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landscape pricing

June 8, 2006

I was wondering about pricing out jobs, I am planning on doing a design and possible install for a client what do people charge for design and meeting fees

I'm also wondering about pricing out a clearing and grass-seeding job any input would be great


Comments (6)

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    molson, the question is so loose and with so many variables, it's pretty much impossible to answer simply.

    A couple of threads on the Landscape Design forum may help - check out the one on estimating/budgeting software as well as the one (also posted here) on "wife's first landscaping job".

    It is fairly apparent from your post that you are new to this business - determining what to charge for your services is pretty much an experiential thing, based on your experience/skill level as a designer/landscaper and your experience on how long it will take accomplish the various facets of that particular job and the cost of materials. You also need to understand what the market in your area will bear as to labor costs and what your time is worth. And there is always that nebulous factor of figuring out your profit margin - what you put in your pocket over and above the cost of time and materials and whatever overhead you may have.

    Unless you already have an understanding of these various issues, it may make sense to charge based on time and materials to start, adding a percentage to cover profit and other contingencies. Hourly design fees can range from soup to nuts, depending on the designer's experience, the client base and the complexity of the project. Or, you could charge a flat rate for the design part of the project, but be prepared to lose your shirt on that aspect unless you understand upfront what may be involved in the design process. One or two client meetings can easily escalate into 6 or 7, specially if you are new and rather unsure in your presentation.

    Or maybe your questions were just not stated very thoroughly and we are missing some more vital information. But to give you a $$ amount of what to charge is just not possible or meaningful given the information you have provided.

  • The_Mohave__Kid

    molsen ...

    You charge at a SELLING PRICE as high above your COST as you can without losing the smile on the customers face since the difference between the two is your PROFIT and you want to make as much profit as you can for your business.

    Go sit in a Starbuck's coffe shop and watch people spend $4.00 or more on coffee drinks while they do a song and a dance on their way out the door ... that's the smile you want to see when you charge your clients for landscaping services.

    It's easy to get that smile in the landscape business when you are charging below cost ... it gets much harder when you are above cost and even harder still when you are at the right price for you ... the key is to find landscape services where you and the customer can meet at an agreeable price.

    Design and grass removal are to vastly different services .. they have different price settings .. if you keep records you may discover this in your market ... then you can decide to sell one or the other or both and how much it can be sold for ...

    So as gardengirl says .. pricing is complex ... in part it comes with experience but also you must read up and understand estimating ... design .. construction practices ect..

    Check out the library .. trade shows .. seminars.

    Good Day ...

  • molsen003

    the job is a basic foundation planting with a stone walkway and retaining wall and some grass seeding

    i will be planting
    1-japanese maple
    3-russian cypress
    beds including about 530CF of mulch
    2000sf to be seeded
    and a 150 SF walkway made out of irregular stone
    i have it estimated out at around 3500 for everything minus the retaining wall
    i feel like that number might be low, now that i have some details of the job i hope it will be easier for people to comment


  • The_Mohave__Kid

    molsen ..

    I think you are missing the point ! It is an important point NOT to miss .. if you don't get it straight it will haunt you your entire career in landscaping.

    Take a look at your price : $3,500.

    There is a cost to do this job ... What is it ? Deduct that cost from your price .. no one knows YOUR cost .. look at what is left over ... Is this what YOU want to make on that job ? YES ... then the price is right. NO ... you need to raise your price. What are your financial goals for the year .. month .. week .. the day ? How will the money you make on this job help you reach those goals ?

    It's really that simple ... the VERY HARD part is to know thy COST. Another even harder part is to know what the customer will pay ? That takes years of experience .. and it's your customer NOT our customer and we are not you. The next hard part is to do the project on time so you can make the money you saw on paper. Then collect all the money ect. ect..

    If you are serious about landscaoing you have a lot of work to do ... Get to the library .. estimating seminars ect. this is important stuff to know.

    Good Day ..

  • nicethyme

    Molsen, there is no way to calculate a job with the details you are providing. If that's all you considered, then you arrived at your number by guessing.

    Ask yourself these things:
    What is my hourly pay?
    What is my hourly rate to cover that pay, my fuel and equipt. my insurance, my profit?
    What is my mark up on these plants and materials?
    How long to design, how long to prep, how long to plant?
    Total hours?

    I disagree with the idea that one service is priced differently than another. Same person doing the work, same price otherwise you will find yourself losing the high dollar work while you bog down in the cheaper paying stuff. If something is beneath one's expertise, sub it.

  • Embothrium

    Looking just at your plant list that portion alone is meaningless here as you do not give what you paid for them--which is what matters. That you listed them by quantity and variety rather than cost makes it continue to appear that there are some key points to doing such work that you have not picked up yet. If your state requires a contractor's license, liability insurance and surety bond to install landscape features you should do something about that in particular. Here you can be fined hundreds of dollars for a single infraction. Otherwise it's mostly a matter of making sure you aren't working for free, as indicated, by identifying and adding up all of your costs and getting paid enough to cover those and then some. The and then some is the reason for doing the job.

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