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Do you guarantee the shrubs that you plant?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by 32vld, Apr 27, 2014.

  1. locallawncare.ca

    locallawncare.ca LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 756

    I think 1 year is the norm, the nursery here give a 2 year warranty, so 1 year is included and for the 2nd year I would just charge for the removal and replacement, seems fair. However many wholesale nurseries do not offer any warranty, these are large suppliers that are not open to the public and see to cities, builders, landscapers, etc. they do have much better pricing and lots of selection in terms of sizes. Not sure what I would do if I bought wholesale, another nursery gives a 15% off contractor price but this voids the warranty which makes no sense.
  2. Steiner

    Steiner LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 408

    From my contract:

    The plant materials are guaranteed for 30 days provided they are watered and cared for by the homeowner as specified by the tags and/or contractor’s verbal and or written instructions. Major acts of god including but not limited to drought, extreme heat, high winds etc. will not be covered. Plant material installed from July 1st, to September 15th will only include a 15 day warranty. Turf or grass seeded areas is not covered by any warranty or guarantee.

    No nurseries give a warranty to any wholesale buyer here, but I will offer a premium warranty if customers ask/push for it and has the cash to make it happen. It does not happen often.

    My premium warranty formula: cost of plant stock x 50%

    My company failure rate of plant stock is usually around 10 percent but it is hard to assign blame and I don't have time to play the blame game.

    If I am on the job the failure rate is almost zero, but then you know....

    You guys track your plant failure rate right?
  3. TPendagast

    TPendagast LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,670

    a "good" install costs a lot more than "the lawn boy put a plant in for me"

    What's the reason for this?

    the actual risk of the warranty is charged for as part of the job.

    Seriously. It's true.

    Under the Vanderkooi estimation module there is a portion of the system that asks you how much you want to include to charge for the warranty.

    Because that's what most people do, who provide one.

    In summary, you actually are supposed to charge for a warranty.


    Say a shrub costs you $35.
    you bill put materials at a 20% increase.
    Your labor rate is $45.
    Minimum one hour labor.
    so the plant is 42, the labor is 45
    So one shrub is $87.00 installed, no warranty.
    that also doesn't include procurement or delivery.

    but you can also install shrubs at a rate of .2, meaning you could plant 5 an hour.

    So lets look at a warrantied cotoneaster hedge install.

    25 #5 container installed cotoneaster hedge.

    25 plants:
    .2 install
    .1 procurement/delivery
    25 x .3 x $45 = $337.50 Labor.

    $28.00 per plant (contractor price)
    20% mark up
    or $840.00 materials.

    (additional materials are needed for proper install under warrantable conditions)

    Fertilizer tablets, Mulch, peat enriched planting soil.
    Another $120.00 materials, another $100 labor
    another $50 to hand water in the plants.

    Total= $1447.50

    THEN add 12- 15% for warranty.


    that's your price. WITH a warranty of one year, written, in their hands, with exclusions like, dog urine, acts of god, lack of maintenance/neglect and salt damage from snow, insects, diseases etc.

    the standard guy is going to take 25 plants @ $35 retail and multiply it by 1.5 and say $1,312.00 installed.

    The standard guy doesn't know what he's doing and take a higher risk of having plants die under warranty, which he doesn't supply in the first place, and doesn't know to charge for.

    standard guy is going to get the job because he's cheaper…

    Warranties worth their salt aren't free folks.
  4. Green-Man

    Green-Man LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,068

    Very awesome walk through this will help me in the future!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. Snyder's Lawn Inc

    Snyder's Lawn Inc LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,541

    I give a 1 year warranty on everything I install on landscape Hardscape its 5 year

    Most smart people will see the warranty and go with that company and if they don't They are dumb or they are a cheap O
    Last install I did in there agreement I had warranty everything for 17 months and they paid for that warranty everything was mark up 1.5 x more then normal rate It was landscape and hardscape on top of that was Lawn care and Snow service For 17 months

    I know guys does same thing you say 70% of time I'm the one going fix there crap
    But I make good money fixing stuff
    Last Lawn I fix The company did last fall they gave a 30 warranty but like that was going do anything was in last part of October growing season was over I lost this bid last fall But 2 weeks ago I did it for 1/2 more money
  6. recycledsole

    recycledsole LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD
    Posts: 3,233

    When you see a dead brown plant, how can you tell the cause of death? Wether its dog pee, high heat, underwatering? How does a dead plant look that was cared for correctly?

    By default I don't offer a warranty. The wholesale nursery does not for me either. If they want a warranty I add 30% to the installed price and ask them to have a watering system with timer.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  7. PLLandscape

    PLLandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 984

    This and discounts......
  8. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,552

    If you put in one plant, it can be hard to tell.
    If you put in a row of arborvitae, and one in the middle died, well, you get the idea. Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes, not so much.

    Yeah, last winter was truly brutal. I live in a zone 7b, but got zone 6b weather. I've seen fig trees that had not been wrapped in over 25 years that died to the ground, when they never experienced winter loss before.

    Still, I have zone 5 rated flowers planted in exposed pots that did fine over the winter, and I myself experienced no plant losses, because I have been careful to select perennials that are hardy to zone 6 or lower (which is surely safe in zone 7).

    Borderline plants (in my area rhododendron falls into this category) are especially vulnerable to winter desiccation when they are newly transplanted, as their root system may not be recovered in time for winter. Do you take any special precautions for plantings going through their first winter? Provide any special instructions?

    I'm not doing this commercially, but have had good luck with Wilt Pruf and a thick mulch layer getting me through the winter without resorting to more drastic measures.
  9. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,072

    Like many, my vendors do not offer warranty, and for all the reasons stated by others, I do not warranty anything.

    I have a very low failure rate, and I have replaced a few for free, so I probably should warranty and charge for it. But I don't want to because as someone said, a warranty is a license to neglect.

    I use the best possible methods for planting, and use root stimulant and sometimes superthrive when I plant, and in expensive plantings I do a follow up root stimulant treatment. This is included in the estimate.

    I tell my customers about how I select, plant and follow up inspection and treatment. I tell them that I do all I can to avoid loosing any plants. I do not think I have ever lost a bid because of lack of warranty.

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