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Why do gardeners charge so much?

(23 Posts)
Mayandbump23 Mon 30-May-11 16:23:07

Our gardeners have just put up their price to £15/per person/per hour. To me this seems like a lot of money to pay for a couple of perfectly nice but unqualified guys who need instructions on everything (I have to tell them stuff like hedges need to be trimmed on both sides...or which plants are weeds...) and are basically just maintenance men (they don't do any planting). Our cleaner who works her backside off only charges us £10/hour. Why do gardeners charge so much? Or do we pay too much? We are in the North West.

MrsCampbellBlack Mon 30-May-11 16:24:08

Interesting - I pay the same rates here and would say my cleaner works harder.

omnishambles Mon 30-May-11 16:27:49

Its because, mostly, they are men, whilst cleaners are women.

tortilla Fri 03-Jun-11 08:28:15

Definitely a difference here as we're trying to find a gardener. They charge twice the rate of a cleaner! (I'm in Sussex)

Quite possibly it is because they are in a traditionally male job and cleaners are typically female (although we had a male cleaner until recently and he didn't charge more for being a man!)

Trying to think of some more logical reasons:

Part of it may be if they bring their own tools, lawnmower etc. and take the rubbish away. If they do, there are costs associated with owning and running those, and the van needed to keep them in, and costs associated with commercial dumping of rubbish, which a cleaner doesn't have if she uses equipment in your home.

Sometimes they need insurance for using ladders, e.g. if cutting trees and high hedges.

Their work is more seasonal than a cleaner - they make most in the summer but winter work will be thin on the ground, so they are having to average their earnings over the course of the year whereas a cleaner can earn the same year round. So maybe they charge more per hour but earn the same or less over the course of the year?

prettywhiteguitar Mon 06-Jun-11 19:05:23

I charge that but I am qualified and don't need to be told what to do ! I have heard this a lot from my customers, paying too much for unqualified labourers

on the otherhand i don't do clearance work and if they are removing everything and taking it to the tip they will be charged for it

you could find someone else.....

HarrietJones Mon 06-Jun-11 19:40:26

Dh gets less than that & although officially unskilled he can plan gardens, knows about plants/weeds & can cut bushes/trees etc.

Whereabouts are you?

Mayandbump23 Tue 07-Jun-11 13:18:53

We are in Cheshire. Our gardeners don't take away any rubbish, it all goes in our compost/bins, and I have to leave them a note detailing everything that needs doing. They do use their own trimmers, hedge cutters etc but don't have a van to transport anything so use our lawn mowers. Maybe I need to look for someone else?

Fiddledee Wed 08-Jun-11 15:14:42

I've just had a gardener in and find it weird that they don't take the rubbish away he suggested a bonfire!

deedeedora Thu 09-Jun-11 15:58:05

How did you find your gardeners I'm down in kent and our garden is in desperate need of n overhaul!

Fiddledee Fri 10-Jun-11 14:03:05

neighbours, checkatrade, look out for vans in your neighbours gardens or in the area and write down the name. You get a whole range of potential gardeners IME so try and contact 3 to 5 and get different quotes/ideas.

SloganLogan Fri 10-Jun-11 16:00:46

I'd look for someone else. They do sound overpaid for the quality of their work and I agree with what omnishambles said.

MoreBeta Fri 10-Jun-11 16:11:14

Minimum wage is £5.93/hr. Add on Employers NI, employers liability insurance against injury and depreciation of tool plus uniform, phone and other overheads and you are £10/hr. Then you add a profit margin on top and its easy to get to £15.00/hr.

kitcat83 Fri 10-Jun-11 16:28:44

Point well made MOREBETA. We run a gardening business we have to pay staff a competitive wage, buy tools, keep them serviced, run vans, apart from hand tools everything runs on fuel and we all know that expensive, liability insurance and waste licenses are a must, have to pay NI and tax, our local waste site charges £80 just for entry even before you get on a weigh bridge to name just a few things we have to pay out for before even thinking about profit!!

Its not as easy or as clear cut as you might think and IMO is a totally different kettle of fish to cleaning a home with far more risks involved. Cutting an eight foot hedge weilding a petrol hedge cutter and then haveing to load a truck and remove the waste is a little different than the war on limescale and dust........

MoreBeta Fri 10-Jun-11 16:42:58

People are always shocked how much tradesmen cost because they dont think of all the other costs.

Similarly people are always shocked by the price of restaurant meals because they only think about the cost of ingredients they could buy in a supermarket. Typically a restaurant pays 20% of the cost to the HMRC as VAT, 25% of the cost of the meal for ingredients, 25% for staff, 25% for rent and overhead leaving an operating profit margin which in a typical restaurant is 5% of the cost of the meal. Out of that 5% the restaurant pays tax and the bit left over pays the owners a dividend.

NoseyNooNoo Mon 13-Jun-11 11:27:32

All well said. I am self-employed in the service industry. It looks like I charge almost £30 an hour but these are just contact-hours. I do a lot of work before meeting clients and in between appointments. I also have to fund my travel, tax, NI, cost of materials, insurance, on-going training, advertising etc. Actually, now I think of it, perhaps I need to increase my fees!

puddinghead Thu 17-Nov-11 18:17:22

I'm just starting up my own gardening service (in Cheshire). I have invested in my training (spent last year doing practical training at a stately home garden) and I am qualified with RHS Level 2 (for which I paid to do the study at college for one year). I have to spend on insurance ('what if my rake went through your window' scenario), decent tools, vehicle and trailer, NI, work gear (incl safety gear), professional subscriptions, ongoing training, books, etc.

I suppose it depends on what you want from your 'gardener'. Hoe, mow and hack or understanding of your plants, how they grow, how to plant, prune properly and recognising the weeds! etc.

If a client wanted me to take away green waste that they couldn't compost or put in their council bin, I would have to charge extra as the council tip charges to dump green waste. Also it's in my gardening philosophy to compost so I'd urge clients to do same.

Anyway, I'm thinking of charging about £14/15/hour (especially after reading this post!

eeer, anyone looking for a gardener near Chester?!

mrscountryrose Fri 18-Nov-11 00:03:31

I am a hard working gardener and have done my RHS exams, oh i wish i could charge £15 per hour. I live in Herefordshire and can not charge over £10 although if I am using the hedge trimmer etc I will charge for fuel used.If your gardeners do not know what jobs to do and when they are not gardeners. I agree about waste I do use compost bins where available but charge to take rubbish away as the council charge for accepting trade waste, a little gripe of mine as they do make money out of it so why not accept it all for free.

puddinghead Fri 18-Nov-11 19:01:46

Hi Mrs Countryrose
Do you mind me asking what kind of customers do you mainly have and what kind of gardens? Have you tried putting your prices up? I got my first regular client today smile and I'm charging £25 per fortnight and will do about 2 hrs a session. (So no, that's not £15!). How did you build up your round, word of mouth after initial advertising?

mrscountryrose Sun 20-Nov-11 19:23:03

Hi there. I mainly have my regulars that i work at every week or every other. I try to do at least half a day otherwise petrol money eats up the money that you earn. All mine come by word of mouth and it helps that i have been doing this for a number of years. I do charge slightly more for one off customers ( that is £1 more) not much i know but i did try charging more but got the sharp intake of breath.
£25 a fortnight for 4 hrs is certainly not enough, that works out at £6/hr minimum wage but you have all the overheads to take into account.I think you may have to re negogiate, your clients do talk to one another so you will have to decide on one basic price for all.

puddinghead Wed 23-Nov-11 22:48:10

It's £25 per visit so £50 per fortnight! But in retrospect and after getting some hints and tips I've decided I will steer away from the hourly rate and set a fixed price per visit and set out what that will include. Need to really sit down and cost it all out. How did you get your very first clients, before the word of mouth actually set in motion?

sweetlucy Thu 24-Nov-11 13:28:08

I understand how £15 or £20 an hour seems like a lot of money. I'm a RHS trained gardener, I charge £20 per hour and with the price of petrol, tools, maintenance and insurances I can assure you I'm not left with much. My hourly rate includes green waste removal. It also really depends what kind of service you're after.
I have friends who charge £10 per hour. He has no van and uses his customers' tools so has very little expenses. Although without the right tools he takes longer to do the work.

mrscountryrose Thu 24-Nov-11 23:14:41

good grief if I charged £20 per hour I would be sitting at home.I always use my own tools and am also RHS qualified. I think alot depends on the area you are working in. If just starting out just put an advert in the local paper.

BlackGnome77 Mon 03-Oct-16 10:53:30

am a gardener in stepney green & have just started a gardening round .doing weeding hedge cutting pruning leafclering general garden clear ups .I use only hand tools to do my work do not use chemicals or pesticides.As i only have hand tools if i am asked to do any grass cutting i ask my customers to have thier own mower.usually do work in around stepney green local areas.My hourly rate is £8.50 which i think is a fair price

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