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sandman23
08-26-2010, 07:10 PM
I am looking for feedback on taking care of shrubs.

I used to include shrubs, pinestraw, flowers, etc… in with my service price and half way accounted for the cost. Last year I stripped all extras out of my normal monthly price and charged separately. This allows me to provide a base service and add on from there. It also allows me to track extras.

Shrub trimming is the only extra service that keeps giving me problems (how often, how much cleanup, how selective, etc…). I am trying to create a program that is profitable, affordable, and manageable.

I am currently trimming shrubs as needed but I am looking for something a little more structured. I try to trim shrubs 4 times per year; Feb., May, Aug., and Nov. I use motorized hedge trimmers and do very little selective pruning. I avoid roses if possible, ornamentals, and Juniper/Ivy beds. I also decline to do shrubs for the H/O that is badly over landscaped and always planting things themselves.

I blow or rake the clippings into the yard and either tarp and haul or bag with the mower. I always recommend topping with fresh pinestraw or mulch (most decline). I let them know that I get about 80-90% of the debris. In other words, I offer a very basic service.

I am looking for input from the guys that have a structured shrub program.

Some points:
Trimming quarterly vs. monthly. Is there any real benefit to trimming monthly other than less debris?
Billing. Time of service, added to bill, or monthly?
Debris. How do you handle cleanup? Mulch/pinestraw depletion.
Besides normal hedge trimming, what else do you offer? Selective pruning, limbing, dead heading, etc…?

I am considering offering 4 services per year and making it an add-on service at around $40 per month. I bill over 9 months so roughly $360 per year. Keep in mind that these are generally small builder grade landscapes. Most can be trimmed in 1-2 hours.

What say you.

Johnny test
08-26-2010, 07:37 PM
Now this is just me. In my commercial contracts I charge the customer for 3 Tree and shrub pruning visits. The charge is calculated hourly+waste. 1st visit is in Jan (winter prune all deciduous trees and shrubs except maples and flowering).(2nd I prune all evergreen trees and shrubs). (3rd May is for evergreens, a second time... with Maples, Flowering trees and shrubs(asap after blooming). Each of the three visits is calculated hourly+waste...


Then my Qty 2 fall cleanups include the removal of all dead plant material including limbs or dead annuals, or shrubs...

twobroslawns
08-29-2010, 08:39 PM
It is a lot easier if you do it every few weeks. A house that might take 2 hrs. in one sitting will take 30 mins or less if you do it once a month. You usually don't have to pick up any clippings if you do it often enough.

Kinz
08-29-2010, 10:36 PM
Please tell me you're pruning at the correct times for the specific shrub. Like you're not pruning Azaleas in Nov. and February!

twobroslawns
08-30-2010, 07:34 AM
Of course. And we're not pruning azaleas with the hedge trimmer either. I was talking about plants like the boxwoods and hollies that grow so much so quickly around here.

Coffeecraver
09-03-2010, 10:33 PM
Follow the Shrub Guide to schedule pruning at the right time of year.
Bulletin 625 / Revised February 2010

The University of Georgia and Ft. Valley State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and counties of the state cooperating.

http://pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/B625/B625.htm

:)