How to gardeners charge ?


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How to gardeners charge ?

Postby davek » 08 Dec 2010 14:58

Although this is not a question related to plants, I hope someone may be able to help.

I’m a self employed gardener in Surrey and work on a basis of charging an hourly rate.
Each of my customers have a date/time on my schedule.

Most of them are fine, but I have one who regularly ‘puts me off’ by saying that it’s too cold or wet to work, even when I point out things that genuinely need doing and won’t harm the garden. The consequence is that I don’t get paid.

In the past, I have been willing to re-schedule, by missing another customer, but increasingly don’t want to do this as it’s not fair on them.

I’m interested to know how other gardeners charge for their services.

I know that many have more formal arrangements with clients through contracts/agreements, but how are these specified ? – do they list the things that will be done in the garden and at which times e.g. – cut the lawn fortnightly from March to end of Oct, edge the lawn once a month, cut the bushes “at the appropriate time”, prune the trees in winter etc ?

You may be a gardener yourself who has encountered this, or know people with gardeners.

Any help would be appreciated, Thanks
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Postby gardening_guru » 09 Dec 2010 09:37


I am also a self-employed Gardener in Cambridgeshire, you are the professional, you have the expertise and experience to decide if the weather is suitable for gardening or not. As you say most customers will respect your judgement and let you work as and when you see fit. If possible, do what I do, continue to charge a reasonable hourly rate, work hard, offer good value for money. You soon end up with too many customers and then you can lose the customers that waste your time like the one you have described.

Gardening is influenced so much by the weather that I don't think you can go down the road of writing contracts for private customers, a lawn might need cutting twice per week in April and not at all in August!. The nearest I have come to any sort of agreement with a customer is to estimate the number of visits over a year and divide the cost over 12 monthly standing order payments.
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Postby davek » 09 Dec 2010 16:45

Thanks very much for your reply, it was very helpful.
Having written agreements in the past, I could see how difficult it would be to specify what should be in it. It's better to have a pool of customers who trust your judgement. If they don't their probably best shot of.
I also asked a question back in the summer about whetrher grass seed goes off over time to which you replied.
Thanks agaia for that.
All the best, Dave.
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