I get asked this a lot.
When prices go up people don’t like it.
Least of all those who are having to raise prices to stay in business.
Shadow of the Gardener is like any other small business; subject to the economy and market.
My rates are always based on what I can do and the tools I do it with + the results those yield.
I also check trade prices locally and those more often than not are where the price structure comes from.
My tools and experience = my pricing minimum – The job you want done = If I can do it for more or less.
Gardening is never the same day twice; even if I am doing the same jobs daily.
A good Gardener will spend 30% or MORE of their turnover/profit on their tools and equipment or other essentials required to operate.
As well as insurances and tool care; which by the way. Are not cheap.
Gardening is one of the highest Insurance professions to get cover for; and the insurance is often blanket cover without room for reducing the costs based on what you do or do not do.
Look at the tools your gardener has or the power tools they carry as everyday pieces of kit. Some of them are very expensive and are not cheap to run. Yet the job they do is quick and efficient…
My market is mainly geared for people who already have a large and established garden on a fenced off or bordered property.
I try and work for people who have an enclosed garden and living space if possible as I have a say in who I work for.
This is so I consider my dogs needs and potential for him to be allowed to roam free while I work; thus allowing me to work with minimal distraction or him being static for periods of time. He also doubles as my security and alerts me to if someone is approaching while I am using power tools; so I can stop what I am doing safely for all in the work area I am currently operating on or around.
Also so I am not having to be distracted by other disturbances such as members of the public passing by and the potential for being stopped while working and concentrating on what I was paid to do while on your property. I’d really rather just get on with the jobs pending and not be distracted. Not because I am unfriendly; but because I am being paid to do a job and I want to get it done.
I am brought in to gardens for my clients when they usually have already had several previous gardeners.
However the garden yet remains to be how they would like.
I am not knocking or taking shots at other Gardeners abilities and skills.
This is usually because the previous gardener was not the type of gardener required for the next stage of the gardens life.
One Gardener can rarely solve all a gardens problems, or do all the jobs you may wish done.
If they can; they will be expensive and rightly so!
You pay a Gardener for a lot of hidden skills and years of knowledge to be applied to your garden.
Not just the big toys and tools they use. 😉
Some gardeners are really good and work exclusively in preparing a garden to be planted; then shaped; then tended till it reaches a mature state 10 or 20 years later.
Once that has been done; what happens after might be too slow of a pace or not of interest to that Gardener.
It may not be their line of work even though they are a Gardener by Trade and have worked for you for 10 years getting your garden to the stage it now is at.
Not all of us like weeding or planting bedding, some of us don’t do lawn cutting or hedge cutting.
Some Gardeners do not do Tree and Vine training, hedge shaping, lawn cutting, strimming and even weeding.
As that is not their general area nor interest.
You need to find a Gardener with the skills you want for your garden; who also have a passion and flair for what you want done for the best results.
If you want a lush lawn with classic stripes, hiring a Gardener who doesn’t like mowing lawns or lacks the kit or skill to do so will be setting up to fail or deliver a poor result.
Different types of Gardeners charge different rates as they do that job all the time; so come equipped and skilled to do it fast and efficiently.
A different gardener may not generally ever do something, but if asked and they have tools to get the job done; it might not be as good of a job. Nor done with the proper tool and tool size as a professional would use who did that job as a speciality.
To clarify; anyone can mow a lawn as a rule of thumb.
Not everyone will use the right size lawn mower, cutting height, nor be able to do so to ensure the grass is healthy.
Especially if they do not have the correct kit, know how and technical ability; and years of experience to cut any sized lawn and treat and train it to get the best results.
I get asked to cut a lot of lawns, yet when I say it would be best if it is cut Twice per week; I get baffled looks and questioned why I am trying to make more work when it is not required. I’m not; it’s sound Lawn care practice at peak growing times. As in when I am usually being asked a lot to mow lawns…
You can read the instructions on a packet of seeds and grow something; results vary based on equipment, experience, skills as well as transferable knowledge. You employ a gardener to do something you want someone else to do.
You can pay to have it done cheaply and often ineffectively or of a low quality.
Or pay a fair rate to get the job done right and to a good standard.
Or pay a professional to do a high quality job and keep the finish all year around; while also taking care of the rest of your grounds and garden.
I charge what I charge as my regular customer base employs me year after year and I work all year around for them doing the jobs constantly to reduce the need to hire expensive large scale teams with Agricultural sized Machines and expense from hiring them + Operators and insurance hikes to cover their destructive and rough work. When a small team of seasonal gardeners or a Lead gardener with a team to assist when required works out better over the long run.
You can get a guy in with a tractor and flail or cutting heads to “Trim a hedge” for about £100 for a few hundred Meters of Hedge.
The results though will be industrial and agricultural because they used a big machine.
A single guy with the right tools may take longer but the results will be better because it was done at a slower pace; and by someone with experience cutting hedging properly. The job will also be done with care to ensure the health of the hedge; but also ensure it looks good and will bounce back to life and look better for longer.
As well as reducing the need for large heavy cutting because the hedge is slowly trained over time!
The Per Hour charge covers the machines and tools I need to manage and tend a large scale property and gardens for the whole 12 months of a year.
That’s a vast spectrum of hand tools, power tools, machines, bits, bobs and all the other stuff needed to give good general service while also in my speciality areas.
While you might object to me having a speciality lawnmower as you do not want or need your lawn cutting for my time at your garden. You will be glad I spent as much time and effort into the tools I do use at your garden so my level of equipment and skill using it for your garden is where my money from working is invested.
This is why I charge a minimum fee at all times.
If I take on a job that is currently being done with a smaller machine or tool than I have and use.
I will use my machine to do the job that took you 6 hours, & for arguments sake I do it in say 3 hours as I use the correct size and powered tool to get the better results and also do it much faster. Efficient use of tools and technical skill as well as ability.
Yet; I just did myself out of 3 hours paid work…
Right tool – Right job – Capable and Technically Skilled Operator.
You may counter; “I can just buy the same tool SOTG uses and still do it myself!”
Please do so and see if it still takes you 3 hours and you get the same results.
- While wearing all the right safety kit.
- Having the necessary insurance coverage to do the work intended or required.
- As well as being able to operate the larger machines physically.
- Or still want to carry on if you can’t or don’t to any of the above?
The above was either too much effort, hard work or required skilled machine operator skills and physical conditioning or a technical ability lacking for the task you had in mind which brought you here eventually.
Looking for someone that can and will do what was numerically listed;
That is where I Operate and where my main Business Clients are.
- I was approached by referral almost exclusively from a current or previous client.
- Or directly through my website because my Company and my work was mentioned or viewed in a positive light.
- I may have been brought in to fix an issue in a garden.
- I am more often than not asked to stay on and keep tending the garden.
- Because of my Abilities, tools and technical skills.
- My client garden schedule and planning is over 5 years through to end of life care.
- I might be a Part Time Gardener – I’m one that is Part Time for the next 40 years at least.
- My clients know I am a Long Haul Gardener
- They want someone that will be doing the same job 10 years later on for their garden.
- Not in it for just a few lucrative seasons or in peak season.
- This requires tool upgrading and compensation for learning and experience on the same job.
- Life costs change and this is reflected in changing rates.
I cover most basics but excel in the specialised technical aspects a large or established garden needs; while still being able to chew through large hedges and fence line keeping to allow access to larger Ride on Equipment; so the heavier machinery operation is complemented with close quarter high technical blending and sculpting.
Now I am trusted to do those tasks but also spend time feeding the grounds and Hedges or Lawns I cut or train. Next seasons bills for managing hundreds of meters of hedgerow or lawn will be reduced due to the time I was paid training or cultivating the trees and hedges, or lawns and borders. So each season after they are easier to manage and keep; or require less time to keep healthy because they are now thriving.
While also being constantly groomed and trained.
Pruned and tidied.
Clipped and dead headed.