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View Full Version : Do you always charge retail for plants you install?


Picture Perfect Landscape
06-18-2007, 06:22 PM
Just finished this bid for a client and sometimes I feel as though I may be overcharging a bit. This particular job has almost $600.00 in mark up. But I only mark up to retail. My labor is the same as it would be for anything else. I have considered dropping the labor rate slightly when having so many plants installed but at the same time I am against it since I am picking them all out and picking them up etc.

Just curious if everyone else keeps their same labor rate and still marks up plants/materials.

sildoc
06-18-2007, 07:56 PM
So what happens if 3 of those colimnar junipers take a crap on you and they request you to replace 3 months down the road? then what? charge them again. i wouldn't pay it. Just think of it as added insurance. I usually charge 2x my cost on plants and then my usual 45 per man hour.

sildoc
06-18-2007, 07:58 PM
that and when did they start taking the dollar out to the thousandth, ten thousandth and what not?

yamadooski
06-18-2007, 09:08 PM
I cant believe you put your customers name and adress on here!

cpel2004
06-18-2007, 09:42 PM
Dont drop your price get when you can. Lol on the customer information part.

Picture Perfect Landscape
06-19-2007, 02:23 AM
double plant cost plus hourly wage seems a little high, but nonetheless, most of the time my nursery will take plants back and give you new ones for free, but I understand you are still out the time and travel if doing it urself and labor if having a laborer doing it.

This is the way I have been doing it forever and I don't drop my prices. I was just curious if most other marked up materials similarly to how I do or if I was on the higher or lower side. Sounds like everyone else does but sounds like yall mark up mor than me. 100% seems insane. My mark up was 33% and that about $600.00. @ 100% you are charging them 1800 dollars up and above the plant cost PLUS the addition 1100 or so for your regular labor. That just seems steep for sure. But hey if you can get it good for you! Seriously. That just wouldn't fly around here for sure even in the nice parts of town. I think getting 33% on most things and 50% on a few is good.

Yea I didnt even realize I had the customer information when I posted that.. I'm going to take it down.

Picture Perfect Landscape
06-19-2007, 02:26 AM
or maybe I can't take it down since it won't let me edit the post.

sheshovel
06-19-2007, 04:33 AM
OK you have it a bit confused here, when that 2x or 3X formula is used it usualy INCLUDES pick up and installation of the plant. You don't then add your labor on top of your 2x 3x mark up over retail. Mostly when you see those figures the guys are talking about the installed price.
This is how I do it, I get 25% off on the plant at the nursery and mark them up 25% and then I add my installation charge in my total labor charge for the job. Because my planting situations are not always easy or straightforward I decide what that labor charge will be depending on the planting conditions.

Say I have a plant costs 8.00 retail plus tax. I get it for 2.00 plus tax-
charge 10.00 plus tax I make 4.00 plus tax on the plant and that covers my time picking it up, delivering it and I make a bit.
Then I charge my labor for planting that plant on top of that. Does that make sense to you?

Frontier-Lawn
06-19-2007, 09:26 AM
my nursery gives me 10% off and i can make that 10% get more $ in the end by markup no way would i ever discount plants. (family excluding thou :waving: )

WigginsLandscaping
06-19-2007, 09:52 AM
I too am in your area. I think you are competitive in your billing. I am curious as to what nursery you are using that will replace your plants. Can you let me know where you go. I always warranty my owrk and it does bite me at times. It would be helpful if the nurseries around would help on this.

sildoc
06-19-2007, 11:25 AM
Here we have a major influx of california retirees. They are used to paying more and sales tax on top of that. here we have no sales tax. I receive 15-30% off retail from my nurseries. I charge 2x my price on plants. so 5 dollar plant is 10 plus amendments, labor and staking/misc.
We get it here on small to medium installs. When you get to large installs I pass because the profit margin is so little because of cut rate companies up in the metro area of portland get to bid it out.

WigginsLandscaping
06-19-2007, 11:34 AM
That brings up another thing that I would like to know about. Staking trees. Included in the installation or do you guys consider that an extra fee. I try not to stake unless I have to but if you do stake them do you charge an extra fee?

Picture Perfect Landscape
06-19-2007, 03:01 PM
Stakin is addition but can be factored into the installation. Also I go to Stockyard off HWY 70

Picture Perfect Landscape
06-19-2007, 03:16 PM
OK you have it a bit confused here, when that 2x or 3X formula is used it usualy INCLUDES pick up and installation of the plant. You don't then add your labor on top of your 2x 3x mark up over retail. Mostly when you see those figures the guys are talking about the installed price.
This is how I do it, I get 25% off on the plant at the nursery and mark them up 25% and then I add my installation charge in my total labor charge for the job. Because my planting situations are not always easy or straightforward I decide what that labor charge will be depending on the planting conditions.

Say I have a plant costs 8.00 retail plus tax. I get it for 2.00 plus tax-
charge 10.00 plus tax I make 4.00 plus tax on the plant and that covers my time picking it up, delivering it and I make a bit.
Then I charge my labor for planting that plant on top of that. Does that make sense to you?


Not trying to be rude at all sheshovel, but I don't have it confused. The guy that posted right below me definiteily said he charges double the plant cost plus he labor rate or install cost. That works out fine sometime but what if you have a Jap Maple worth 750. Your going to charge the client $1500.00 PLUS another 150-250 to plant and install it. I think even the rich woudl say screw you to that! Again not trying to be rude. For small plants the whole 2x and 3x what you pay can work alot. But I have always found it easier and more equal across the board to pick a mark up percent and charge your labor seperately other wise when you get into medium to larger size jobs your bids just won't be consistent.

Your bid your landscape jobs the same way I bid mine. I made this post to see if other did it similarly to mine or what. Because sometimes it really does seem like you are takin a little more money than what you deserve. Main example is a small install with expensive plants. You will make more off the mark up than the labor. Now if you can get away with it great, but it can at times feel like your stealing a little money. Just like those columnar junipers I have in this bid 4/5 gallon ones are 90 bucks my cost 120-140 or so retail, now thats not super expensive but its not cheap. If you have a lot of plants whose mark up is similar you will make as much if not more off ur mark up than your actual labor. I understand that is how you make money and its a hidden cost and blah blah, but SOMETIMES, it seems like a lil much. I like my system and it works and I'm not changing it, but sometimes I almost feel bad charging what I do ON RARE occasion. That is all. So I think I may have been misunderstood a bit.

Harley-D
06-19-2007, 04:18 PM
We would charge 2.5 times the cost of the plant wholesale (what a landscaper pays) No more would go into the estimate that would be connected to the plant's installation. Other line items may be...
Soil-say 60 a yard installed
mulch-55 a yard installed
Leaf grow-45 a yard-usually one for every three of soil and used when the plants are put in the ground
construction repair-150

*remember with these prices, you're already there, you've got the job and the customer is fine with the price for the whole job. If customer changes estimate...prices change-why?-their not buying as much. Let them know that it works like bulk buying. Costco, Sam's, BJ's,

We would adjust the prices charged for plants and trees that got up around 100 or over. It is rediculous to charge 2.5 times the cost of a 4' alberta spruce ($120-wholesale) We might decide if the job had us planting four of them, we would charge 220 each.

That might seem like alot but that's all we put on the estimate. No fuel charges, insurance charges, registration, workers comp, health care, taxes, business license etc etc. You're not overcharging, your just covering your costs.

Oh, yeah...you guarantee every plant there, apologize and replace it for free if it dies, with an apology and a smile. One time.

We made money and did good. And i sleep every night.:)

bonerigo.1
06-19-2007, 06:10 PM
We charge a min of double the plant cost. Then we charge a separate line item for labor and materials. Remember if you offer a warranty somebody has to pay for that plant. Once you walk off the property the plants health is no longer in your hands. The customer pays for the cost of the plant and if you work it right most of the replacment labor. Sometimes we offer a tree watering bag or free watering for a week. This is on large jobs that I would probably stop at multiple times after the installation. Above and beyond all else the majority of our profits come directly from increase in plant prices. We make at least 100% profit on plants versus 30 - 40% on labor charges.

PatriotLandscape
06-19-2007, 08:04 PM
we 300% all plantings. Which includes, amendments, mulch, 1 year warranty(with irrigation and PHC at additional charge) and installation. we buy our plants at 40% off retail roughly but they come with no warranty from the nursery the 300% gives me enough to cover a few things.

As for the 750 dollar maple, Yes I would charge the 1500 for the plant+install minimum, let some other chump put it in and have it die.

GreenT
06-19-2007, 09:21 PM
Pictur Perfect, just out of curiosity..

Why aren't you getting 50% up front?

It seems to me you are taking a risk with your "payment due upon completion" format.

Pro-Scapes
06-19-2007, 11:00 PM
this is horse crap!

If I install a plant that cost me 5 bucks im not picking it up... digging a hole... planting it and warranting it for 10 bucks. maybe charge 10 or 15 for the plant but you should be charging your labor rate to plant it.

Man I wonder how your client would feel if they got a copy of this thread in the mail. You better hope one of your competitors dont see this. Your case about the jap maple... If its a high dollar item then no sometimes you cant get a 2 or 3 times mark up. Sometimes we go double sometimes we only go 50%. Its whatever your market will bear and what your overhead requirments are. Take into account you might be warranting that. I get a 1 year from my nursery on everything I buy... I pass that onto my clients... I gotta eat labor tho.

Harley-D
06-20-2007, 08:43 AM
If you would go to someone's house to plant a couple of plants, then i doubt this thread is for you.

We had a minimum of $2k for each job. We didn't do jobs for 300 or 500. Just isn't profitable if something dies and you have to go back. Also, with the job total that small, how did you justifiably charge a couple times the cost of the plant and then labor? I don't see how that works. You don't give money back if all the plants live and you make 1500 on a job you might have 350 in plant and labor costs. Add another 150 for fixed costs (which is high) and you've still made a grand.

Really the problem is that people that are having less than 2k in landscaping done around here are really price shopping and not worth it anyway. They will want alot for free and want you to come down on the price.

Point is...i think if your charging the price of the plant times 2 or 3 and labor...it's too much. If you're worried about your guarantee, if more than 10% of your plants ever die, your not doing it right.

YardMedic
06-20-2007, 10:08 AM
Sure double or 2.5 times seems a high price to pass along, but I don't subscribe to your theory "You don't give money back if all the plants live and you make 1500 on a job you might have 350 in plant and labor costs. Add another 150 for fixed costs (which is high) and you've still made a grand." When was the last time your insurance company refunded your premiums because you haven't had any claims? You charge everything as though you're going to replace every plant/tree once in a year. If the customer does well in watering/maintaining, great. If not, you're fulfilling your obligation without additional cost AND the customer is happy you've done your job.

sheshovel
06-20-2007, 11:30 AM
See it is different here, I never do a new install without installing drip irrigation. You just have to do that here. If I am doing a renovation then there is always a watering system in place if not I install one. I cannot and do not expect my clients to keep an new landscape properly watered.
I cannot be responsible for loosing a large planting for lack of water. If I took those kinds of chances, I would have been out of business years ago. I rarely loose plants that I plant. I give a year warranty as well, but only for replacement if the death of a plant is caused by my planting methods or lack of water because of my drip irrigation.
Think I have lost maybe 5 or 6 in 14 years. I don't charge like I am going to have to replace every plant and tree I plant once a year. That sound ridiculous to me, not even in my realm of thought at all. If I charged like that I would have no work at all where I am.

martinfan06
06-20-2007, 01:46 PM
OK you have it a bit confused here, when that 2x or 3X formula is used it usualy INCLUDES pick up and installation of the plant. You don't then add your labor on top of your 2x 3x mark up over retail. Mostly when you see those figures the guys are talking about the installed price.
This is how I do it, I get 25% off on the plant at the nursery and mark them up 25% and then I add my installation charge in my total labor charge for the job. Because my planting situations are not always easy or straightforward I decide what that labor charge will be depending on the planting conditions.

Say I have a plant costs 8.00 retail plus tax. I get it for 2.00 plus tax-
charge 10.00 plus tax I make 4.00 plus tax on the plant and that covers my time picking it up, delivering it and I make a bit.
Then I charge my labor for planting that plant on top of that. Does that make sense to you?

Same here much more simple that way then you can go up or down on $$$ depending on job size.

prizeprop
06-20-2007, 08:01 PM
In my opinion, who ever started this gaurentee of plant material was a numb scull.I think it mutated out of situations where the landscaper had total control of a property, to today where you plant it ,then turn over the care of it to the customer and your still responsible.Thats why we charge so much!!

Pro-Scapes
06-20-2007, 08:26 PM
we generally as a rule only do small install work (the 3 to 500 comment) for existing maint clients. We wont warranty anything thats been neglected or overly cared for... some people feel the need to flood the new plants daily or turn on thier irrigation systems for 30 min per zone every day rain or shine.

I do think the garuntee is crap... On more than one install where we felt the clients would not keep up with it properly and they declined irrigation or drainage we simply state.. the plants will be healthy when installed.. end of garuntee. We dont have enough clients to pick and choose... we cater to a wide variety of clientel

sclk0907
06-22-2007, 12:11 AM
Stakin is addition but can be factored into the installation. Also I go to Stockyard off HWY 70

The Stockyard will warranty plants? I have used them for quite some time and never knew that.

TGM
06-23-2007, 08:50 PM
Really the problem is that people that are having less than 2k in landscaping done around here are really price shopping and not worth it anyway. They will want alot for free and want you to come down on the price.


amen. do you still hold that $2k minimum?

Harley-D
06-25-2007, 10:05 AM
Absolutely. And that was a couple years ago i set that.

Really, really think about it. How far will a hundred dollar bill go now. Even compared to two years ago. Gas prices shot up over a year ago and we are now seeing and really feeling the effects, and will continue to.