gardener has calculated that the job will take. If the landscape gardener is a one-person operation then the task is quite simple, all is required is to multiply the estimated hours by the gardener’s hourly rate to arrive at the estimated total labor costs.
However, if it is a job that involves more than one person then the labor costs of all personnel should be factored in. On average a landscape gardener gets paid around $14.00 per hour, although this varies from state to state. Location can be a big factor in the amount a landscape gardener will charge for additional labor costs with the amount that employees are paid varying across the nation from a low of $9.21 to a high of $19.74, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A Landscape gardener will generally charge a figure of between $45 and $75 per hour for their own services and additional labor charges for their employees will usually be charged somewhere between $20 and $35. However this figure is subject to regional variations with the highest costs being in D.C.
Obviously, a landscape gardener wants to make a profit on any job they undertake. Now that the total costs of the job, including overheads, has been calculated, the landscape gardener will add their markup to the figure to calculate the total cost of the job.
This markup is applied to the total cost of the job, this ensures that each job that is undertaken by a gardener is profitable. The amount of markup a gardener will apply can depend on a number of factors, including how competitive the market is in their area, whether it is a repeat and loyal customer and any offers they have included in the original job pitch.
On average a landscape gardener will apply a markup in the region of 15 to 20% for residential jobs and a lesser percentage of between 10 and 15% for commercial landscaping. According to Lawn and Landscape the discrepancy between these figures is down the more competitive nature of the commercial landscape gardening sector.
In the same article the ideal markup for maintenance landscaping is described as being between 10 and 12%.
Calculate the Total Cost
Now that all the total costs are known (or at least accurate estimates) the landscape gardener can finalize the total price they will charge for the entire task. It is as simple as adding each of the figures reached in the above tasks. However, there may also be local state sales taxes to be applied, depending on location.