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I received an estimate from a large landscaping firm to landscape the back yard after a project. Their quote includes a fairly large number of flowers, shrubs, trees, and herbs. Totaling over 150 different items. (Dozens of boxwoods, dozens of hydrangeas, liriope, some small trees, etc.) Lots of one gallon and three gallon shrubs in the quote. Firm would find, select, deliver, plant, and cleanup. I looked up local plant prices per the noted sizes to appreciate the plant costs. Assuming a plant retail price total that I would pay if I purchased the plants myself comes to approx $6k, what is a reasonable markup percentage for a landscaping firm to charge me? Letting them purchase the plants and to do all the work?
 

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Not all companies mark up prices. Some base it off time and labor as well as time to pick out and pick up plants.. w that many plants you’ll need tons of topsoil and mulch which add quickly and to the materials plus time and labor of planting each one. Def a lot of sticker shock when it comes to planting. But for a company to make profit off a $50 plant the customer is prob gonna pay around $100.
 

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What ever price they give you is reasonable . You either agree to it or not . You are not paying for plants , you are paying for a finished project
Too many people don’t understand this. Of course they can get the plants for cheaper themselves. They’re paying us to design, procure, and install, and dispose while they sit in the air conditioning.
 

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Youfoolish to not mark up material prices.

if your buying whole sale, the very minimum you should charge is retail plus tax, but honestly more than that.

I usually like the formula (whole sale price x 1.65) = price to client.
I’m already getting a 30% discount below retail. So my pricing will be 30-35% higher than retail price.

this accounts for time and risk to deal with the materials. The risk we damage some.

think of it like buying a soda at Disney land. They charge a lot because it’ convenient. It’s not sooo much that you say “no” , but it’s enough to gain good margins.
 

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I received an estimate from a large landscaping firm to landscape the back yard after a project. Their quote includes a fairly large number of flowers, shrubs, trees, and herbs. Totaling over 150 different items. (Dozens of boxwoods, dozens of hydrangeas, liriope, some small trees, etc.) Lots of one gallon and three gallon shrubs in the quote. Firm would find, select, deliver, plant, and cleanup. I looked up local plant prices per the noted sizes to appreciate the plant costs. Assuming a plant retail price total that I would pay if I purchased the plants myself comes to approx $6k, what is a reasonable markup percentage for a landscaping firm to charge me? Letting them purchase the plants and to do all the work?
Don't you get a commercial 20 percent off form the nursery? One guy I know does 2x each plant. I just charge retail and the hourly to get them and deliver. The 2x guy says it's to cover anything that might die since he's gotta go back, buy a new one, and replant it.
 

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Don't you get a commercial 20 percent off form the nursery? One guy I know does 2x each plant. I just charge retail and the hourly to get them and deliver. The 2x guy says it's to cover anything that might die since he's gotta go back, buy a new one, and replant it.
Is he also charging labor to install ?

the formula that is common is 3x is material and labor to install. 2x doesn’t cover enough labor normally.
 

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What difference would that make ? If anything you should value your time way more than what he pays his crew.
Oh the time is covered 100 percent. I'm just talking markup. I have the 20 percent out of the gate. People paying 300 for one hydrangea, plus labor, isn't going to be an appealing price. Looking at 2000 just in plants for a small front garden. I'm just not fan of the markups on already super pricey plants. Drive time, planning, and all the time I'm spending there, I'm charging. I'm pretty much always called for applications and maintenance too. That's a huge profit margin. Basically an extra mow every 3-4 mows for 15 minutes (spraying repellent and some fungicide or nutrients).
 

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Oh the time is covered 100 percent. I'm just talking markup. I have the 20 percent out of the gate. People paying 300 for one hydrangea, plus labor, isn't going to be an appealing price. Looking at 2000 just in plants for a small front garden. I'm just not fan of the markups on already super pricey plants. Drive time, planning, and all the time I'm spending there, I'm charging. I'm pretty much always called for applications and maintenance too. That's a huge profit margin. Basically an extra mow every 3-4 mows for 15 minutes (spraying repellent and some fungicide or nutrients).
I don't think anyone is talking about charging 300 for a hydrangea plus labour. There is definitely jobs where I can charge 2x wholesale and make good money. Especially since we don't warranty plants. I did a job today with $600 wholesale plants, figure 1 hour delivery and 3 hours to plant everything with layout. $100/hr and 33% markup on plants if I charged $1200.
 

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So here is something I learned in business about 10 years ago. I was talking to a guy that was mega loaded with multiple businesses probably around 150 million per year in revenue.

he said, - if you take a business model and pricing methods and apply them to the extreme ends of the spectrum and they pass, then that normally means you have a sound business model and pricing structure. So many people operate in a more confined space but leave loop holes.

so let’s take your example but pull it towards an extreme- I hire you to built an outdoor kitchen- I want solid single piece black slate for the bar top. It retails for $10,000 and you can buy it whole sale for $8000. You mark it up 20%. $8000 x 120% =$9600 is what you charge me. You also charge me $500 to pick it up at the warehouse, and it takes 6 guys about 2 hours to install @$90 per hour. Your total fee to me is $11,180. You paid $8000 in material and a few hundred for labor. This job was finished in 2 hours. If all goes well, that’s a decent profit. However if you guys drop the slab and crack it. You cover the cost of a new one. Now the job is negative - $4,820

Now that’s a very extreme example, the material is expensive, the labor is low, plus your 6 guys dropped it. But it illustrates what my friend was taking about. Make sure your mark up includes risks associated, how easy is the item to replace if you mess it up during installation. - note I am not suggesting that you take the material and double the cost- but I am suggesting that material mark up plus labor rates also cover risks involved.

if you always use a business model that can pass an extreme test like the above, you will succeed even on your worst of days.
 

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A good example for us is artificial turf which I am doing and I paid 20,000 for the materials for a 2000 square foot area. Its about a 2 day install x 2 people. But, you only get one chance to seam it and once a cut is made, that's it. One slip of the knife can cost $3000 and 2 weeks delay plus a days labour. Markup does need to be higher.

Same with the guy who installed a $4000 piece of counter top for me in about 3 hours
 

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A good example for us is artificial turf which I am doing and I paid 20,000 for the materials for a 2000 square foot area. Its about a 2 day install x 2 people. But, you only get one chance to seam it and once a cut is made, that's it. One slip of the knife can cost $3000 and 2 weeks delay plus a days labour. Markup does need to be higher.

Same with the guy who installed a $4000 piece of counter top for me in about 3 hours
Yep. This is why it’s important to mark material up appropriately and not just charge your basic labor price to install. Now that doesn’t mean that your estimate or invoice has to show the break down of material vs labor. It just means that the job total has to cover that much. Charge material x1.0 and $900 per labor hour for all I care. Better yet, don’t give them the break down at all.
 

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A good example for us is artificial turf which I am doing and I paid 20,000 for the materials for a 2000 square foot area. Its about a 2 day install x 2 people. But, you only get one chance to seam it and once a cut is made, that's it. One slip of the knife can cost $3000 and 2 weeks delay plus a days labour. Markup does need to be higher.

Same with the guy who installed a $4000 piece of counter top for me in about 3 hours
If your doing those types of jobs, then stretching it to the extreme would be taking your standard job and multi its size times 3 or 4 and then run the bad knife scenario.

by stretching everything to an extreme, you stretch your profit, your revenue, your logistics …. But you also stretch your weaknesses, oversights, loop holes and other “bad things” … you stretch them to the point where the small items, suddenly are larger items which makes them easier to identify and think though/resolve.
 

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On plants I charge 20% on retail, but then I buy from a trade only site so my actual markup is more like 50-70% then I also charge for labor,this doesn't just include the time putting them in but also includes the time spent collecting them.I also don't bill separately the client gets one all inclusive cost
 

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If your doing those types of jobs, then stretching it to the extreme would be taking your standard job and multi its size times 3 or 4 and then run the bad knife scenario.

by stretching everything to an extreme, you stretch your profit, your revenue, your logistics …. But you also stretch your weaknesses, oversights, loop holes and other “bad things” … you stretch them to the point where the small items, suddenly are larger items which makes them easier to identify and think though/resolve.
On the artificial job I make sure I have at least 50% labour to materials. So even if its $5k material and a day job, min would be $2500 for 2 people. Then markup on the products. I basically have it set up so we can call every 4th job a complete redo and the numbers come out fine. There is a playground job which is maybe 8-9 days x 2 people and its 53k in materials. So I have 25% markup and 27k labour on my quote.

Then I make sure to warn clients there can be imperfections and the job considered above standards, can't warranty vandalism etc. They are risky jobs dealing with such an expensive piece of material. Technically you can patch mistakes and the seams we do are quality, but you don't want a job with 10 seams on it, just that much more to go wrong and end up with a bad seam.
 

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I don't think anyone is talking about charging 300 for a hydrangea plus labour. There is definitely jobs where I can charge 2x wholesale and make good money. Especially since we don't warranty plants. I did a job today with $600 wholesale plants, figure 1 hour delivery and 3 hours to plant everything with layout. $100/hr and 33% markup on plants if I charged $1200.
Well in my area they're no cheaper than 130, usually more, and this are what, 3 gallon pots? So let's say 260- 280 per plant not including labor? If it was my house I'd tell the person to f off you know? Maybe 5 gallon. Long day I forget. Point is, they are not giants. I've ordered online and regretted it. In most cases because of the size. 2 azaleas and false hollies I'm happy with. Small grasses too, but overall I find the nursery is better in the end, price and aesthetic.
 
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