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  • First Landscaping Job

    I feel a little dumb asking this, but here goes. I just did my first landscaping job consisting of four flower beds and a fountain. I basically did the job for cost to get the experience but I did an invoice (attached) with what I thought I should charge. I really am not sure how to charge and was hoping to get some comments. The plant costs and fountain include a 25% markup. The customer purchased her own mulch except for a couple of bags which she was short. I'll try to answer any questions and hope to get some constructive criticism (hopefully not too painful). I attached pictures of two beds. Both were already there. We removed most of the old plantings, moved a few and added a lot. Thanks in advance.

    Gary
    Attached Files
    Totally Green Lawn Care, LLC
    http://www.totallygreenlc.com

  • #2
    Great job Gary.

    I think first off, I would just put a total for installation and not put the hours or the $ per hour fee.

    I also think I would include the transport and fuel fees in with the installation fee.

    They are getting a good deal at $30 an hour.

    What made you decide to go with a 25% markup?
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    • #3
      The 25% markup was based on information I read while studying for my Horticulture test. Thanks for the advice on not showing the hourly rate. You said $30.00 was a good deal. What should I be charging?

      Gary
      Totally Green Lawn Care, LLC
      http://www.totallygreenlc.com

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      • #4
        I agree with Steve, never reveal labor charges at an hourly rate. I always give a material list and total cost... I try not to break everything down for the customer, only for my records do I break it all down....


        Nice work though, looks good. Keep it up!

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        • #5
          You said $30.00 was a good deal. What should I be charging?
          Well ultimately this is all regional but I would want to charge the same hourly labor rate as you charge for lawn care.

          When we look at the national lawn care hourly fee which I have seen to be about $45 an hour, it kinda gives you a target to shoot for.

          How does what you charged for this project compare to your lawn care hourly rate?

          Also, when you gave the customer the bid, how did they react to the price?
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          • #6
            We always try to stay in the $60 per hour range. I'm really not sure what other outfits charge around here (Northwest Louisiana). As for my customer, she was a little surprised at the estimate and said her budget was only $600. We gave her a lot more than that so we could get some experience. She was happy. She was so happy, she threw in an extra hundred. Ever little bit helps.
            Totally Green Lawn Care, LLC
            http://www.totallygreenlc.com

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            • #7
              Gary,

              Nice job. It looks great.

              It looks like the client already has some good landscape. I hope they do some upkeep on what you have done for them. What do you all think when you go back to a job you have done and it's overgrown with weeds, grass or the plants are wilted and almost dead? It kills me, but I was paid to do a job and that's what I did. It takes a hit to my pride though.

              Also I just invoice a product list and an install bill.

              John

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              • #8
                Also I just invoice a product list and an install bill.
                Can you explain this a little more?
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                • #9
                  Hi Gary,
                  You did a great job on the install. All the colors flow nicely and the fountain is great.
                  Are the 2 large trees oaks? The reason I ask is because (and I dont expect many people to know this, but it is my job as a tree worker to notice these things), oaks need to have the base of the truck and top roots exposed to air. If you cover the exposed top roots and begin giving extra water, it can make the oaks very sick and may eventually die.
                  Just a little tip for future use. Next time you can impress your customers with some professional landscaping tips!
                  Northern California

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                  • #10
                    I hope they do some upkeep on what you have done for them.
                    Luckily, we also have the maintenance contract for the landscaping.

                    Gary
                    Totally Green Lawn Care, LLC
                    http://www.totallygreenlc.com

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                    • #11
                      Are the 2 large trees oaks? The reason I ask is because (and I dont expect many people to know this, but it is my job as a tree worker to notice these things), oaks need to have the base of the truck and top roots exposed to air. If you cover the exposed top roots and begin giving extra water, it can make the oaks very sick and may eventually die.
                      Just a little tip for future use.
                      I didn't know that. They are oaks. We'll go back and correct that oversight. Thanks for the great advice.

                      Gary
                      Totally Green Lawn Care, LLC
                      http://www.totallygreenlc.com

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                      • #12
                        Luckily, we also have the maintenance contract for the landscaping.
                        How did you set up the maintenance contract? Do you charge them a certain amount per month to keep the landscape looking good? Is this included in your lawn cutting fee? Or how do you suggest doing this?
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                        • #13
                          I really don't have that down to an art. I try to break each task down and assign it a dollar amount, then multiply that by the number of times per month the service will be performed. With that total, I try to discount it to make it more appealing. My biggest problem is, coming from a background where a hundred dollars is a lot of money, I always feel like I'm charging too much. Hopefully I'll get past that.
                          Totally Green Lawn Care, LLC
                          http://www.totallygreenlc.com

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                          • #14
                            I think you made a really great post here that is helping a lot of newer business owners.

                            I try to break each task down and assign it a dollar amount, then multiply that by the number of times per month the service will be performed.
                            Can you give us an idea of the different services that would be required to maintain this beautiful landscape and how often they would have to be performed?
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                            • #15
                              Also I just invoice a product list and an install bill.

                              Can you explain this a little more?
                              Steve,

                              I give my clients a product list of what I installed IE: plant, shrub, flower type so they will know what they have and if they need to replace or add a little more to what is already there. I do this with sprinkler heads also so they know what I used and size (45*, 90*, 180* or full spray patterns). It gives them a better understanding and they are more educated for their purpose to maintaining a beautiful landscaped yard... Knowledge is Power.

                              With the install invoice, they already had a work order done up and agreed to it. There are no surprises to them when you hand them an install invoice and they say, "I didn't know it was going to be this much" and try to get you to lower the bill.

                              How many of you been there, done that?

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